Lawyer's pants burst into flames during trial


A lawyer's pants caught on fire while he was testifying. No, that's not your dad's favorite joke -- it actually happened.

According to the Miami Herald, Stephen Gutierrez was arguing that his client's car spontaneously combusted when his pants ... spontaneously combusted.

The Miami defense lawyer had been fiddling in his pocket moments before going in front of the jury when smoke began billowing from his right pocket.

Witnesses say he ran out of the courtroom, and after jurors were ushered out, Gutierrez returned unharmed with a slightly burnt pocket.

"A lot of people could have been hurt," an observer in court told the Miami Herald.

Gutierrez has not yet released a statement to the press, and Miami-Dade police and prosecutors are investigating the episode.

The defense lawyer was representing Claudy Charles, 48, who is accused of intentionally setting his car on fire.

The incident occurred during Gutierrez's closing arguments. Charles was convicted of second-degree arson.

To make matters worse for the lawyer, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman could soon decide to hold him in contempt.

Gutierrez insists the accident was not a staged defense demonstration, the Miami Herald reports. He blamed a faulty battery in his e-cigarette.

The safety of e-cigarettes has been widely questioned, and the U.S. Department of Transportation recently banned e-cigarettes from checked bags on airplanes.

Last year in Florida, a Naples man filed a lawsuit after an e-cigarette exploded in his mouth and left him in a coma.

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