Will Perry Mason Defend Himself?

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The Associated Press reported yesterday that Perry Mason had been charged with felony barratry in Texas, a crime that carries a penalty of up to ten years in jail.  "Barratry" is the dastardly crime committed when a non-attorney solicits clients for a licensed attorney, something that you may know as "marketing."  See Tex. Pen. Code sec. 38.12.

"Perry Mason," as many of you hopefully know, was the iconic defense attorney in the 1960s TV show of that name, who won virtually every case he tried, no matter how grim the facts looked for his client.  This "Perry Mason," who was allegedly soliciting former inmates for an unnamed attorney, is not a lawyer himself but obviously gravitated toward the legal field.

The 1960s show followed a set formula even more closely than "Law and Order" does today:

Each episode's plot is essentially the same: the first half of the show usually depicts the prospective murder victim as being deserving of homicide, often with Perry's client publicly threatening to kill the victim; the body is found . . . surrounded by clues pointing to Perry's client. Perry's client is put on trial for murder, but Perry establishes his client's innocence by dramatically demonstrating the guilt of another character.  The murderer nearly always breaks down and confesses to the crime in the courtroom, if not on the witness stand . . . . [I]t is common for the camera to zoom in on the faces of the potentially guilty (visibly uncomfortable in their seats) as Perry slowly but surely moves to the climactic identification of the real murderer, who confesses, often to the accompaniment of a kettledrum-laden orchestral score, followed by a fadeout to black, symbolizing the defeat and oblivion meted out by Perry Mason. . . .

William Talman played Mason's perennial adversary, District Attorney Hamilton Burger, whose eyes bulged in anger and frustration each week as Mason defeated him yet again.

 "Perry Mason," Wikipedia.org (retrieved Apr. 17, 2009)

According to various sources, Mason actually lost one, two, or three cases during the show's run, although he uncovered the real killer later anyway.  That still left Burger with a record of (at best) 3 wins, 268 losses, a 98.9 percent loss rate, so that he must have been at least a little relieved when the show ended in 1966.

The report did not say whether the Texas Perry Mason would attempt to defend himself.

Link: AP via Yahoo! News