Saturday, January 17, 2009

Kennedy Case Continues On Alternate Trajectory

Last month, I suggested that the criminal assault case against Andy Kennedy is proceeding differently than it would if Kennedy were an indigent defendant. That trend seems to be continuing.

The case against Kennedy has been scheduled for a jury trial in April. At Kennedy's request, the court granted a three-month continuance so that the case would not be heard before the conclusion of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. (That is, perhaps, awfully optimistic on Kennnedy's part. His Rebels haven't made the tournament since 2002. Assuming the SEC gets 6 teams into the tourney this year, Mississippi, at 10-6 overall and 1-1 in the conference, won't be one of them without significant improvement.)

While a court will generally do what it can to accommodate a defendant's work schedule, a three-month continuance is relatively rare and would have had to be specifically approved by the court. Generally, municipal court dates are set by the Office of the Assignment Commissioner. Currently, someone who goes there to set a court date can get a date in January, February, or March; April is not yet "open" by the AC. The municipal court judge handling Kennedy's case had to instruct the AC to set the case in April, or it would not have done so. Perhaps the trial should have been set in March, with an understanding it would be continued if Kennedy's team made the tournament.

The civil attorneys who have jumped into the fray, both on behalf of Kennedy and on behalf of the two people he's sued for defamation (the cab driver Kennedy allegedly assaulted and a valet who claims to have seen the alleged assault). On December 22 (just four days after the alleged assault and alleged defamation), Kennedy amended his complaint, adding as a plaintiff his wife, who claims to have suffered a loss of consortium as a result of the alleged defamation.

Really? Loss of consortium in four days? Kennedy will need an expert to explain to the civil jury why the deterioration of his marriage is a result of the assault allegation, rather than Kennedy's professional frustration with his team's mediocre performance (including his team's December 18 loss to Louisville). If I were a more irresponsible blogger, I might suggest that folks send Kennedy self-help books on marriage and relationships to his office at Ole Miss. You just hate to see anyone lose consortium, after all. But that would be a bad idea, so I won't.

Kennedy's accusers have decided not to be left out, either. The Enquirer reports that the cab driver has countersued Kennedy for the alleged assault, and the valet has countersued for damages pertaining to Kennedy's purportedly frivolous defamation suit.

It's good to see that at least we lawyers aren't suffering in the weak economy.

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