Step into Chad Moody's office downtown and it's easy to see where the man known as “The Drug Lawyer” gets his inspiration.
There are copies of High Times magazine on the coffee table. Next to the door is a stack of T-shirts with a marijuana leaf stenciled on the pocket for $10 apiece.
The Frisbees are free, and come with a leaf on one side and the words “Not to be used as a rolling tray,” on the other side.
Moody, a criminal defense attorney, is better known for his colorful billboards, including one with a parchment background and a big red, white and blue marijuana leaf in which Moody proclaims he's “DEFENDING THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.”
A yellow Volkswagen microbus, covered with marijuana leaves and smiley faces and parked downtown, acts as a billboard on wheels.
“I try to do as much of this with humor,” he said.
Moody makes no apologies for his client roster, which consists mostly of busted pot smokers and those charged with growing and selling marijuana.
“I always wanted to fight the government,” said Moody, 44, of Oklahoma City, who, like the magazines on display in his office, advocates the legalization of cannabis.
Moody's plan coming out of law school was to prosecute civil rights violations. Instead, he wound up following the lead of a fellow attorney, but with a twist.
“I had a friend who billed himself as a DUI lawyer, and I didn't want to step on his toes,” Moody said. “Drugs are half the business anyway.”
By his estimation, Moody handles 50 to 100 clients at a time, and charges between $2,500 and $7,500 per client, depending on whether a case goes to trial.
Success, Moody said, is relative. If a client has two prior convictions, staying out of prison is considered a success. If a client has no prior criminal record, then only an acquittal or dismissal is considered a win, he said.
“If you don't have a good search and seizure issue, then you're probably going to plead guilty,” he said. “The deck is stacked very much in favor of
Legalizing marijuana, Moody said, “is a lot closer than anybody thinks.”
“At some point, people are going to ask, ‘Why are we paying cops and lawyers exorbitant sums of money to police our gardens?'” he said.
Until then, Moody said he will continue to fight for his clients' rights to protection from unreasonable search and seizure, under the Fourth Amendment, which he said government “has gutted.”
The war on drugs, he contends, is “corrupting law enforcement” and undermining the integrity of the “whole criminal justice system.”
“Never has there been such an obvious reward: forfeitures (of property and money),” he said.
The drug lawyer said the billboards are meant to entertain, even if they're viewed as a turn off by some.
Moody's latest billboard has a decidedly St. Patrick's Day feel to it: “NO WONDER LEPRECHAUNS ARE SO HAPPY!”
“This is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen, and I hope you go out of business,” a caller told him this week.
By the looks of things, Moody is not closing shop anytime soon.