Gutierrez was representing 48-year-old Claudy Charles, who is on trial for intentionally setting a car on fire in South Miami. The lawyer had begun his closing arguments when the fire in his trousers erupted.
Police and prosecutors are investigating the incident, seizing the dead e-cigarette batteries as evidence.
Stephen Gutierrez. (LinkedIn)
After jurors were ushered out, the lawyer returned unharmed and insisting it wasn’t a staged stunt gone wrong. Gutierrez blamed the smoke on a faulty battery in an e-cigarette that was in his pocket, according to the New York Post.
It’s possible Miami-Dade judge Michael Hanzman could decide to hold Gutierrez in contempt of court.
After smoke poured out of his pocket, Gutierrez bolted from the courtroom. Witnesses said prior to his sizzling arguments, the attorney was seen messing with something in his pocket.
Despite the incident, Charles was convicted of second-degree arson.
A defence lawyer was on fire in a Miami courtroom Wednesday afternoon — literally.
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Stephen Gutierrez was on a roll arguing during a trial that his client’s car had spontaneously combusted and was not purposely set on fire when he started to feel heat coming from his pants.
According to the Miami Herald, stunned spectators looked on as smoke started to billow out of Gutierrez’s right pocket during the arson trial.
– With files from The Associated Press
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“It was surreal,” a witness told the Herald.
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