The Blash v. ABA Construction Group magic lawyer fallout is ping-ponging madly around cyberspace and lots of lawyers, among them lawyer/magicians, are weighing in with opinions about the propriety of magicial trickery in the courtroom. Here's a sampling of the voir dire.
From Overlawyered: "That Lawyer Dude" comments that he's used "a ball and some cups to illustrate the prosecutor was trying to hide the issue under a bunch of immaterial issues about the defendant’s past criminal behavior." The prosecutor didn't like that but the court overruled him (her?), saying the ball and cups routine "wasn’t evidence" and "might keep the jury awake" and the tactic paid off. Continues "That Lawyer Dude", "That would have happened with or without the “magic”. Good bad or otherwise, he has a right to use his skills in summation. I would just prepare for it and hit it in my summation."
But "Raymer" counters, "And if the lawyer is also a surgeon (MD/JD) maybe he could wow the jury with the transplant of a heart of a liberal into the body of a conservative (punch line - but how does one stop the bleeding)." He compares magic tricks to "fluff", suggesting that one would use them to camouflage the lack of a strong case.
From The Dirty Life & Times (a/k/a The Neutral Zone Trap), E. McPan says he (sorry, she--see comment posted below) thinks it's inappropriate for either counsel and for either civil or criminal attorneys. Apparently she has faced magical trickery, from a prosecuting attorney. "Even though the magician/attorney works exclusively for defendants, he appears (ha) to do only civil work. While it's entertaining, I think it's still inappropriate no matter which side does it. Especially when the remainder of someone's life is on the line, as in my case. Yes, the facts weren't changed by the prosecutor's magic trick, but it demeaned the gravity of the situation. My guy will be in jail until he dies, which will probably be sooner rather than later, given the nature of the crime."
So he (sorry, she--see comment posted below) poses the question to his (sorry, her) readers: Should such things be allowed? Are they distractions? One would think attorneys wouldn't try them in a bench trial.
"So what do you think - Is it improper to perform magic tricks for a jury? Does it matter if it's a civil case or a criminal case? What if both sides were allowed to perform tricks? Could one side give a dramatic re-enactment if the other side got to do magic tricks? Sing a song? Basically, if the trial looked like an Ally McBeal episode, would that be ok with you, as a practitioner in real life?"
From the Maryland Accident Lawyer Blog: Laura Zois comes to this blog's post via an Overlawyered post and says, "Attention all Plaintiffs' lawyers encountering this lawyer: who cares? Do you really think defense lawyer's ability to perform magic tricks is going to impact your verdict? I can think of a thousand easy mark responses to counter that the defendant's lawyer is using magic tricks. I'll go as far as to say I think plaintiffs' lawyers should want the defense lawyer to perform magic tricks."
Quizlaw (who seems to be at least one L.A. lawyer named Seth) discusses the lawyer/magician in question, Mr. Leventhal, responds to that slur against spending one's engaged with sand and suds ("what the hell’s wrong with spending your summers boozing it up at the Jersey Shore?"). His opinion? Magic tricks, like the case to which they're attached, are an illusion. "And if I were the attorney on the other side, I’d probably let him put on his little show, and I’d just talk to the jury about how their case is just an illusion and that when you look behind the curtain it all falls apart, etc." Ah, the Wizard of Oz argument.