The defense lawyer for professor Amy Bishop has been under fire from lawyers for surprising statements made shortly after his appointment to represent her. Roy Miller told the press that Bishop was a “wacko” — a statement that he now says “went overboard.”
Miller told the press that there is “something wrong with this lady” and described her feelings and thoughts to the media. Taking the most positive possible spin of these statements, Miller could be laying the groundwork for an insanity defense but that is hardly necessary under the circumstances and it is doubtful that such a defense will work in this case given the level of control and calm that she showed in the murders. However, it may be the only shot that she has at a defense.
Moreover, some of his statements would cut the other way on the defense, including telling the press that she is “aware of what she’s done and she’s very sorry for it.” He then added “I just think the case speaks for itself. I think she’s wacko.” Of course when the case speaks for itself, there is less need for counsel to speak — particularly in calling your client names and describing her state of mind in the media.
The Supreme Court has recognized that zealous representation extends to public statements in support of clients. However, it will be interesting to see the Court’s reaction to these statements, particularly from an appointed lawyer.
Miller who has handled high-profile murder cases before was appointed by Madison County District Judge Ruth Ann Hall , here.
Miller is not the only one talking to the press. District Attorney Robert Broussard in Alabama has been dismissing possible defenses in public — statements that most courts would find highly problematic from a prosecutor before a jury is selected. Broussard said “This is certainly not the first case I’ve ever seen or handled where someone essentially is caught in the act and the next thing you know they are insane. In my experience, the public sees insanity defenses for what they’re worth, which is not much.’’
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