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Friday, February 21, 2014

$66.00

In our jurisdiction is it not uncommon for prosecutors, city and state, to make conditional offers of dismissal. Usually it's something akin to "dismiss upon payment of court costs, dismiss upon completion of anger management, dismiss upon (fill in the blank), etc." Typically, clients are grateful for getting these offers because either (1) they have admitted to you they are guilty and they are grateful to have the opportunity to guarantee a dismissal, or (2) they are maintaining they are not guilty but they feel as if the evidence in possession of the prosecutor is enough to convict them and they do not want to risk being convicted at trial.

Typically clients are grateful.

This week I witnessed the funniest, the most shocking and the most heart-warming thing I have seen in a courtroom in a long time.

A co-worker walks over and has a seat, informing those of us sitting there that his client is going bezerk. He claims he never agreed to a conditional dismissal and he isn't paying any money. For the next 20 minutes, he paces. He keeps glancing over at us, mumbling to himself and moving his belongings from one seat to another.

His case is called and my co-worker warns the judge that this particular person may be a bit of a problem. He was not wrong. This guy starts talking about the shit storm that is coming, the money he isn't paying, the judge is just going to have to put him in jail, und so weiter. The judge dismisses him in order to avoid disruption in his courtroom and tells my co-worker that he will just give him another court date. Hopefully one that falls after the client has been regularly taking his medication.

My co-worker walks back over to where the defense attorney's, public defender and private bar, are sitting and someone asks how much the client owes in court costs.

$66.00

"How much has he already paid in court costs?"

Nothing.

"Wait, all he EVER owed was $66.00! Are you serious?!"

Yup.

The private attorney next to me pulls out his wallet and hands my co-worker $10.  The private attorney sitting behind him pulls out another $10.  The first donating attorney gets the attention of another attorney and says "hey, all this guy needs is $66 and this shit is over." Private attorney number three pulls out a $20. The judge looks over and sees people essentially throwing money in my co-workers lap when he calls over one of the private attorney's.


The private attorney comes back from the bench and takes his $10 back from my co-worker as he relays the message that the judge is dismissing the case and my co-worker can tell his client that he doesn't have to come back.

The moral of the story?

Tell your clients to stop taking their meds about 2 weeks before the next docket. Miracles will happen. lol...I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid.

Seriously, seeing how the private members of the bar stepped up in order to help out a fellow defense attorney (trust me, they did it for him, not his client) was very heart-warming.

I share a lot of gripes and bad news, I figured I would share a little ray of light.

Until next time,

Be blessed, be careful, don't confess and don't consent.

~LT