MIAMI, FL — Here’s some hot stuff. During the closing arguments of an arson trial on Wednesday afternoon, defense attorney Stephen Gutierrez, 28, was sent scrambling out of the courtroom after he noticed smoke billowing up from his right pants pocket.
No one involved is saying anything about a “liar, liar,” but, indeed, Gutierrez’s pants were on fire.
Gutierrez was in the process of proclaiming the innocence of Claudy Charles, 48, who was facing charges of intentionally setting his own car ablaze.
Witnesses in the courtroom report they saw Gutierrez toying with an object inside the pocket as he was speaking. Then came the trouser-ing inferno. As one observer perhaps understated, “It was surreal!”
Upon returning uninjured, Gutierrez said the battery from an e-cigarette in his pants had malfunctioned.
Alas, Gutierrez’s overall summation also malfunctioned, as Claudy Charles went down guilty on second-degree arson charges.
Authorities are investigating the incident, specifically to make sure Gutierrez didn’t intentionally scorch his slacks as a defense strategy. Gutierrez insists he’s innocent, saying:
“This was not staged. No one thinks that a battery left in their pocket is somehow going to explode. After careful research, I now know this can happen. I am not the only one this has happened to, but I am in a position to shed light on the situation.”
The attorney could potentially face contempt of court charges. Either way, he will most likely face a lifetime of hearing a certain rhyming playground taunt.
Main photo: Stephen Gutierrez, TheLawDoctor.net [promotional image]