back to article Lawyer defending arson suspect flees court with pants on fire

Following the heat of a courtroom battle a lawyer defending an alleged arsonist was reportedly forced to flee proceedings temporarily after his own pants* caught fire. Miami-based legal eagle Stephen Gutierrez was in the midst of contending that his client’s car had spontaneously combusted and had not been deliberately set on …

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  1. WonkoTheSane
    Flame

    Karma is a b*tch!

    Oh! The irony...

  2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

    "not part of his defence strategy"?

    I find it a bit hard to believe. It's a bit too convenient that faulty e-cig batteries were claimed to be the cause of both the car's and the trousers' ignition.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: "not part of his defence strategy"?

      If he did do it deliberately, he'd have to have shorted the cell out or severely abused it, as batteries - as a rule - don't just pop. They get shorted, overheated, or otherwise abused and then fail, typically through thermal runaway and venting.

      There are exceptions (poor manufacturing practises, as seen by Samsung recently) but these generally don't affect the sort of cells used in e-cigs, which are normally cylindrical and are a mature, stable tech - not bleeding edge, trying to be as thin as they can flat cells.

      If he had the cell in his pocket with a length of chain, his keys, or similar, then all he'll have proved is that his client may have done the same, rather scuppering his case.

      It does all smell a bit fishy, frankly.

      Steven R

      1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

        Re: "not part of his defence strategy"?

        I can't claim this as a universal, but it seems to me that every case of a phone or e-cig battery catching fire that I've read, mention seems to be made of the device being in or having been carried in a pants/trouser pocket as opposed to, say, a shirt pocket. I have to wonder whether the majority of problems can be attributed to flexion of the battery, connections, etc., and could be ameliorated by simply carrying potentially explosive electronics in pockets not subjected to regular -- and sometimes extreme - bending.

        I dunno... Too simple?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "not part of his defence strategy"?

        "If he did do it deliberately" - then it's surely contempt of court, plus charges of his own for arson around in court. If he is charged with contempt, then if it wasn't deliberate his forensics experts will be able to recreate the events. With cameras present.

        1. Kane Silver badge

          Re: "not part of his defence strategy"?

          "...arson around in court..."

          Heh, I read that as "arsing around in court."

          Heh.

          Yes, I know I'm a child sometimes. Anytime an American says "duty" on telly I giggle.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: "not part of his defence strategy"?

      I once had my jacket pocket burst into flames when a match had fallen out of its box and rubbed up against the 'sandpaper'.

      I have also accidentally set fire to tissue paper while cleaning gunk out of an e-cig battery connector when I inadvertently pressed the power button.

      It still feels too much of a coincidence to have occurred spontaneously in this case.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "not part of his defence strategy"?

      Goddidit obviously.

  3. Doc Ock

    Liar, liar pants on fire.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lawyer, lawyer pants on fire?

  4. Gordon Pryra

    “A lot of people could have been hurt,”

    Ummmmm, how?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: “A lot of people could have been hurt,”

      Laughing to hard?

    2. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: “A lot of people could have been hurt,”

      "Ummmmm, how?"

      Indeed, but, some people want to imaging and declare improbable dangers.

      Bit like political correctness the more improbable the danger you declare the more clever and caring you depict yourself as being, but, only to other stupid people of course.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: “A lot of people could have been hurt,”

      >Ummmmm, how?

      By throwing petrol on the fire.

      1. Big John Silver badge

        Re: “A lot of people could have been hurt,”

        No, they'd be injured in the rush to escape the lawyer's flaming trousers.

  5. Haku

    Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

    For many years I was somewhat confused when in the American film Armed and Dangerous, Meg Ryan has a dance with someone at some event and afterwards says jokingly she was dancing so close to him she could probably get the guys fingerprints from her fanny...!

    Only when I learnt Americans have a different meaning for that word than us Brits the penny dropped.

    1. Cardinal

      Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

      @Haku

      Good post - Can anyone trump that?

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

        Trump.

        UK = to break wind.

        USA = Wotsit coloured prat.

      2. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

        >Good post - Can anyone trump that?

