Judges postpone trials across Florida every day for all kinds of reasons -- delayed depositions, conflicts with other cases, motions from attorneys, illnesses in the family. (Just ask Carlos Bertonatti -- two and half years later, still no trial.)
But there's at least one reason that won't stick: Wanting to compete in Key West's Ernest Hemingway look-a-like competition. One Florida attorney asked for a hiatus in a murder trial for that noble cause and got an earful of snarky Hemingway quotes back from the unamused judge.
Franklyn Louderback, a St. Petersburg-based lawyer, represents a Lithia, Florida, man named Jeffrey Bottorff who's accused of staging a murder-for-hire. Prosecutors say Bottorff -- a former Latin Kings gang member -- helped hire a gunman to kill his girlfriend's husband, then quickly remarried the woman.
Bottorff's in custody now, awaiting trial along with his two co-conspirators on July 9. But Louderback asked the judge to move that start date back two weeks, to July 20.
His reason? He'd already booked himself a spot in the contest at Sloppy Joe's bar, Hemingway's old haunt, and booked up six hotel rooms for friends and family.
Louderback, who must be pretty confident in his resemblance to the great bearded one, didn't return a call or an email from Riptide to talk about the request.
It's a moot point anyway, since the judge angrily shot down the motion while showing off his Hemingway knowledge.
First, U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday quotes from an old New Yorker profile of the writer. "He works like hell," it said. "He has never turned off on an easier path than the one he staked for himself. It takes courage."
Then, the Keynoter reports, Merryday wrote, "Perhaps a lawyer who evokes Hemingway can resist relaxing frolic in favor of solemn duty," before quoting from The Sun Also Rises: "Isn't it pretty to think so?"