The Clarion Call Of Gideon’s Trumpet

images5thumbnail1.thumbnail.jpegA few days ago, on March 18, fell the 46th anniversary of a momentous day in American jurisprudence, the day the decision in Gideon v. Wainright was rendered. Prior to Gideon, criminal defendants in the United States had a right to be represented by counsel, but not the right to have counsel appointed if they could not afford their own attorney. It was a watershed moment of enlightenment that is worthy of a fresh look.

Clarence Gideon was wrongly charged with breaking and entering a pool hall that had been burglarized, all based on a false accusation. Gideon was a poor man who lived in a rooming house and literally had but $25 to his name. From Wiki:

He appeared in court and was too poor to afford counsel, whereupon the following conversation took place:

The COURT: Mr. Gideon, I am sorry, but I cannot appoint Counsel to represent you in this case. Under the laws of the State of Florida, the only time the Court can appoint Counsel to represent a Defendant is when that person is charged with a capital offense. I am sorry, but I will have to deny your request to appoint Counsel to defend you in this case.

GIDEON: The United States Supreme Court says I am entitled to be represented by Counsel.

Gideon was forced, therefore, to act as his own counsel and conduct a defense of himself in court, emphasizing his innocence in the case. Nevertheless, the jury returned a guilty verdict, sentencing him to serve five years in the state penitentiary.

From his prison cell at Florida State Prison, making use of the prison library and writing in pencil on prison stationery, Gideon appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in a suit against the Secretary to the Florida Department of Corrections, Louie L. Wainwright. He argued that he had been denied counsel and, therefore, his Sixth Amendment rights, as applied to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, had been violated.

But what the Supreme Court gave in Gideon is under an attack that is destroying one of the tenets of the modern due process guarantee in the American criminal system. In a chilling opinion piece in the March 10, 2009 Washington Post, former Vice-President Walter F. Mondale, who as Minnesota Attorney General participated along with AGs from 21 other states in amici support of Gideon’s demand for appointed counsel, details just how far the nation has regressed:

Yet states across the country routinely fail to appoint counsel to people who are genuinely unable to afford representation on their own. A report published by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School last fall, "Eligible for Justice," found that if Gideon were to face criminal charges in Florida today, he might well be denied a public defender. Under Florida law, he could be disqualified for counsel if he has assets exceeding $2,500 (excluding a house), a car valued above $5,000, or had posted bail of more than $5,000, even if none of those assets permitted him to pay the retainer — often several thousand dollars — that defense lawyers routinely charge.

Sadly, Gideon’s chances of getting counsel would be worse elsewhere. In New Hampshire, he could be found ineligible for counsel if he had a home valued at more than $20,000, even if he could not sell the home in time to finance his defense and even if selling it would leave him homeless. Courts in Virginia could deny him counsel because of the amount of money possessed by family members, even if Gideon had no power over that money.

Of course the right to counsel is under attack, what essential due process right under the Constitution isn’t? We talk almost daily about illegal wiretapping, datamining and other invasions of privacy, illegal detention and torture, manipulation and intimidation of the press, parallel proceedings and intimidation of family members to circumvent individual’s right against self incrimination. All under attack thanks to an increasingly hungry authoritarian state, war on terror, war on drugs and a perpetuated state of fear. It is a war on the bill of rights; a war on the citizenry.

There is plenty every day on the more hot button Constitutional attacks, today let’s remember Clarence Gideon and what his story stands for. As the New York Times related last November, public defenders in every federal state and local jurisdiction are overworked, underpaid and unappreciated. In seven states, public defenders’ offices are refusing to take new cases and/or suing to have their caseloads reduced; citing overwhelming workloads that they say undermine the constitutional right to counsel for the poor.

Mondale puts the bigger picture in perspective:

Many European countries provide such representation to indigent civil litigants. The backtracking that we are experiencing in the area of criminal representation undermines these efforts to move forward in the civil area. Our justice system depends on the idea that everyone is to be treated fairly, but a lack of resources is affecting the progress the Gideon decision brought to our criminal justice system and is blocking progressive efforts to extend the right to counsel in certain civil cases.

This month marks the 46th anniversary of the ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright. It is crucial that the states rededicate themselves to providing competent defense counsel to all people facing criminal charges who cannot afford to pay. The federal government, too, has an important role in providing the states with technical assistance, monitoring their compliance and enforcing the constitutional right to counsel. The promise of Gideon is ringing hollow, both for defendants, who count on competent counsel for their freedom, and for our society, which counts on the courts to achieve fair and reliable results. We cannot move forward until we stop the erosion of Gideon’s promise to criminal defendants.

