Monday, April 24, 2006

An acquittal

I tried a case today and the jury ended up agreeing with us. So, I got a straight acquittal on one count of battery, one count of simple battery, and one count of criminal trespass.

My lady had posted a guy's bond. Three days later, she's trying to find him, because she used her rent money, and she swings past his grandmother's hosue. There, she sees the guy sitting in a car smooching another woman. As you can imagine, drama ensues. The State's witnesses said that she flew into a rage and threw a bottle of bleach at the guy, cutting the back of his head. The fellow's grandmother than calls the police and my lady eventually leaves.

Later, she returns with some friends. She ends up jumping out of the car and chasing the guy, fighting him and the new girlfriend. She tires of the fight and the throws a brick throught the new girlfriend's windshield. The windshield gave rise to the trespass claim. Where I am, damage to property in an amount less than $500 is criminal trespass.

Our witnesses said that Romeo attacked her when she first arrived. My lady admitted hitting him with the bleach bottle, but only after he had spit on her, threw a trashcan against her car (breaking the antenna and scratching the car), pushed her against her car, and punched her. In other words, she acted in self-defense. After he went in the house, she testified that she called police, and then left to meet her sister and friend. She wanted moral support when she talked to the police.

As luck would have it, the police had already come and gone when she returned. But, there was more fighting to be had. The young man actually threw a brick the car she was in and she ended up getting out to confront him. At that point, Romeo and his new Juliette ended up attacking my lady. Juliette finished the fight when she was handed a baseball bat. However, our witnesses testified that she wasn't that good of a hitter -- she ended up hitting her windshield while swinging for my client, which was how the windshield broke.

Romeo declind to attend -- there is an active bench warrant for him, because he failed to attend court. That would be on the felony that my lady posted bond for.

The jury apparently agreed that the State did not prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It's awfully good thing to hear that kind of verdict being returned. I'm now 2 for 2 in the new job, which ain't half bad.

Now, I have to finish preparing for the 9 cases I have set for trial tomorrow. Unfortunately, I'm going to head back to the office in an hour or so and finish up a few things for tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Something new

During my last trial calendar, the Judge got a little impatient because we were still working cases out at 10:30 in the morning. (Nevermind that I had 10 cases on the calendar, half of which hadn't returned my calls and the other half involved poor victim contact on the prosecutor's part.) Anyway, we chatted afterwards, and came up with a solution that we decided to try at our next arraignment, which was last Monday.

At arraignment, client's receive notice of their next courtdate. I went ahead and put appointment times on the notice, and the Judge threatened that if they didn't keep their appointments, he would consider revoking their bond. The advantage is, I can get people into the office fairly quickly and have plenty of time to work their cases. The downside is, if they don't keep their appointments, it puts me in a very uncomfortable position. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet.

In any event, I had 7 appointments scheduled yesterday, and 5 people actually appeared. That's a much better rate than I have ever had working here. Back home, almost all of my appointments were kept. Of course, those were felonies, where people were facing significant jail time. I guess we will see how the remainder of the week goes.