Snopes claims Hillary got appointed to defend the child rapist she’s been criticized for defending.
Note I’ve double-quoted the material that’s quoted material on the snopes page:
As Hillary Clinton wrote in her 2003 biography Living History, she didn’t volunteer to represent the defendant, but rather was appointed to the case by the judge:
[Prosecuting attorney Mahlon Gibson] called me to tell me an indigent prisoner accused of raping a twelve-year-old girl wanted a woman lawyer. [Prosecutor Mahlon] Gibson had recommended that the criminal court judge, Maupin Cummings, appoint me. I told Mahlon I really didn’t feel comfortable taking on such a client, but Mahlon gently reminded me that I couldn’t very well refuse the judge’s request.
Now being “appointed” for lawyers has a particular meaning in my understanding. As a lawyer you can voluntarily sign up for a court-appointed attorneys list. Lots of places have these. And what happens is, if any cases come in where say an accused criminal needs a lawyer, a judge might pick your name off the list and you will get a set rate for any work you do on the case.
So when i initially read that Hillary says she was appointed, I thought that was what people meant — the court appointed attorneys list. If you sign up for that list, you’re obligated to take cases from it. It’s kinda like you work for the court … it’s not a freelance arrangement where you can decline stuff you don’t want (at least, that’s true of the ones i’ve looked at).
But the way the above is discussed, it sounds like the judge was making a request, not giving an assignment.
It gets weirder:
[Prosecuting Attorney Mahlon] Gibson said the same thing during a 2014 CNN interview about the case, adding that Hillary had attempted unsuccessfully to get the judge to remove her from the case:
Gibson said that it is “ridiculous” for people to question how Clinton became Taylor’s representation.
“She got appointed to represent this guy,” he told CNN when asked about the controversy.
According to Gibson, Maupin Cummings, the judge in the case, kept a list of attorneys who would represent poor clients. Clinton was on that list and helped run a legal aid clinic at the time.
So this sounds like the judge had a personal list he kept of various attorneys. Sounds very different than any sort of formal arrangement which Hillary would have to abide by.
Taylor was assigned a public defender in the case but Gibson said he quickly “started screaming for a woman attorney” to represent him.
So the guy already HAD a lawyer. So how could Hillary have been obligated to take the case?
Gibson said Clinton called him shortly after the judge assigned her to the case and said, “I don’t want to represent this guy. I just can’t stand this. I don’t want to get involved. Can you get me off?”
“I told her, ‘Well contact the judge and see what he says about it,’ but I also said don’t jump on him and make him mad,” Gibson said.
Sounds like she’s worried about the personal relationship with the judge more than possible sanction for not doing her job.
“She contacted the judge and the judge didn’t remove her and she stayed on the case.”
Why would Hillary be worried about the relationship with the judge?
On May 21, 1975, Tom Taylor rose in court to demand that Washington County Judge Maupin Cummings allow him to fire his male court-appointed lawyer in favor of a female attorney. Taylor, who earned a meager wage at a paper bag factory and lived with relatives, had already spent 10 days in the county jail and was grasping for a way to avoid a 30 years-to-life term in the state penitentiary for rape.
Taylor, 41, figured a jury would be less hostile to a rape defendant represented by a woman, according to one of his friends. Cummings agreed to the request, scanned the list of available female attorneys (there were only a half dozen in the county at the time) and assigned Rodham, who had virtually no experience in criminal litigation.
“Hillary told me she didn’t want to take that case, she made that very clear,” recalls prosecutor Gibson, who phoned her with the judge’s order.
Rodham immersed herself in Taylor’s defense as the law school’s spring semester came to an end. “She worked a lot of nights on it,” said Van Gearhart, her teaching assistant at the law clinic in 1975. “I remember her doing that because she wanted to show that she was willing to take court appointments, hoping that the bar would help us in getting established as a clinic.”
Sounds like she wanted to get good references for help getting her clinic established. So she worked super hard on the case and dragged a girl through the mud cuz she’s a careerist. Sounds like a Clinton!
Note also that in the audio recording where she talks about the case, she describes taking the case as a favor to the prosecutor:
(around a minute into the video)
Updated: Hat tip to anonymous philosopher ingracke for pointing out some issues with the Snopes article.