25 January 2006

Question of the Day

Lately, I've had a spate of clients with unreasonable demands. The demands are invariably for a deal which is unrealistic. Client is arrested for her 6th grand larceny and wants "this little charge" to disappear with time served at the preliminary hearing date. Client has a simple possession charge but a long history of convictions for violent felonies and tells me he won't do anything longer than 6 months. Client has multiple possession with intent charges and wants a plea bargain for 6 months1. Of course, all this is part of the job, but it set me to wondering . . .

Why 6 months? Why is it that no matter how serious the offense or how long the client's criminal record is he always thinks his case should settle out for - at most - 6 months or less?

Rather than spinning out a theory of my own I thought I'd throw this one out to ya'll. Anyone got a theory?

1 None of these are actual fact patterns from current cases.


markm said...

Is 6 months the dividing line between county jail and prison?

Ken Lammers said...

No, 12 months / one year is the divide.

Let me clarify a little. Clients always want time served. Failing that the numbers which always come up are 3 months, 6 months, and then 12 months. Does anyone out there know if there is some psychological reason for this breakdown rather than 2 months, 4 months, 8 months?

Curtis P said...

My thought is that it probably has to do with the same reason why people look at time in 15 minute increments (rather than 6 minute increments as attorneys are accustomed to doing). It mentally divides easier. Think about all your periodic payments, they are either monthly, quarterly (every 3 months), semi-annually(every 6 months) or annually.

Just a thought. I saw a similar pattern myself now that I think about it.