Criminal Defendant Escapes After Being Mistaken for Lawyer

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Ordinarily – despite what so many of you are probably thinking right now – it is not that difficult to distinguish between lawyers and criminal suspects.  Really.  But I guess what we learn from this story is that it's mostly because of the suit.

Sources in New York report that (as of Thursday afternoon) authorities are still searching for Ronald Tackman, a 56-year-old man with a long criminal record who escaped from a prisoner holding area in Manhattan Supreme Court (not too far from City Hall and Wall Street) on Wednesday.  Tackman was facing trial on second-degree robbery charges when he made his escape, which he accomplished by means of the daring tactic of walking out the door.  He was able to do this because someone had left a prisoner holding area unlocked.

Also crucial to Tackman's escape: the suit he had worn for trial.

According to the report, in order to get out of the courthouse Tackman at one point had to pass through a courtroom.  As he walked through the room (the report used the word "strolled," so maybe he did that), a court officer noticed him, but apparently mistook him for a lawyer, calling him "counselor."  Whether Tackman responded is unclear, but the officer didn't stop him.  He then walked out the north entrance, went home, said hi to his mom, changed clothes, and disappeared.

Tackman has served at least three stretches in prison and has made two prior escape attempts.  His first one, which involved a fake gun made out of soap, was unsuccessful.  The next time he used a pellet gun, and managed to escape (temporarily) from a prison van.  This escape, in which he brandished only a three-piece suit, may be his most successful to date.  But then he is only the most recent example of somebody using a suit to get away with robbery in that part of town.

Maybe the authorities are just trying to find him so they can get him his hundred-million-dollar bonus.

Link: (WABC in New York)