This is Thomas Jefferson:
Hawver, a Republican and Libertarian once ran for Governor of Kansas and then attorney general and also for Congress.
Needless to say, he failed in his quest for any office.
Perhaps in keeping with his Jeffersonian obsession, he was also a criminal defense attorney. He also failed at that – and spectacularly so – but this time he wasn’t the only one who lost. His client, facing the death penalty, was duly sentenced to death, because perhaps Hawver hadn’t grasped the fact that dressing like Jefferson doesn’t mean anything if you didn’t stand for his principles either:
At trial, Hawver described his client, Phillip Cheatham Jr., as a “professional drug dealer” and a “shooter of people,” according to findings of fact cited by the state supreme court. During the sentencing phase of the trial, he said the killer should be executed. “I had a single mitigator to offer the jury in sentencing,” Hawver said in an affidavit, “and that was my argument that my client was innocent.”
Hawver didn’t investigate alibi witnesses and didn’t track his client’s cellphone to find his location at the time of the murders, the court said.
As a defense lawyer, defending his client against the death penalty, there is generally one unbreakable rule: don’t tell the jury to execute your client.
Hawver also told jurors that they should execute the killer in his closing argument.
Oh. To be fair, this might have had something to do with his unusual tactics:
Hawver had never previously tried a capital murder case and had not tried a murder case in more than 20 years, according to the opinion. He was unfamiliar with ABA guidelines for trying capital murder cases.
And when I say a spectacular failure, I mean spectacular:
Hawver had said he had no funds for a pretrial investigation and he didn’t call the indigent defense board to explore whether funding was available to support his representation. He also said he didn’t recall whether a board representative had called him with an offer to provide co-counsel, investigators, consultants and expert witnesses, but he doesn’t contest that an offer of funding was made.
During the arguments, Hawver identifies Jefferson as his hero and says he wore the outfit because he had a constitutional right to represent the client “as directed, instructed and agreed” by the client, “no matter what the ABA guidelines have to say.”
Hawver explained to the Kansas Supreme Court why he didn’t get cellphone records for an alibi defense. “I had no idea that cellphones had GPS capabilities at that time,” he said. “Did you? I didn’t. If I had known it, I’d have been on it like a dog on a bone.”
Thankfully, in 2013, the Kansas Supreme Court reversed Cheatham’s conviction and just last week, spared any other individual of having to be represented by a Jefferson clone by disbarring Hawver.
The fact that Hawver showed up to the disbarment argument in Jefferson garb might have had something to do with it (A good shot of his attire is at five minutes and 17 seconds; his argument begins at 22 minutes and 38 seconds.):