- A lawyer’s trousers caught fire inside the court in Miami
- Coincidentally, he’s defending a client who was accused of arson
- The lawyer said it was not a stunt
- His client was eventually convicted while he might be held in contempt of court
A defense lawyer in Florida was literally on fire inside the court after his trousers caught flame while defending his client who was accused of arson.
Stephen Gutierrez was on his closing arguments before a jury at the Miami-Dade county courtroom when he reached into one of his pockets. Smoke then started coming out from his pants; leaving spectators in shock.
Gutierrez had to excuse himself to go to the bathroom to put out the fire. He came back later and appeared to be unharmed. His pants were singed, though.
It appeared that the fire came from the defective batteries of his electronic cigarette. Witnesses inside the courtroom as “surreal”.
The 28-year-old lawyer was defending 49-year-old Claudy Charles, who was accused of deliberately setting his vehicle on fire.
Gutierrez told the Miami Herald later that it was neither a stunt nor staged as part of his defense.
“No one thinks that a battery left in their pocket is somehow going to explode. After careful research, I now know this can happen,” the lawyer said.
“I am not the only one this has happened to, but I am in a position to shed light on the situation,” he added.
His client was eventually convicted of second-degree arson, while Gutierrez could possibly be held in contempt by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman.