can’t work with them, can’t reason with them….
I know it’s not all DA’s – because I’ve met DA’s not in my court room that I like – my best friend (gulp) is a DA in washington state, but the DA’s in my courtroom are unbearable.
I seriously don’t know how they sleep at night. I had a lovely screaming match with one of them on Christmas eve. I shan’t go into the details in case someone from their office is reading this, but suffice it to say that they are awful to work with and justice is not being served, in my opinion, with these power freaks in baby DA positions.
Do any of you dear readers (if I have any left since it’s been so long since I have posted) have a decent relationship with your DA’s? Mine started off great – until I started calling them out on things that they should or should not (read – have no right to) be doing. I’m to the point where I have to put things on the record because a clear pattern is being established in my courtroom.
I’m frustrated. I don’t know if this is just typical new DA/PD stuff or what. Any insight readers?
So I had a client this week who had a pre-trial conference scheduled on a misdemeanor matter. He also has a felony case pending so we were just going to set my case over to trail the felony.
When the case was called the judge told client – I’ll call him Forrest – that he had a warrant out for failure to comply with the terms of his felony bond.
It was news to both of us. Forrest was visibly upset about having to go to jail right then and there. The judge told him that if he had any belongings that he wanted to give to someone there so he wouldn’t have to take them with him into custody that he could do so.
So Forrest says:
Ok – I’m just gonna give this stuff (holding wallet, etc..) to my dad (as he walks towards the door).
Mr. Gump, you need to stay in this room.
I know, he’s just right outside here waiting for me (slinking closer to the door).
The judge again warns:
Mr. Gump, you cannot leave this room.
At this point Forrest is at the door – pretends to call for dad
and books it like a bat out of hell.
I don’t think I have ever witnessed a human being run that fast.
I couldn’t help but laugh. Out loud. I’m laughing as I type this.
He actually made it, too. Ran so damn fast they didn’t catch him.
He’ll be back, no doubt. But I owe him something for the amusement provided to me (and the rest of the courtroom) that day.
My boss has told me that the judge hasn’t complained about me…so that is a good thing in his mind.
But the best compliment came from a client. His case looks bad. He wants me to ask the DA for – well, a miracle, really. I tried to explain to him that his record along with the current charge make such an offer HIGHLY unlikely.
He said to me:
“Come on. Work your magic! Everyone in here (jail) tells me your good.”
Aww! My clients think I’m good! That means a lot to me….more than what the judge thinks, really (hope he’s not reading this – in which case I’m totally kidding your honor)
I posted how I kicked that state’s ass in my very first trial, but I have some confessions to make.
#1. The state pretty much handed that win to me on a silver platter. The witness totally recanted and the DA seemed to have no idea what the witness was gonna say. It was painful to watch, really.
The best part about it is the DA actually snickered when I walked into court that morning because neither of us knew if the complaining witness was going to show. Too bad he didn’t know what his witness was actually going to testify to.
#2. Closing arguments – either my closing argument kicked so much ass that the DA felt utterly defeated and refused to rebut my closing or – well, who the hell knows why he didn’t rebut the closing?! What kind of prosecutor just gives up like that? Not that I’m complaining – just utterly flabbergasted!
#3. The charges were ridiculous. If I were a juror on this case I would have been pissed that I missed a day of work for such a ridiculous trial. A serious waste of the states resources.
But hey, I’m currently undefeated so I’m totally not complaining!
I had my first jury trial today. That in itself was fun. But what was more fun was kicking the state’s ass. Kicking it. Not guilty on all charges.
Wanna guess how long the jury was out for?
No kidding – 15 minutes. (how can you even read through the 15 pages of jury instructions that fast?)
That was seriously fun.
yet. Man – I could work 80+ hours and still not do the job to the extent I would like to. Hell, 100 hours wouldn’t be enough. And I’m really not a perfectionist – so that’s kinda sad.
I’ve had a few more firsts:
First real death glare. The complaining witness in my case happens to be in the same jail as my client. So when I went to the jail to see a third client the guard walked me through a portion of the jail (otherwise I’d have to go through the labyrinth that is the inner jail simply to get directly downstairs – very nice of the guard to allow me to bypass all that) anyway, so I walked right past poor, incarcerated “victim” – totally NOT a victim in this case (I wish “big fat liar” was a legal term that I could use at trial) and I got the death glare. It was kinda hard to see under all that black eyeliner – but it was there. Her incarcerated buddy joined in on the death glare, too. I did my best to pretend not to feel it – so I never looked back over – but man, that was fun. I feel pretty brave as long as she’s dressed in all orange.
I had an objection sustained on me too (is that the proper way to phrase that?).
I tried to get all Boston Legal during a suppression hearing ’cause I was able to get the cop all flustered. He got pretty defensive and I kept asking him questions to the point of an objection by the DA….sustained – “outside the scope of the hearing”. DAMNIT! I was on a roll, too! I need to learn to save it for trial I suppose – but I was so excited to be able to point out such a blatant screw up.
There really are not enough hours in the day for this job. Time sure flies at work – that’s for sure.
My two year-old started nursery school last week when I started work. She is only there for a few hours and daddy picks her up at lunch time and spends the rest of the day with her and her sister.
Her first week of school was like my first week at work.
Day 1 – excited but nervous and cautious.
Days 2- 5 – ready to take on the world and happy to be there
Her second week of school went like this:
Day 1 – 3 – protested her required attendance in school on the way to school that day. Mass breakdown at school complete with the full body wrap around mommy refusing to let go and sobbing. Just sobbing. Poor baby! Poor me! I was traumatized feeling like I had indeed thrown her to the wolves for the sake of my career and wondered what damage I was doing to her little self.
I did, of course, stick around to see if she would settle down, and she did within a minute, but my heart just hurt nonetheless.
The last two days of this week were not met with tears, thank goodness, and she seems to like school again.
Clearly those first few days this week indicate that the novelty of the new school had worn off.
After five years of being a stay-at-home-mom I am enjoying the working, grown up environment. But I wonder – when will the novelty wear off? When will I have a major tantrum (in my mind at least) protesting the idea of heading into work that day and wanting nothing more than to cuddle with my kiddos?
that happened much sooner than I thought.
1. I won a motions hearing! I got all animated during my argument, too…great fun.
(of course, I must give a shout out to the cop for placing my client under arrest immediately upon contact – placing cuffs on him with his left hand while holding a k-9 with the right AND admitting no Miranda warnings were given at any time….THANK YOU!)
2. A client called to ask me about his case. He has another pending case in another court room. I asked if he had an attorney on that case. He replied, “No, just a public defender.”
Wow – they really don’t think we went to law school, do they?
Is this a really cool thing, or a big red flag:
There are at least 12 bottles of Corona in the office refrigerator, along with a bottle of margarita mix and two bottles of tequila on top.
This will probably be a recurring blog entry.
For this week:
You know you’re a baby PD when a client you represent on a misdemeanor charge has to explain to you the difference between a cap of 6 years and a stipulated 5-6 on a pending unrelated felony charge – and thus why he thinks the stipulated 5-6 is a bunch of crap and he’s not taking the global disposition that your boss asked you to relay to him.
I’m sure he was thrilled to have to teach his lawyer the law and now has complete confidence in my ability to represent him in his misdemeanor matter.
Feel free to add your own:
You know you’re a baby PD (Green PD – whatever you want to call it) when: