It looks like the prosecutor who lost the Casey Anthony homicide trial has a new gig. Tomorrow he will give opening statements in the trial to defend his son who was arrested for a DUI. This is a very unusual move.
As a DUI attorney in Phoenix, I regularly tell my friends that I will gladly pay for any taxi fare if they find themselves thinking about driving home after drinking too much. However, if they get arrested for DUI, I usually will refer close friends to other counsel. Why?
I think that it is very important to maintain a professional relationship with my clients. I worry when I represent friends that they may withhold things from me or shade events. Any DUI attorney knows that it is critical to have a completely open line of communication. If a personal relationship can get in the way of representation, then I say avoid it at all costs.
But in the case of Jeff Ashton, he is representing Anthony Ashton, his son. He retired shortly after losing the Casey Anthony trial. Now he will stand in front of a jury and lobby for his son’s innocence. There are many, many problems with this.
First, the mere fact that people are writing about the relationship between father and son is telling. The exposure is not helping Mr. Ashton’s son. It is a distraction.
Second, I would worry that a jury might be turned off by a father advocating for his son’s irresponsible behavior. In many cases, a person who was arrested for a DUI has made bad decisions. Even if someone is slightly below the legal limit, perhaps the best move would be to get a cab. Here, a father will argue to the jury that his son is innocent. This might send the signal to the jury that his father is not parenting well.
Finally, this whole thing smells like a publicity stunt. Mr. Ashton can undoubtedly cough up the money to hire a good DUI attorney. Why is he monkeying around with this case?
I think that a DUI lawyer needs to always think of his client first. In the case of Anthony Ashton, maybe his DUI attorney should have stepped aside. It’s the right thing to do for his son.
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