Searching for the “Heard About Guy”

Who is the Heard About Guy?

It is known that the Heard About Guy just got out of jail.

The Heard About Guy is the guy who, your client tells you, just finished off a case that was exactly like his. The client heard about this guy from someone reliable. The Heard About Guy was the beneficiary of extreme good fortune, you are advised, in that his case was identical to the one you are struggling with this very moment, with this very client. Not only were the facts of both cases the same, but the Heard About Guy was roughly the same age, had the same background, and generally the same criminal record as this client. An amazingly fortuitous coincidence!

The Heard About Guy received an incredible deal—clearly the product of good lawyering. The stars were aligned for the Heard About Guy, so it seems. Rather than the 90 days jail the prosecutor is asking for your poor client, the Heard About Guy—whose case was identical in all significant respects did not go to jail, not even for a day.

Your challenge, of course, is to match the deal the Heard About Guy got. The devil is in the details, as the saying goes, so you begin an inquiry with your client in the lovely confines of the cell block.

What was the name of the Heard About Guy? Please give me that simple information–we can order a transcript of the proceedings and easily convince the prosecutor of the unreasonableness of her position. A new, revised deal would clearly be in the offing—you’ll be out of here in no time….. What’s that? You are sorry to report you don’t know his name? Egads! The guys on the other range knew him only as Buddy.

This is only a minor setback…pray tell, who was the lawyer for the Heard About Guy? The Windsor bar is small—we’ll find the lawyer and surely he will give us all the information needed to track down this gem of a case. The lawyer will easily remember his great success. Say what? You are not sure of the lawyer’s name. Rats!

Well, there is more than one way to skin a cat. When did the Heard About Guy go to court? Who was the judge? Any scrap of information would help—it will be so easy from there. This cannot be! With regrets, you must advise that this information is not known. You can confirm, however, that it was very recent, and in this jurisdiction.

Things are getting a little desperate…the final approach: Where is the Heard About Guy now? Any address or number will do. I will seek him out! If he is not home, I will leave my card in the door with a note to call me right away! If he frequents a local bar, I will go there personally and buy him a beer! Dang! You have been lead to believe he has left town—“fucked off” in your words, with no forwarding address! A cell number, written on a scrap of paper, was lost. Of all the rotten luck!

Wait—almost forgot! Your reliable source—identify this person and we’ll take it from there. Don’t tell me! He’s gone too! Shipped out, skipped bail, traveling under a false name, avoiding detection. This is madness!

Rest assured, this bizarre dialogue is repeated from lawyer to client the world over, usually ending with a mutual rumination over opportunities lost and cruel ironies.

The Heard About Guy is a bugaboo, a phantom, a figment of the imagination—like the Loch Ness Monster, often spoken about, but rarely spotted. Sadly, I cannot disprove the existence of the Heard About Guy any more than I can disprove the existence of unicorns in the woods of Essex County. Therein lies the rub, although I am reasonably sure my clients don’t think I am so stupid to believe that some anonymous Joe got the deal of a century right in my back yard without me knowing about it.

I doubt strongly that any of my clients actually believe of his existence, although none would admit that our search for this alien being is a charade. The client, I suspect, wants to measure my commitment to him and to his case. The Heard About Guy at least represents a crude form of Hope, not to be dismissed lightly.

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About johndliddle

John Liddle is a Windsor, Ontario criminal defence lawyer. He was called to the bar in 1990 and is a member in good standing of the governing body for Ontario lawyers, the Law Society of Upper Canada. He has been a sole practitioner concentrating on the practice of criminal law since 1992. He has experience in handling all manner of criminal cases in all levels of criminal courts in Ontario.
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