Defender may be familiar to Ravens fans

Garland: Jamal Lewis' lawyer, known for his skill at wooing juries, defended Ray Lewis against murder charges in 2000.

Jamal Lewis Indictment

February 27, 2004|By Marego Athans | Marego Athans,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

If the name Edward T.M. Garland sounds vaguely familiar, think back four years to the murder trial of Ravens star Ray Lewis in Atlanta.

Garland, the smooth and gentlemanly criminal defense lawyer known in that city for his high-profile cases and way of wooing juries, won Lewis his freedom with a misdemeanor plea.

Now, Garland, 62, is defending another Ravens star: running back Jamal Lewis, who was indicted Wednesday in Atlanta on federal drug charges.

With his tailored suits and pocket handkerchiefs, his youthful smile and polite demeanor, the sixth-generation lawyer has a reputation for charming jurors. There's also a touch of glamour about him: One of his cases spawned a best-selling book, and his Italian Renaissance mansion was featured in the movie Driving Miss Daisy.

But he can quickly turn bulldog, colleagues say.

"In the courtroom, he's a gentleman unless the situation calls for something else," defense lawyer Gary Spencer said yesterday. "If a witness is lying, he's going to be very aggressive on cross-examination. He's going to represent that person like you want to be represented."

Garland, the son of famed litigator Reuben Garland - whose courtroom theatrics frequently landed him in jail on contempt charges - has tried some of the South's most sensational cases.

He helped win an acquittal for the late Jim Williams, a Savannah millionaire who was charged with murder in a case depicted in the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Garland and his law partner, Don Samuel, represent pro hockey player Dany Heatley, charged with vehicular homicide in connection with a fall crash that killed his Atlanta Thrasher teammate, Dan Snyder.

Garland defended Eduardo Martinez Romero, a Colombian who was extradited to the United States and accused of laundering drug profits for the Medellin cocaine cartel. Romero pleaded guilty and received a six-year prison sentence.

Other clients include Dwight York, the leader of a pseudo-religious group called the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, who is accused of child molestation.

Comfortable around the media - he appeared frequently on CNN during the O.J. Simpson trial - Garland uses his platform in high-profile cases to generate talk that helps shape his case, said defense lawyer Buddy Parker.

"You begin to create the politics of the case, which deals with the personalities and human beings involved, more than just the defendant," said Parker, a former federal prosecutor who has faced off against Garland.

"He's beginning the focus group process, with the media being the first focus group. ... Stuff is going to go out, whether on TV or in print media, that creates coffee talk and cocktail talk. People start to formulate positions within the larger community in which potential juries are going to be formed."

Garland is well suited for the Jamal Lewis case, largely because juries like him, Parker said, and he "is adept at working in the gray areas of the law. He does well with juries where the issues are not so much the facts but the interpretation of the facts."

Garland, who is married with three grown children, lives in a 15,000-square-foot mansion and sails a 60-foot sloop that he keeps in Charleston, S.C.

He is also a business partner of retired baseball star Hank Aaron in several area BMW dealerships. Aaron referred the Ravens to Garland when linebacker Ray Lewis faced murder charges.

In that case, Ray Lewis and two other defendants were charged with killing two men in a street brawl in the Buckhead neighborhood after a night of Super Bowl partying in 2000. From the start, Garland called a series of news conferences to defend Ray Lewis and demand a speedy trial, forcing prosecutors to rush their case.

At trial, Ray Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice - a misdemeanor - and was sentenced to a year of probation. As part of the deal, he agreed to testify against his co-defendants, who were acquitted.

In December, Garland told the publication Georgia Trend that he believes preserving his client's reputation is often as important as establishing his innocence.

"An acquittal after the fact doesn't resurrect that person's prior status," he was quoted as saying. "So it's important to establish fair treatment for your client early on."

Edward T.M. Garland

Age: 62

Firm: Garland, Samuel & Loeb

High-profile clients

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who was charged along with two other defendants in the fatal stabbing of two men in Atlanta after a night of Super Bowl partying in 2000.

The late Jim Williams, a Savannah millionaire who was charged with murder in the case depicted in the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Atlanta Thrasher Dany Heatley, charged with vehicular homicide and several misdemeanors in connection with a crash last fall (2003) that killed his teammate, Dan Snyder.

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