A Bad Lawyering Combination: 11-28-3

Mr. James D. Evans, III has been licensed as an attorney in Texas and Mississippi for over 16 years. Attorney Evans has the expertise needed to handle even the most complex criminal and civil litigation. He is an experienced trial lawyer in both state and federal trial courts. If you have legal issues or concerns the attorneys at James D. Evans, III and Associates P.C. will work hard to protect your interests. If you or your company becomes involved in complicated civil and criminal litigation, administrative issues, or you are in need of appellate assistance, you can confidently turn to the lawyers at the Houston law firm of James D. Evans, III & Associates P.C. They put their extensive experience, courtroom skills and legal expertise to work for their clients.

The State Bar says he’s a solo, but his deceptive description of himself as “& Associates” is not the most offensive portion of James D. Evans, III’s webpage touting himself. No, the most offensive portion is his assertion that people involved in complicated criminal litigation can “confidently turn to him” (and the other fictional lawyers at his firm).

I don’t know Evans, so why do I say that? Well, here’s another Evans quote:

James D. Evans III, [a lawyer involved in the case]… insists: “This is not a case of a child who was enslaved or taken advantage of.”

And another:

The attorney, James D. Evans III, has claimed to Houston Chronicle reporter Cindy Horswell that the victim was “seeking attention” and “she wants to be a porn star.”

“The victim” in this case is an eleven-year-old girl who was allegedly gang-raped by as many as twenty-eight boys and men in the small town of Cleveland, Texas.

(The first thing that such accusations bring to mind is past cases—the Mineola Swingers Case and the Little Rascals Case are two examples—in which incredible accusations of terrible evil have turned out in the end to be incredible for a reason: because they aren’t true. Here, though, there are allegedly photos and video of the rapes taking place.)

Yes, eleven. And yes, twenty-eight.

And lawyer James D. Evans, III implies that she was asking for it.

“She was asking for it” is never a defense to a charge of sexual assault of a child under 14 years of age. The theory is that such a child can never consent to sex—not even with a child his own age. If two 13-year-olds have sex, they’re both committing the first-degree felony of aggravated sexual assault, and either or both of them could be hauled into juvenile court.

So “she was asking for it” is not a defense in this case. I may or may not have said things that some would consider more unconscionable in aid of my clients’ interests, so I’ll leave it to others to be outraged; I’m more interested in the possible ramifications for Evans’s clients.

“She was asking for it” is an admission. Evans is not explicitly saying that his clients had sex with the eleven-year-old, but by opening his mouth about the facts of the case and not saying, “total fiction; it never happened,” Evans tacitly admits that they did. “She is seeking attention by making up the story” would be one thing; “she was not enslaved” is another thing entirely.

The Chronicle didn’t print the clients’ names next to Evans’s, but his clients are tainted by his words, as are all of the other fourteen charged defendants. There may well be factually innocent people accused in this case. Evans’s three clients (yes, three) may be factually innocent. In fact, there may be no video and no photos and twenty-eight innocent people accused. Evans is not helping any of these people; nor is he helping the factually guilty ones. “She was asking for it” is the kind of argument that, if it doesn’t work, buys defendants extra time in prison.

Evans is “representing” three people charged with sexually assaulting the same girl. Representing multiple defendants in the same case is a bad idea; here’s why:

Suppose that a lawyer is hired to represent A, B, and C. He gets waiver-of-conflict forms signed by all three. The State has the complainant’s testimony against A and B, as well as a video of A or B (it could be either of them, but not anybody else) having sex with the eleven-year-old complainant; it has enough evidence to hang C. C is going to prison, possibly forever. He would like to make a deal with the government, in which the government agrees to a sentence shorter than forever in exchange for his testimony against B, who he claims to be the person in the video. If he does, the State will put A and B to trial together; C will testify that the person in the video is B; B will have to argue that C is mistaken and that the person in the video is A. What does the ethical criminal-defense lawyer do?

It’s a trick question. There is no ethical criminal-defense lawyer in the fact pattern. An ethical criminal-defense lawyer wouldn’t have accepted representation of all three defendants; she would have taken one of the three cases and referred the other two to lawyers she trusted.

By representing three people in a high-stakes criminal matter, you pretty much ensure that the interests of at least one client will to suffer; by saying stupid things to the press, you guarantee that the interests of all three will.

(In honor of Mr. Evans, I’ve created a new category: “11-28-3,” to describe the seemingly methodical destruction by a lawyer of his client’s interests.)

22 Comments

  1. Have been a long time subscriber, and while I often disagree, I can usually find value in the posts here. There is no value for me in reading posts which degrade other lawyers. And this theme appears more often here than I care to see. Accordingly I am unsubscribing after this comment. I’m sorry but I guess I missed the notice that this blog has been designated as the “bad lawyer” or “bad lawyer website” police. True, there IS value in the criticism, just not in identifying the specific attorneys.
    Now I will sit back and await the great Bennett’s barrage of critiscim related to Colette’s website, my bad grammar, comments we’ve made to the press, etc. 🙂

  2. This is a scandalous non-defence in what is destined to be a trial in aggravation. I say ‘scandalous’ in its legal sense. It is grossly disgraceful – bringing only shame on the pleader.

