#41
i just thought of another particularly heinous miscarriage of justice that im sure yall will get as incensed about as i do

if you go into a retail store, such as walmart, and take something without paying for it, that is shoplifting. pretty obvious. you may serve a few days in jail before you plead or do a brief period of probation. however, if you are caught by a loss prevention officer/rent-a-cop at most major stores, they make you sign a trespass form where you agree not to come onto their property for a set period, usually several years. if you come back, thats a trespass. not really a big deal, another minor offense with similar consequences as a petty theft. if you come back and shoplift again, they call it a burglary. silly zzoner, a burglary is NOT breaking into someone's house at night to steal their shit. simply put, burglary = trespass + intent to commit some other crime.

so, my clients may go to walmart and steal something small, like a lighter, or some necessity, like diapers, food, or tide pods (my clients LOVE stealing tide pods for some reason) and end up facing 2-6 years in prison and a felony conviction on their record. now, i cant imagine a jury is going to find that that fact pattern is actually a burglary but ive honestly never tested it; most clients dont want to sit in jail for several months and risk going down on a felony. the way it usually plays out is this: client is charged with a petty or low-level misdemeanor theft and a mid-level felony burglary. the da "mercifully" offers them a plea to a misdemeanor theft, but a higher-level one. so client goes from facing 0-6 months in jail, likely serving a few days if any, to facing 6-18 months jail. they usually get probation, but many cant make it work and end up serving some jail time, and its gotta be at least 6 months, usually 9-12.

now thats what i call justice
#42
(post reserved for tide pods joke)
#43

drwhat posted:



get ready

#44
also the reason your clients love stealing tide pods isnt just because they're delicious, its because its hard to steal conventional laundry detergent which is expensive as hell and an obvious necessity. the corner store i frequent lets you buy individual pods just like cigarettes because no one can afford a whole thing of them
#45
plus they're mad convenient when yr at the laundromat
#46
people living under capitalism love to steal shit... Wild.
#47
i know that my clients arent doing the tide pod challenge. this predates all that anyway. and i know why they steal what they steal, it just sticks out to me that its this one specific item that regularly gets stolen regularly. it would also probably be razors if they werent behind the counter or in plexiglass cases that employees need to unlock

theres also a bar in town that is well known as a spot to buy stolen stuff. if youre there on a saturday afternoon you can gets all sorts of shit dirt cheap. my clients are always surprised when i mention it because they dont realize that im actually something of a dirtbag myself
#48
i wasn't making fun of you & i appreciate this thread a lot.
#49
Doing some reading for law school and came across this in an article about gender bias in the judiciary. That judge's name? Albert Einstein

#50
#51
im really hoping the idea of ending cash bail eventually trickles down to my state. a bill addressing it was killed in our legislature in the spring but hopefully they keep plugging away at it. i usually bring it up to the judge who sets bonds when im arguing for them but it predictably falls on deaf ears. just like my argument that a simple possession is more of a public health/treatment concern and that jail is not going to help an addict
#52
how much does it pay?
#53

TG posted:

are my clients right to blame me for their troubles, at least on some level? dont worry about making me feel worse about myself or anything, and judging by the response to the thread yall dont think so, but its something ive struggled with for a while.



my ex, an ML, was a public defender in california for a while, before transitioning to private criminal defense. shed come home from 10 to 12 hour days 5 or 6 days a week, crying and exhausted about a third of them. whether it was the caseload (often over 150 active cases), or the particular facts of a clients case, or a judge, or a sentencing, it seemed to slowly grind her down. it also seemed to be most prevalent with the leftier people in the office, as the occasional conservative or, more commonly, the centrist, just didnt have that empathic connection with a client. they didnt do much face to face with their clients, they didnt much care for post-conviction relief, etc. anyway, as a lay person, i found recommending gideon's army very helpful for getting across the situation to other uneducated but sympathetic lay people. it opens with a PD getting the good news that a client is eligible for a pre-trial diversion program. if completed successfully, his charges will be dropped, and he can go home. she calls her client's partner, who informs her that she cant afford bail, meaning he cant get out of jail, meaning he cant attend the program, meaning hes going to trial or pleading out. the PD hangs up the phone. imagine this happening every day and thats basically the life of a public defender. i dont have much else to add, but thank you for your service to the people and for the thread.

