Law & Order: Speakerphone Unit | Bleader

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Law & Order: Speakerphone Unit

Posted By on 01.08.08 at 02:58 PM

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Defense attorney is not usually a job I associate with telecommuting, but apparently it's constitutional to literally phone it in during a plea hearing. The Hon. Terence T. Evans, writing for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, became indignant at a Wisconsin attorney who appeared (so to speak) at his client's plea hearing on first-degree homicide charges. "Even if we assume that busy attorneys never do such things during conference calls with their clients [surfing the Web, reading, etc], what might we be asked to accept next? Offshore defense-attorney call centers? Letting the defendant confer with counsel via Blackberry?"

The Supreme Court's response? It could be worse. "Even if we agree with [the plaintiff] that a lawyer physically present will tend to perform better than one on the phone, it does not necessarily follow that mere phone contact amounted to total absence . . ." 

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