From the ass’s mouth

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:

I must’ve missed it, but my good friends over at Defending People and Simple Justice didn’t (see Mark’s post for links to other posts on Martin’s stupidity).

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.

I’m glad to say that no one I know would act like Martin did (although one has come close).

2 thoughts on “From the ass’s mouth

  1. John McNamara

    Madeleine Torres, an assistant public defender for the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward county, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, after confessing malpractice to habeas counsel, Melissa Minsk-Donoho, Esq., was ex parte’d by Assistant State Attorney, Scott Raft, who, in his opening statement to the habeas court, gave extensive prologue on the perjury that he intended to elicit from Ms. Torres. Now, Torres was the defendant’s witness and had ineffectively represented the defendant at trial by, inter alia, mandating that the defendant go to the police and file an internal affairs complaint (Cf., Watts/Escobedo), which statement was Mirandized, and IA Chief, Forrest Jeffries (of the Hollywood Florida police department) considered the complaint as a confession and testified at trial that the defendant had admitted guilt in the IA complaint process. The IA Officer then proceeded to give the City’s policy on the use of excessive force by a police officer, to wit: “a citizen does not have a right to resist excessive force by a Hollywood Police Officer; the citizen must FALL DOWN and CURL UP – -” (IN A FETAL POSITION AND ACCEPT WHATEVER TORTURE, BEATING OR DEATH THAT THE POLICE OFFICER MAY DECIDE TO DELIVER. Torres did not object to the testimony or move for a curative instruction. In fact, Torres did not even request the standard jury instruction on self-defense. Torres was a member of the bar for less than 2 years when she was set upon the defense of this felony ‘battery on a LEO’ case and had virtually no criminal trial practice experience. The city of Hollywood police altered and falsified one of the 3 surveillance videos to redact the initial attack upon the defendant by two police officers, as well as excising a separate attack on another prisoner. Two other surveillance videos were destroyed notwithstanding a public records request for their production. From below where the whales deficate, Torres crawled out to testify at the habeas hearing and testified: 1) it was the defendant’s idea to go to the police to file the internal affairs complaint; 2) the defendant did not want an instruction on self-defense. These, among others. Counsel perjured her testimony against her own client in order to save her own skin. Her supervisors and the Public Defender, himself, knew that Torres had lied under oath and sabotaged the defendant’s constitutional rights to access to the courts and to meaningful habeas corpus. Torres is still employed with the Public Defender’s Office, and, more importantly, she is not in jail even though the State Attorney, Michael Satz, well knows of her perjury and of Mr. Raft’s subornation of that perjury.


    John McNamara

  2. John McNamara

    To view the Donoho letter advising the Public Defender of the perjury of his assistant, Torres, and to view the falsified video evidence contained in the charging package submitted to the state attorney for purposes of prosecution this matter, see:

    This case started out when two Hollywood Police Officers (“officer’, taken only as a title, but without any respect whatsoever)viciously beat and tortured Donald Baker by kicking him, beating him, and by smashing his face and head into the concrete floor of the holding facility over and over and over and over until Baker was hospitalized and placed in intensive care for the next four days. One of the Officers, a Francis Hoeflinger, advised Baker while transporting him to the police station, “we’re going to do the City of Hollywood a favor this weekend and get you homeless scum off the streets.” Hoeflinger’s mistake; Baker was not homeless. This type of cruelty is commonplace in the City of Hollywood, and tortured citizens are falsely charged with assault on cops, or, the citizen is merely dumped at the entrance to the hospital and forgotten. The police who commit these criminal acts are never found to have violated any police policy on torture or beatings, because of the police policy as statted in my previous comment. An at-length dissertation has been written on this case and is presently pending in the 4th DCA in West Palm Beach, Florida, in a Petition for Writ of Error Coram Vobis. Anyone wishing to have a copy of the document and its exhibits can request a copy at The city of Hollywood has covered this case up by destroying and altering video evidence, and the police officer’s reports, sworn statements, and their affidavits for the Information are attached. When you watch the public records video, shich video proves that the charging package video is patently false, you will see Hoeflinger run to the side of Baker and smash his fist into Baker’s face. In his false police report, he alleges that the first contact with Baker was when Baker “jumped up, screamed ‘F–K off As-Ho-e, charged me, striking me in the back and knocking me to the floor * * * Baker then grabbed Graham’s radio and ripped it from his uniform and threw the radio through the air.” Watch the video; read the reports; these F—ing lying COPS. Do they teach them how to be corrupt in the academies?

    John McNamara
    (to view videos, stills, and Donoho letter, et al)


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