I wrote a while back expressing moderate embarrassment at the bigoted attempts of a lawyer in Tennessee to stop a mosque from being built in the charming city Murfreesboro. Much as I (and quite a lot of other people, it’s not like I was going very far out on a limb) had predicted, he has failed, and construction of the mosque will proceed. Recall that I found particularly off-putting was the decision of plaintiff’s counsel Joe Brandon to question the County Mayor about whether he put a whip on the wall of his house as a warning to his wife and later beat her with it. Now, I can also call Mr. Brandon out for losing composure in the face of an adverse verdict:
Brandon had his hands on his face and at times was bent over the desk as the judge read his ruling. Afterward he briskly walked out of the courtroom without speaking to reporters.
Way to keep your poker face, Joe. Here’s what you do when you lose a high-profile case: stand up and take your adverse ruling like a grownup with as neutral an expression on your face as you can muster, tell the reporters that you’re disappointed and will confer with your clients about whether or not they will exercise their rights to appeal but no decision has been made yet, and slink off into the sweet goodnight from which hopefully you can derive more clients in the future to keep your personal injury, criminal defense, and family law practice viable. Oh, and good luck finding appellate issues on this one, dude; the Chancellor gave you all the rope you asked for.
All of us who litigate for a living have to learn the lesson of picking and choosing your cases carefully. Joe Brandon has, maybe, learned that lesson in a very public way. Who knows, maybe he’s gained a political following for fighting the good fight even if he lost and one day he’ll be a Rutherford County Commissioner or something like that. But the law wasn’t on his side here and he allowed his personal distaste for Islam to blind him to that fact. One wonders if he had any friends who took him aside and told him that he was headed down a bad path and counseled him not to go forward. Or if he listened to them.