This is going to remind many of you of David Martin’s conduct in the Cameron Willingham case, but this isn’t normal for Texas criminal-defense lawyers. Really. I promise.
After Matt Baker got sentenced to 65 years in prison for the murder of his wife:
Baker’s Kerrville-based attorneys, Guy James Gray and Harold Danford, said they respect the jury’s verdict. They tried to withdraw from Baker’s case less than a week before his trial started, citing ethical reasons.
Gray clarified those reasons after trial.“We discovered (the affair) about six weeks ago, and we finally figured out that Matt was being untruthful with me, and I asked the judge to let me and Harold get out, but the judge didn’t want to delay the trial,” Gray said. “He was being untruthful, mostly, about Vanessa Bulls. But once you get untruthful about one part, you naturally begin to question all the other parts, too.”
Gray said he probably could have done a better job representing Baker but thought the evidence did not rise to the level of a conviction.
“He fooled me about the affair, but I really think there was probably some reasonable doubt there,” Gray said. “There was an awful lot of circumstantial evidence that they proved. But the credibility of Vanessa Bulls was pretty low, and to get to the drugs and the pillow and the suffocation, you have to believe her.
“While my opinion of Matt is pretty low right now, I do believe that there was technical reasonable doubt.”
1. So you tried to withdraw because you figured out your client was lying to you. I have to ask: is this your first criminal case? Our clients lie to us; it’s our job, as often as not, to save them from themselves.
2. Then you announce to the world at large that your client had lied to you. Are you using different disciplinary rules than the rest of us are using? If I were a client, I might lie to you just to make sure that you didn’t spill my secrets to the nearest reporter.
3. Is there some local rule in Waco allowing lawyers to throw their clients under the bus once the case is finished? You and David Martin ought to get together and go bowling.
[Update: he’s a former prosecutor. Just sayin’.…]