It appears a lawyer lit his own pants on fire while trying to prove his client was innocent of arson.
Stephen Gutierrez, a 28-year-old defense lawyer, was giving his closing statement, arguing that his client did not light his own car on fire. He wanted the jury to believe that the car had spontaneously combusted.
Witnesses say Gutierrez’s hand was awkwardly fiddling in his pants pocket, and then his pants caught on fire.
As smoke started pouring out of his pants, Gutierrez ran from the courtroom to douse the flames. when he returned, his pocket was singed. Gutierrez insisted that the fire was not a staged, that he had a faulty e-cigarette that coincidentally spontaneously combusted during his closing statement.
Who knew rubbing loose batteries around in your pocket with your keys could go wrong?
Gutierrez’ story is at least plausible. E-cigarette batteries have caused fires.
Police took a couple of burned e-cigarette batteries as evidence. Based on the analysis of the evidence, the judge could decide to hold Gutierrez in contempt of court.
The alleged stunt didn’t help Gutierrez’s case. Once the trial resumed, his client was convicted of second-degree arson for lighting his car on fire.
Stephen Gutierrez has a 5.5 out of 10 rating as a lawyer on Avvo.
Oh well. Can’t say Gutierrez didn’t give a fiery defense.