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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Random Thoughts From My Calendar

February 8, Friday:
I meet a San Francisco habeas lawyer to talk about a couple of cases I have a "past" with. More about the details at some future date.

February 11, Monday:
Spend the day in court in the second day of a preliminary hearing that the D.A. had estimated at one day. Because of her absurdly low estimate, the judge was peeved that I spent so much time in the tedious job of cross-examining the many witnesses she decided to put on. At 4 p.m., the judge recesses the case until the 28th, when we will resume.

February 12, Tuesday:
Lincoln’s birthday - a court holiday. (They also take 2/18, next Monday - President’s Day). I spend it preparing billing and filing.

February 13, Wednesday:
I appear in Van Nuys to represent my client who had sex several times with a 12 year old girl. He is 40. He can’t quite understand why the D.A. wants him to do 11 years. He told the appointed shrink that he had drunk 36 beers before the first time, 15 the second time, and 9 the third. The shrink thought he was exaggerating - about the number of beers. I wonder if he had to drink less each time to get in the mood. I give him until the 27th to decide whether to take the deal or coerce me to trial.

February 14, Thursday:
I spend some time watching Roger Clemons squirm before a House Committee, answering their softballs & innuendos. These congressmen all claim to have been prosecutors in their youth, but none can ask a decent lawyerlike question to a witness. Of course, like all prosecutors they only know how to ask leading questions prepared by their staffs which they’ve never seen before. Given a time limit of 5 minutes, they ask one 5 minute question, which is really a statement or argument followed by "Isn’t that right?"

February 17, Sunday:
In the L.A. Times, there is a story about California prison inmates who have served more time than they should due to incompetent prison officials who can’t understand the complex sentencing laws. I sympathize. I don’t understand them either. There are so many enhancements and amendments to the statutes that no one involved can accurately predict any sentence.

Even misdemeanors are a joke. On a DUI, where the stated fine is, say, $300, the total cost to the defendant is over $1000 because of penalty assessments - like lab costs, police education, ink, air, whatever.

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