Fritz Mondale is right to sound the call of Gideon’s Trumpet. We all should. Due process is not a natural force of nature, it is the work of a conscious and determined society; you have to want due process, fight for it and struggle to insure its application in the most heinous cases and circumstances that test your will. The Founding Fathers planted the seed, it is time to stop leaving the fruit withering on the vine.

You live in towns, cities, counties and states that have public defender programs. They work hard and are underpaid. Give them a kind thought every now and then and vote to increase their budgets and capabilities. It is your Constitution at work.

39 replies
  1. slide says:

    Due process only exists for the rich and elite. Rarely will one see due process work for the poor, unfortunate or even the middle class.

    • Leen says:

      I have sure been witness to this in our small town. Infuriating to watch on the National scale.

      As Bmaz points out no reason to stop pushing for equal treatment under the law…even though that is not what takes place

  2. Leen says:

    Thank you for this history lesson and another big thanks to both you and Fritz Mondale for sounding the call of “Gideon’s Trumpet”

    A friend of mine is a public defender in Athens…will take your advice and thank him and the two other public defenders in our town and push for higher pay. Great suggestion

  3. skdadl says:

    That was very interesting history for me to learn, bmaz — thank you. I wonder when and how we got the same right here. Ishmael will know — paging Ishmael.

    • Ishmael says:

      Hey skdadl – It may come as a surprise to our American friends, but Canada, the home of state funded health care, does not recognize a constitutional right to state-funded legal representation. The courts have been reluctant to force governments to do more than existing legal aid programs, except when it threatens to sidetrack a complex trial. R. v. Rowbotham (2003) is the seminal case on state-funded counsel. On the facts of this case, which was a very complex drug trial involving multiple accused, the Supreme Court ruled that the trial judge had erred in not appointing counsel for these accused after the Ontario Legal Aid Plan had ruled them ineligible. The Court found summarized the constitutional principle as follows:

      “[I]n cases not falling within provincial legal aid plans, ss. 7 and 11(d) of the Charter, which guarantee an accused a fair trial in accordance
      with the principles of fundamental justice, require funded counsel to be provided if the accused wishes counsel, but cannot pay a lawyer and representation of the accused is essential to a fair trial.”

      In practice, this had been confined to what are called Rowbotham applications for highly complex trials by experienced criminal lawyer acting for defendants who are not quite indigent enough for legal aid – generally meaning not on public assistance. It has done very little to address the problem of indigent accused. Generally, the percentage of people facing criminal charges who are eligible for legal aid is around 1 in 4, based on my memory of certain studies, and having practiced in various jurisdictions, I can tell you that the legal aid programs around Canada vary greatly in their generosity. The standard rate in one province for murder trials is $60/hr for 300 hours of preparation plus court time, although this is negotiable if you have a good relationship with legal aid. Doing a murder trial on legal aid rates is a real public service by the lawyer involved.

      I tend to have some mixed feelings sometimes about legal aid – as Freep seems to be saying, I have listened with some sympathy in my cynical moments to some people involved in poverty issues who have stated of legal aid in general, “The rich get richer, and the poor get lawyers” – ie the lawyers are only there to legitimize the punishment of poor members of society for crimes like drug possession. Having worked a few years as duty counsel however, I can say that my presence did make a substantial difference to the people who were brought before the courts. A fair trial ( and access to advice well before trial) is not a luxury in any democracy, but the people who need it are those who are demonized in our society in general. We can do more. Much more.

      • skdadl says:

        Thanks, Ishmael. Heh — your mention of health care makes me wonder how the lawyers (not to mention the wealthy) would react if we started a campaign for universal single-payer legal insurance.

        I don’t know the details, but I believe that Omar Khadr’s two Canadian lawyers, Dennis Edney and Nathan Whitling, have been working on that case mostly pro bono for six or seven years now.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Salaries of many public defenders put them near the poverty line. They are certainly not enough to pay for law school debts on top of minimal housing, food, transport and utilities. Consequently, you get the young and old, the fringe, the dedicated with resources, and sometimes the politically ambitious. In today’s economy, there are fewer of all those categories except the latter.

    Voting for increased resources would be a big help. As are state programs that allow upper year law students to practice for legal aid groups, which adds a useful if inexperienced group to the talent pool. Sometimes passion is enough; if you’re sitting on death row or facing twenty-to-life and a prosecutor hell bent on becoming mayor or governor, it isn’t enough.

