Jun 192009

There’s nothing quite as impressive to watch as a lawyer on the make. Take this federal attorney prosecuting Fleet Management in a San Francisco court.

John Upton of the San Francisco Examiner tells an interesting tale of legal eagle skulduggery: “Attorneys filed court documents May 11 on behalf of ship operator Fleet Management Ltd. offering to plead guilty to environmental misdemeanors… Those violations would ordinarily carry a maximum fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

But the Fed want to hit Fleet Management for $40m, so planned to “ use the Alternative Fines Act to enhance one of the penalties, but, by May 11, it still had not filed the necessary court documents.” says Upton. That plan would fall through if the judge accepted Fleet Management’s guilty plea before a new indictment was filed, so the plan looked doomed.

Up steps Washington, D.C.-based prosecutor Richard Udell who tells the judge that he won’t be available for a court hearing on 26 May because “that would necessitate my traveling on Memorial Day (May 25), which I would like to avoid if possible.” He wanted to spend that day with his wife and children in Washington DC. So the hearing was moved to 27 May.

Says Upton: “But Udell did not spend Memorial Day with his kids. Instead, according to his court filings, he changed his plans and flew on Memorial Day to San Francisco, where he secured the needed indictment before the hearing.”


You can read John Upton’s report here.

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