I shall not rest until every German sees that it is a shameful thing to be a lawyer. Adolf Hitler.
Since the day the concept of “lawyer” came into being, many in the public have viewed lawyers in a negative light. Hundreds of thousands of lawyer jokes have been told over the centuries.
While we have earned some of the criticism in the community, the vast majority of lawyers help, not hurt, people and our community.
If we behaved in a manner told in most jokes, disbarments would overwhelm the profession.
Some people have taken their strong feelings toward lawyers to the point where serious crimes have been committed against members of the Bar. Over the years, lawyers and judges have been shot, beaten, harassed, and treated in a way that would make the Fuhrer pleased.
Lawyering can be a dangerous line of work; particularly for lawyers focused on family and juvenile law.
A recent example in Florida illustrates this danger.
Police recently arrested a divorce litigant for allegedly stabbing a Florida lawyer multiple times during a deposition May 1.
Police charged 58-year-old Gordon James King with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and tampering with a victim, according to the Winter Park Police Department. The Orlando Sentinel reports that King was arrested Thursday at his home in Seminole County with help from the U.S. Marshals Task Force.
When U.S. Marshals are forced to track down a fugitive, it can be a most unpleasant experience.
The stabbing took place at a Winter Park, Florida, law firm. The lawyer was not identified. The lawyer was taken to the Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment of stab wounds. The lawyer had a collapsed left lung, a punctured diaphragm and a cut to his hand, according to Click Orlando.
There is audio of the altercation from the deposition stenographer. Court documents cited by the local publications have details.
King allegedly started yelling during the deposition because of a no-contact order against him. The lawyer for King’s estranged wife announced that the deposition was being canceled. King pushed aside his own lawyer and made his way to the victim, yelling: “What are you going to do now you fat little……?”
King allegedly punched the lawyer in the head and chest. After someone yelled that 911 had been called, King allegedly slammed the lawyer’s head into the table and yelled: “I’m going to kill you right now.”
At that point, the lawyer took a knife out of his pocket and tried to slash King’s arm. King gained control of the knife, allegedly slashing the lawyer’s hand as the victim tried to block the knife. King allegedly stabbed the lawyer twice in his left side, saying: “I’m killing you.”
“I think you already have,” the lawyer said. King stopped attacking the lawyer at that point.
At the hospital, King allegedly said he was going through a “two-year ugly divorce” and he “just lost it again.”
That would qualify as an understatement. Additionally, I suspect that King will have a more positive view of lawyers as he searches for a criminal defense attorney to take his case.
My educated guess as a father is that violence against lawyers and the judiciary occurs most often in family law cases because children are at stake. While there is never an excuse for this violence, the prospect of someone taking children away from a parent can produce some of the most intense emotions humans can feel.
Mental illness plays a large role as well.
Protecting my employees, clients, and anyone else in the office is the top priority. Since knives are not very effective when being attacked, particularly when a person does not know how to use one, every member of our team has a legal firearm in the office to protect themselves and others from this type of incident or any other violent episode that could happen.
Yes, at times being a lawyer can be dangerous line of work. Fortunately, in Georgia, we can protect ourselves in the office and outside if we have a Firearms Permit which allows citizens to carry firearms in a concealed manner in places where it is permitted.