As lawyer Stephen Gutierrez was telling the jury his client’s car spontaneously caught fire and was not set aflame on purpose, smoke wafted out of his own pocket, according to the Miami Herald.
Stunning the court, Gutierrez then ran from the courtroom with a column of smoke left in his wake. He reportedly returned a short time later no worse for wear.
The paper reported that Gutierrez was fiddling in his pocket and set the batteries of his e-Cigarette against other items in his pocket, which started his pants to smolder.
One witness called the scene “surreal.”
It is not known if the shocking incident had any effect on the jury, but Gutierrez lost his case, and his client, Claudy Charles, 48, was convicted of second-degree arson.
Losing his case may be the least of the 28-year-old lawyer’s worries. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman is reportedly considering whether or not to charge Gutierrez with contempt of court for the disruptive incident.
The incident lends new life to the old “pants on fire” saying, especially where it concerns lawyers.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.