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Life Sentence for Lawyer's Date From Hell?

By William Vogeler, Esq. on January 16, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A life sentence was the last thing Lindy Lou Layman was thinking when she destroyed valuable artwork at her date's house.

Actually, Layman wasn't thinking much at all when she trashed attorney Anthony Buzbee's collection in a kind-of drunken clearance sale. She was charged with felony criminal mischief, and a judge released her on $30,000 bond.

The estimated value of the artwork went up a lot since then, however, and now Layman is looking at a possible life sentence? Looks like two Andy Warhols could cost her more than 15 minutes of fame.

15 Minutes of Fame

Buzbee, a prominent Texas attorney, invited Layman to his house for drinks. But, he said, she got too drunk so he told her to clear out.

"I am not leaving," she reportedly declared, tore down two Warhol paintings and broke some sculptures.

According to local reports at the time, the artwork was worth $300,000. By the time the story spread across the country, it was over $1 million.

Insurance adjusters, no doubt, will sort that out. But it's a huge problem for Layman because the penalties for criminal mischief in Texas can go as high as 99 years for property damage over $200,000.

Talk about an adjustment!

Rich Man's Law?

Harriet O'Neal, writing for Gotham City Esquire, said the law makes sense because the penalties increase with the increase in property damage. But, she questioned whether it favors the wealthy.

"What if $100 dollars to a poor man is half of his income?" she said. "On the other hand, what if $300,000 to a rich man is just one percent of his income? Is this a rich man's law?"

Layman, for her crime, will probably cut a deal. O'Neal said she will likely get probation and a few years' jail time.

Restitution, on the other hand, could be a life sentence of another sort.

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