From the YA THINK?! file

The Pittsburgh police officer accused of forcing sexual favors from women in legal trouble went on all the local stations earlier this week in a wide-reaching media blitz, proclaiming his innocence, talking up his military service past, and refusing to answer questions about crack, marijuana, and un-prescribed narcotics that were found in his duty-bag in his vehicle after his arrest on the sex charges.

I know what you’re thinking — What lawyer would ever tell his client this would be a good idea?!

Well, I’m here to tell you! James Ecker, Defender of All Pittsburgh Slime, which is what his business card probably says.

And that’s not my opinion, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. They are the facts of the case and they are indisputable. He defended Thomas Hose who kidnapped Tanya Kach and kept her as a sex slave all those years. He defended the funeral director who never cremated the fetuses he was paid to cremate. The man that shot the Duquesne basketball players. John Vojtas. Ronald Taylor. Corporal Pokorny’s killer. The list goes on and on.

Now, I get that everyone is entitled to a defense, but James Ecker seems to relish his time in the spotlight just a bit too much. He tends to go to the media a bit too eagerly to proactively paint his clients as innocent and their victims as liars, and where there are multiple victims, cahootive liars (no, cahootive is not a word, but I can’t think of the word I want to use wherein liars are in cahoots with each other). Instead of fighting the fight in the proper arena — the courtroom, where order reigns, he plops himself next to a client in front of the news cameras where there are no rules. Where he can lie any lie he wants, lob any insult he wants, and refuse to answer any question he wants, all the while basking in the glow of the WTAE news-camera light not caring a flip whether or not he’s hurting his client’s case.

When the accused officer Skweres was brought before his judge yesterday to address the fact that he may have violated his house arrest by doing the interviews in his lawyer’s office, the judge, my hero, scolded the defense and then said this:

During the hearing, the judge told Skweres that he was, “A pawn in his attorney’s voracious and insatiable appetite for media attention.”


But seriously, judge. Nail. Head. Hit.


  1. Gina
    March 14, 2012 2:51 pm

    James Ecker makes me sick. I can remember nearly 20 years ago noticing that he was the lawyer for every single high profile case in town. He’s a glorified ambulance chaser.

    • LaReina
      March 18, 2012 2:52 pm

      I don’t recall ever seeing where Jim Ecker ever actually got a criminal defendant acquitted. Is it possible that he really isn’t that much of a miracle worker, after all?

  2. Rachel
    March 14, 2012 3:02 pm

    I would have to be dismissed from any jury where he was the defendent’s attorney. I see him and automatically proclaim his client guilty. Go directly to jail, do not pass go, DO NOT collect $200.00.

    I guess he does have a few standards though, as he did not defend Richard Poplawski

    • empirechick
      March 14, 2012 3:10 pm

      I’ll bet that’s only because Ecker knew they would have to move the trial out of this area to find an impartial jury. Who wants to actually defend their client when there’s no free camera time involved?

      • Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
        March 14, 2012 3:32 pm

        I’d be very surprised if this trial is moved at all or even due to the interviews. Jury selection and the trial are at least 4-6 months out. Judge Borkowski and Ecker have tangled in the past when Eddie was in the DA’s office (on some of those very cases mentioned above if my memory serves). There’s no love lost between the two of them.

      • Rachel
        March 14, 2012 3:34 pm

        My question is… how does he make any money? I’m thinking the low-lives he defends can’t pay him that much and I don’t think any self-respecting, innocent person that may be able to pay him, would want him for their attorney.

        • Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
          March 14, 2012 5:18 pm

          He may be a sleaze-ball and his methods are repugnant to most, but he’s effective as a defense attorney. That’s why a self-respecting, innocent person will pay him.

          • empirechick
            March 14, 2012 6:36 pm

            Does he ever get anyone acquitted? Or do they all plea bargain to a lesser charge? (That’s a serious question – I have no idea of his track record.)

            • Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
              March 14, 2012 9:20 pm

              Yes and yes. In many cases, getting a plea agreement or a reduction in charges is the primary goal.

  3. nycldenise
    March 14, 2012 3:07 pm

    Like every skeevy lawyer before him, most noteably Jose Baez, they will try all their defense theories against public opinion to see what works and what doesn’t. Finally going with in court what the public reacted to most. They feel like they can overwhelm the court with crap and make juries and judges forget about what is at hand with the antics. Sad, but sometimes it works. Hopefully everyone see’s through these shenanagans.

  4. toni
    March 14, 2012 3:10 pm

    So why isn’t this lawyer being brought up before a board and why isn’t the judge punishing Ecker for unethical behavior instead of hauling in the client????? Not that I think the client is any prince. But if this is standard procedure for sleaze bag attorneys that could put their client’s cases in jeopardy…then I think the legal system needs to discipline their own.

    • suzie-Q
      March 14, 2012 10:42 pm

      Me thinks the court system is like the church system…no matter how sleazy or wrong…they still “got your back”

  5. Kevin
    March 14, 2012 3:11 pm

    Every city has one. Used to drive my Daughter to school when she was young in another city and one of her class mates had a dad who was this typ Atty. Mom, would drive up in her Jaquar and park it in a handicapped spot to walk little daughter into school. I still remember her always saying, “everyone deserves representation”. Then she would drive away and take her pompouss attitude home. Attys. are prostitutes, you got the cabbage, they will lie their rear ends off for you.

