One of the most noxious parts of the Kevan Brumfield story last week, to us, involved not particularly Federal Judge James Brady’s risible finding of Brumfield as mentally retarded and therefore not eligible for the death sentence the jury handed out to him for his 1993 killing of Baton Rouge Police Cpl. Betty Smothers but the replaying of Brumfield’s face-to-face with former NFL star Warrick Dunn, Smothers’ orphaned son.
Brumfield, who had confessed to the slaying, denied his involvement when Dunn went to Angola to see him in an effort to get some closure on the murder of his mother.
Which sounded an awful lot like Brumfield’s defense attorney Nick Trenticosta, who has a reputation for spilling the banks of ethics in his political zeal to defeat the death penalty, advised Brumfield to lie to Dunn so as not to make an admission which might negatively affect Trenticosta’s efforts to keep his client out of the chair. And while it’s not unreasonable for a defense attorney to stop his client from doing something to damage his case, one has to ask why Trenticosta would allow Dunn to meet his client if those were his concerns. Having Brumfield deny to Dunn that he killed his mother when this was already established in multiple courts of law was a particularly cruel and egregious act on the part of a radical lawyer.
But egregious acts are starting to appear to be par for the course among Louisiana’s defenders of indigent murderers. Another member of that class, Nelvil Hollingsworth, got himself busted Saturday for – get this – attempting to smuggle 5.2 grams of marijuana into Angola State Penitentiary.
Apparently Hollingsworth was supplying weed to one of his clients, Barry Edge. Edge is a member of the “Angola Five,” a group of prison inmates accused of the 1999 beating and stabbing of Capt. David C. Knapps, an Angola guard, during an escape attempt. Edge, who was in Angola for the 1985 second-degree murder of Clifford Stover, Jr., is alleged to have been the ringleader of the escape attempt and it’s alleged that killing Knapps was part of the escape plan.
What that has to do with Hollingsworth bringing Edge a dime bag of weed is a separate question. What seems quite troubling is an apparent pattern of public defenders engaging in unethical and lawless behavior in and around our prisons.
WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge had a report on the Hollingsworth arrest last night…
(Link in case the embed doesn’t load)