Published in the ABA Journal and written by Stephanie Francis Ward this case study is not only amusing but also a warning about e-cigarettes …
While defending an accused arsonist; a Miami lawyer recently found himself on fire in the Courtroom… and not in a good way.
The lawyer’s pants caught on fire in the middle of court, with the unfortunate incident being blamed on a faulty e-cigarette battery.
Smoke came out of the lawyer’s pants pocket when he was starting closing arguments, in front of the jury. He noticed that his pocket felt hot and the heat was coming from a small e-cigarette battery.
“There were two or three in my pocket at the time”. “I noticed the heat was intensifying and left the courtroom as quickly as possible—straight into the bathroom. I was able to toss the battery in water after it singed my pocket open.”
The jury ultimately convicted the client, of second-degree arson. He was charged with intentionally setting his car on fire.
There’s a good chance that the incident could figure into the defendant’s appeal, or a motion for new trial, according to Marcos Beaton Jr., criminal defence attorney.
“I understand this was an arson case where the defence was that the defendant did not set his own car on fire, but that the car spontaneously caught fire”. “So an apparently spontaneous fire—of all things—in the courtroom, in front of the jury and during closing arguments could have very well prejudiced the defendant and deprived him of a fair trial.”
Court deputies seized frayed e-cigarette batteries from the lawyer as evidence and the items are being investigated by police and prosecutors.
“This was not staged,” the lawyer told the ABA Journal. “No one thinks that a battery left in their pocket is somehow going to explode.”
“After careful research, I now know this can happen. I am not the only one this has happened to, but I am in a position to shed light on the situation,”. “The dangers of these devices, and accessories, have led me to quit using e-cigarette products.”
So… a lawyer defending an accused arsonist catches fire in the Courtroom… Is this the definition of irony?