UPDATE: OK, now it’s gotten completely ridiculous. Today, a third defense attorney, Jerry M. Blevins, asked the be removed from the case. Blevins’ reason to be excused is a bit more ambigious than the previous ones given:
Blevins, in court papers, said he asked to be removed because an “irreconcilable conflict arose” between he and Updyke.
That sounds different from a conflict of interest. What exactly does it mean? That, friends, is deliciously mysterious! Anyway, on to the fourth potential lawyer. Why don’t we think we’ll be surprised if we’re soon hearing about the fifth potential lawyer? Because in Updyke’s case, the legal process is devolving into a farcical comedy, that’s why.
The original post is below.
Harvey Almorn Updyke is (deservedly) having a tough go of it these days. First, he got arrested for poisoning trees that serve as an iconic gathering spot for Auburn fans, putting him on the bad side of basically everyone on Earth. Then, his son said his family had received death threats. Then, fellow Alabama fans started raising money to save or replace the trees, lest they be lumped in with the likes of Updyke. And then, he gave everyone the finger.
“At least,” you might be thinking, “he still has legal representation so he can defend himself in a court of law.” Alas, even this basic right is itself proving awfully difficult to Updyke to successfully obtain. The first attorney assigned to him, Phillip Tyler, begged off the case due to what he termed “numerous personal and family ties to Auburn University,” including that he used to be a part-time professor there and that his law firm represents Auburn.
No worries, though: another attorney, Jerry Hauser, was assigned to represent Updyke. Problem solved…for four days, until Hauser also asked to be taken off the case earlier today. Hauser had similar conflict-of-interesty reasoning for asking to be recused: “wife is the Head of the Department of Communication and Journalism at Auburn University.”
The lesson here: when you are from Alabama, messing with Auburn University in a way that could get you in trouble with the law is an especially bad idea – specifically if you need an attorney assigned to you, as there is a pretty decent chance that person will have ties to Auburn on some level, which will leave you out of luck.
I’ll admit there were times during this whole saga when I thought, “Yes, poisoning the trees was a stupid, juvenile thing to do that needlessly takes a great rivalry too far…but man, so much outrage over trees.” Then, I imagined how I’d react if something similar happened at my school, and I understood it all. It’s like I’ve said before – college sports inspires unrivaled passion, and Alabama-Auburn is an especially passionate rivalry.
It makes sense that this is the reaction, and it makes sense that Updyke’s having so much trouble finding a lawyer when so many in his state have ties to Auburn. Sure, he’s got the right to have a lawyer, but in his difficulty getting anyone to actually take on his case, he’s reaping what he (opposite of) sowed.