An attorney representing a Tampa-area man accused in a murder-for-hire scheme believes the importance of being Ernest trumps his client's trial needs. A judge -- apparently an Ernest Hemingway fan -- disagrees.
Frank Louderback represents Jerry Bottorff, accused of murder for hire, conspiracy to commit murder for hire and a weapons offense for his involvement in the 2007 slaying of Thomas Lee Sehorne, 37, in Lithia, Fla.
Bottorff would later go on to marry Sehorne's widow, Christie. Both, along with alleged gunman Luis Lopez, face trial starting July 9. Louderback wants the trial suspended on July 20. Why?
He's entered the annual Ernest Hemingway Look-a-Like Contest at Sloppy Joe's in Key West and doesn't want to miss it. The winner will be crowned on July 21.
U.S. District Court Judge Steven Merryday countered in his decision on Louderback's motion: "Between a murder-for-hire trial and an annual look-alike contest, surely Hemingway, a perfervid admirer of grace under pressure, would choose the trial."
He then quotes a Dorothy Parker article about Hemingway from the Nov. 30, 1929, New Yorker: "He works like hell, and through it.... He had the most profound bravery.... He has never turned off on an easier path than the one he staked for himself. It takes courage."
The judge continued: "Perhaps a lawyer who evokes Hemingway can resist relaxing frolic in favor of solemn duty." He then quotes Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”: “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”
On June 22, Merryday issued his decision: "Best of luck to counsel in next year's contest. The motion is denied..."