How Not to Plead Guilty

I pled out two young gentleman today. I don’t like doing this, it’s not why I’m a lawyer. I do understand the need to explain to you the pros and cons of pleading guilty…but really, I’m just holding your hand through the proceeding. Trying a case, putting the state to the test, that’s the stuff lawyers like to do. Pleading you out? Not so much.

Today, a client of mine charged with gun possession pled guilty and received one year of probation. This case was so bad for the state that they dropped FOUR additional charges against him, including three Class 2’s (the remaining charge was only a Class 4). I told my client we could fight the case. The state’s case was not very strong.

My client had been offered the probation at the last court date. He thought about it for a month. It was explained to him then, then explained to him again today. He agreed, it was a good deal. He also has to get his G.E.D., something I have no problem telling my clients to go do. He agreed to take it. We filled out the forms, I spent a good 20 minutes with him, getting the plea ready and explaining to him all the parameters.

We stood in front of the judge. It takes about ten minutes or less, especially if you have a fast talking judge, to get a plea over with. He agreed to everything the judge said. AS WE WERE WALKING OUT OF THE WELL (this is the area in front of the judge, beyond the gallery, where only lawyers, defendants and bailiff’s sit) my client asks me “How much to fight the case?”

WHAT! I was shocked. I sat him down. I looked at him and said, “Ten seconds ago, you pled guilty. Now you want to fight it? I asked you, repeatedly what you wanted to do today.” He looked at me and said, “Man, I don’t wanna do no drops. I smoke, man.”

My client didn’t want to take his deal so he could keep smoking weed.

Needless to say, I spent a good fifteen minutes explaining to him how difficult it would be to withdraw his plea, how his next deal (which there wouldn’t be) would be terrible, and how, although we told him before we could fight the case, if he LOST, he was going to go down, probably for a year.

He shrugged, then agreed that he should have taken the deal…the one he took. Looking back on it now…I’m thinking he might have actually been high right then and there.

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One response to “How Not to Plead Guilty

  1. that’s people for ya period. even if he wasnt high he would have probley tried this same thing with you. why do i say that? well where i work at they (severe upper management) are eventually going to privatize out our jobs. trust me its nothing that i want. but neverthe less…..we are changing our start times to start up a machine at work. kinda like the early bird gets the worm thing. my report time is 9am…i personally love it have plenty time to hang with my teen before school and play with the dog. time to sleep in with a different shift best friend of my life. time to be me. well no more of that good stuff. my new start time is 6:30am……well i was going to fight it via the contract. and it was amazing how fast word spread and i had some that was going to fight it with me too but me being the “leader” well i changed my mind becouse i started having doubts. i am a great beleiver of God speaking threw other people and i was hearing the same thing from our “villiage” idot to a woman i consider very smart. so i let management know that i was going to go with the flow. lower management didnt care/have a problem with it. one of my upper managers wanted to know the exact reason why i had changed my mind. i gave him the standard bs and told him i was just looking out for my job being a single parent. but he knew there was more to it. finally i told him about my divine intervention. it shocked him and he said the following..”i was going to do that but just not right away” he said that when i said well one day your going to tell me geez ida we just dont have a job for you anymore. so i told other people about what might happen. the smart ones listen and got on board. we got one that isnt getting on board and good luck to him. oh by the way i didnt tell the other sheep to follow me becouse i wanted to. i did it becouse i had some kind of nagging responablity thing to spread the “good ” news. i guess what it all sums up to is people are people and you got some strange ones out there.

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