It wasn't that long ago that the world was caving in on Attorneys Guy Lewis and Michael Tein.
Judge Dresnick was holding contempt hearings into allegations they lied about the source of their fees in the defense of their client in a civil wrongful death case. Bar complaints were in the works. The Herald was giving them as much bad publicity as you will ever see two good attorneys get. And bashing them was easy: they were successful civil lawyers who by all appearances had gotten caught with their fingers in the Miccosukee cookie jar. It's called schadenfreude.
The piling on included, regrettably, your blogger and this blog. There have been times that by blogging we have made grievous errors that have hurt people. Mistakenly and prematurely announcing the death of a beloved judge was one such error we will never forget, or forgive ourselves for the pain we caused his family. And believing the Herald's slanted, malicious, and downright erroneous coverage of attorneys Michael Tein and Guy Lewis was another mistake that hurt innocent people. As a criminal defense attorney, we should have known better.
Then Attorney Paul Calli got involved in the case. And what he did is what we all aspire to as defense attorneys. He undertook the representation of two clients who had almost no friends left. The judge was out to get them. The media was engaging in a very public lynching of their reputations. And the Bar had opened a file. But Calli had one thing on his side: the truth. And luckily for Tein and Lewis they had the right lawyer for this seemingly impossible defense.
In short order Calli turned the tables. He got his client's stories out. He successfully defended them before Judge Dresnick, exposed the other side's mendacious tactics, and carried the day in civil court.
This week saw full vindication for attorneys Michael Tein and Guy Lewis as the Florida Bar closed out the complaints with a no probable cause finding and began an investigation into the attorneys for the Miccosukee tribe. The comparison in criminal court is like getting a not guilty and then having the cops arrested for lying. It was a truly remarkable feat of lawyering and one worthy of praise.
So there you have it. A few lessons learned, two lawyers have their reputations restored, and one damn fine job of lawyering. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Enjoy this hot summer weekend. Dolphins football starts Sunday.
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