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February 07, 2005

Professional courtesy

Professional courtesy.
A good start.
99% of lawyers give the rest of us a bad name.

Ha, ha! Ho, ho! Wheeeeee! Aren't lawyer jokes fun?

Just don't try to tell lawyer jokes while you're standing outside a courthouse waiting to get in for a hearing on your drunken-driving charge:

Mr. Kash and Mr. Lanzisera, who both live in Huntington, have pestered Long Island's lawyers and judges for years as members of Americans for Legal Reform, a group that advocates for cameras in courtrooms and for public handling of grievances against lawyers. They publicize stories of crooked lawyers and urge 10-year minimum prison terms for lawyers convicted of stealing from their clients.

But on Jan. 10, the day they were arrested, Mr. Kash was headed to Nassau County District Court in Hempstead to answer a drunken-driving charge, and Mr. Lanzisera went along to keep him company.

It was a cold day, the men said, and they grew frustrated standing outside in the line of people waiting to enter the court while lawyers flashed their identification and hurried into the building. "There go the kings," the men said they muttered, and then launched into a barrage of lawyer jokes.

Like weathered vaudeville players, the men said, they asked each other old standards, like: How do you know when a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving.

As they chortled, a man standing five spots ahead turned around and said, "I'm a lawyer; shut up," and complained to the court security officers, Mr. Kash and Mr. Lanzisera said. The men walked past the metal detectors and into the building, where they were approached by a court officer, handcuffed and arrested.

The men said they were searched and made to sit in a holding area for four hours before being released with a desk appearance ticket for disorderly conduct. The charge carries a penalty of 15 days in jail.
And why were they arrested?
A Nassau court official, speaking on the condition that he not be named because a grand jury will hear the case, said the lawyer jokes had nothing to do with the arrest. The official said Mr. Kash and Mr. Lanzisera were being vulgar, verbally abusive and insulting.
And then (cue the scary music) the case "took an odd twist":
But the case took an odd twist during the last week of January, when prosecutors dropped the charge against Mr. Lanzisera, but not the one against Mr. Kash. Mr. Kash said he had been called to testify before the grand jury this morning.

"I called up Harvey's daughter and said for $5,000, I'd keep him out of jail," Mr. Lanzisera said. "She said, 'For $10,000, put him in jail!'"

The men say they did nothing wrong. They say they made all their comments on the street and that other people in line responded with laughter. Both concede that they were loud, but argue that their volume was no crime.
Kash got the last word.
"I've got a big mouth, and I talk," Mr. Kash said. "They don't like that."
Well, almost the last word. Here it is: A big mouth and he talks? Sounds like a lawyer to me. (Via How Appealing)