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On misdemeanors this comes up 4-5 times a year. Defense counsel sometimes asks me to meet with them and their client, always in the courthouse.
Most of the time it is when the Defendant does not belive the offer as told to him by the Defense counsel, once he sees that that is the deal and I am committed to seeing that it goes that way, and that Defense counsel is being honest with him, they are usually satisfied and 90% plead.
Sometimes Defense counsel wants to show me something about his client IE. speach problem or mental condition. Only rarely does it effect the way I look at the case, but on at least two occasions I found about a mental condition that impacted the way I saw the case, and prbbably helped the Defendant.
I only do it if Defense cousel asks, and I trust them.
Trey, I think your story is why I hesitate to put myself out there to get conned. Some of these guys are unbelievably convincing. I have had some recent debriefings with some gang members who are charged with murder and engaging in org crime. The leader who testified at the grand jury was a very convincing liar. I was glad I had heard him so I can be ready for trial.
Well, I definitely got conned on that one I wrote about. Since then, the only defendants I've met have been those, who with their attorneys & families come in to sign up for our "pre-trial diversion" or "exchange program", where we defer prosecution for a year or so & they go through counseling, classes & community service. I feel better about the ones, when I meet their parents.
I suppose that we prosecutors are going to get lied to from time to time - by accused & by accusers. We just have to be wise and inquisitive to discern the lies & truth. Difficult to do some times, especially when the underlying crime makes no sense to me, like the weenie-waving pilot wannabe. I guess I just figured, no intelligent person would do such a stupid thing, especially with so much riding on it - his career.
The Manhatten D.A.'s Office, as depicted on L&O, does a lot of things differently from my D.A.'s Ofc. in the Boonies.
For example, most of their cases have some odd angle that makes the case difficult to prove, or indicates that the def., while guilty, is probably ok. A moral delimma.
Most of my cases are a lot simpler.
Their cops work in pairs, and seem to have no other cases on their case load, as they wander around NYC, wise-cracking with wise-acre witnesses.
Many of my cops seem to think their job is over after the Bad Guy is arrested. Some seem to think spending time investigating a case so that the DA has evidence on every element of the offense is a lot of hooy. And many of my witnesses have way too low an IQ to even dream of being a quick-talking Wise Acre.
And what about those judges! Wow, they are pretty scary. Mean, sarcastic, and difficult. You can't imagine any of those fellows saying, "hey, let's get this docket over with, and go dove hunting!" And of course, no one bothers to Xerox a case to show a judge, because they have all the cases committed to memory.
So it shouldn't surprise anyone that in that DA's Ofc., it is common practise for the prosecutor, the defendant, and the def. atty to get together to discuss the merits of the case.
Like Larry, I have been asked to meet a Def to see how whacked out, but relatively harmless, he is.
More frequently, I have gone with defense counsel to talk to their client. I advise them I am there to tell them about my case (things I have given in discovery already). I tell them what the witnesses are going to say. I interrupt their protestations of innocence and explain to them that I am not negotiating with them and I can use what they say against them. I am simply telling them about my case against them. I state what my offer (about to expire) was to their attorney, and tell them I am leaving so they can discuss it.
I have also had the loud conversation with defense counsel in the courtroom at the end of docket with their client listening attentively. I do not know how well the second scenario has worked off hand, but I believe 5 out of 6 of the first scenario have ended in pleas for what I offered.
But it is still not like TV.
Yeah AND, I get to work with...Larry.
No Alana De La Garza, No Jill Hennessy, No Carey Lowell, No Angie Harmon....just...just... Larry. And believe me, he is NOT no Angie Harmon.
After watching Grey's Anatomy, I might just have to go to medical school now.
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