Did Perry Mason's Bad Legal Advice Ever Contribute to the Murder?
Take following example:
In the "Case of the Tarnished Trademark," originally broadcast on January 20, 1962, Perry's client sells his furniture business to someone who promises to use the profits to build a children's hospital. Everyone is so happy, because Perry's client can retire, the workers will keep their jobs, and the children's hospital will get built.
The buyer has no intention of following through, and sells low quality furniture for as long as he can get away with it. When the buyer is discovered to be a fraud, Perry's client gets mad and makes threats. The buyer is found dead, and Perry's client is charged with murder. Not to worry, because Perry got him acquitted.
But wait a minute! What kind of a deal was that? How could new buyer realistically agree to devote the profits to a children's hospital? How did he plan to pay the bills, including the workers' wages? And further, a corporation, to be tax exempt, needs special recognition from the IRS or else it is taxable. It seems to me that if Perry had given the client the proper advice, the client would have realized this proposal was a non-starter, and in that way, he would have avoided getting into a fight with the buyer and being tried for murder.
What say you?
- topazLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
It's called television. They weren't worried about reality as much as entertainment. And if Perry lost too many of his cases, how many people would watch the show week after week? And if the ratings went down, what would the show's sponsers do?
Now, you see professionals listed in the credits as "medical consultant" or "legal consultant" to help screenwriters get thing correct (not that they do, they still take artistic license for the sake of the story and 30 or 60 minute time allottment, minus the commercials), but they probably didn't back then.
Besides, how could Perry read the buyer's mind? Even if this was "real life", did the buyer put that he was going to use profits to build a Children's Hospital in writing as a condition of the sale? Sure, "profits" could be a long way off, but if a new store owner would set aside 1% (or whatever number you like) to donate to a charity or set aside for some philanthropic purpose, what would that do? Make it a little longer before the store realized actual profits? (I don't know the specifics of the episode, maybe he said he would give 100% of the profits to build the hospital, if that was the case, then I'd agree with you 100% - just wanted to play Devil's advocate a little here)
Guess that's why Perry was better at being a trial lawyer than a tax expert or business lawyer.