In the firing line

"At 9:20 a.m. on June 2, Carey Hal Dyess walked into the converted single-story house that served as Jerrold Shelley's law office in Yuma, Ariz.

Dyess, 73, instructed an office administrator to move out of the way and then shot and killed the 62-year-old lawyer, who had been in the process of packing up his office and retiring.

The attack wasn't random. Shelley had represented Dyess' ex-wife in a bitter divorce in 2006."

So begins this appalling story, that appeared on yesterday. This is just the latest in a line of attacks on family lawyers in America, including several other murders. In fact, it is now recognised over there that family law can be quite a dangerous profession. The story goes on to suggest ways of dealing with the dangers, including reducing the risk by making family law less adversarial.

Worrying stuff. I'm not aware of anything quite so serious happening over here, but I know that family lawyers here have been targeted by angry former partners of their clients. Perhaps a few basic precautions should be considered, if they are not in place already.


  1. I did read somewhere that the familylaw Judges over there often wear bullet proof vests and carry guns for self defence also.

    There was also a fashion over here of throwing eggs at the Judges for a while I believe. We are not so un-civilised as to not take these matters personally either. For e.g. there always is metal detectors at the court doors and escape routes for the judges.

    I think when people have everything taken from them in these places it is understandable when they get violent. There have been a couple of murders in this country also. For e.g. there was one in Scotland where the man when he received the solicitors letter demanding all his money etc. (usual threatener), he went postal and murdered his wife and children. Think has happened a couple of times. I doubt you'll post this as you seem to be wanting to swim along the surface of these deep issues a bit too much.

  2. I'm currently having my car vandalised by a husband on one of my cases.

    Now just need to catch him on camera to get him!

    We asked for full and frank disclosure

  3. you may need to explain that last concept to the cps.
    use short words.

  4. What we're talking about, in the context of the story posted here, isn't judges--who enjoy a fair degree of protection--but individual solicitors and lawyers in and around their offices, who have no greater protection than anyone else.I'm surprised this doesn't happen more than it does given the levels of animousity. Just glad that guns are scarcer here.


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