Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What some PNDL have over defense lawyers who have never prosecuted - as requested by a PNDL

Mr. Shellist asked that I discuss what PNDL have over defense lawyers. First, I must admit I have never been a prosecutor - never applied to be one - never really wanted to be one. Of course like most who have suffered from crime, I have thought how much fun it would be to put some jerk in the pokey - but that is about as far as my desire in that area went.

I also have a very different training than most defense lawyer. I am very lucky to have worked for and with other well-known and respected defense lawyers for 12 years. I learned so much that is difficult to learn without someone showing you the ropes (which is why the mentor program is good IF and that is a big IF - the mentor actually shows how to prepare for trial. It does not do much good to just watch the trial whether from the defense table or the audience. )

So, I guess we are really considering PNDL who never work for defense lawyers and comparing them to neophyte defense lawyers who went out & hung their shingle without working for others.

Let's see - PNDLs have their connections in the DA's office - at least for a while. They can probably get appointments easier at least in the misdemeanor courts in which they worked IF they were nice people and got along with all - meaning they didn't plug up the docket by making ridiculous offers. They know the "tricks" better. They know who the snakes are -those who agree with the "Canadian" way of thinking, or base a decision on whether to dismiss a bad case on the ability of the lawyer on the case rather than on what is right. They know the cops better - who makes a better liar, uh I mean witness,and who is a bad witness so it ups the chance of winning at trial for the defense. (This comment is particularly pointed at DWI task force officers and many of the narcs.)

In general (meaning this doesn't apply to any particular person, nor does each thing apply across the board - if the reader gets angry reading this, then my guess is that it applies to them): PNDLs don't know (1) the law - they never had to really learn it as an ADA because they just "called appellate" (of course, many defense lawyers don't bother to read it so they don't know it either) or they just knew what it took to convict [Hence the saying of court prosecutors - "I'm in sales, not service" meaning that if a case gets reversed they don't really care - they got the conviction; (2) how to prepare a case from the defense side, especially when the client doesn't have money but isn't indigent so the resources are severely limited while PNDLs are accustomed to trained investigators who do much of their witness hunting & info gathering; and (3) how to handle a lying witness - anyone who has prosecuted a DWI with a task force officer knows they are sponsoring a witness who will tell at least several little white ones - come on - they could just copy the offense reports & change the name on it for the most part. I could be mean & say that they know different tones in which to ask "What happened next?" - a joke amongst defense lawyers with prosecutors.

So, I'll leave it to the PNDLs to comment on what it is they think they have over, say me. And, while I reponded to Mr. Shellist, I must also say I have never had a case against him and do not know the manner of his practice. I will also say that he seems to have a personality similar to mine and so - I'm looking forward to comments.

Until the next time . . .

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