A Bad Lawyering Combination: 11-28-3

 Posted on March 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

Mr. James D. Evans, III has been licensed as an attorney in Texas and Mississippi for over 16 years. Attorney Evans has the expertise needed to handle even the most complex criminal and civil litigation. He is an experienced trial lawyer in both state and federal trial courts. If you have legal issues or concerns the attorneys at James D. Evans, III and Associates P.C. will work hard to protect your interests. If you or your company becomes involved in complicated civil and criminal litigation, administrative issues, or you are in need of appellate assistance, you can confidently turn to the lawyers at the Houston law firm of James D. Evans, III & Associates P.C. They put their extensive experience, courtroom skills and legal expertise to work for their clients.

The State Bar says he's a solo, but his deceptive description of himself as "& Associates" is not the most offensive portion of James D. Evans, III's webpage touting himself. No, the most offensive portion is his assertion that people involved in complicated criminal litigation can "confidently turn to him" (and the other fictional lawyers at his firm).

I don't know Evans, so why do I say that? Well, here's another Evans quote:

James D. Evans III, [a lawyer involved in the case]... insists: "This is not a case of a child who was enslaved or taken advantage of."

And another:

The attorney, James D. Evans III, has claimed to Houston Chronicle reporter Cindy Horswell that the victim was "seeking attention" and "she wants to be a porn star."

"The victim" in this case is an eleven-year-old girl who was allegedly gang-raped by as many as twenty-eight boys and men in the small town of Cleveland, Texas.

(The first thing that such accusations bring to mind is past cases-the Mineola Swingers Case and the Little Rascals Case are two examples-in which incredible accusations of terrible evil have turned out in the end to be incredible for a reason: because they aren't true. Here, though, there are allegedly photos and video of the rapes taking place.)

Yes, eleven. And yes, twenty-eight.

And lawyer James D. Evans, III implies that she was asking for it.

"She was asking for it" is never a defense to a charge of sexual assault of a child under 14 years of age. The theory is that such a child can never consent to sex-not even with a child his own age. If two 13-year-olds have sex, they're both committing the first-degree felony of aggravated sexual assault, and either or both of them could be hauled into juvenile court.

So "she was asking for it" is not a defense in this case. I may or may not have said things that some would consider more unconscionable in aid of my clients' interests, so I'll leave it to others to be outraged; I'm more interested in the possible ramifications for Evans's clients.

"She was asking for it" is an admission. Evans is not explicitly saying that his clients had sex with the eleven-year-old, but by opening his mouth about the facts of the case and not saying, "total fiction; it never happened," Evans tacitly admits that they did. "She is seeking attention by making up the story" would be one thing; "she was not enslaved" is another thing entirely.

The Chronicle didn't print the clients' names next to Evans's, but his clients are tainted by his words, as are all of the other fourteen charged defendants. There may well be factually innocent people accused in this case. Evans's three clients (yes, three) may be factually innocent. In fact, there may be no video and no photos and twenty-eight innocent people accused. Evans is not helping any of these people; nor is he helping the factually guilty ones. "She was asking for it" is the kind of argument that, if it doesn't work, buys defendants extra time in prison.

Evans is "representing" three people charged with sexually assaulting the same girl. Representing multiple defendants in the same case is a bad idea; here's why:

Suppose that a lawyer is hired to represent A, B, and C. He gets waiver-of-conflict forms signed by all three. The State has the complainant's testimony against A and B, as well as a video of A or B (it could be either of them, but not anybody else) having sex with the eleven-year-old complainant; it has enough evidence to hang C. C is going to prison, possibly forever. He would like to make a deal with the government, in which the government agrees to a sentence shorter than forever in exchange for his testimony against B, who he claims to be the person in the video. If he does, the State will put A and B to trial together; C will testify that the person in the video is B; B will have to argue that C is mistaken and that the person in the video is A. What does the ethical criminal-defense lawyer do?

It's a trick question. There is no ethical criminal-defense lawyer in the fact pattern. An ethical criminal-defense lawyer wouldn't have accepted representation of all three defendants; she would have taken one of the three cases and referred the other two to lawyers she trusted.

By representing three people in a high-stakes criminal matter, you pretty much ensure that the interests of at least one client will to suffer; by saying stupid things to the press, you guarantee that the interests of all three will.

(In honor of Mr. Evans, I've created a new category: "11-28-3," to describe the seemingly methodical destruction by a lawyer of his client's interests.)

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