Edited by JohnBeige ()

#54
gideon's army is great. the bit about the dude getting his clients' names tattooed on his back after a trial loss is insane. nobody has that much back. i am not a fan of using military language to describe what we do for hopefully obvious reasons but i know its popular amongst public defenders and i understand why

the job does grind you down; luckily i showed up pretty jaded to begin with. watching folks just cycle through the system is disheartening to say the least. the main thing i struggle with, though, is the folks struggling with addiction in the treatment court. ive had a handful die from overdoses and so many who get out of jail to inpatient treatment and run off. i know rehab has its problems but its a chance to avoid jail or prison. we often give folks 3, 4, or even 5 chances and its depressing how many dont take them
#55
california just passed SB10, ending cash bail, bail bondsmen, dog the bounty hunters. but as an advanced settler state, the bail system was replaced with a questionnaire, to be evaluated by prosecutors, for pre-trial flight risk / defendant freedom. the questionnaire is itself structured to keep more people in jail. now you can't buy pre-trial freedom directly, your class position is still evaluated by the prison system (do you have a job? was the victim a drug addict? etc).
#56
yep, that was my fear. we have something like that in my county. its screening tool based on factors that are supposedly most tied to whether or not a client will show up to court/is a danger to the community. some of them are straightforward and somewhat understandable/defensible: are they currently on probation/parole/bond for a pending case; do they currently have active warrants in other cases; do they have a history of having probation/parole/bond revoked; have they ever served a jail or prison sentence. however some include obvious class-based things: do they currently have a cell phone; do they own a home or do they rent; are they making payments toward rents/mortgage or not. previous problems with alcohol or any history of mental health treatment is a knock against them as well. they get points based on the factors, the points are added up, the total number is then placed in a matrix based on severity of offense they were arrested for, and then the judge gets a recommendation on type of bond and level of supervision. of course the judge has the authority to deviate from the recommendation, and i dont think i have to tell you how often they deviate in favor of the client
#57

toyotathon posted:

california just passed SB10, ending cash bail, bail bondsmen, dog the bounty hunters. but as an advanced settler state, the bail system was replaced with a questionnaire, to be evaluated by prosecutors, for pre-trial flight risk / defendant freedom. the questionnaire is itself structured to keep more people in jail. now you can't buy pre-trial freedom directly, your class position is still evaluated by the prison system (do you have a job? was the victim a drug addict? etc).


is it possible to game the questionaire?

#58
yes but in the sense that it's possible to lie on the stand
#59
ugh, typical
#60
that reminds me of another way that clients get fucked over. in order to qualify for court-appointed counsel, you need to make under a certain amount in income. it's roughly 125% of the poverty line, although its sort of a sliding scale based on severity of offense. however, signing the application is technically a sworn statement to the court. they dont do it a lot in my county, but in other ones the DAs will actually look into it sometimes and will actually file charges against people who fudged their app. that could include perjury or attempt to influence a public servant. its super fucked up that prosecutors are so vindictive that they would nail working folks who make very little money but arent technically "poor" who are just trying to get some help in a difficult situation. theres a major gap between qualifying for a free attorney and being able to afford a retainer of several thousand dollars. of course, a DAs job is much easier when there's no lawyer on the other side. fuck those evil, lazy assholes
#61
For civil cases like evictions there's a similar poverty-level-based cutoff to receive assistance from Legal Aid offices, required by the same federal law that provides a lot of their funding. Realistically, fudging gets done here or there but if it gets caught in an audit (and that sort of intake is done with software specifically because that leaves a lot of records behind when it happens) the office gets shut down and turned into next year's attempt by donation-hunters in Congress to destroy legal aid in the U.S. permanently.
#62
i have good news about that tho! if you're lucky enough to even have a legal aid office in your area it's likely that they're mostly paying their attorneys out of whatever various grants they've managed to cobble together, because LSC funding is so paltry it barely covers basic overhead!
#63
looking for work in accounting, any job tied to the prison system (in this field) seems to pay significantly less than similar jobs outside of it, like almost half as much. is there a lot of turnaround among low-level clerical workers in the legal system or do the benefits of working for the state outweigh them?
#64

karphead posted:

looking for work in accounting, any job tied to the prison system (in this field) seems to pay significantly less than similar jobs outside of it, like almost half as much. is there a lot of turnaround among low-level clerical workers in the legal system or do the benefits of working for the state outweigh them?



i wouldnt be surprised if they churn through them pretty quick. prisons are by and large really depressing places to be. while im sure the office spaces are largely indistinguishable from most featureless cubicle-filled office spaces, they're usually in the middle of nowhere and there's the process of entering the facility through razor wire-covered fences and metal detectors. at least in my state, most prisons are in the middle of nowhere and are the main employers for the towns where they're built. its probably not hard to get folks to work for less cash than in an urban center because that's the only option and cost of living is so low. of course, that often means they move away after not too long. all that being said, you may have hit the nail on the head as far as benefits go. its a stable job with health care and a retirement option. with the gutting of industry in small towns, that's pretty attractive - at least in the beginning

i have a friend from high school who works as an accountant for a private prison company. i dont think he gets paid particularly well since he still lives with his parents but i dont like to talk about his work the once or twice a year i see him