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Did Hardball Tactics in a Divorce Case Lead to the Murder of an Alabama Lawyer?

By       Message Roger Shuler     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H3 9/28/11

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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

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Alabama lawyer Robert Blake Lazenby (photo above) was murdered on July 27, and authorities have released almost no information about progress in the investigation.

Legal Schnauzer has learned, however, that lawyers for Lazenby in his personal divorce case served curious subpoenas to non parties on July 15 and 18. The subpoenas sought information that seemed to have little or no relevance to matters in the divorce case--and they apparently amounted to hardball tactics in a divorce battle that clearly had grown rancorous since it hit the courts in 2008.

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Just nine days after the subpoenas were served--and Lazenby's lawyers had filed a notice of discovery by interrogatories and requests for production of documents--their client's body was found in the dining room of his Sylacauga home. He died from multiple gunshot wounds, and his vehicle was found on fire in the Birmingham suburb of Tarrant.

Did the use of rough legal tactics--some might call them abusive--help lead to Blake Lazenby's murder? If I were a homicide detective on the case, I definitely would be asking that question.

Geanne Elder Lazenby filed for divorce from her attorney husband on October 24, 2008. Blake Lazenby, 54, was a partner in Thornton Carpenter O'Brien Lazenby & Lawrence, perhaps the most prestigious firm in Talladega. It's common practice for judges in a circuit to recuse themselves from a case involving a lawyer who regularly practices before the court. Judge Jeb Fannin, however, had denied multiple recusal motions from plaintiff's lawyers, and that had become a major point of contention in the case.

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One of several curiosities in the case involved Geanne Lazenby's apparent inability to keep a lawyer for long. She went through a Who's Who  of Birmingham-area divorce lawyers--Rick Fernambucq, Bruce Gordon, Charles Gorham, Mavanee Bear, Kristel N. Reed, and Gregory Yaghmi. Most of them filed a recusal motion and promptly exited the case, usually not waiting around for a ruling.

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
 

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