NFL Player Chad Johnson Gets Jail Time for Slapping His Lawyer on the Butt

Crime
A blog about murder, theft, and other wickedness.
June 10 2013 3:39 PM

It Is Rarely Appropriate for a Criminal Defendant to Slap His Lawyer on the Butt

Chad Johnson
Chad Johnson

Photo by Broward County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

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And now, another entry in our ongoing series on courtroom etiquette. Today, we're talking about when, as a criminal defendant, it is and is not appropriate to slap your lawyer on the butt. Take notes!

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Situations in which it is appropriate to slap your lawyer on the butt:

- to kill or dislodge a mosquito that has landed there;

- if he makes a great shot for the rec-league basketball team on which you both play;

- as consenting adults in the privacy of your own home.

Situations in which is it not appropriate to slap your lawyer on the butt:

- when you are former NFL wideout Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson, in court on probation violation charges, and you are facing a stern, humorless judge who is in no mood for your stupid antics;

- when a handshake or a thank-you card is clearly what the judge meant when she said, "You better thank your lawyer. He did a great job for you" by brokering a plea bargain that will keep you out of jail;

- when a lighthearted butt-slap might upset said judge by making her think you're not taking the case seriously, and prompt her to reject said plea deal and instead sentence you to 30 days in jail.

Defendants: Don’t do what Chad Johnson did. When in a courtroom, maintain a sober, respectful demeanor at all times. If you must slap somebody’s ass, slap your own, in the courthouse bathroom, instead of slapping your lawyer’s in front of a judge who will hate you for it.

This has been another installment in our ongoing series on courtroom etiquette. Class dismissed!

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.

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