From the Washington Post:
During Tuesday’s sentencing proceedings for the convicted shooter, Nikolas Cruz, Guttenberg’s voice broke while he talked of the imagined future he had for Jaime, one that never came to be. But his were not the only tears falling in court — members of Cruz’s defense team were also crying, videos show.
“I cannot recall if I actually ever did tell Jaime that day how much I loved her. I never knew that I would lose the chance to say it over and over and over again,” Guttenberg said as public defender Nawal Najet Bashiman dabbed her eyes with a tissue. Two others on Cruz’s team also shed tears during testimony Tuesday.
That is Assistant public defender Tamara Curtis wiping her eyes in the photo above.
I’m going to be blunt and merciless here. She’s in the wrong profession, and so are the other defense lawyers who couldn’t control their “feelz” when the parents of their client’s victims were pulling the court’s heartstrings. Their conduct is a betrayal, a stunning demonstration of incompetence and lack of professionalism, and they should not get off lightly: they should all be disciplined by the Florida Bar, and hard.
But I’m sure they won’t
If he’s punished with death, Cruz, now 23, would be one of the youngest people to receive that sentence in recent decades.
Cruz’s defense attorneys had offerd a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence, but the offer was rejected. Now Cruz faces the real possibility of the death sentence. In his defense, his lawyers tried to paint a picture of a troubled young man who has shown signs of remorse after struggling with mental health issues and a difficult childhood, yadayadayada. They have to make that argument, but in a case like this, it’s probably not going to work. It is especially unlikely to work if Cruz’s lawyers are seen by the jury weeping as the consequences of their own client’s crimes are described. What kind of monster is so horrible that his lawyers break down in court just hearing about his deeds?
The inexcusable display prejudices Cruz. It could, and should, be grounds for appeal.
Wait: what if the lawyers deliberately wept crocodile tears so their client could force an appeal? If that could be proven, it would be such an egregious attempt to disrupt the proceedings (Rule 3.5) and conduct so prejudicial to the administration of justice that it would fully warrant disbarment.