Wednesday, January 10, 2007

You Know You Have A Bad Public Defender When***

1. You ask him - scared from your cell: 'How is my case looking?' He looks gonna at the14-count indictment, discouragingly paging through the large document: 'Wow, 57 pages, that's a lot of reading.'
2. The judge asks: 'What is your client gonna plead, guilt, not guilty, no contest, or not enter a plea at this time?' A long, thoughtful pause follows: 'Your honor, my client would like to use his 50-50.' 'Okay bailiff, remove two of the incorrect answers off the board . . . okay, leaving us with guilty and not guilty.' 'Your honor, he's pretty sure that he's not guilty, but not totally sure, so he would like to use one of his life lines and ask the jury.' The judge reads this jury instruction: 'Okay everyone on the panel of the jury box is a button, and push it depending on whether you think he's guilty or not guilty.' After a nervous pause, the judge explains, 'The jury thinks you're not guilty.' 'My client was feelings the same way, he's going to plead not guilty.' 'Is that your final answer, the jury could be reversed on appeal that jury instruction was a little vague?' 'That's my clients final answer.' A hush falls over the courtroom; the judge congratulates, 'You're right - okay, let's move on to count number two, which has a $32,000 fine attached to it, and of course, you only have one lifeline left, which is you're one phone call that you're allowed from jail . . .
3. When he tells you about his legal training, he remarks, 'I used to clerk for Judge Judy.'
4. When you ask him what law school he went to, 'Nationally, it didn't have the best reputation, but locally it was quite prominent in fact during my time there they doubled the number of law library books in the school's book mobile.'
5. When he tells people about his experience with law review, he brags, 'I showed up to their informational meeting where they were served free pizza, and I ate seven pieces, and then slipped out before I had to listen to their promotional lecture.'
6. When you ask whether the bar exam was tough. He explains, 'No, you know what they say, the fifth time is the charm.' 'In fact,' he adds, 'it wasn't so bad because it was multiple-choice, so - if I didn't know the answer, I just used the force.'
7. While addressing the judge on a point of law, he argues: 'Stevens v. Montgomery - the case of the amnesiac heiress - the cite is, 23 F. Supp. 354, Oct. 23rd, 1991 - episode seven, Matlock - the fall season has been roundly criticized in this jurisdiction . . .
8. When it is time for the prosecutor to cross-examine their lead witness, your public defender turns to you and says, "Cover for me for about 2 minutes, I've just got to slip out and pay the meter.
9. You look over and you think your public defender is taking notes on his computer of the capital murder proceeding before you, but you realize that he's playing solitaire. Noticing your concern, he gestures towards the computer, and assures, "Don't worry - we're winning."
10. During closing arguments, he protests vehemently and convincingly to the jury, "Our friend Lester is a victim of police corruption. If this jury doesn't give a resounding rejection of these practices, and well, you can be the next Lester, I could be the next Lester, we all could be the next Lester. Your public defender then sits down next to you, and you turn to him and say, "Uhm . . . my name is Eugene."
11. When your public defender is held in contempt and given a 30-day jail sentence, he doesn't even need to go home and get his stuff because he already has his bag packed with his specially-fitted orange jump suit, his own toothbrush, a tattered copy of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, and his stuffed animal 'Grape Ape.' He tells the bailiff, 'The usual cell, you know, the corner one with the private urinal, and this time could I have cell mate that's Meyers-Brigg compatible. . ."
12. When the courtroom is packed because the jury verdict is about to come down, your public defender turns to you and says, 'Let's stand up and see if we can start the wave.'
13. While the state's chief witness is testifying against you, you look over, wondering why he isn't objecting, only to find him studying a Chinese menu.

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