Saturday, December 22, 2007

What not to say in court: An occasional series

From the Times Herald-Record, a newspaper serving New York's Hudson Valley, this story about Lance Majors' day in court: On December 13, according to Victor Whitman's article, Lance Majors, 38, of Poughkeepsie, New York, appeared before Judge Frank LaBuda for sentencing on drunken driving and other charges stemming from a March 24, 2007 incident in which he was clocked at a speed of "107 mph with his 11-year-old daughter in the passenger's seat."

There may not be very many helpful things a person might say under similar circumstances. The remarks attributed to Mr. Majors on this occasion, however, must be ranked among the least helpful.

According to the article, Majors told Judge LaBuda that he "expected no justice from a man with a reputation for sarcasm in court." Then, Whitman writes, Majors "shook his head and laughed out loud." But this was not all: As sentence was being pronounced, Majors told the judge, "Just speed it up because you are really boring me."

For the record, Judge LaBuda sentenced Majors to a prison term of 2⅓ to 7 years on the felony drunk driving charges and to the maximum sentence allowed "on six counts, including charges for reckless endangerment, driving with a revoked license, endangering the welfare of a child and speeding." For good measure, Judge LaBuda tacked on an additional 15 days for contempt of court. "Laugh all you want to, Mr. Majors," the judge said.

Whitman reports, "Majors has five prior convictions for DWI, and has been convicted for a string of crimes, including a robbery and the possession and sale of drugs." Majors represented himself in the three day jury trial that led to his convictions.

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