From the Vault: The Wildest Cases of Defense Lawyer Leslie Ballin

In the 2008 issue of Mid-South Super Lawyers, we featured criminal defense attorney Leslie Ballin of Ballin, Ballin & Fishman in Memphis. Ballin has successfully defended people who've admitted to killing their spouses, notorious criminals, and a man named Snake. An excerpt:

Ballin's first jury trial involved an alleged gas station burglary and a client named Snake. "Snake's record was so bad that if he had gotten convicted his sentence would have been life. I was so nervous I could hardly catch my breath. I can remember Snake telling me, 'Mr. Ballin, calm down, it's gonna be all right. Whatever's gonna be is gonna be,'" he says, mimicking the defendant's raspy, Mob-style voice. "And lo and behold, it was OK. He was acquitted."

In 1991, when FedEx pilot Michael Mullins allegedly murdered his wife shortly before the couple's divorce hearing, Ballin teamed up with Farese for the first time. (Because the body was found in Mississippi, Ballin called Farese, who practices there. The case, however, was ultimately tried in Memphis.) The defense team argued that Mullins' ex-lover killed the victim in a jealous rage.

"During the early motion period of the trial I was wondering exactly where [Ballin] was going and it ended up he was going the same place I would have gone, except he went by a different route," says Farese. "I could tell he had an excellent grasp of the law. He had a good presentation, a good demeanor, very calm, very direct. ... He had an almost matter-of-fact way about getting to the issues during cross-examination. The way he crafts his questions, the only thing you can do is agree with them."

The trial lasted eight days and the jury deliberated for less than an hour. The verdict: not guilty. "If Court TV would have been available then, that would have been the trial of the century," says Ballin. "It had sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, everything that sells news. That was a wild, wild case."

Read the full story here.