Wednesday, January 21, 2015
They will do just about anything to keep a lawyer from setting his case for trial, and I love it. I have a brave client. He was charged with possession of marijauna and the State gave him a nice offer, a.k.a. a conviction, of time served. That means he would plea and his case would be over with, except for a six month license suspension. My client was having none of it. If they want to prove that he is guilty, go ahead and make them prove it, he says. The ADA, takes the case to her boss makes her enhance the case. Why was this done? Most likely to dissuade my client from making the ADA work and try a "stupid marijuana case." Guess what? We agree, it is stupid. So then we have to approach the judge to get a trial setting. This judge doesn't believe that me, in my youth, has informed my client of the risks of trial. She expresses concern that I have a trial fee and that my bar card is at risk. I mean, really, what business does she have being concerned with my financial circumstances and the structure of my contract? She was very nice, but also "paternalistic." I suppose part of a judges duty is to encourage compromise; to encourage cases to settle. However, I feel like that has a place more so in the civil courthouse than the criminal courthouse. I said at least three times that my client just wants his story heard by six members of the community. This is the second case I tried to set for trial in two weeks, and each time the judge urges me to urge my client to plea. I am glad the judge told me she never was a defense lawyer, but that just begs the question: how can any judge be neutral who hasn't worked both sides of the docket? She didn't seem to grasp that my client made up my mind to exercise his right to trial, and that he does not care that it will take time out of the court's more important time, or as the property folks say, highest and best use. If a DA wants a convictions, make them work for it.