State Attorney Candidate Jim Lewis's Five Craziest Court Cases
Broward State Attorney Mike Satz, who has held the office for 837 years and counting, has rarely faced a serious challenger in his reelection bids. This November, he'll be running against Republican Jim Lewis, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer who most recently ran (unsuccessfully) for attorney general.
The main talking point of that bid was his wonderful but quixotic proposal to legalize medical marijuana. Satz has been criticized for being too hard on punishing drug abusers.
In private practice, Lewis has amassed a fascinating troupe of clients who would test the mettle of even the best defense attorney. Below, we list our favorite cases.
5. A convicted cop-killer
Lewis represented death-row inmate Albert Holland back in 1996, for allegedly killing a Pompano Beach Police officer in 1990. Earlier this year, a federal judge overturned Holland's conviction, saying he should have been granted his request to represent himself in '96. Instead, he got Lewis, who isn't too fond of his client in retrospect. "He's a master manipulator. He's been gaming the system from the start, and it keeps working," Lewis fondly recalled to the Sun-Sentinel's Michael Mayo.
4. A swindling gypsy psychic
In September 2010, 37-year-old Gina Marie Marks, a.k.a. Regina Milbourne, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for extracting over $500,000 from people after promising to expunge their demons. Lewis said his client was raised in a gypsy culture where it's okay to charge people "to lessen their load in life and help them with life's problems," but said Marks had made restitution and learned her lesson.
3. A screaming man who jumped on a table in shackles
"Mike, don't! Mike, please! Mike, stop!" yelled Shauntel McNeal at her brother, who had just jumped onto the defense lawyers' table in shackles and started cursing lat lawyers while a witness was trying to testify in his murder trial. Michael McNeal was removed from the courtroom, but he may have had something to scream about after all: he was eventually acquitted.
2. A pilot with the worst neighborly feud in the world
Bill Tate, a former pilot with Spirit Airlines, says his next-door neighbor, a former prosecutor, has been conspiring with BSO deputies and Satz's office to paint him as a criminal and ruin his arbitration proceedings with the airline. It started when the neighbor reported him for having an illegal military vehicle in his driveway. He went over to talk, and was turned away. Hours later, he says, BSO charged him with "burglary with assault." That's a first-degree felony that can lead to life in prison. Lewis accompanied him through hearings with three judges, all of whom conflicted out and rescheduled the hearing because they knew his neighbor and accuser. When the case finally went to trial last August, the jury found Tate not guilty after five minutes of deliberation. Curiously, Tate has also been represented by Chris Mancini, who ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary against Satz last month.
1. The Fix-a-Flat Butt Doctor's "nurse"
Lewis represents Corey Eubanks, who helped Oneal Ron Morris a.k.a. Duchess pump loads of Fix-a-Flat, cement, mineral oil, and God-knows-what into patients seeking cheap beauty treatments. One of the victims was transgendered woman Rajindra Narinesingh, who we covered in a recent story. On the set of the Telemundo show Pa'lante con Cristina, Narinesingh was caught in the middle as another patient, Shaquanda Brown, got into a Springer-style fight with Eubanks. Lewis asked a judge to let him air the footage in court, which he said showed Brown's mother hurling a plastic syringe at his client. Meanwhile, Lewis claimed that the injections included only mineral oil.
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