Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Return ...

Maybe.

I see it has been nearly three years since I lasted posted.  There were so many PD blogs when I started, but it seems that most people have let theirs languish.  Or, at least, that was my impression when I last checked, a year or more ago.  I suppose that silence is because a lot of people move on in their careers, from PD's to "real lawyers".  A lot of my friends have certainly left our office in the past year or so.

As for me, I'm still in the trenches, fighting the good fight.  I've been promoted to senior trial attorney and now have mentoring responsibilities.

There is no question that 2009 was an extremely tough year, but things have gotten better, since then.  As with most things in life, I guess you just have to grit your teeth and get through the hard times.

Maybe I'll start posting here again.  We shall see.

...

And yes, the post title is a reference to a certain album released in 1987.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Long, Long Year

So, this year is drawing to a close. I have tried:
  • Two Murders
  • An Aggravated Sexual Battery
  • An Aggravated Sodomy
  • A Rape/Aggravated Assault
  • An Armed Robbery
  • A Burglary
  • and ... something else.

I tried and retried a murder with my boss as second chair. I've closed somewhere near 325 cases. I have been tired most of the year and feeling worn very thin.

Last week, I learned that the County CEO is asking us to eliminate 13 positions, in a 50 lawyer office.

Nonetheless, I'm feeling a little upbeat. I'm moving to a new courtroom after the first of the year and it sounds like it will suit my workstyle a little more. I'll be partnered with a great lawyer, from whom I know that I can learn a lot, and I'll be working with at least one prosecutor that I already know, from previous courtroom assignments. All in all, the change is going to be good.

Assuming that I am still employed.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Too Busy

I've tried four cases so far this year of my own, and sat second chair on the trial and retrial of another. Tomorrow, I'll probably pick a jury on a complicated, challenging child molestation. My opinion is that we will be fighting a long, uphill battle, yet the client wants to charge forward.

There is simply too much work, now. We need more lawyers, because I cannot prepare these cases to the same extent that I was able to just last summer. Almost everyone I've spoken to feels overwhelmed and there is no end in sight. I don't think that any of us can prepare cases to the level where we are satisifed or the level for which our office is famous. The current situation is a professional disappointment and raises the question: why am I doing this?

This seemingly never-ending wave of cases needs to break.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Frustration

The delivery of mental health services has largley transferred to the criminal justice system: for instance, the L.A. County jail has the largest mental health hospital in the world. As a result, people are arrested for petty crime, such as criminal trespass or disorderly conduct, and sitting in jail for a periods of time. The question becomes: do we try to get them out of jail quickly and limp through a plea; or, do we have them sit in jail for six months while we are trying to get them to a hospital. The decision becomes easier in felony court, because of the delay between arrest and indictment.

I represented a man, now in his mid-'30's, who has profound schizophrenia. As I recall, we requested that the State doctor assess him and she found him competent to stand trial. Subsequently, we entered a plea and he was placed on probation, with a requirement that he continue with mental health treatment. He was arrested for disorderly conduct, which triggered a felony probation violation. After a 90-day revocation, he was released on June 1.

I saw him yesterday on the Square and it was evident that he had not been on his medication for some time. He was unwashed and unkempt. His thought was obviously disturbed and it appeared that he was relating episodes of auditory hallucinations. I believe that he was suffering from visual hallucinations. All of this, 72 hours after his release.

We miserably fail at providing for this population of our community and it is endelessly despressing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Long time, no post

I've got a jury deliberating on a rape case, just now. They went out on Monday at 1:45 and by 3:30 they sent out a note saying that they were deadlocked. They twice sent out notes that they were "deadlocked," today. In the last, they even said that they were "hopelessly deadlocked."

The thing is, the split is 9/3, and I think it might be in my favor.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Belated update

The jury was out for about 8 hours. They convicted my guy of 3 counts of robbery by intimidation, 4 counts of aggravated assault, hung on the possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and acquitted on the 3 armed robbery counts. The verdict is inconsistent, at the least -- they convicted on the robbery by intimidation, but still found that a gun was involved in the aggravated assault counts. I will not complain too loudly: at least my guy has is afforded the possibility of parole and will accrue good-time credit.

The Judge sentenced my guy to 20 do 15. No history. No one hurt. All property was found at the scene. That seemed awfully steep to me, given the circumstances, and put me in a tail spin for a while. I'll blog more on that later.

I'm getting really, really tired of losing.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Jury's out

I tried a armed robbery/aggravated assault this week. I think it is a fairly good case, despite what the story sounds like at first blush. Four guys get robbed, allegedly by three other guys, and a cop just happens to roll buy and interrupt it. My guy runs. But everything was very confused in the witness statements and descriptions, the evidence wasn't collected very well, and one guy pled guilty.

The jury went out today at 1:30 and will be coming back in the morning.

On another note, this is my 100th post.