Disorder In The Court

Older Boy was asking me about my time spent as a prosecutor the other day.  I reminded him that often he’d come to the office with me if I was the attorney on call, the cops would entertain him by spinning him around in the conference room chairs and put State’s Exhibit stickers on his head while I prepared a search warrant.  But he wanted to hear about the people.   Here’s some of the stories I remembered most of which I couldn’t tell him.

A woman came to the window in our office, slams her hand on the counter (the obvious choice to get our attention) and announced, “I need to get a Public Attender!”

An 18-year-old has the extreme lapse of judgment to commit felony robbery 3 days after his birthday.  His mom is mortified, calls me up and has two words for me, “Scare him.”  So there we are in big boy court at the poor kid is shaking in his boots.  He’s obviously well prepared by his public defender because he’s “Yes Ma’aming” the judge.  I almost feel sorry for him.

We’re about to go through the part where the judge makes sure he understands the charges and all of the costs he could be responsible for by pleading guilty.  The judge says her spiel, he has to repeat it back. All of us in the courtroom know this by heart and barely listen.  But on that day, our young defendant added a new unexpected twist.  The judge said to him, “. . . and you understand that you can be held responsible for the costs of prosecution?”  Eager defendant replied, “Oh yes ma’am, I know I have to pay the cost of prostitution.”  Maybe he wasn’t as innocent as I thought.

My final favorite was from a defendant’s sentencing statement where they have to write their version of the crime. Usually it is a long stream of consciousness tomb that goes from DNA to the present.  It typically rambles on how their momma didn’t love them and their daddy left when they were a baby ending with “and that’s why I done it.”  But this was the first and only one I can recall that was so honest and accurate, and therefore memorable.  A female defendant wrote three simple words that truly summed it up, “I f#&^ed up.”  Now that’s a statement.

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