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A lawyer with a conscience?
September 18, 2008 - Joe Gorman
Is Martin Yavorcik a lawyer with a conscience? And is there such a thing?
He is defending Hattie Gilbert, one of two people charged in the March 24 robbery and shooting that left South Avenue KFC manager Joe Kaluza paralyzed. Thursday, during closing arguments, he told a story about a shoe while reminding jurors he told them during opening statements that his client did plan the robbery but did not know Kaluza was to be shot.
He admitted during closing arguments that he did not care much for his client, who prosecutors say planned the robbery because she was being evicted and needed the money.
``I believe many people do not like my client at all,' Yavorcik said. ``They're disgusted by what she admitted she did.' He said seeing Kaluza everyday in court in his wheelchair and hearing the ventilator he needs to breathe ``breaks my heart.'
``This is the toughest case I've ever had to deal with as a lawyer,' Yavorcik said. ``I hear Joe's machine breathing and it breaks my heart every time.'
Some of his feelings no doubt are true, but some of it is probably also sympathy as he tries to throw co-defendant Taran Helms under the bus by saying Gilbert had no intention of Kaluza being shot.
Later, he said he wished he could conjure up the soul of Clarence Darrow or MLK or even, he said, local legal legend Don Hanni from heaven, ``if he's up there,' which got a laugh from everyone in the courtroom.
Yavorcik is also running for prosecutor against incumbent Paul Gains, so perhaps some of his comments were meant to assuage voters on the evening news who may wonder why someone who wants to be a prosecutor is defending someone who instead of finding a job to get money, stalks and robs a decent, hardworking man.
But who knows with lawyers?
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