        As member of a multinational forum, the equally multinational staff once had a great deal of amusement discovering that our names for the products in a bakers window meant different things in each language.

        For instance, what the UK would consider a biscuit, the American's consider a cookie, which is not the same as what we consider a cookie to be, and their idea of a biscuit is our idea of a scone etc.

        Finally after some hilarity from our side over a sign in the window solemnly warning that food or drink might become hot when heated, and a total lack of understanding from the Americans we had to point out that it was true that Americans totally lacked a sense of humour, but we did generously concede that they had a sense of humor instead and tried to explain the difference to them.

        Their reaction sort of proved the point. ;)

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

      I was quite surprised when "Married with Children" was airing and Al Bundy, commenting on his wife Peggy, made a proclamation along the lines of; "and that's why I married a wanker". I believe she was said to have hailed from "Wanker County".

      It was only some time later that I discovered Wanker is a common American surname, and not as derogatory as it sounded.

      And then there's "Ginger Minge".

      Just popping outside to get myself a fag and some sticky buns.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

        I've been re-watching Fresh Prince on Netflix, and Geoffrey clearly calls Will a wanker on at least one occasion.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

          "calls Will a wanker on at least one occasion."

          IIRC, Phil Collins also used wanker in an episode of Miami Vice many tears ago. It seems that it's way of getting swear words past the overly cautious US networks censors, ie, use words they don't understand which really are swear words instead of inventing euphemisms like Frack!

          1. Haku

            Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

            Liam Neeson said wanker in a Simpsons episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJp7drI8hWQ

            1. Symon Silver badge
              Holmes

              Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

              I once asked the American in the adjacent cube if I could borrow a rubber. I also discovered that shouting "gormless bint" and using two fingers has no effect whatsoever on drivers who cut me up on a bike in Santa Clara.

      2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

        and a long time ago, Mork and Mindy's landlord and next-door neighbour was one Mr. Wanker. Quiet down, he had a wife, you know!

        1. x 7 Silver badge

          Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

          there I was, a few years back, minding my own business drinking in an hotel bar in Charlotte, South Carolina when a fat lardy type of girl walked up to me and asked "did I want a shag"? Much spluttering of beer ensued, during which I tried to explain that I wasn't very good at doing that kind of thing in public, and that I didn't really fancy her enough to f*** her. She looked at me a bit slantendictally and wandered off muttering about queer brits, to which I replied "not queer, I just don't shag munters".

          Cue an interruption by the barman "She only wanted a dance - "The Shag" is the official state dance". That just made things worse.... In my alcohol induced mind I had now hallucinations of horizontal polkas with a girl who made Hatty Jacques look streamlined.

          Be warned: go to the Carolinas and be very clear what you mean when talking to women

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

            >Be warned: go to the Carolinas and be very clear what you mean when talking to women

            It seems that it was your very clarity of expression ("I don't fancy you enough... you're a munter") is what got you in trouble!

            When the Bonzo Dog Band was touring the States by bus, Viv Stanshall wearing a pair of trousers fashioned from green hotel towels and the rest of the band looking like freaks and oddballs, they were pulled over by a policeman:

            "Have you boys got any drugs?"

            No, goodness no, they replied.

            "Are you carrying any guns, any knives?"

            No, no, officer.

            "Then how do you expect to defend yourselves?!" asked the incredulous officer.

            "With good manners!" replied Stanshall.

    3. TitterYeNot

      Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

      "she was dancing so close to him she could probably get the guys fingerprints from her fanny...!

      Only when I learnt Americans have a different meaning for that word than us Brits the penny dropped."

      Yes, as a Brit, the first time I heard a young American woman complaining that the strap on her fanny pack was too tight, I though I'd uncovered a drugs mule...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

      tuppence rather than penny surely

    5. Wade Burchette

      Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

      When I visited the U of K, I had many locals ask me "Are you here on holiday?" And just about every time, I almost said "No, I am here on vacation." Then I would ride the subway ... er, the underground ... and I saw a sign that said "Mind the gap" and I would think "I don't mind the gap at all". Or when going down a set of stairs there is a sign that says "Mind your head". Americans do use 'mind' in the same way, just not as often. We would say in that situation "Watch your head". And, of course, it is a cell phone and not a mobile phone. (This is because before cellular telephones were created, Motorola already had a device called a mobile phone, so a new name had to be created to distinguish the two. Since the idea was to place towers are placed in such a cellular design, cell phone became the name.)

