Did you know that Terence Lenamon was on the faculty of the Trial Lawyer’s College founded by renowned trial lawyer Gerry Spence

The faculty list is here.  

What is the Trial Lawyer’s College?  

Here’s the mission statement from the site:

The Trial Lawyer’s College is dedicated to training and educating lawyers and judges who are committed to the jury system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals; the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression.

In all of its activities, the Trial Lawyer’s College will foster and nourish an open atmosphere of caring for people regardless of their race, age, creed, religion, national origin, physical abilities, gender or sexual orientation. 

TLC Kudos to Terry for Recent Result in Joshua Fulgham case

And here is the TLC post announcing Terry’s victory against the death penalty earlier this summer in the Fulgham case, written by Maren Chaloupka – TLC Faculty & ’99 Grad

Terry Lenamon (TLC ’11 7-Step Grad), death penalty warrior in Florida, saved the life of his client Josh this week – – after a lengthy, graphic and heartwrenching trial on both guilt and sentencing, Terry’s jury returned a verdict of LIFE for the damaged, despised man whom Terry placed into the jury’s hands.

The prosecutor used some prosecutorial version of TLC methods in his final argument of the sentencing phase of trial, reenacting parts of the kidnapping and murder for which Josh stood trial.  That Terry overcame that dramatic reenactment is a true testament to the power of love.

Folks, it doesn’t get any more real than this.  This man would be damned to the needle if not for Terry.  I am amazed and so proud to have him in our group.

Here is a link to a news write up about this case:  Jury: Life for Fulgham

Here is a link to a TV story on this case: Joshua Fulgham Gets Life

 

The capital murder trial of James Bannister is set to go forward in a little over two weeks.

Bannister Jury Selection Set for August 14 

Terence Lenamon’s motion for a continuance of the August 2017 trial date was denied by the judge after a hearing earlier this month.  It was not his first continuance motion.  The judge appears firm on the Bannister trial beginning with jury selection on August 14th.

Lenamon Comments

For details on that July 2017 hearing read the coverage by Katie Pohlman, "Attorney denied more time for quadruple murder case," published in the Ocala Star Banner.  

Now, here’s the thing.  Terry Lenamon isn’t going to comment here in this blog post about this situation, you can read what he has to say in the Ocala news coverage of the case (quoting his arguments to the bench).  

Why not?  For one thing, it’s a pending case.  For another, he’s busy doing the work of getting ready for this trial as well as juggling his other cases and running a busy law practice.  (That’s why he has a co-author.)

Things to Consider

But there are things to share about this situation.  Answers to some questions that might be asked about what’s going on here.

Here are some things I can share, from my perspective as a lawyer setting over in Texas:

Time and Money

All trials, civil or criminal, boil down to time and money.  It takes time to prepare a case for trial before a jury, no matter what’s in controversy.  And it takes money to do the job.

Nowhere are these two things more critical than in a death penalty case.  Capital cases are by definition going to involve the (1) guilt phase and (2) sentencing phase.  

Two Phases of a Capital Case

If the accused in a death penalty case is found guilty, there’s not a delay before sentencing is considered (which is the case in other jurisdictions).  In Florida, the jury trial will enter the sentencing phase if a guilty verdict is rendered.  Same jury, same courtroom, same trial.  

So the capital defense team has to get ready for both phases in its trial preparation.  Gathering and assembling authenticated, admissible evidence that deals with (1) the facts of the crimes themselves (here, multiple homicides and arson) as well as with (2) the mitigating circumstances that impact upon whether or not capital punishment should be considered for this defendant.  This may include psychological expert testimony, evidence of childhood trauma, etc.  

The evidence in the guilt phase and the evidence in the sentencing phase do not overlap.  So, preparation for the death penalty trial is complex.  It’s a huge undertaking.  And it takes time and money to get it ready to go (along with preparation of opening statements, cross-examination questions, closing arguments, etc.).

Death penalty cases, therefore, will take longer to get to trial than smaller, simpler criminal matters. That’s the nature of this kind of case.  

Indigent Defense

In capital cases, the defendants usually do not have the financial wherewithal to pay for their defense lawyer and his team.  The federal constitution’s right to counsel comes into play.  They have court-appointed lawyers, like Terence Lenamon, that are appointed to defend them.

Court-appointed attorneys don’t get paid the same hourly rate that private practice lawyers demand (and get).  They get paid by a set government schedule.  And they don’t have the client retainers to cover expenses for things like investigators, research costs, etc.  They have to cover those litigation costs from state funds, too.  

Indigent defense in a death penalty case is a cost balancing act.  The representation has to be effective and zealous, but every penny has to be carefully spent.  

Death On the Table

Add to all this the sobering reality that someone’s life is on the line here.  The capital defense lawyer must always have in focus that if there is a guilty verdict, then his (or her) job will be to try and stop an execution from being part of the sentencing.  That’s a huge factor in these cases that simply does not exist in other trials, civil or criminal.

For More Information

Hopefully this provides some background information for our readers on what’s happening here in this particular Florida death penalty trial that’s beginning next month. 

For more details, check out

 

There’s still talk that Terence Lenamon may participate in the defense of Markeith Loyd even after the judge declined the defendant’s request that Terry Lenamon be appointed as his defense counsel. 

Terence Lenamon Profile

Once again, Terence Lenamon is not issuing any news release here, but is sharing the following media profile and interview from the Orlando Sentinel published earlier this week regarding the Markeith Loyd case, written by Rene Stutzman:

"Terry Lenamon, Markeith Loyd’s hand-picked attorney: A staunch opponent of the death penalty."

Terence Lenamon Memoir

For those interested in learning more about Terence Lenamon’s attitude toward representing death penalty defendants as well as his past case experience, they can always check out the short memoir he published a few years back.  It’s also available in paperback at Amazon.com.

Recently, Terence Lenamon received a request from a blogger interested in his take on capital punishment. With Terry’s permission, here’s what he wrote — something than anyone reading our blog or knowing Terry (or of him) might like to read.

Terence Lenamon’s View on the Death Penalty

From Death Penalty Lawyer Terence Lenamon:

"You cannot make the death penalty more ethical. Look at the data.

"Not only is it disproportionate to minorities, innocent people have been sentenced to death and executed.

"I won’t even touch on my moral opposition to the death penalty, although I will say it’s based in the New Testament. (Surprising how many religious zealots support killing another human being.)

"Bad lawyers, overzealous prosecutors, mistaken witnesses, flawed forensic testing. Anger, hate ……..The list goes on and on in what fuels an imperfect “punishment.”

"If your goal is to find ways to correct flaws within the death penalty you may want to change your paradigm to something like:

1. Finding ways to protect our children from being abused and growing up exposed to violence.

2. Finding ways to successfully treat mental illness before violence occurs.

3. Finding ways to educate our children and protect them from the violence and exposure to drugs in our community

4. Finding ways to help parents raise their children in a safe and loving environment.

"The list can go on and on …. I can’t change your belief system but I certainly hope you take a look your goal and redefine in a way that changes things for the better. "