More from lawyer James D. “11-28-3” Evans, III:
…Let me give you the straight of it: this young girl, 11 years old…she was aloose on the community—I say aloose—she was allowed to be out and about the community in Cleveland Texas from about May until about December, and over the course of that period of time she had the opportunity to interact with somewhere between 28 and 35 men, maybe more, I’m not sure. The gang rape—there was a rape, but it was sort of near the end of the period of time that I gave you. Prior to that she was engaged with various men throughout the community, and —
So it sounds like more people should be arrested.
There is more people who are, I think, being targeted, and there is more who will be arrested, I believe. It’s tragic that this little girl was allowed to be out and about.
[Why are we concerned about the 11-year-old girl being out instead of the boys having sex with her?]
I think you have various men who are out and about, they are of age, they are older, and of course they are in our society. What I’m concerned about is that the little girl was not cared for, she was not protected and not kept away from these individuals who took advantage of her.
What is going to be the defense for your clients for having sex with an 11-year-old girl who, many of them knew—it’s a small town—knew her to be in middle school so there was no doubt about her age.
Well, absolutely not, there was no doubt about her age. Some of these individuals were young, some were old, and I have not been able to complete my initial investigation, nor have I been able to verify the things that I have been told, and I am going to withhold at this time, I am going to have to withhold any defense or any position that I would take at this time.
Have you seen any of the pictures or the videos?
I have not seen all of the videos, I have seen one of the videos, and I have heard tapes that recount, you know, the story.
Is there any excuse for having sex with an 11-year-old girl?
None. Absolutely not.
So what’s your defense?
I can’t discuss the defense at this time.
Is there one?
Under the law, it would be very difficult to come up with a defense.. . . .
Even though you’re the defense lawyer, you’re telling me that you don’t know that there’s any defense here.
That’s correct at this time.
(From an interview here; start at about the 22-minute mark.)
If you don’t have anything to say that will actually help your client, why are you talking to the press? Keep your fool mouth shut.
There was no doubt that the girl was eleven? Okay; why tell the world that? It wouldn’t be a defense that your client thought she was seventeen, but at the end of the day mightn’t a jury want to hurt your client less if they thought there was some doubt?
I’ve said more than my share of dumb things. I’ve never said them to unsympathetic reporters, though, mostly because I don’t respond to media requests for interviews about one of my cases if I don’t see how doing so will actually help my client (without materially prejudicing an adjudicatory proceeding—a fine line to walk).
Evans hasn’t even completed his initial investigation, and it appears to me that his clients may already have grounds for a grievance against him under at least four Texas disciplinary rules: 1.01 (a lawyer shall not accept or continue employment in a legal matter which the lawyer knows or should know is beyond the lawyer’s competence); 1.05 (a lawyer shall not knowingly reveal confidential information of a client or a former client to…anyone else, other than the client, the client’s representatives, or the members, associates, or employees of the lawyer’s law firm” without the client’s consent); 1.06 (a lawyer shall not represent a person if the representation of that person reasonably appears to be or become adversely limited by the lawyer’s or law firm’s responsibilities to another client); and 3.07 (a lawyer shall not make an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that it will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicatory proceeding).
I know it’s tempting to talk to the media. But (contrary to what they believe in LA) publicity doesn’t make a lawyer any good. More often than not (as here) the better criminal-defense media strategy is to keep your head down and hope your client doesn’t get any extra attention. So in fact the better criminal-defense lawyer is usually not the one holding the press conference to get his face on TV. And we have a built-in excuse: Rule 1.05 is good reason not to talk to the press, though some members of the press, unfamiliar with their subject matter, might not accept it (for example, otherwise-credulous Houston Press fictionalist Craig Malisow professes here to find the attorney-client privilege “baffling”).
Lawyers value publicity. I’ve seen lawyers take high-pub cases for free or for reduced fees for the media attention. I have no reason to believe that Evans has done so in this case. But other than the desire to aggrandize himself, I can imagine no rational reason for Evans to throw his multiple clients under the bus like this.
It’s tragic that this lawyer is allowed to be out and about.