California Attorney's 'Swagger' Is Not Enough

By George Khoury, Esq. on May 03, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

There's no doubt that a good criminal defense attorney is worth their weight in cold hard cash, payable in large lump sums, up front of course. Keeping calm in the face of a criminal prosecution is no simple task.

However, some criminal defense attorneys may need a little help when it comes to turning down the bravado. Confidence is an important part of an attorney's presentation, but in court, you need more than just words and swagger, you need evidence. Sadly, one California attorney just learned that his swagger didn't make a lasting impression on the appellate court that removed him from his client's case. Not too surprisingly, what he actually said in court will probably make you chuckle too.

Swagger Down

While a defense attorney being removed from a case is beyond extraordinary, the case of Eudoro Magana is instructive on how far a defense attorney can go to push out a trial before a court gets mad enough to do something about it. Attorney, and tragic hero, Daniel Everett, sought repeated continuances, and made repeated motions to get a new judge, and quickly garnered a reputation for just disappearing from the courtroom, and showing up late.

After repeatedly invoking the ire of the court, and while fighting to stay on the case, Everett actually uttered the following words:

The defense is ready. We have our expert. We have our witnesses. We have swagger as far as the eye can see. The time for motions are over. We are ready to try the case. If it be in front of your honor, you should take notes.

The trial court found that Everett's representation was holding up justice for everyone, particularly as all the evidence showed he wasn't ready for trial, there was no expert, and the supposed star witness hadn't even been subpoenaed. The court, finding that extraordinarily good cause existed, removed him from the case. Notably though, if he was trying to stall the prosecution, then mission accomplished; Everett kept the case from going to trial for nearly two full years.

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