Attorney Joe Caramagno has become an Internet sensation after showing up drunk in court (two hours late) and trying to convince the judge in the video below that he can still try the case and “play injured.” Caramagno claimed to have a concussion from an accident despite reports that he smelled of tequila.
What is astonishing about this video is that Caramagno’s client is not some traffic violator but accused of kidnapping. There has now been a mistrial declared over Caramagno’s conduct. This appears to have been taken two years ago, but just getting wide distribution.
In the video, Caramagno claims a concussion in a slurred, rambling speech but District Judge Michele Leavitt doesn’t buy it: “I don’t think you have a concussion. I think you are dazed and confused and can’t tell a straight story because you are too intoxicated.”
There could be an interesting issue in this case of the intoxication test taken by the lawyer. A test showed that Caramagno had a blood-alcohol content of .075, just below the Nevada legal driving limit of .08 but the test was taken close to an hour and a half after he arrived at court. However, this video should be more than enough for any disciplinary action.
The best case for such misconduct is a claim of alcohol-dependency and entering a recovery program. It may be true since this is really extraordinary misconduct. A lawyer can retain his license if there is a valid claim of dependency and treatment. Notably, defendant Dale Jakuchunas said that he long suspected that Caramagno had a substance abuse problem. Caramagno, who denies being drunk, was ordered into rehab.
For the video, click here.
6 thoughts on “Video: Las Vegas Attorney Shows Up Drunk in Court and Causes Mistrial in Kidnapping Case”
Intoxication is bad enough. Lawyers are officers of the court and should never deceive a tribulan or attempt to do so.
I agree that the prosecution and job in this instance did the right thing. Hopefully, this is an example of the rule and not the exception.
What I saw in this video was the best and the worst of the profession. The lawyer in question totally disregarded his client’s interests by trying to press on, and the Judge coolly and calmly made the record against letting a travesty occur. The prosecution did its job by confirming the facts it could and refusing to go forward against a defendant who had no effective defense. Imagine for a moment that an imminent surgeon had showed up hours late for a surgery with this explanation and a friend of 20 minutes with him for moral support. Would the hospital administrator have been so circumspect, curious, or deliberate in discovering the truth? Would the nurses have stepped in? For all of its flaws, the profession still values the client above all else even if,individually, all its members do not.
Substance abuse is a problem that affects every profession and it is very difficult to deal with. In a law school trial practice class, one of our judges for one of our trials, showed up about an hour late and drunk. He tried to claim that he was just under medication from an oral surgery. Our professor politely showed him the door. It was sad, but it was also a learning experience.
Seems like a metaphor for attorneys with a high proclivity for poor argumentation.
Mr Turley, is that the reason no one is prosecuting Bush? All of the House members (except a few, like Kucinich) have endured many head traumas? I’m only joking a little, here.
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