    Volunteer if you can. Unlike Washington, which tends to attract overbred, highly strung, ambitious lawyers in greater numbers than the socially conscious passionate ones, lawyers in other towns are sometimes interesting people. They’re often house-trained, loyal and obedient, and they are often marvelous at catching the most wickedly thrown legal frisbees, but they can’t live on scraps.

  5. skdadl says:

    This is not exactly the same thing as the accused’s right to counsel, but it’s related.

    We had a program here called the Court Challenges program that would fund (and advise on, to a degree, I think) “important court cases that advance language and equality rights” under the constitution and the Charter. It was immensely helpful to members of many minority groups (and women, who aren’t a minority) who would otherwise not have been able to challenge laws that they believed violated their rights. I believe it also funded intervenor status for a couple of groups in a Supreme Court case about election funding in which the guys on the other side were a business-lobby group headed by Stephen Harper at the time the case started out. The people challenging unlimited third-party spending won that case.

    And then Harper became prime minister. Guess what happened to the funding for the Court Challenges program. (I think they still fund some language-equality cases.)

  6. Mary says:

    Thanks for this piece bmaz. I have a friend who does some appellate work for the public defenders office and luckily for her bank account, she only does it part time. My nephew’s girl friend has taken her very expensive Butler undergrad and just moderate IU law degree and gone to work for the public defenders office (where her Spanish is pretty useful) but she is basically subsidized by her family when it comes to paying off her student loans (plus cell phone, apartment, car payment, renters and vehicle insurance …) If she was in a pricier city or didn’t have family, I don’t know how she would do it.

    The standards for getting appointment don’t make sense and the offices are hugely underfunded – I know that the USAs offices are always talking about how they are underfunded, but they manage to put together huge FBI contingents to catch Spitzer with his pants down – go find a public defenders office with that kind of boondoggle, political slush-funding access.

    And with the state of prison appeals, too, it’s hard to imagine something like Gideon’s appeal ever getting traction these days.

  7. DavidKaib says:

    Excellent piece. It’s ludicrous to think that anyone can get due process without quality counsel – which is necessary to protect so many other rights.

    But even if you did not care about the rights of the accused, this state of affairs is still intolerable. The right to counsel, along with the other procedural rights, are designed to make sure the criminal justice system in general, and trials specifically, service their purpose – which is to find the truth. There is little reason to believe the right person will be caught and sentenced without it.

    Like the ban on coerced confessions, access to counsel protects the individual and all the rest of us as well, even if we never find ourselves as criminal defendants, or could afford our own counsel.

    Mondale is right about the need for a civil Gideon as well. If the law is going to be too complex for ordinary people to understand (something that was not always the case), and if the legal profession is going to continue to be allowed to keep its prices artificially high (by putting limits on access to the profession), then due process requires access to a quality lawyer in any case.

  8. JohnJ says:

    Thanks bmaz.

    I live in that authoritarian, third world state of FL.

    The pay here is always 1/2 to 1/3 less than the national average for anyone hourly. I have had companies admit that they fix the local wages in cooperation with each other.

    Florida has no state income tax which brings a equivalent lack of quality in schools, services, law enforcement, courts, and Government in general. Since the state legislature is a “part time job” the whole Congress either
    works for, or owns a large institution or business, we just ignore conflicts of interest here.

    After 8 years of schrb bush reign the treasury is empty and the courts have been told to support themselves. Every portion of the criminal justice system charges money; guilty or innocent. You actually pay the for the prosecutors if you don’t win. You get billed for your time in jail. If you even GO to traffic there is a minimum of something like $250 in fines.

    Our “public defenders” bill all of their clients and their fees are included into any judgment so that the system does not release you until you pay them as well.

    Couple that with a barely supervised police force (I was warned by a retired NYC cop NOT to trust the local police) and we hourly people live in fear of the state. One minor driving mistake can cost you a months pay. Annoy a cop and it’s “resisting without violence” …and the pile on begins with each charge costing more and more; guilty or innocent. When you live hand to mouth, that is devastating.

    A justice system designed to generate revenue.

    I’m suuure that’s what the founders wanted when they formed it.

    A related point:
    Want to see regressive taxation at its worse? There is a living example on the “Suncoast”.

  9. barne says:

    Maybe trials should stream over the internet, just so judges and other court officers know someone might be watching. If word got around that a too-strong whiff of injustice was emanating from a court or counselor, we could dig into video archives of that court’s or counselor’s previous proceedings to see what gives.

