Every Wednesday at 7Pm EST, Justin Leto appears as a guest on America Now with Andy Dean. Andy Dean is a conservative radio talk show host and each week, Justin and Andy discuss the trending legal topics of the week,. Inevitably, there is heated debate given the considerably differing political views of Andy and Justin. All is in good fun, of course. Check out this week’s segment:
During this week’s segment, Andy and Justin discussed the following topics:
1. Mitt Romney’s choice of Rep. Paul Ryan. There is no doubt that Paul Ryan was a bold choice. But was it a smart political move? No! Mitt Ronmey’s views are just too different from Paul Ryan’s views on items such as the budget, Medicare, federal bailouts, and wartime decisions. While our discussion did not get deep enough to discuss Paul Ryan’s views on victim’s rights, it is clear from his voting record that he is a true-believer in federal tort reform and destroying the rights of victims to have free access to the courts.
Politicians have been very successful in painting lawsuits as the evil of society, driving up insurance costs while harming doctors, hospitals and the everyday citizen. However, the facts show that these arguments are false and have been used as a tool to promote a pro-business, anti-consumer agenda. By eliminating the rights of the citizens of this country to have free access to the courts, the net result will be huge profits for big businesses with absolutely no oversight. Businesses will have no accountability as they will not be obligated to fairly compensate victims of negligence. The words “tort reform” have become a rallying cry aimed at tricking the American public into believing that this is in their best interest. At the same time, the words “trial lawyer” have been demonized and described as the problem with society. Here at The Leto Law Firm, we are proud to represent victims of medical malpractice, auto negligence, and defective products. And we firmly believe that all citizens should have the right to free access to the courts with a jury of their peers to decide the outcome. Tort reform removes that constitutional protection and replaces it with strong-arm government intervention. All citizens deserve access to their courts, not further restrictions on their rights.
2. Drew Peterson murder trial. Drew Peterson is accused of killing his 3rd wife. During his murder trial, the judge made a pretrial ruling prohibiting the prosecutor from introducing evidence of a protective order sought by his 4th wife. Despite the judge’s order, the prosecutor asked questions directly related to the protective order. As a result, the defense asked the judge to declare a mistrial with prejudice, meaning that Drew Peterson could never be tried again for this alleged murder.
When a judge issues a ruling before trial and instructs lawyers that certain evidence will not be shared with the jury, that ruling needs to be taken seriously. Violation of such an order can result in the judge dismissing the case or imposing severe sanctions. As lawyers, we do not always agree with the rulings of a judge, but that is why we have the ability to appeal the case after the trial is over. In the Drew Peterson case, the prosceutor’s decision to violate the judge’s order was a terrible and inexcusable blunder. He blamed his error on a mistake in reading pre-prepared questions off of his notes. In my estimation, a silly excuse.
3. George Zimmerman Stand Your Ground Defense dropped. Mark O’Mara, defense attorney for George Zimmerman, has elected to drop the stand your ground defense and instead opt to go with a traditional self-defense claim. This defense is more logical based upon the facts of the case. Under Florida’s controversial stand your ground defense, you do not have a “duty to retreat” if you feel your life or safety are in danger. Instead, you can use deadly force to protect yourself. In Zimmerman’s case, he claims he was being held down on the ground and beaten when he fired his gun at Trayvon Martin. In order for Zimmerman’s story to have any credibility, the stand your ground defense had to be abandoned because it contradicts what Zimmerman claims occurred. Under the circumstances that Mr. Zimmerman claims, he could not have retreated even if he wanted to, so the defense of stand your ground would not apply.