I'm sitting and waiting for my case to be called. I know my last two cases for the day are going to be called last because my clients are residents at the local juvenile detention facility and they are always the last cases called. A case is called and a young woman comes up to the bench by herself. Now, admittedly the only reason that I paid attention at first was because she wasn't half bad looking and her sweater fit just right, but the case itself quickly became interesting.
The woman walked up and announced that she was going to defend herself. The judge reads the charge of misdemeanor obstruction of justice and asks her how she is going to plead. "Not Guilty." The prosecutor gets a pained look on his face and asks the judge to hold everything for a minute. Then he walks the young woman away from the bench and says, "The judge's gonna find you guilty of this. Plead guilty and we'll take it under advisement for 6 months. If you don't get in any further trouble it'll go away and there won't be anything on your record." The woman looks upset, but I think I see her nod. They both walk up to the bench and the judge again asks her how she pleads. She pauses for half a second, then takes a breath, and starts crying. And not gentle sobs - nope, she's out-and-out WAAAIILLing. The judge is sitting there in shock, looking at this girl balling her eyes out four feet away and, after a couple seconds the prosecutor suggests that they pass this case over. The judge agrees and the girl bolts from the courtroom - followed by mom and dad, who were sitting on the front row of the gallery.
A little later the court is in recess and Dad is back in the courtroom. The prosecutor walks over to talk to him and Dad says something about how the girl just can't bring herself to plead guilty. I can't hear the whole conversation (and I'm not trying to eavesdrop) but I think the prosecutor makes another effort to get the family to talk her into taking the deal.
Court goes back into session and the case is called again. The girl walks up and I'm sure they've got it all squared away. The judge asks her how she's going to plead. "Not guilty." OMG. The prosecutor looks more frustrated than anything else and puts on his case. A state trooper was dealing with another young woman and was trying to get her to exit a vehicle. The other woman refused to exit her vehicle so the trooper took her by the arm and tried to remove her. At this point the other woman launched herself at the trooper and used her fingernails to gouge into the trooper's head (I remember seeing the trooper the week after this happened and he had 3" furrows in the sides of his skull). The trooper then "takes control" of the situation and handcuffs the woman. The girl on trial apparently ran up and started screaming at the trooper while he was engaged in combat with this woman and then she tried to pull her friend away from the trooper while he was trying to handcuff her. Her primary defense? "I've never seen anyone handled as roughly as he treated Joan." That was it - an open and shut case. The judge finds her guilty.
The girl starts to cry again (although more like a quiet sobbing). The judge is ready for it this time and tells her that crying isn't going to change anything. Then the judge sentences her to six months and suspends all of it.
The lesson for today boys and girls (besides hiring a defense attorney)? If a prosecutor finds that tiny corner of his heart where he hides the tendency toward mercy take the deal.