    Even if this were the clients’ position, compliance with such hopeless instructions can only be prejudicial to the clients’ position. Of course, this is statutory rape – and, as such, no defence of consent can ever be available. Not even as mitigation. Trying to argue that an 11 year-old girl tried to seduce your clients, can only serve to irritate and provoke the sentencer into imposing a higher sentence still.

    Depending on whose DNA was secreted and the quality of the video footage; a ‘cut-throat’ defence is an inevitability. It is inconceivable that there might only ever be a potential conflict of interest. There will be a conflict and the new representatives for the serving prisoners will argue that the cross-contamination of client confidentiality has resulted in such oppression that a fair trial could never have been achieved.

    Of course, it is precisely because you ‘degrade’ other lawyers and name names – even if I will never know the personalities involved – that you continue to maintain my interest. Just in the same way I’d rather Ricky Gervais presents an award ceremony. Otherwise, I might as well be looking at yet another anodyne British legal blog.

    1. Mississippi lawyers (Baldridge and Evans) may circle their wagons in the name of shared ethical failings or some imaginary collegiality or whatever it is that motivates people to protect each other from the natural consequences of bad beahavior. I will not participate.

      To degrade Mr. Evans more than he degrades himself, I would have to work a lot harder than I’m willing to work for a blog post. As the California radio reporter who interviewed Evans yesterday said, lawyer jokes “come from guys like this.” (He also called him a “moron lawyer,” and, after the interview (see my next post) described him as “defending” these guys, with defending in air quotes.)

      When a lawyer so publicly behaves so atrociously that the general public can tell that he sucks, the bar bears a responsibility not to play nicey-nicey-happyspherey with him, if only to show that we too can tell.

  3. Thanks for blowing the horn on “& Associates” law firms with one or zero associates. That’s like “The Law Offices of” when there’s only one location. We have a local former judge who is appearing in ads WEARING HIS ROBE with the catchphrase, “Put 20 years of judicial experience to work for you” — followed by multi-asterisked small-print disclaimers. He has also awarded himself the title of Head of the Criminal Litigation Section consisting of him and one acolyte in a heretofore all-civil firm, and then threw in a photo including a few civil lawyers for bulk into his ad. It’s embarrassing. Is the State Bar approving this stuff? I just moved my office home as I have a mostly multi-jurisdiction appellate practice and no need for a ton of overhead and two workspaces in the same town. I’m considering “The Laptop of . . . ,” although I in fact have three computers all finally, thankfully in the same space so I don’t have to remember what I wrote where.

    Keep keeping them honest. There is so much dishonesty in this profession — I don’t know how you find the energy to practice law and point out this never-ending parade of flim-flammery — flaming a fifth grader is indeed the lowest, both in terms of strategy and morality.

  4. Mark, if you interpreted my comments as “circling” my wagon with Evans, then that is a total comprehension fail on your part. I could try to explain my point, but if you missed it the first time, I’m afraid my attempt would be futile.
    I guess I should be flattered that I warrant a mention in one of your comments not directly in response to one of my posts (although admittedly I kinda wish it was not next to the name of someone who thinks an 11 year old can ask to be gang banged).

  5. Mark, I guess that makes two of us then. I got the “total compression fail” line from you in one of your responses to a prior post I made. In dismissing what I said, you said my comments showed a total “reading comphrension fail.”. Is this one of those “shoe is on the other foot” thingies? Ethyl, call it a guilty pleasure.

    While I may puff with feigned anger or disgust from time to time, I actually do enjoy reading what Mark has to say. I don’t like to read only posts containing opinions I agree with. I’ve found that reading material that is from a different perspective helps me reach a better conclusion as to what I believe is the right or wrong answer.

    To his surprise, I “think” Mark and I would agree that 1) an ethical Atty would never represent multiple defendants in the same case 2) generally speaking making comments to the press usually does little or nothing to further a client’s interest in a criminal case (ESP stupid comments) and 3) what Evans said was definately stupid.

    Even if that was going to be his defense (which I also agree with Mark is really no defense at all) why would you want to give a statement which is a quasi confession that your clients raped the girl to the media?

    1. Intended audience. I’m writing for my own enjoyment; agree or disagree, those who are too dim to understand what I write here, or who deliberately misunderstand me, are not my intended audience.

    2. So you would agree that: “1) an ethical Atty would never represent multiple defendants in the same case 2) generally speaking making comments to the press usually does little or nothing to further a client’s interest in a criminal case (ESP stupid comments) and 3) what Evans said was definately stupid.”

      Yet you would disagree that Evans should be called to account publicly—or at all, since, frankly, if I don’t do it nobody (State Bar included) will.

      1. I will admit I was wrong this time. You were right to call Evans out publicly. His apparent belief that this victim’s situation is a result of being put out into the community is not laughable, it’s reprehensible. While that may have been what created the opportunity, the ONLY people to blame here are the sick sob’s that preyed on this little girl.

        I sure hope his trial strategy is not going to be “yes my clients raped this little girl, but there are others out there who raped her too who have not been arrested, and that’s not fair.”. Then again, given the severity of the conduct involved (and given his clients are apparently gulity based on Evans’ comments) maybe I do hope that is his trial strategy.

  6. I see that. But you still wrote it. I wouldn’t have found this, but I was looking for his obituary online and came across this page.

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