  10. freepatriot says:

    thanks for the history lesson

    as someone who has been sold upriver by a few DPDs, I am kinda conflicted on this issue

    while I support the idea of council for everyone accused, the method of delivery is seriously fucked up in this country

    the poor are represented for free, by the most inexperienced, or incompetent lawyers in the system

    the low pay for DPDs assures that only the worst lawyers, or the most recent law school grads without prospects, or those few lawyers who are dedicated to helping the poor, are the only lawyers who would be a DPD

    in short, any lawyer worth his salt is probably working for a private firm, or the DA, at twice the pay, or more, not as a Deputy Public Defender

    btw, I also know one of 58 Public Defenders in California as a personal friend, and he agrees with my rant, and sees few ways to change it, and NO, he’s never been involved in any of my criminal defense follies

    • DavidKaib says:

      I don’t know about fixing the problem, but not having a pay scale that gives way more money to the person trying to put someone in prison compared to the person trying to represent a client would probably help. Also, a lower case load and more resources would make the work more appealing. Both of these changes would likely impact the quality of the people that get into this kind of work.

      The point is, making sure every one has a lawyer, and making sure people get good lawyers, both require money. And they are not in conflict.

      I’d add one more relatively easy way to address these problems – debt reduction. Most people coming out of law school end up with a mountain of debt. One of the reasons people end up doing corporate work is that it helps you pay off your loans. Lots of people will prefer the big money at the big firm – but there are some serious trade offs. If working as a defender could mean significantly reducing your debt, I suspect you would see a lot more people willing to try it.

      • Peterr says:

        Given the layoffs at many law firms, as well as fewer offers to new graduates being made (and some of those being rescinded), your idea about offering loan reduction in exchange for PD service might be very attractive right about now.

        Meanwhile, the front page of the KC Star this morning had this headline: Verdict: Missouri public defender system needs fix

        Too few lawyers represent too many poor clients. Sometimes, lawyers say, trials are delayed so long that innocent defendants plead guilty just to move on. Taxpayers, meanwhile, pay the bills while defendants sit in jail waiting.

        Concern for Missouri’s public defender system — considered one of the most overworked and underfunded in the nation — has sharpened in recent months. Consider:

        •Public defender offices around the state have notified judges that they are so overworked that they cannot accept new clients.

        •Judges have warned that the system’s problems have so congested courts and jails that the state soon could be forced to free “vast numbers” of defendants awaiting trial.

        •Legislators in Jefferson City are working to patch the public defender system, but don’t have much money.

        The problem is not new. A 2005 report found that the state’s public defense lawyers, who handle 83 percent of the felonies filed in Missouri, were operating in “crisis mode” and “struggling to survive.”

        State officials and defenders say little has improved since then, other than a weak economy that has cut attorney turnover from about 22 percent a year to about 2 percent.

        It gets worse from there. I know a couple of public defenders here in MO, and that protest to judges about being overworked and unable to take more cases is NOT hyperbole, done for political effect. As bad as things are in KC and St. Louis (and they’re bad), the worst situations are out in the more rural areas of the state. Because there are so few PDs, relative to the caseload, those in rural areas have to travel a fair amount just to handle a couple of cases, and things can’t help but stack up while they are on the road.

        Thanks for the post, bmaz.

    • phred says:

      You raise a good point. Perhaps all lawyers should be required to take public cases, say 5% of their caseload. That would spread the work around so no one is overburdened and draw from a more talented pool of lawyers overall. What do you think bmaz, would something like that ever fly?

      • Ishmael says:

        Not directed to me, but may I butt in? Before legal aid came along, and before the Charter of Rights in Canada in 1983, this was actually the way it was done – much of the criminal defence work for impecunious accused was undertaken by experienced members of the profession at little or no cost to the accused. However, it was very ad hoc, and did not have a good systemic result, hence the establishment of legal aid programs. I can tell you, that there is a huge amount of unpaid work in any criminal practice outside of big biker/drug/white collar crime, who can pay the fees, so there is already a big contribution from the profession. As well, criminal law is a very specialized field, and getting 5% pro bono from lawyers who have never been in a courtroom is much less effective than having criminal specialists as legal aid salaried lawyers.

      • jayt says:

        Perhaps all lawyers should be required to take public cases, say 5% of their caseload.

        It’s a nice thought, but do you really want a tax lawyer defending your claim of self-defense in a murder case?

