Jefferson-Impersonating Lawyer Disbarred in Kansas

I may have to modify my frequent statement that Mat Staver and Larry Klayman are the worst lawyers in America. This guy may be worse. Dennis Hawver has been disbarred by the Kansas Supreme Court for “inexplicable incompetence.” Hayver showed up at his disbarment hearing dressed as Thomas Jefferson, as he’s done many other times in court.

The Kansas Supreme Court voted unanimously to disbar Dennis Hawver, an Ozawkie attorney who has previously run for governor as a Republican and for attorney general and Congress as a Libertarian.

In a decision handed down Friday, the court ruled that Hawver showed “inexplicable incompetence” as a defense attorney for Phillip Cheatham during a 2005 murder trial in Shawnee County. The court previously reversed Cheatham’s conviction and ordered a new trial in 2013, ruling that Hawver had failed to properly represent his client.

The 2013 ruling states that Hawver told prospective jurors that his client was “a cocaine dealer and that Cheatham had killed another cocaine dealer with a gun.” He also failed to present evidence that might have proven that Cheatham was not in Topeka at the time of murder for which he was charged.

The court’s disbarment ruling notes that Hawver also told jurors that they should execute the killer in his closing argument. Cheatham was sentenced to death before his conviction was overturned.

The disbarment ruling states that the totality of evidence leads to a “virtually inescapable conclusion” that Hawver failed to meet the state’s professional conduct code while representing Cheatham.

He’s now suing the state supreme court in federal court. I’m sure it will go far.

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  • whheydt

    Suing the state court pro se, no doubt.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Has Brownback announced plans to appoint him state Attorney General yet?

  • John Pieret

    One thing is sure … before any petition for reinstatement is even considered, he should undergo extensive psychiatric treatment and a sanity hearing.

    BTW, he sued the Kansas Supreme Court even before it rendered its decision:

    http://cjonline.com/news/2014-09-12/hawver-appears-kansas-supreme-court-dressed-thomas-jefferson

  • lordshipmayhem

    I believe that your frequent statement that “Mat Staver and Larry Klayman are the worst lawyers in America” remains an accurate one. Dennis Hawver having been disbarred, he is no longer a lawyer.

    Neither Mat Staver nor Larry Klayman has been disbarred. Yet.

  • colnago80

    Re lordshipmayhem @ #4

    Neither has Orly Taitz, whose incompetence is at least equal to that of Staver and Klayman.

  • khms

    Still, when talking about bad US lawyers, I always tend to think of Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel.

  • caseloweraz

    Hayver showed up at his disbarment hearing dressed as Thomas Jefferson, as he’s done many other times in court.

    Would that be the young Thomas Jefferson?

  • howardhershey

    Suing the State? He must have an idiot as a client.

  • kantalope

    So you can be too crazy even for a Red state….who knew?

  • http://zenoferox.blogspot.com/ Zeno

    The ads have really gotten out of control again, Ed.

  • Alverant

    Wait a defense attorney who said his client was guilty and it’s NOT a Monty Python sketch?

    Do you need to tell us Cheatham’s race or can we guess?

  • David C Brayton

    I’m amazed this even made it to the appeals court. If I were a judge and a defendant’s lawyer said that the killer should be put to death, I’d declare a mistrial right there, full stop. With an advocate like that, who needs a enemies? Or a prosecutor?

  • throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    I was reminded of the old three stooges lawfirm with this one. Except the tragedy is that “Cheatham” was the client and probably doesn’t sound like “Cheatem”. Plus the fact that there were no Deweys or Howes involved… But still. I was reminded of the classic sketch. I guess that’s something. Probably.

  • mithrandir

    Still, when talking about bad US lawyers, I always tend to think of Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel.

    Oh wow, that takes me back. Those are the Internet’s first-ever spammers, aren’t they? The “GREEN CARD LOTTERY” people? I kind of wonder what ever became of them, but didn’t care enough to look it up.

  • eric

    With an advocate like that, who needs a enemies? Or a prosecutor?

    Sounds to me like he wanted to be a prosecutor, but the state wouldn’t hire him (and now it’s pretty clear why).

  • http://www.thomaswebb.net pinkboi

    Everyone on facebook is focusing on the zaniness of him dressing as Thomas Jefferson, but the real fucked up story is he failed to properly defend his client! It’s like being a doctor and deliberately killing your patient (and your patient wants to live).

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Don’t forget Charles Carreon!! Is he completely out of the running for worst lawyer?

  • blf

    mithrandir@14, According to Ye Pffffft! of All Knowledge, “In 1997, the Supreme Court of Tennessee disbarred [Laurence] Canter in part for illegal advertising practices. [… Their company] Cybersell was dissolved by default in March 1998 after repeatedly failing to file annual reports or pay its incorporation fees.” Martha Siegel apparently died in 2000.