Friday, April 13, 2012

In the Chicago style of lawyering

Years ago, I told this story, including a reference to Clarence Darrow. Recently, I read Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned, and it is an outstanding book.

One part of it came to mind recently when I read of the recent statements by President Obama, pressuring the Supreme Court into upholding the Affordable Care Act. In the trial of Leopold and Loeb, Darrow got the two killers to plead guilty without an agreement on sentencing. In the same manner as President Obama, the prosecutor applied extra-legal arguments to shame the judge into giving the killers the death penalty. Darrow knew better than to respond in kind, based on his view that likeability wins cases. The judge's comments suggest that the prosecutor's over-reaching might have been the main reason why he gave the killers life in prison, instead of sentencing them to death.

Perhaps Darrow was a better Chicago lawyer than is the President.

Also, one of the Tennessee lawyers who figured in the Scopes trial, another subject of the book, was a fellow named Sue Hicks, whose name might have been the basis for the Johnny Cash song about a boy named Sue.

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