I’ve not seen this as a lawyer  representing individuals and families in personal injury and wrongful death cases in Georgia, and I hope I never do.  Last week a lawyer from the Tennessee attorney general’s office got perhaps the ultimate putdown in court.  Associate Justice David Souter told her, “I simply cannot follow your argument because I believe you have just made a statement to me that is utterly irrational.”

The issue was whether it was error for prosecutors to withhold evidence that would have supported the defense argument that the murder defendant committed his crime while under an amphetamine psychosis. The state’s lawyer said, under intense questioning from the court, that the withheld evidence would not have benefited the defendant. It was in response to that remark that Justice Souter called her argument "utterly irrational."

Of course, lawyers are not the only people who say things in the judicial process that are "utterly irrational." Sometimes judges, too, say things that are utterly irrational.


 Ken Shigley is an Atlanta, Georgia trial attorney with a practice is focused on cases of catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death arising from commercial truck and bus accidents. He is a former chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute, and is a frequent speaker at national continuing legal education programs on trucking liability cases. He has been rated as a "Super Lawyer" (Atlanta Magazine), one of the "Legal Elite" (Georgia Trend Magazine), and a Certified Civil Trial Advocate (National Board of Trial Advocacy,).  Mr. Shigley is currently Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.  To increase capacity for handling more and larger cases, he recently became "of counsel" with the law firm of Chambers, Aholt & Rickard which has an extensive trucking liability practice.