    • Aileen
      March 15, 2012 3:14 pm

      Kevin –

      You’re entitled to your opinion, but to call every lawyer a prostitute and say they will lie is just wrong. There are a lot of hardworking, ethical lawyers that you’ve never heard of and probably never will.

      Marty Griffin and the late Walter Cronkite are / were member of the media. Think there’s a difference?

      There are doctors like Thomas Starzl who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of others and doctors who trade prescription pills for sex.

      The point is: don’t paint everyone with the same brush.

  6. empirechick
    March 14, 2012 3:13 pm

    And don’t forget the minister who claimed he found his wife beaten alongside the road…

  7. PK
    March 14, 2012 3:28 pm

    Actually, the Judge’s best line (read: snark) was this:

    Judge Borkowski also ridiculed the media appearance, saying it was an attempt to bolster Mr. Skweres’ character by including information and photos about his Army record that could possibly taint the jury pool.

    “The only thing missing was an Air Force or military flyover,” said the judge.

    If Ecker could have arranged a flyover, he would have. His media whorishness really gives defense attorneys in this city a bad name. Of course, not saying that some of the others are gems – at least the ones who practice self-aggrandizement.

  8. Sue
    March 14, 2012 3:34 pm

    Ugh, I was about [this far] from him at Nordstrom about a month ago and honestly, want to lean over and smack him in his little man head. DO NOT LIKE!

  9. AngryMongo
    March 14, 2012 3:49 pm

    James Ecker – When you positively happen to be guilty, accept no substitute…

    I wonder if he ever tried the Chewbacca defense?

  10. Butcher's Dog
    March 14, 2012 4:13 pm

    And yet he’s a spokesperson for one of the classier restaurants, if memory serves. Remind me to stick to the Olive Gardens of the world.

  11. Clair
    March 14, 2012 5:25 pm

    Every time someone commits a crime in Pittsburgh or the general area, especially a high-profile one, all I can think of is “oh, a new client for James Ecker. More of his lovely face on the TV and in the paper.” Yeah yeah everyone is entitled to a defense but this guy takes it to a whole new sleazy level and has for as long as I can remember. Heck, I live just outside DC now and I do not think there has been any criminal defense attorney who has had his face on TV nearly as much, and there is a crap-ton of crime that goes on in DC and the general area. Then again, maybe there are just more sleazy lawyers around here to cover the masses….

  12. Calamity Jane
    March 14, 2012 6:04 pm

    Jim Ecker seemingly does represent every sleazoid criminal with a high profile case. But, he seldom tries the case in court. He usually parades his “client” around for the TV cameras and then acts as if the media has put his client through enough…..When the hearing phases are over and the case goes to trial, notice that Ecker will hand the case over to a real attorney like an Al Lindsey or a Bill Diffendorffer. (How close is that spelling?)

    Everyone should visit his office at least once……This place is a shrine to his massive ego! He has photographs of himself with his arm around every celebrity you could think of. And they cover nearly every square foot of wall space in his office!

    20+ years in the media gives me a unique perspective on things……Sort of an “inside baseball” view, only with local personalities.

  13. bucdaddy
    March 15, 2012 12:42 am

    It says, “You have the right to an attorney,” not, “Your attorney has to be right.”

    Anyhoo, this is where my idea for a new TV court show comes in:

    Want justice?

    Want ju-jitsu?

    Judge Judo.

    (Now, our first case)

    Sally Prim gave her jobless junkie live-in boyfriend of three days $5,000. He spent it on hookers and blow. In one weekend. She says it was a loan for college tuition. He says it was a gift and she told him to spend it on hookers and blow. She’s suing to get her money back.

    “All rise. Parties have been sworn in.”

    Judge Judo: Ms. Prim?

    Sally Prim: Well, your honor, he’d been living with me a full 48 hours and i thought I knew him, so when he started talking about going to college, I thought, I should help him with the expense and …

    Judge Judo: Hi-YAAAAA!!!!

    Sally: OW! OUCH!!! Hey, you’re OUCH! Cut that OWWWW!

    Judge Judo: Idiot like you deserve smack upside head. Your case dismissed.



    You’d watch that. I know you would.

  14. unsatisfied
    March 15, 2012 12:29 pm

    you know what scares me about jim ecker? his hi-pro glow. between his whiter-than-white hair and his snooki-orange skin color, seeing him on tv made me wonder if I needed to adjust the color of my set.

  15. JustCele
    March 15, 2012 1:49 pm

    I find it interesting that both Ecker and his “co-counsel” both had attorneys of their own representing them before Judge Borkowski yesterday. They were obviously aware that the Judge was totally beyond anger at them and probably feared being put in jail for comtempt. I think the only thing that saved them from that was the fact that Skweres’ probation officer had okayed the trip to the lawyers’ office and an interview. But really, how many attorneys go to court representing their clients and take along their own attorney in case they get in trouble? I wonder if their attorneys are kept on retainer for incidents like these??

  16. efw_west
    March 16, 2012 1:33 pm

    whatever happened to that defense attorney with the pony tail, Paul Gettleman? He used to get a lot of big cases too.

  17. Lee
    March 16, 2012 3:18 pm

    I always think if you’re innocent, don’t hire Jimmy Ecker…everyone will automatically assume you’re guilty.