      I always remember that English is a living language. Just because it is different does not mean it is wrong. Just imagine how much difference British English and American English and Australian English and Canadian English would be if not for modern technology.

      P.S. To 'x 7', Charlotte is in NORTH Carolina. You might be thinking of Charleston, South Carolina.

    6. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: Ahh colloquial meanings of words.

      Who remembers the confusion when fanny-packs became fashionable?

  6. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    In the north of england, pants are trousers, you shandy drinking southerner.

    1. Clockworkseer

      As a northerner

      Really? for what value of "north?"

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: As a northerner

        No idea, but where I live in Lancashire pants means trousers. My dad uses the same definition and he's from Yorkshire.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: As a northerner

          "No idea, but where I live in Lancashire pants means trousers. My dad uses the same definition and he's from Yorkshire."

          Jeezus Christ man, yee must schizo! What ya ganna dee when the waar starts? Both side are ganna be shootin' at ya!

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: As a northerner

        As a 55 year old northerner living at 55oN, further north than the most southern part of Scotland, "trousers" and "pants" are freely interchangeable terms and the stuff you wear underneath are, naturally "underpants", also know as "undies" when talking to southerners or kegs/kecks in normal parlance. Sometimes kegs are called "skids" or "skiddies" but that's really a southern expression used in southern towns like Manchester or Liverpool and probably refers to their normal state rather than any clever rhyming slang thing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nope, we say pants up North. It's those received ponces from down south that twowsers or if you are a cockney, traaaaasas.

      Up North we are too poor to afford twowsers and say pants because we can only afford underpants. Time to put mi flat cap on an' tek whippet for a walk

    3. Scott 53

      "shandy drinking southerner"

      The correct terminology is namby-pamby shandy-drinking Southern b*stard. With a hard a.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: "shandy drinking southerner"

        I was being polite as there may be ladies and southerners who may read my comment.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yez gan far enough an wuz caal em hoggers y'knaa.

      Gan canny bonnie lad, yez divvent want a whack in ya liggies.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't think it's a coincidence as he had the balls to pull it off.

  8. thomas k

    My favourite Mr Boffo strip

    Mr Boffo is sitting next to some guy in Hell who's musing aloud, "liar, liar, pants on fire ... now it all makes sense!"

  9. Kay Burley ate my hamster

    Well...

    I'm more concerned by the typos in this article than the use of pants to mean trousers, it is well established. Unlike Microsoft's use of premise to mean premises.

  10. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Limeys?

    I thought "Limeys" was aussie slang. Would the 'merkin readers to whom you're ostensibly addressing it necessarily be familiar with the usage?

    1. Vincent Ballard
      Coat

      Re: Limeys?

      "Limeys" is American. "Pommies" is the equivalent Aussie slang term.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Limeys?

        Poms (or pommies or pommy gits) is the Aussie Slang for Brits.

        And Yanks or Seppos is the Aussie for Merkins.

        And everyone wonders why non-english speakers have such a hard time mastering the language? :P

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Limeys?

          "And Yanks or Seppos is the Aussie for Merkins."

          Seppo presumably comes from Septic Tank, the Cockney rhyming slang for American.

          1. lglethal Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Limeys?

            We always had it that we called them Seppos because they were more full of shit than a septic tank. But it might have come from Cockney originally. We'll never know... ;) ;P

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Limeys?

              >But it might have come from Cockney originally. We'll never know.

              Don't be so defeatist:

              Australian Oxford Dictionary (2 ed.)

              An authoritative guide to contemporary Australian English, produced by the Australian National Dictionary Centre at the Australian National University and Oxford University Press.

              - http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780195517965.001.0001/acref-9780195517965

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Limeys?

        ""Pommies" is the equivalent Aussie slang term."

        Really? I always thought he correct term was "whinging pommies"

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