01 July 2005

The Law Isn't What You Wish It To Be

Yep, we've all been there and it is extremely frustrating:
"The law says X." "No, the law says Y." "No, you're wrong, the law says X." "No, the law says Y, and here's this copy of it that I printed out for you off the supreme court website." "No, you're wrong, it says X ..."
This happened a lot more when I was first practicing (and still does with some clients). In particular, a number of my clients cannot seem to wrap their minds around the concept of principal in the second degree. Trying to rationally explain to my client that the fact he drove his buddy to the house and drove his buddy from the house - knowing his buddy was going to steal his aunt's priceless jewelry - means that he was a principal in the second degree and every bit as culpable can be painful. Often, the client will have read the law on that particular offense and we'll have a conversation along these lines:
"I didn't take nothing."

"You drove him there . . ."

"But I didn't even go into the house."

"You don't have to, you knew what he was going to do."

"But I didn't do it and they can't stick this charge on me!"

"Yes, they can. It's called being a principal. You helped him do it so you are as responsible as he is . . ."

"No! I didn't take anything. I didn't do no larceny!"
Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

1 comment:

Mister DA said...

We like to call it "aiding and abetting" Makes it much easier to explain. [-)