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Hot off the (trouser) press

Hot off the (trouser) press


Lawyer represents arson defendant while trousers burn in court

A Miami defence lawyer's trousers set on fire this week while he was representing a client accused of '“ yes, you guessed it '“ arson.

In a scene that could grace any sketch show Stephen Gutierrez had just begun his closing arguments to the jury when one of his trouser pockets started smoking.

Gutierrez rushed out of the Miami-Dade courtroom and later returned unharmed with a singed pocket, witnesses told the Miami Herald, who recalled the attorney laying blame on a faulty battery in an e-cigarette.

'It was surreal,' said one observer, while another said 'a lot of people could have been hurt'.

Miami-Dade's police unit seized several frayed e-cigarette batteries as evidence and are believed to be investigating the incident.

Gutierrez, 28, was representing Claudy Charles, who was accused of intentionally setting his own car on fire. Jurors convicted him of second-degree arson, notwithstanding his lawyer's own embarrassing episode.

But if Gutierrez thought his day couldn't get any worse, it has been reported that South Miami-Dade circuit judge Michael Hanzman is now considering whether to hold the luckless attorney in contempt of court.

Here's hoping that on his next visit to Miami-Dade Gutierrez's fingers don't get burnt.