With law license on the line, Chambers testifies at hearing - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

With law license on the line, Chambers testifies at discipline hearing

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By M.L. Elrick
Fox 2 News


Anthony Chambers made his name asking the hard questions.  His skill at grilling witnesses helped make him one of Detroit's most prominent criminal defense attorneys, but Tuesday Chambers was the one on the hot seat.

Chambers won praise for his work on the Underwear Bomber case, and his client in the Bobby Ferguson bid-rigging case, Michael Woodhouse, went free when the case ended with a hung jury.

However, Michigan Attorney Grievance lawyers want his law license revoked.  They say he took tens of thousands of dollars in fees from two clients, but failed to provide much service.

Chambers delayed his discipline hearing for months.  One time his attorney said he wasn't fit to answer questions even though we caught him the night before accepting the Warrior of Justice Award.

On Tuesday, Chambers competence came into question.  Two psychiatrists who examined him testified that he has trouble dealing with personal and financial problems and on some days prescribed himself up to a fifth of Jack Daniels.

"Initially his mental status exam showed that he was extremely depressed.  He was isolated, you know, withdrawn," said psychiatrist Xavier White.

John Ronayne, one of two attorney discipline lawyers who will decide Chambers' fate, asked if Chambers was fit to practice law.

"If you were charged with a crime and your license was in the balance, would you want to hire Mr. Chambers six months ago?" Ronayne asked.

"Yes," White answered.

"How about today?" Ronayne further asked.

"Today, I don't think that Mr. Chambers should be doing anything besides focusing on his life as it should be," White responded.

Psychiatrist Gerald Shiener testified that Chambers appeared to be on the road to recovery, but still has a ways to go.

"I don't think that he could manage a law practice, and I would have questions about his ability to represent," he said.

Chambers conceded that he let down Shannon Williams, a client charged with murder.

"I don't know that I did everything that I could've done.  I can't say that I did," Chambers said.

However, Chambers didn't say he was sorry until pressed by Grievance Commission attorney Kimberly Uhuru.

"When you say that you're remorseful about all of it, do you mean that you regret that you're sitting here in this chair today?" she asked Chambers.

"Not just sitting in the chair, the whole situation for any of it coming to be at all," he answered.  "Not just being here, but for the entire situation period, without question."

Chambers expects to learn his fate in two weeks.  In the meantime, he is forbidden from handling cases on his own.

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