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Firefighter accused of stealing & wrecking rig is described as a 'quality young man'. Update from Bristol, Rhode Island.

Check out the original story & video at Glenn Usdin's FireTruckBlog.com.

During the entire time I was considered young no one ever described me as a "quality young man" or a "solid young man" who is "a credit to his family". Maybe that's because I was never accused of being drunk, stealing a fire truck from my fire company and wrecking it. 

I am guessing until 22-year-old Clayton Hardon III's July 19 arrest on those very charges there weren't people walking around saying, "Oh Clayton, he's such a quality, solid, young man who is a credit to his family". But now that the Dreadnaught Fire Company volunteer firefighter (or should there be a "former" in front of that?) has had his first court appearance, his lawyer, a former Rhode Island Speaker of the House, is saying just that about Hardon.

I certainly understand and respect that our judicial system considers young Mr. Hardon innocent until proven guilty and it may just be a coincidence that Hardon was found by police near where the special hazards truck overturned, with neck and head injuries and had to appear in court in a neck brace. John Harwood may be a good lawyer who will do well for a client who, for all we know, may have uncharacteristically made a bad mistake in an otherwise blemish free life (but Mr. Harwood wouldn't even admit that scenario posed by a reporter because the facts of the case still need to be sorted out).

I am of the belief if you are going in front of the cameras during a news event you should have something to say. Don't waste everyone's time. It is great that Mr. Harwood took a moment to be nice to the reporters and gave them a sound bite or two. Maybe Mr. Harwood is trying to influence the potential jury pool that is out there in TV land or is just trying to work on repairing the young man's reputation. But I don't think most people want to hear another lawyer who can't say anything definitive about a case under questioning by reporters.

If you are going to cite attorney-client privilege and can't or won't answer the basic questions maybe it is the time to respectfully decline to do an interview (don't run, don't hide). Maybe it is better to talk when you can tell us that either your client was kidnapped in a fire truck and alcohol was poured down his throat and he was left by the kidnappers in the overturned rig on someone's front lawn (years ago that might have been a standard initiation at some departments I have been familiar with) or that he made a bad mistake, is truly sorry and will work to make this right. Then you are saying something.

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