28 August 2012

Guilty Pleas

You would think it would be a rather simple thing to do a guilty plea. Afterall, your client wants to plead guilty, he says he did it, and he wants out of jail. You haven't had time to thoroughly investigate the case, you haven't viewed the videos allegedly showing your client committing the crime, and haven't been able to talk the county attorney out of anything but prison. Contrary to everything you have said to your client, he wants, thinks he will get, and expects a quick release and probation. Bond reduction was denied for the very simple reason that he had absconded and it took almost two years for the authorities to find him again. He needs to be out of jail because he has things to do and responsibilities. So we begin the guilty plea and arrive at the point of providing a factual basis and the defendant doesn't provide the factual basis required for the court to accept the guilty plea. Of course he doesn't understand what just happened as he is taken back to jail without his guilty plea, without his probation, and without his release from custody. This is an example of one of those moments when you ask yourself why you do what you do. Your client, the defendant, is nothing but trouble--nothing you do will be satisfactory and you will get no thanks for anything that you do for him. It could be discouraging; if you let it.