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.