Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to defend the defenseless?

I've had more than my share in the last ten years. Clients without a defense. But the attitude that, "If they are going to charge me, they are going to spend the money for a trial." I get that they are entitled to a trial. I get it more than most people. That's why I do what I do. But how can you provide a defense when they don't give you a damn thing to work with??

And the "trial tax." It's unfortunate, but true. I know my client, charged with two first degree misdemeanors, is going to get two years in the county jail if he is convicted. And I don't see how he won't be. I don't have a damn thing to work with.

Jury picked and sworn. Today, I get a call that he is trying to hire a private attorney, for a case scheduled for trial. Tomorrow. If I get a continuance. Nice try. Not flying with the judge.

If I use the opening I'm planning, affectionately called the "Desperation Opening," the jury knows I don't have a damn thing to work with. How is that effective? I could waive. That's not effective either. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

This sucks. At least he has six months in already.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Do I Want a New Job??

Not really a new job. Just a different location. All my family is in another state. I live in Florida. I keep looking, keep applying. Everything tells me to stay put. Except my family. I love them. I hate missing the big events. I've never been to a birthday party of my siblings' children. I always have Christmas, but that is about it for the year. And it sucks!

The System Does Work

Wow!!! A loooong time since my last post.

New office, new clients. I've been reassigned to a smaller office, only two attorneys. Luckily, I was able to take a good friend with me. The secretaries are great, unbelievable actually. They seem to know what to do before I tell them. Which is very refreshing!

New clients. New to me, but not the office. My secretaries have been there for years, having grown up in the county. It's interesting to hear the stories that lead up my current representation.

My first jury trial in almost three years. Not that I chose that, but doing juvenile and mental health cases, things just worked out that way.

While I have issues with my state attorney, I have to give him props. He's young. He's inexperienced. He did some work with a questionable defense attorney. But! It is the first time that I have ever received a "Notice of Production of Favorable Evidence." A witness, 12 years old, that says my client didn't start the incident that led to his battery charge.

My client, a local "transient," well know to law enforcement. A diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, unmedicated for six months. But well aware of his rights, the players, the situation. With a history of acting out, talking to himself, making threatening statements without provocation. He sat patiently, quietly and attentive throughout the trial.

ALL the evidence came out. Thanks to the ethical prosecutor that disclosed the new information. And my client was found not guilty. He walked out of the court room with a quiet, quite unexpected "thank you."

This young, inexperienced state attorney gave my client the fairest trial I've been part of in ten years. And the system worked. And I like my new county.