Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"Lawyering Up"

I thought this private practice gig was supposed to be easier than the p.d.'s office? I worked 14 hours on a case on Sunday and then closed down the jail last night (10pm). Not the best way to spend St. Patrick's Day, but it could have been worse. I feel bad for the client I met as he called me several weeks ago, asking whether he should keep cooperating with the police and take a polygraph as the police "investigated" him for a serious felony, or rather tried to get him to admit it.

Obviously I told him not to take the test, telling him to politely tell them that he hired a lawyer, that he was told to not talk to them anymore, and that if they had a problem they could call me. He even called back to thank me, telling me he felt good "taking control."

Of course, they arrested him right after he told them this.

Later, I told this story to the judge at a bond review and, upon hearing it, even the prosecutor agreed with me that his bond should be reduced from $25,000 to $2500. But the judge, saying these were "serious charges" reduced it to $10,000, which he doesn't have.

His mother, purely out of love for him and frustration for where he's at and calling me to inquire about retaining me, said something to me about giving him advice that landed him in jail, something along the lines of "well, look where he ended up after he talked to you." I told her I couldn't control what they did, but that I wouldn't change a thing, even considering where he ended up. I even described it as million dollar legal advice, pointing out that I'd given it for free.

And then I asked her if she thought they would have held off on arresting him if they had enough information to convict. I haven't seen the discovery, but my hunch is that, while they can arrest him out of frustration that he "lawyered up," they would have acted a lot sooner if they were holding "good cards."

They might be able to lock him up for months, and blame it on me, but I'm hoping I kept him from going away for years.

But, seeing him going a little stir crazy, stuck in the "max" mod awaiting trial, stuck with all the people accused of serious felonies, I felt a little sickened.

I'm hoping that even though my advice landed him in jail for the short term, it'll keep him out in the long. They can put him in jail, laughing at the time that he "should have done what they asked" (and not called a lawyer) but I hope to have the last laugh.

Believe me, he deserves it.

No comments: