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Fine Points of the Law



An 18-year-old, severely mentally challenged, Paris, Texas, man was sentenced in February to 100 years in prison for a single act of what might amount to the childhood sex game of "doctor" with a 6-year-old neighbor. The man has an IQ of 47, and no coercion or violence was involved, but the jury was not given the option to send the man to a care facility in lieu of prison. In fact, his original lawyer failed even to argue his client's incompetency as a defense because, he said, he thought the man obviously would get probation. In a final touch, Lamar County judge Eric Clifford, able to punish the man on just one count with four other counts running concurrently, instead chose to stack the five counts to total 100 years, and in April, after listening to a parade of witnesses beg him to reconsider the sentence, he refused.

It's the Shoes: Palm Beach County, Fla., defense lawyer Michael Robb resisted a courtroom motion in June to force him to discard his well-worn Cole Haan loafers and go buy a new pair. The plaintiff's lawyer Bill Bone had complained that jurors would see the holes in the bottoms of Robb's shoes and be unfairly sympathetic to Robb's clients as humble and frugal and therefore more deserving to win. The motion was denied. According to a Palm Beach Post story, Robb said later that he has a renewed enthusiasm for the shoes.

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