But as a criminal defense attorney myself, with so many friends in the same line of work, I am finding it hard to believe that a lawyer deserves that much for a case that didn't even go to trial.
As a customer of MLG&W, I want to see Spence's itemized billing for his services in the case; and I am calling on the Memphis City Council to demand the same and go over it with a fine-tooth comb.
If there are any improprieties, I want them reported to Tennessee's Board of Professional Responsibility for possible disciplinary action. There are two lawyers on the Council; and they should know what I'm talking about.
One Councilperson tells me "we can not cut the billing we can only approve or disapprove the billing. The net result might be a cut, but that has to come from the mlgw side." OK, even if that is so, without an examination in verified detail and the acceptance of the entire validity of this immense billing by the body charged with approving it, just disapprove it and see what happens.
I thought I was the lone voice in the wilderness on this issue; but, lo and behold, the Commercial Appeal's editorial board just weighed in on it.
Attorney Robert Spence's nearly half-million-dollar tab might be a place to start negotiations, but if the council fails to take a close look at the bill there's not even a faint hope for fiscal responsibility at City Hall.Go read the whole editorial and get just as skeptical as they are and I am.
The bill was approved this week by the MLGW board at a meeting at which no documentation supporting it was made public.
. . . .
Give the Spence-Lee team credit for chutzpah on this one, but as they say on TV: "Let's make a deal."
Council members, we're going to be breathing down your necks on this one.
UPDATE: Another CA editorial against paying this entire bill without extreme scrutiny.