U. S. District Judge Steven Merryday may not be included in future literary anthologies, but his recent opinion denying a defense motion to continue in a Tampa capital Murder Trial written as a homage to Hemingway’s manly memory surely ranks as the sort of biting legal bon mot molotov cocktail that your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney enjoys seeing thrown into the legal battlefield now and then just to spice things up, especially when I’m not the object of the Court’s ire.
The Judge’s order as noted in Above the Law quotes the attorney’s request for a continuance for the following reason: “Undersigned counsel, a perennial contestant in the Ernest Hemingway Look-alike Contest, is scheduled to appear as a semi-finalist at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida.”
The Court then cuts to the meat of the denial remarking on Hemingway’s courage, Hemingway’s uncompromising values. Here is the Judge’s order:
|This lawyer won’t be in Key West|
Between a murder-for-hire trial and an annual look-alike contest, surely Hemingway, a perfervid admirer of “grace under pressure,” would choose the trial. At his most robust, Hemingway exemplified the intrepid defense lawyer.
The Court then notes that the following quote is a description of Hemingway by Dorothy Parker in The New Yorker (the best written magazine in the English language) Nov. 30, 1929.