        Here, The PD’s office has quite a few *very* good attorneys working the major-felony courts. Not all, but a surprisingly high percentage.

        They also have a policy which allows PD’s to take some private cases to augment their income, provided that only a specific (don’t know what it is) percentage of their case-load is private.

        • eCAHNomics says:

          PDs are only the tip of the iceberg, and the most compeling one. But the imbalance of power occurs in every single case.

          The only way I was able to come anywhere close to surviving the will contest against me was because I had more money than my husband’s grown sons from his first marriage. (Merits were on my side, but they had a much better lawyer than I did. Downside of that was he charged more than mine.)

        • phred says:

          Good point jayt, but no my intention was not to have tax lawyers take PD murder cases ; )

          My impression (and I certainly could be mistaken) is that there is not a shortage of murder defense lawyers per se, just a shortage of those who take PD cases. So my suggestion would certainly be constrained by assigning cases to lawyers where it is within their area of expertise.

          I was also under the impression that highly paid private defense lawyers are supposed to do some amount of pro bono work. Would it be unreasonable to ask them to take a few PD cases as well? (That’s a sincere question by the way, I don’t know enough about legal work to have a clue, just tossing out ideas for the sake of argument here.)

  11. phred says:

    Great post bmaz thanks! I was unaware of the eligibility tests that appear not to have been updated in 46 years. I’ll have to see if I can light any fires where they are needed in NH to get those limits updated… a house worth more than $20k? That’s astonishing.

  12. eCAHNomics says:

    Thanks bmaz.

    The whole legal system of the U.S. is biased to the powerful. Yet another case where money is speech.

    I won’t serve on a jury because I would vote for the least powerful party regardless of the merits of the case. Just on my principles.

  13. texasaggie says:

    Some 20 years ago I read a paperback called something like Gideon’s Trumpet that told the whole story. It was a very inspiring story.

    Also, once in Texas while in the audience for another case, I saw a judge chew out a poor defendant for not paying a lawyer but being able to get money for bail. It turned out that the guy was innocent of this particular charge and that the asst. DA was somewhat less than complete in his story about what the man had done. This attitude is too common among the judicial fraternity, if you’re poor, you’re guilty until proven innocent and a deadbeat besides.

  14. gilacliff says:

    In the appellate festivities leading up to the Supreme Court oral arguments, the Attorney General of Florida issued a request for Attorneys General of the other states to file an amicus brief supporting the Florida position. When he received the request, Fritz Mondale decided that the Florida position was simply wrong. In his Washington Post piece, he states that he joined with 21 other attorneys general to support legal representation for indigents. What he fails to state is that it was his idea to get the other 21 to stand up for what was right, and to actively oppose the Florida position.

    • bmaz says:

      Greetings Gilacliff, you are very correct about Mondale here; he was the genesis behind the AG combined friends to the cause. It was an impressive and defining moment, that stands still to this day, for a man that had many moments. Mondale is a complex and greatly under-appreciated guy; he has left his mark in a lot of places we don’t commonly realize.

      Welcome to Emptywheel; please come back and comment often.

  15. tejanarusa says:

    Great post, bmaz.
    I’ve done both civil legal services and court-appointed criminal defense – mostly misdemeanors – but DWI and many assaults and thefts are misdemeanors. The deterioration of the local system of appointments was one of the reasons I finally concluded I couldn’t keep practicing law on my own, and evenually abandoned it completely.

    Much like texasaggie’s experience w/ a judge chewing out a defendant for coming up w/ bail but not hiring a lawyer, there were judges in district court (felony court) who used that as a rule – if you can make bail, you can afford a lawyer. Never mind that just to pay the percentage to the bail bondsman you and your entire family have scraped up every dime you have, and there’s nothing left.
    One of those judges, btw, has been our D.A. for several years now. To many of us, she was always a D.A., on the bench and off.

    Then there were the misdemeanor court judges who took the attitude that appointed counsel implicitly promised not to “waste” the court’s time – that is, they would get their clients to plead. If you took a case to trial, you made the judge very unhappy, and of course, you never got any more appointments in that court.

    Considering that the D.A.’s office’s approach to “investigating” (particularly misdemeanors, but sometimes felonies, too)facts was to wait for defense counsel to raise issues, and then, if forced to by the court, to look into issues raised. Until you found some evidence to shake their opinion that your client ought to plead guilty, there was no investigation.

