Thursday, January 29, 2009

Court's reaction to poop tosser shits on us all.

Throw Feces--Get New Lawyer!

Most have heard of the story of the defendant throwing his own shit on his defense attorney (and a defense-less juror). OK, pause, insert your own joke here. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s think about this critically.

First, this behavior is obviously reprehensible and an affront to judicial and human dignity. By all accounts—and I have first hand accounts—the assaulted lawyer is a patient and competent defense attorney. According to those in the know, he is a nice man. This is probably not an easy feat, at least not if his other clients are anywhere near as appreciative as his latest client.

Second, I find it amazing that this defendant could smuggle a bag of his own feces past the guards and into open court. That must have been some seal on that bag. Nice work, deputy.

Finally, and most importantly, take a look at what this guy wanted. The defendant stated repeatedly that he wanted a new lawyer and a new trial. Denied. So, he took matter into his own hands. This act, assaulting the one man who would protect and help him, got him exactly what he wanted. He now has a new lawyer and soon will have a new trial. What a disgrace. The behavior is now rewarded. A precedent has been set. If there is a cauldron of worse ideas in the world than county jail, I have not seen it. Consider it the anti-Think Tank. County jail and its inhabitants love trends. Now, gassing your lawyer and the rest of the court is the trendiest way to get a new lawyer and a new trial. The official reaction to this act ensures us that it will be en vogue to do this kind of thing whenever a trial is not going a defendant’s way or if there is conflict between lawyer and client.

Instead of assigning a new lawyer, why not assign a few more deputies? Why not isolate the defendant? After all, he made his bed of shit, why is he exempt from it? What part of the Constitution supports the removal of the old lawyer and giving him a new one? The Framers fought vigorously for us to be free from government oppression and inequity. They did not seek to ensure that the saboteur would have endless opportunity to corrupt the process.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sadistic Corrections Officers (gasp!)

Uhhhh. . . “Secret” Society of Guards Who Sadistically Beat Inmates?

In other “secret” news, the sky is blue.

Three correction officers created a sadistic secret society on a Rikers Island cellblock, ordering prisoners to extort and beat other inmates, prosecutors charged Thursday. Officers Michael McKie, Khalid Nelson and Denise Albright called their fight club "The Program," and the teens they recruited as enforcers were "The Team," officials said.

Understand, we are talking about county jail. Not state prison. The conduct alleged to have occurred by the corrections officers would be unacceptable and criminal and any setting. But pay close attention to this particular setting. County jail is a place where low-level criminals serve a sentence after adjudication and, more importantly, the accused—those people who are presumed innocent—await trial. These are husbands, fathers, sons, daughters and mothers who simply stand accused of crime. To subject these people to such a brutal environment is itself criminal. Unfortunately, it is common. The rights of jail inmates are not exactly push button political issues that instantly garner public support. Despite the most egregious violations seen--from Rikers Island, NY to the Orange County Jail, CA-- in the past year alone, no one seems to care about the plight of the accused. In fact, when a story like this is reported, the emphasis is on a “secret society” of rogue guards who engage in misconduct. It comforts us to think that this is just a few bad apples in a large bunch. It comforts us further to think that the society is actually “secret,” unknown to supervising authorities. The contrary is true. Inmate abuses are open and tacitly encouraged by those in power. Only when caught, do authorities feign outrage and seek to punish the patsies.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Don't Lawyer Yourself Into a Corner--Especially if you are the Lawyer.

It's About Me, Stupid!

It is never--and I mean never-- a good sign when your criminal defense lawyer is busy defending himself in the media and in front of the State Bar while your case is ongoing. This is the situation that Casey Anthony unfortunately finds herself in. In one of the most high profile cases of the year, her attorney has painted himself into a corner and is battling furiously for his own credibility. Compare that to the masterful job Thomas Arthur Mesereau, Jr., did with Michael Jackson, where Mr. Mesereau constantly avoided the spotlight until after the case was over.

Some simple advice: win the case and you'll get your desired recognition. Botch the case and, well, you still may become famous and rich. Accordingly, I guess the only downside is felt by the client. Protect the client at all times.