George Zimmerman's former attorneys say their client has gone rogue, which may be true, but they're the ones whose professional conduct is baffling legal experts. On Tuesday, Florida attorneys Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner took the unusual step of holding a press conference to announce they were no longer representing the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. "He's gone on his own," said Sonner. "I cannot go forward speaking to the public about George Zimmerman and this case as representing him because I've lost contact with him." During the presser, they said Zimmerman was unstable, possibly suffering from post-traumatic stress and they revealed they had never actually met him. Here's why legal experts say Uhrig and Sonner's display yesterday was perhaps even more surprising than Zimmerman's defiant behavior:
Holding the press conference in the first place Every day lawyers drop their clients for some reason or another but it's almost always done with a quiet no frills resignation in deference to the client. Speaking with the AP's Kyle Hightower, Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. Attorney in Miami, said Uhrig and Sonner's decision to hold a news conference was baffling. "The lawyers have every right to withdraw, but it's highly unusual," he said. "In the court of public opinion, the press conference was not helpful for George Zimmerman."
Speculating on Zimmerman's mental state One of the most controversial aspects of Tuesday's presser was the attorneys' statements that Zimmerman was "emotionally crippled" and possibly suffering from PTSD. "It's unbelievable that you would get on television and talk about your client's mental state," Jose Baez, a criminal defense attorney told CNN last night. "What you have here, as an attorney, you have an ethical obligation to not only not post attorney-client communication but attorney-client confidence. Things you learn in the process of representing a client are considered confidential so any conversations they have are completely protected and the holder of this privilege is George Zimmerman ... It's reprehensible."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.