    I didn’t do this for very long, but I took a few cases to trial, as those clients felt, oddly enough, that they were innocent. Darned if the jury didn’t see it our way every single time.

    But I wasn’t making a living, and I was ruining my marriage and my health, and getting darned depressed. So I am a recovering lawyer.
    The system has been reformed some since then, including some state-mandated increases in pay for appointed defense counsel (In my time, $75 was what you got for a misdemeanor, even if you made several appearances because the court and the d.a. weren’t ready to deal with the case. (or defense needed some time to actually investigate; you know, talk to witnesses, check out the scene, etc.)
    Maybe I was one of those hack lawyers freepatriot believes are the only ones who accept appointments, but I did win all the trials where I was lead or sole counsel.

  16. tejanarusa says:

    Sorry for that long post. The topic kinda hit one of my buttons.
    Just trying to add some specifics to support the thesis that we’ve gone a long way backwards since Gideon. God help us.

    • bmaz says:

      No, thank you for the story. Pretty common one actually, sadly enough. It depends on the jurisdiction and the court, but at the county superior court (felony trial court) level here, there are actually a lot of very good lawyers in the public and legal defender’s (conflicts from PD, co-defendant and major felonies) offices. Problem is they are underpaid, over worked terribly and the real cruncher, understaffed with support personnel. Criminal defense is not rocket science, but you need depth in the form of secretarial, paralegal, investigator and runner help. The PDs are severely limited on these, and coupled with an incredibly immense caseload, it is a recipe for bad product. It bugs the crap out of me.

      • tejanarusa says:

        Oh, yeah, you are so right about the support. I never had a secretary/assistant, either in civil legal services(well, shared one then)or when I was trying to establish my own practice.
        (In retrospect, I should’ve borrowed money and hired assistance at least part-time. Secretaries also tend to be better at insisting that clients actually pay for services, I’ve noticed.)And in our appointment system, it was a crap shoot as to whether you could get authorization for investigators and experts; pretty much, it depended on which judge you drew whether it would be approved.

        We do now have a public defender appellate office here, but it’s still appointed counsel for trial level. There have been some standards established for who can take appointments for more serious felonies.

        It’s just pitiful how Gideon has been nibbled away at. And we haven’t even started on how reluctant the average voter, who’s been listening to demogogues demonize everyone who’s ever been accused of a crime, is to vote adequate money to defend “criminals.”

        One thing about my dad, a law school grad who was even worse at private practice than I was, so spent his entire career with an insurance company, and a rock-ribbed Republican (the old-fashioned kind), he spoke frequently about how important it was that everyone accused of a crime have decent representation, and that the principle of innocent-until-proven-guilty must be honored.
        Poor Daddy, he was so disappointed that I turned out liberal, but really, he did it himself, teaching me all that rule-of-law-is-the-basis-of-liberty stuff. ; )

  17. freepatriot says:

    I didn’t say they was all HACK lawyers

    Maybe I was one of those hack lawyers freepatriot believes are the only ones who accept appointments, but I did win all the trials where I was lead or sole counsel.

    there are a few people in the local PD office who could make a lot more money in private practice, yet serve as DPDs because of a belief in helping others in need

    I’ve never been represented by someone like that. But I have seen others whose PD Lawyers were competent

    my own experience with Public Defenders has been mostly bad. I’ve had PDs that didn’t understand or read the charges BY MY THIRD APPEARANCE IN COURT WITH THE FUCKING MOOK

    I’ve also had a PD who recommended at EVERY CHANCE that I should plead guilty (AND I WAS AQUITTED ON ALL CHARGES)

    my experience has been with lawyers who were too stupid to read the fucking court papers, too willing to trade my guilty plea for consideration on somebody else’s case, or just flat fucking too busy and overworked to do the foot work required in my criminal trial

    so I started speaking up, and representing MYSELF, right out in front of my lawyer. And if the judge says something, I tell him I have to act cuz this nitwit lawyers ain’t gonna ask the fucking question

    it’s kinda hard for the judge to repremand a defendant for doing what his lawyers shoulkd be doing in the first fucking place

    I shouldn’t have to ask for a motion to dismiss BY MYSELF, when I have a fucking lawyer. And I have had to do that, more than once

    so all of the lawyers in the crowd can debate this question

    what happens when a defendant raises a motion to dismiss, in defiance of his lawyer, and that the lawyer refuses to make, and the motion is granted

    it’s happened to me more than once

    does it sound like I been getting “competent legal representation” ???

Comments are closed.