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Venting

See, here's the kind of stuff that cheeses me off.

I've got an appeal that I'm doing.  Not the best case:  my client is charged with aggravated robbery, and the two victims positively ID him and the codefendant.  I've got a couple of issues -- the judge probably let some stuff in that he shouldn't have -- but they’re going to be subject to harmless error analysis, so I’ve got to make an argument that the evidence in the case wasn’t as overwhelming as it might seem.

I might be able to do that.  Although the two victims made identifications, they didn’t at the cold stand conducted 20 minutes after the crime, and there’s some other stuff, like the fact that none of the stolen items were found on my client or the codefendant, and that neither of them had the gun the victims claimed the robbers had.  And the descriptions of the robbers got a lot more specific after the cold stand, so I can make the argument that the ID from the photo display was really based on seeing the defendants at the cold stand, not at the robbery.  Not great, but still…So I finally get to the sentencing, and here’s what the defendant’s trial counsel says:

“Your honor, it’s been a pleasure for me to represent [the defendant].  I told him that the evidence against him was compelling on the aggravated robbery case and I think he was likely to be convicted.”

I had another one a little while ago where the defense lawyer said at sentencing that if he’d known the state’s case was that strong, he would have told his client to plead.

It’s one thing if the client wants to ‘fess up to the crime, in an attempt to show remorse so that he’ll get a lesser sentence, but in both cases the defendants insisted they were innocent.  While their defense lawyers stood there and essentially said, “Yeah, I would’ve convicted him, too.”

I've also had ones where I'm going through the transcript and jotting down all the ways the trial judge screwed up, only to get to the sentencing and see where defense counsel congratulated and thanked the judge for the wonderfully fair trial his client got. 

Moral of the story:  if you want to brown-nose the judge, fine, but don't do it on the record, and at your client's expense.

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