Friday, February 20, 2009
Prosecutors becoming defense lawyers (PNDL)
This ought to stir the pot. I'll be a bit less specific than I was on HCCLA's site a while back, but my feelings surrounding the same general subject haven't changed. My experience today just reinforced my thoughts. My first appearance on a new case & I see a former prosecutor who is now a defense lawyer - not by choice I'm told (and I certainly believe given the attitude I've always seen exhibited by PNDL1 - prosecutor now defense lawyer 1 - this specific PNDL.) Of many prosecutors who have become defense lawyers recently, this particular change is, to say the least, shocking. My experience with PNDL1 is nothing but bad - no, it is BAD (all caps). I know for a fact that Brady (exculpatory) information was not disclosed dispite a specific request in a case I tried. (Interestingly, 3 prosecutors had their hands on it and never turned it over - that is another story itself.) My thought on PNDL1 was definitely career ADA - natural born killer, or if ousted, PNDL1 would become a civil lawyer. So, given some of my recent HCCLA comments in which I was extolled to "give a chance" to the PNDLs (and some, like Murray, I have never doubted. In fact, I tried a case against him many moons ago & thought he would soon be a defense lawyer - I was years off unfortunately for the defense.) But I digress. At the urging of some fellow long time or only been defense lawyer (LTers), I thought I'd be open-minded, listen (while taking notes - we still aren't getting copies of offense reports as promised - another story) & watch. It didn't take 10 minutes for PNDL1 to come out of the holderover where prisoners are kept & loudly bad mouth client's claim of innocence for all to hear, and expound upon why it just couldn't be true. When the blabbering continued, I moved across the room trying to avoid the confrontation I wanted to start about the "defense" being provided by PNDL1. I'll keep this short, as I plan to do with all my blogs, but I'll share this - my client noticed & heard, & talked to me about how bothered he was by the blabbering, asked if PNDL1 was a prosecutor, and expressed his appreciation of my feelings about the kind of representation PNDL1 will be giving to current and future clients. There are just some people who CAN'T defend - not that they could not do a great job because they have years of experience & training - but the mindset is WRONG. So, what can be done? I put this out for discussion & comments because I have suggestions but would like to hear the thoughts of others.