Or: Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to speak ill of the dead, David Martin? David Martin, of course, is the man who “represented” Cameron Todd Willingham, the possibly innocent man executed by Texas on the basis some rather dubious arson evidence.
Willingham is dead, there is a controversy over his innocence and David Martin was apparently missing the limelight. So he decided to give an interview to the press in which he said the following:
The veteran defense attorney represented Willingham at trial. He looked at all the evidence. And he has no doubt that his client deserved to die.
“I never think about him, but I do think about those year-old babies crawling around in an inferno with their flesh melting off their bodies,” Martin said. “I think that he was guilty, that he deserved death and that he got death.”
This is a man that, at least in name, represented Willingham. A lawyer, a member of the bar and a capital criminal defense attorney. I use the quotes around the word represented because:
Martin’s case was brief, with just two witnesses. The first was the family baby sitter, who testified there was an oil lamp in the hallway, suggesting it might have spilled and spread flammable liquid. The second was a jail inmate, who was going to dispute the testimony of a jailhouse snitch who claimed Willingham had confessed. But the judge forbid most of his testimony as hearsay.
But of course, one cannot keep a champion fool like Martin quiet. This is not the first time he’s opened his mouth about Willingham and his belief in Willingham’s guilt. A mere few months ago, when the arson story broke, he gave an interview on Anderson Cooper:
As Scott summed it up:
While no one can make a criminal defense lawyer believe in the innocence of his client, or chose to argue it after his representation has ended, he can be taken to task for doing the unthinkable, the outrageous and the facially wrong. David Martin’s comments are a disgrace of the lowest order. And, for good measure, just as criminal defense lawyers aren’t expected to believe in the innocence of every client, they similarly aren’t endowed with the superhuman ability to know when a person who professes innocence is in fact guilty.
I may lack an explanation for what drove David Martin to condemn his own client publicly, particularly in the face of overwhelming evidence of innocence, but I have no doubt that his statements on Anderson Cooper 360 are some of the most despicable I’ve ever heard from the mouth of a lawyer. Never, but never, smear your own client.