Slow Blogging

For the next few days, at least. Among other pressing projects, and because my client is insane, I’m probably going to have a trial in municipal court today.

O.K., he’s not really insane. But he is being irrational. The charge is reckless endangerment, and based on what the cop said in the arrest report, the charge is almost certainly appropriate. My client, though, vigorously disputes the accuracy of the cop’s version. We have no witnesses other than my client.

What I cannot get my client to understand is that it does not matter what really happened, or what he thinks happened. What matters is what the city can prove, and they are almost definitely going to prove that my client is guilty. This is municipal court – where, by and large, – the judges consider themselves to be revenue collectors, rather than neutral decision makers. I’m not kidding. An attorney I know likes to tell a story about a case he tried in B’ham municipal court, at the end of which the judge said contemplatively: “Well, I’ve got my doubts, but I’m gonna go ahead and find her guilty.” And to make things worse, this trial will be a swearing match between my client and a cop. Oh, and my client also insists on taking the stand. I’m not absolutely opposed to letting clients testify, but when this guy starts talking, he makes me wonder if he might might have been involved in JFK’s assasination. He will be an awful witness.

I’m gonna do my best. I’ve got pictures, and a diagram, caselaw, and a good cross all ready to go. But it’s all going to be for naught. The judge will then fine him, and who knows, maybe give him some jail time because the victim was a cop.

In light of this, I think my client will be much better served by negotiating a plea. Whether he pleads or goes to trial, he’s going to be guilty. A plea, though, will result in a lesser penalty. But he insists on going to trial; he wants the judge to hear both sides of the story. I keep telling him that the judge is not going to believe him, so what he is doing is paying a big fine and some jail time for the right to tell the judge his story.

So there it is. I can tell this guy all day long that he is taking a huge risk by going to trial, but in the end the choice is his. Who knows, I may be wrong. We may get a fair hearing. My client my suddenly transform into a superb witness. I may argue like Clarence Darrow. I hope I am wrong. I will certainly do everything I can to prove myself wrong. But I’ve got a strong feeling that sometime late this afternoon I’ll be explaining the appellate process to my client.

UPDATE: Woo Hoo! Deferred prosecution. The city attorney agreed to dismiss the charge if client will do ten hours of community service and return to court in six months without having gotten into any more trouble.

Explore posts in the same categories: Blogging, Trials

4 Comments on “Slow Blogging”

  1. Old Prosecutor Says:

    as a former defense lawyer I can only say “been there, done that” and my sympathy goes out to you

  2. kc Says:

    I do sypathise but should you be blogging about it? Client confidences and all that….

  3. wheeler Says:

    intentionally vague; could be anyone, anywhere.

  4. kc Says:


    i wasn’t being critical…only concerned….the folks at the Bar can be confounding

    best regards


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: