Last week I made a joke regarding the trial of former state lawmaker Cary Allred on charges of driving while impaired. After reading some of the opening statements by Allred’s defense attorney John Fanney I summed up the situation thusly:
“Ahhhh, he’s using the vaunted Jackass Defense.”
It was a riff from a joke created several years ago on the Comedy Central animated show “South Park.” In that episode a character is on trial and represented by famous attorney Johnny Cochran, fresh off his triumph at the O.J. Simpson murder trial. He uses what’s called the “Chewbacca Defense.” It’s one of the show’s most hilarious and quoted moments.
My reference stemmed from Fanney’s contention that Allred may be loud and boisterous but that doesn’t mean he was intoxicated on June 29, when he was arrested by Burlington police near City Park. Allred’s case is now before a heavily deliberating Superior Court jury. Allred appealed his November conviction in Alamance County District Court.
Earlier today, Fanney brought out the “J-word” during his closing arguments.
And it’s a strategy that may be working. The jury got the case at 11 a.m. and went home at 5 p.m. without a verdict. There’s already talk of a possible hung jury.
If it works, this may not be the last we hear of the “Jackass Defense.”
Here are some of the best quotes from today.
“The evidence in this case is not proven. That doesn’t mean at one point in the night (Cary Allred) wasn’t an out-and-out jackass. What it does say is that the state didn’t prove this case to you.”
Allred’s defense attorney John Fanney
“He’s playing games. He knows the law. He’s trying to manipulate the test. In his mind, he’s trying to figure out how to get out of this. He’s been drinking, he knows it and he’s trying to get out of it.”
District attorney Paul Soderberg on Allred possibly gaming the breath test
“If this man right here didn’t want to take this breath test, don’t you think he would have said, ‘No, I ain’t taking that breath test?’?”
Fanney regarding Allred taking the breath test
“Vice is the opposite of virtue. A person’s vice can be alcohol … The state isn’t arguing that (these Burlington police officers) are virtuous. What we are arguing is that Cary Allred is not.”
Soderberg in closing argument