Defendant gets new trial...because his lawyer was sleeping.

Jonahan Turley continues to find really interesting – if somewhat depressing – stories about the legal system.

On Monday, Turley wrote about a recent decision out of the United States Court of Appeals in the Fourth Circuit. Nicolas Ragin, pictured below, had been arrested and tried for conspiracy and racketeering charges in 2006. His lawyer at the time Nikita Mackey, pictured above, put on an interesting defense during the trial. He slept through substantial portions of it. To be clear – the attorney, Mr. Mackey – slept through portions of the trial. Mr. Cagin was convicted and served 10 years in prison.

Ragin appealed the conviction. The appeal included testimony from other lawyers involved in the trial. One lawyer, Peter Wolf, described how the judge at one point leaned into his microphone and loudly barked Mackey’s name. As Wolf tells it:”Mackey then jumped up and sort of looked around and was licking his lips and moving his mouth and sort of look confused and looked all over the room.” Of course he did. Who enjoys being rudely woken whilst enjoying a nap at Counsel’s Table?

The Fourth Circuit ruled that Ragin was deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel when counsel sleeps during a substantial portion of the defendant’s trial.” Pretty hard to argue with that logic.

Wonder if Ragin hs seen Cape Fear??