HR Strange But True!
August 10, 2006

Lawyers must pass the bar to practice law, and it probably would be a good idea for them to continue passing bars, at least while on the way to court.

In Las Vegas, a judge declared a mistrial in a kidnapping case Tuesday after finding the defense lawyer too drunk to "tell a straight story."

Clark County District Judge Michelle Leavitt asked attorney Joseph Caramango whether anything was wrong when he showed up 90 minutes late for court and was slurring his words.

Caramango said he had received a head injury in a car accident while driving to court. His story began falling apart when he referred the judge to his "ex-girlfriend," Christine. Under questioning by the judge, the woman said her name was Josephine, and that she had only met Caramango 20 minutes earlier in a nearby bar.

Leavitt ordered Caramango to take a Breathalyzer test, and his blood-alcohol registered at 0.075, just under Nevada's 0.8 legal limit for drivers.

Caramango later acknowledged that he had been drinking the previous night, but maintained he was not drunk. He said he had not committed any ethical violation, and that if anything, the blood-alcohol test proved that he was not intoxicated.

Leavitt did not hold Caramango in contempt of court, and it is not know whether he faces any discipline by the State Bar. His client, if convicted, faces life in prison.


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