Pants on fire: Lawyer’s trousers burst into flames while defending client accused of arson

Stephen Gutierrez blamed the crotch combustion on a faulty e-cigarette battery

A lawyer’s trousers burst into flames earlier this week while defending a client accused of arson.

Stephen Gutierrez (pictured below), a Miami-based criminal defence specialist, was representing Claudy Charles, who stood accused of deliberately setting his own car on fire.

Presenting his closing arguments to the jury on Wednesday, Gutierrez argued that his client’s vehicle had actually spontaneously combusted, and therefore he was not guilty of arson.

However the 28-year-old lawyer’s speech was quickly cut short when smoke began billowing out of his right pocket. Leaving court onlookers stunned, Gutierrez made a dash for the exit.

Returning moments later with a singed pocket, the lawyer blamed the crotch combustion on a faulty battery in an e-cigarette. Gutierrez denied that the incident was a staged defence demonstration gone wrong. Whatever the reason, the in-court theatrics didn’t work, as Charles was eventually found guilty of second-degree arson.

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Criminal Barrister

This is the kind of crazy clownery that passes for advocacy in the USA.

Presumably he intended to make the submission to the dumb-ass redneck jury that “it could’a happened to anyone- hell it happened to me jus’ now!” in an attempt to secure an acquittal.

This is the country where supposedly “top” lawyers can advertise their success rates and boast that they have done “over twenty jury trials” and pass themselves off as experienced as a result (most junior criminal counsel will have done that many in the first few years of practice in England!)

Thank goodness the profession has far more dignity in this country.

Judge Dredd

Rather reminiscent of the well known but perhaps apocryphal tale of the US Attorney who asked the pathologist whether he was sure that the deceased was dead. “Well, I suppose he could be alive and practising law somewhere.”


Key part to this is that the deceased had had his brain removed as part of the autopsy…


The legal profession here is even more of a joke than the one in the UK


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