When Shutting Up Is Essential to One’s Livelihood

The Legal Reader points us to Court T.V.’s video of Attorney Joseph Caramango’s stunning display in the courtroom as he tries to explain why he was an hour late for a jury trial in which his client was facing life imprisonment. It wasn’t the five shots of tequila he had at 4 am the night before. It wasn’t the beer he admitted having at lunch the day before during jury selection.

Video is long and painful — a classic Schadenfreud.


  • It was the concussion. Why spoil a perfectly good lie.

    Don’t you hate it when that happens?

  • His client got a mistrial.
    Please explain to me in what way the lawyer was incompetent?

  • I suppose being drunk in court is the new trial tactic. Like sleeping through the trial. Or lying to the court. Or fabricating evidence. Or pleading for sympathy because your dog/brother/grandmother died.

    Just out of curiosity, is this the sort of behavior ATLA/AAJ stands for?

  • It could have been a tactic, but I doubt it. Defendant would still have to stand trial later. The mistrial was the right move by the judge, and this attorney will surely face some bar discipline, if not disbarment. Much would be blamed on the alcohol, but I’d say he was certainly sober enough to realize he was lying to the judge. Lying to a judge is about as bad as it gets.

    Other thought: even if he does escape punishment, what will his would-be clients think? He might take tips from accused criminals on concocting better stories!