F. Lee Bailey was a criminal defense attorney in Florida and Massachusetts, and he was also the criminal defense attorney in the re-trial of Sam Sheppard. As well, he was the attorney in both the case of Ernest Medina and O.J. Simpson, and some other high-profile cases too. He had a string of large defeats too, legal entanglements, and personal problems with the law, and he was even disbarred for his misconduct. In spite of all of his problems, he still had a great rep for being an amazingly successful defense lawyer, and he ran a corporation.
Waltham, Massachusetts was his birthplace. He graduated in the 1950 class from high school. He did some studies at Harvard College, but he dropped out after two years to go into the marines. He got his aviator wings just two years later. He was a legal officer and pilot. He left two years later. He earned a LL.B. from Boston University, and he ranked at the top of his class he was graduating in.
Some of his notable cases include the Sam Sheppard trial. A doctor, Sam Sheppard, was declared guilty in his wife’s murder. The Fugitive TV series drew inspiration from the case, as well as the movie in 1993, starring Harrison Ford. Bailey was then living in Ohio, and he was hired by the brother of Sam Sheppard to assist in his brother’s appeal. He argued prior to the Supreme Court in 1966 that Sheppard did not get due process, and he got a re-trial afterward. A not guilty verdict was returned in the case afterward. This case set up Bailey as an amazing defense lawyer, and it was the initial one of many high-profile cases for him.
Another one of his high-profile cases included the “Boston Strangler” case. Albert DeSalvo was locked away for the sexual assaults, referred to as the “Green Man” string of assaults, and he confessed that he was the “Boston Strangler” to Bailey. He was given a guilty verdict in the “Green Man” assaults, but he never went to court for the murders.
Dr. Carl A. Coppolino was another a high-profile case he had. He was a doctor accused of killing his wife and his neighbor. The prosecution said that he injected his murder victims with succinylcholine chloride, and it was undetectable at the time because of limitations in forensic technology. He had just won the Sam Sheppard acquittal, and he successfully defended him in the murder of his neighbor. However, he was convicted of killing his wife. He was given parole spending 12 years in prison.
James Earl Ray was another high-profile case he could have had. James Earl Ray, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassin, while he was being extradited to the United States from London, tried to get Bailey as a lawyer. Bailey didn’t want the case though.
Bailey has a very visible profile to the public, and it comes from both his high-profile cases and his own personal problems with the law. He has been in and out of the news media. He was disbarred in Florida, with Massachusetts disbarment as well. The disbarment in Florida was because of how stock was handled in a marijuana case. He was declared guilty in seven counts of misconduct by an attorney by the Supreme Court of Florida. He had transferred a big amount of DuBoc’s assets into his own personal bank accounts, and he was utilizing the interest accrued on those assets for paying his own personal expenses. In 2005, he applied to have his law license back in Massachusetts, but he failed. In 2011, he took and passed the bar exam in Maine, and he tried to get a law license there. However, in 2012, his law license application was rejected in a 5-4 decision. Most of them said Bailey hadn’t proved by convincing and clear evidence that he possessed the requisite integrity and honesty to practice law.
What were the circumstances of the case? At the time the O.J. Simpson case was going on, Bailey and Shapiro represented a man named Claude DuBoc, who was an accused marijuana smuggler. There was a plea bargain deal reached with the U.S. Attorney, and he agreed to hand over his assets to the government. There was a big chunk of stock, and it was worth about $6 million when he procured it. When the government tried to get the stock, it had gone up in value by $20 million. Bailey said he had entitlement to his legal fees appreciation. He had taken the stock and used it for loan collateral, and he couldn’t give the government the stock. He got sent to jail because of contempt. He spent 44 days there, and his brother was able to get the money to let him return stock, and they let him go.
F. Lee Bailey was an interesting character during his legal career, and he garnered a lot of controversy for his actions, which many believed to be unethical. He was an attorney in the O.J. Simpson case, and he got a lot of attention for that.
He’s also had several publications in non-fiction and fiction, as well as a magazine. He co-authored The Defense Never Rests, for instance. Much of his publications were in the 1970s. He had an interesting and varied academic and military life too, and he’s lived a long life with a lot of high-profile cases. He’s not just famous for one or two cases, as some high-profile attorneys are. He consistently showed himself to be an interesting character and to make an impact on the American landscape throughout his long, interesting, and varied legal career. He had many wins, and many losses, and he took his ups and downs like a real man. He always kept fighting.