I visited the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit this afternoon. They should start charging admission to this circus. I'd pay.
Sypher's attorney was off to a hot start when he approached the podium and, contravening what every first-year law student has been taught, says, "I've got one minute of rebuttal, Judge." You don't demand an opportunity to rebut the other side's argument, you request it. It's never good when the first words out of the Judge's mouth are "Excuse me?" It's even worse when he says those same words in a tone that he typically reserves for the words, "Shove it, prick."
About 30 seconds later, after Sypher's attorney had begun arguing along the lines of ineffective assistance of counsel (that Sypher's trial attorney screwed up), the Judges quickly cut him off in an apparent effort to save him from committing malpractice. The Judges were concerned that, if the attorney raised the issue of ineffective assistance of counsel now, not only was he assured to lose on the issue, but there was a chance that Sypher would lose the opportunity to raise the issue later.
The Judges were essentially saying, "Dude, you don't want to argue that." In the most stuppity (uppity+stupid=stuppity) manner possible, Sypher's attorney responded, "I understand." He then proceeded to make the exact same argument. Sypher's attorney was in the 2nd minute of his 15 minutes of fame, and he wasn't backing down. All that I could think about was, "Is there such a thing as double ineffective assistance of counsel?"
Basically, this hearing was a wash. Sypher's attorney tried to argue ineffective assistance of counsel in front of a panel of judges that are only allowed to look at what was said and done in the original trial. They can't look at what Karen Sypher thinks her attorney should have done. They don't have any testimony from Sypher's trial attorney evidencing why he did or did not do something.
As the court tried to tell Sypher's attorney at least five times -- "Do you not understand? You cannot argue that here." The Judges were talking to him as if he were a point guard trying to argue that the defensive player was offsides. "Wrong sport, man."
My favorite moment of the day:
(following the Court's fifth attempt at getting through to Sypher's attorney that he can't make the inffective assistance of counsel argument)
Sypher's attorney: "I'm not trying to mislead the Court, Judge."
Judge: "Oh, I can assure you, you're not misleading anyone."
As if to say, "You're not smart enough to mislead my six-year-old."
Next stop: U.S. District Court in Louisville, where her attorney should have filed for an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. I watched 80% of the original trial, and I can say with a high degree of certainty that she won't win on this claim. (Her trial attorney would run laps around the attorney from today.) However, a loss in Louisville won't stop the Circus. We can all only hope that the final stop will be back in Cincinnati for the appeal. In the mean time, I'll get out the turn-styles and the elephant ears.