Louisiana prosecutor Dale Cox wants to cold cock defense attorneys.

Bible-Quoting Louisiana Prosecutor Wants to “Cold Cock” Defense Attorneys

Bible-Quoting Louisiana Prosecutor Wants to “Cold Cock” Defense Attorneys

The law, lawyers, and the court.
Oct. 28 2015 4:53 PM

Louisiana Prosecutor Wants to “Cold Cock” Defense Attorneys

Temper, temper.

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Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photo by Everett Collection/Shutterstock via Wikimedia Commons.

Dale Cox, one of the nation’s most controversial prosecutors, seems to have threatened bodily violence against three defense attorneys at a trial on Tuesday in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. In case Cox’s name isn’t ringing any bells, he’s the Caddo Parish interim district attorney who has quoted the Bible to advocate the death penalty, called for the death penalty to be used more widely, and is single-handedly responsible for one-third of the capital defendants in Louisiana. He’s been the subject of lengthy profiles in the New Yorker and the New York Times, and you can catch up on some of his recent exploits in Slate—or here or here or, well, lots of places where the national conversation on race, criminal justice, and the death penalty are taking place.

Dahlia Lithwick Dahlia Lithwick

Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate and hosts the podcast Amicus.

But Cox seems to have outdone himself this week in a hearing before Judge Katherine C. Dorroh, in a capital murder case called Louisiana v. Eric Mickelson. The three members of the defense had attempted to correct Cox’s assertion that the defendant had never had a job by pointing to materials in the prosecutor’s own file that noted the defendant had a job.

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Cox responded to his colleagues at the prosecutors’ table: “I want to kill everyone in here. I want to cut their fucking throats. I’m just being honest, and if any of them want to go outside we can do it right now.” One of the members of the defense team heard the comments and reported this to the court.

Defense counsel had already moved to recuse Cox from the case based upon his well-publicized views on the death penalty. That motion was denied. The defense had previously also moved for a change of venue based upon Cox’s repeated media interviews. Cox then blamed the trial defense team for the media attention and security threats that Cox had received.

Cox then said, on the record to the court, as taken verbatim from the transcript:

I would very much like to maintain some level of civility. I would have liked that from the very beginning. I would have preferred if these three lawyers had not signed a public pleading calling me unusually blood thirsty because I was doing my job in advocating for a death penalty that I thought was called for by law. …
I admit to everything he [defense counsel] said. I did want him to go outside. I did want to cold cock him. I wanted to cold cock all three of them because that’s so outrageous that they could do the things they do without regard for the consequences. I mean, they’re not being threatened. Their families aren’t being threatened. They’re not being protected by law enforcement. I am. And part of the reason I am is for crazy lunatic crap like this that goes into public filings and then out on the Internet everywhere. So if they would withdraw that comment from those pleadings, I would be happy to stand mute and be as civil as anyone they’ve ever seen in their lives. But until they do that, until they do that, they better be careful what they say.

And that is what happened this week in Caddo Parish.