19 January 2004

The Legal Reader takes note of shady behavior by a prosecutor.

Something similar to this happened to me about a month ago. I was representing client Smith with misdemeanor charges that were going to end up in a fine and suspended jail time. I had spent time talking to the prosecutor that day in order to work out the deal and was just sitting there waiting for the case to be called. After a hour or so the judge stepped from the bench and the clerk split the docket1, sending my client and about six others down to a different courtroom.

Before the judge comes out, I walk up to talk to the new prosecutor to make sure he knows the agreed upon deal. He looks down at the file and says he understands the deal and that he is going to have the deputies keep an eye on my client. ???? Curious, I ask why they would keep an eye on someone who is getting suspended time and who would be stupid to flee. At that point the new prosecutor tells me that they have other charges which they are going to serve on my client when he comes up to the bench.


After about 15 minutes of scrambling I, and the new prosecutor, figure out that my client is not the person who is supposed to be served the warrant. There was another person on the docket with the same last name and first initial whom the first prosecutor had confused with my client. Still, the original prosecutor negotiated a deal with me and let me sit there for over a hour knowing full well that he intended to have my client arrested as soon as our case was concluded. The implication being that I would go tell my client to run. Needless to say, these actions did not leave a favorable impression upon me.

1 This is done when one judge finishes his docket early and offers to help another judge who has a large docket.

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