Saturday, January 05, 2008


The idea that a convicted swindler and two-time bail jumper belongs anywhere but in jail is preposterous.

Yet, that’s what lawyers for notorious ponzi-artist Norman Hsu argued in San Mateo Superior court earlier this week.

During his fifteen years as a fugitive Hsu maintained a surprisingly high profile and was a significant donor to Democratic candidates including, ta-da!, Hillary Clinton.

According to this SFGate story, Hsu’s lawyers don’t shrink from preposterousness:

Hsu's attorneys had sought to have the 1990s case dismissed or to allow Hsu to withdraw his no contest plea, saying his right to a speedy trial had been violated because authorities made little attempt to locate him - even as he attended fundraising events and was photographed with political candidates.

The idea that a man who jumps bail after pleading guilty (nolo), even has the right to a trial is ridiculous. The trial was over, the guy pleaded guilty, he escaped before sentencing.

Basically, the lawyers are saying that a fugitive (escapee) has the right to be hunted down assiduously, and that failure of the government to do so exonerates the escapee for the original crime.

What kind of intelligent, self respecting human beings could advance such arguments?


Every so often we read about an escapee apprehended after many years on the lam during which time he (or she) has led an exemplary life. We are conflicted, at least in some cases, about sending such people back to jail.

To their credit, Hsu’s lawyers are not painting that picture. That would be just too preposterous, seeing as how their client is under Federal indictment for his (alleged) ongoing criminal career, and how he tried to commit suicide during his second interstate-flight.

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Anonymous said...

Hmmm, now I understand why I failed the law school entrance test. No imagination. But, and no insult intended to anyone here, if I ever get in trouble, I'm calling Sweet Melissa, and asking Willie to be her consultant. With their linguistic skills, those two together would be unstoppable. r.s.

Sweet Melissa said...

Thanks, r.s. - I'd defend you any day! (And would eagerly work with sfwillie.)

I will say, as a lawyer, this stuff is so disheartening. I hate when lawyers show no honor. No respect for the truth. People have a right to a zealous defense, but not one that, by its mere assertion, diminishes us all.

Thanks for calling it out, sfwillie.