13 October 2004

Monday & Tuesday

Monday - Okay, on Monday I was driving back from vacation. Still, that didn't stop me from getting a call from a prosecutor (who knew I was on vacation) about a case we have on Wednesday. Fortunately, he must have called while I was in the mountains somewhere so I don't get the call until later in the afternoon when it is too late to call back. Having already bought a hat from my high school and college over the weekend I feel obligated to stop and buy a hat from W&L Law. Then I continue my journey back to the Richmond area and get home about 9 p.m. Since I enjoy the mountains a great deal the drive is enjoyable because of the beautiful scenery (which is only marred by the apparent need to put a billboard advertising a strip club every couple of miles in West Virginia).

Tuesday - In the morning I go to the Circuit Court to appeal a couple bonds set by the general district court. One man has had no bond set and all his charges but one dismissed in general district court. Unfortunately, his remaining charge carries a mandatory year in prison. The judge sets a reasonable bond. Then we turn to the second guy. He's a kid charged with DUI, driving on a suspended license, and failing to come to court. He's a college kid and he's set to deploy to Iraq in a couple months. The judge in general district court set a $5,000 secure bond which was just way too high. To be fair Client is from another State and has a terrible driving record but $5,000 was just an amazing bond to set for misdemeanors. When I pitch the case to the Circuit Court judge looks a little dubious but she lowers the bond to $1,000.

Then I go down to the general district court for a preliminary hearing. The charge is felony non-return of a rental car. My client was arrested (on a different charge) the morning he was supposed to have returned the car. Because the prosecutor doesn't seem to want to take my word for this I have to go get a copy of the capias under which he was arrested; it shows him being served at 9:05 a.m. The car was later wrecked by an unknown driver while my client was still in jail. We stipulate the facts and, although it's unusual to do so because of the very low standard, I make an argument for dismissal at this stage. The prosecutor then pulls out a case which says that if the person intends to do an illegal act but intervening circumstances prevent that illegal act he is still guilty. I point out that this is not on point for the case at hand because there's no evidence that my client intended an illegal act and the intervening circumstance is what caused the "illegal" non-return of the vehicle. The judge certifies the case to the circuit court anyway.

In the afternoon I go to court for a client with petit larceny and assault and battery charges. The client hasn't bothered to contact me so I'm not really sure what is going on. I meet with Client and then with the officer and the prosecutor. The prosecutor claims that on one date my client stole his ex-girlfriend's current boyfriend's keys while he was at the house to pick up his child. The A&B comes out of my client confronting the new boyfriend on a different date and flicking a cigarette in his face (followed by a fight which Client lost). At first the prosecutor offers to drop the petit larceny if my client pleads guilty to the A&B. Client is happy with this. Then the prosecutor comes back to me and starts backtracking on the offer. So then I go do some checking and it turns out that my client has been tried in Juvenile and Domestic Court for the theft of the same keys and found not guilty (some keys on it had also been ex-girlfriend's). So the prosecutor has to drop that charge because of the single larceny doctrine. Client pleads guilty on the A&B and gets some suspended time. After it's all over I look down at Client's arm and see some Arabic letters. I ask him what they are for and he tells me that they are his daughter's name, "Lori." I look at the letters. They aren't connected (all Arabic is in script) and they are the letters in alphabetical order: the equivalent of C D F G H J. I didn't have it in me to tell the guy he'd gotten rooked.

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