Date Circa 1944.
(left) and Frankie
What Haynes lands
a left to the jaw of his
Note By the time he
finished high school,
Haynes was regarded
as one of the better
amateur boxers in the
San Antonio area.
Before the judge could intervene,
Haynes called off the stunt.
“I chickened out at the last minute,” he says. “I was afraid I would
start crying in front of the jury.”
The defense was effective even
without the grotesque exhibition;
the jury found his clients not guilty.
Haynes admits he uses flaws in
the court system for the benefit of
his clients—sometimes to his regret.
Once, he defended two white cops
charged with killing a black man.
After a long, hard-fought trial, the
jury found his clients not guilty.
When a reporter asked Haynes to
describe the turning point in the
case, Haynes blurted his answer:
“Well, it was the moment the court
chose the last one of those 12 bigots
to serve on the jury.”
“For several years after that,” he
says, “prosecutors would pass around
the newspaper article with that quote
in it to prospective jurors.”
EXPERIENCE PAYS OFF
ONE OF HAYNES’ BIGGEST CASES CAME
in 1976 when he was hired by Fort
Worth multimillionaire T. Cullen
Davis, who was charged with mur-
dering his stepdaughter and his estranged wife’s boyfriend, and attempting to kill his wife. At the
time, Davis was widely believed to
be the wealthiest man to have ever
been tried for murder in the United
Haynes provided a two-pronged
defense: Davis was at a movie theater watching The Bad News Bears at
the time of the murder, and an eyewitness put someone else at the
scene at the time of the slayings.
The key to getting the jury to believe an alibi defense, he says, is to
simultaneously provide an acceptable alternative scenario that points
to someone else committing the
crime. Haynes interviewed his client’s wife for 13 days in a cross-exam
some critics said put her on trial by
forcing her to answer sexual questions unrelated to the allegations.
The verdict: not guilty.
Two years later, Davis was arrested again. This time, he was charged
with hiring a hit man to kill the judge
in his divorce case, his ex-wife and a
handful of others. Prosecutors, who
had Davis on audio- and videotape,
were confident of a conviction.
But the Houston lawyer once again
worked his magic. Haynes told jurors
that the state’s key witness was a
paid informant who was not to be
believed, that Davis went along
with the sting operation because he
thought he was working for the FBI,
and that Davis was so rich that he
wasn’t concerned with whether these
people lived or died.
To everyone’s shock, Davis was
Haynes loves discussing his cases
to teach young lawyers about trial
practice. In 1978, he told attendees
at an ABA meeting in New York
City that attorneys too often limit
their strategic defense options in
court. When evidence inevitably
surfaces that contradicts the defense’s position, lawyers need to
have a backup plan.
“Say you sue me because you say
my dog bit you,” he told the audience. “Well, now this is my defense:
My dog doesn’t bite. And second, in
the alternative, my dog was tied up
that night. And third, I don’t believe
you really got bit.”
His final defense, he said, would
be: “I don’t have a dog.” ■