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I (Heart) My Public Defender

barta.jpgThank God for Legal Aid lawyers — underpaid “urban superheroes.” Hard-working, highly educated attorneys who spend their days schlepping to court in Target suits to take on hopeless cases that all the other lawyers have eschewed for corporate gigs, 2200 billable hours, and $200K.

But, they’re not all that great. Take Peter Barta, for instance. A “nerdy” legal aid lawyer (and Georgetown alumni) who apparently thinks legal-aid chicks are hot (he’s right! — and, c’mon Lat: Where’s your Legal Aid Hotties contest?), so much so that he set up video cameras disguised as clocks, which he installed in his colleagues’ offices, hoping to catch them changing clothes. And he succeeded at least once, getting a nifty little shot of one of his co-worker’s breasts and buttocks.

Poor Barta, however, was eventually arrested after his co-workers caught on and set up their own surveillance camera to catch him in the act of removing his spy cameras. And now the man is facing unlawful surveillances charges and up to four years in prison.

But the best part about this case comes from Barta’s lawyer, who — in seeking a plea deal — offered up this justification: It was a “gesture of respect to all his former colleagues.”

A gesture of respect!? Dude, wearing Jackie Robinson’s number on your baseball uniform is a gesture of respect. Saluting a superior officer in the military is a gesture of respect. Bowing down to an elder is a gesture of respect. Jerking it while watching your female colleague change out of her “Will Litigate for Food” novelty T-shirt ain’t a gesture of respect. It’s called voyeurism.

(Hat Tip to Lat.)

| Comments (1)


No, his lawyer said it was a "gesture of respect" that Barta waived his right to a grand jury hearing on the matter, which means the victims will not have to testify or watch the video in court.