June 30, 2007

ID: shot in the supermarket

From the Twin Falls Times-News:

Man shot, killed by T.F. police

Shoppers were turned away from WinCo Foods Saturday afternoon after a shooting at the store. Two officers were called to WinCo at about 2 p.m. to pick up a shoplifter detained by the store's loss prevention employees... At 2:13 p.m., the officers reported that shots had been fired in the building, and requested an ambulance.

Logan Brizee, 19, of Declo was taken to St. Luke's Magic Valley Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead... The police department would not release any
more information Saturday night, and did not say if Brizee had a weapon...

Updates: News and video from KMVT, KTVB and KIVI, each with a slightly different twist. Look for the word "methamphetamine" to appear in follow-up news stories.

Update 07/03/07 from the Times-News:

T.F. police give details on shooting - Brizzee had bench warrant for previous charges

Police: Shooting was provoked - Shoplifting suspect had felony warrant

A shoplifting suspect at WinCo Foods pointed a loaded .38-caliber revolver at two police officers, who then opened fire and killed him Saturday afternoon... Brizzee faced a felony warrant for his arrest for failing to appear in court on a Minidoka County robbery charge...

Brizzee "rapidly stood up, backed away from the officers and pulled a handgun from his waistband and pointed at the officers while in very close proximity," said a police press release. "At that time, both officers pulled their weapons and fired..."

DC: public defender intern killed

From the Washington Post:

Public Defender Intern Recalled As Positive Example for Youths

Michael Richardson, 30, an intern with the D.C. Public Defender Service who was fatally shot Friday at the Steak & Egg Breakfast restaurant on Ninth Street NW, knew the streets from his job and from personal experience...

Richardson worked with a Georgetown University paralegal program and had taken courses at the University of the District of Columbia in preparation for applying to law school...

June 28, 2007

Court? I thought this was Bonnaroo

It's not too often that you get to read a blog by a disbarred p.d.:

Preparing for Battle

This morning I have to go to a local circuit court house to testify in a post-conviction matter involving a former client I represented in 2000/2001 back when I was a public defender. There are a couple of things that make this difficult. One, I used to be a pretty successful criminal defense attorney in our area, but, a little over a year and a half ago, I got federally indicted, after which I got convicted and disbarred. You can read about that in my very first post...

Interesting person, OceanShaman, whose blogroll has something in common with this article from the Tennessean:

Judges lay down law on uncourtly clothes

Fed up with defendants coming to court wearing flip-flops, wife-beater t-shirts, saggy drawers and gangster couture, some Nashville judges are saying, "Enough!..."

Other judges have ordered people to put on smocks or have put them in jail for repeatedly refusing to dress appropriately... The legal question over whether a judge can sanction a person for being dressed improperly is murky. Some judges have argued that inappropriate dress can disrupt a courtroom, just like talking too loud or letting a cell phone ring...

Smocks?! Yes, I have a problem with the urge to humiliate people with some government-issue smock or orange coveralls over the way they dress for court. Me, usually I'm just happy that my clients make it to court at all.

The common thread - Widespread:

A court date is not the same thing as going to watch Widespread Panic...

Remember that (greetings go out to my former co-worker Julia, who introduced me to {southern Georgia accent} Widespread {/southern Georgia accent}).

WA: A dog party! A big dog party!

From KING 5: 'Pet' project of late King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng celebrated

It was a "pet project" of the late King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng that brought service dogs into the courthouse. Prosecutor's offices in King and Snohomish Counties were the first in the country to use dogs to help victims of crime..."Do you like my briefcase?" "I do! I do like your briefcase!"

June 26, 2007

From the files of "Law and Order: Dog at Large"

From ForumGarden.com:

I am back from seeing the public defender. I took the deal they offered me. I will pay $300 for a kennel without license and be on probation for a year. They dropped the barking dog charges...

June 23, 2007

Joe turned 8 today

It's been a good day. Happy birthday, my fine son.

Luke 23:43

Another way to reply to the "how can you defend 'those people'?" question, courtesy of Woman in Black:

"We defend the people who are right next to Jesus on the cross."

June 20, 2007

WA: maximum sentence for juvenile manslaughter client

From KING 5 News:

Yelm teen shooter sentenced

A Yelm teenager convicted of manslaughter for pulling the trigger that led to the death of a 13-year-old last year learned his punishment Wednesday afternoon...

(With video: "Emotional sentencing")

NPR: "new book profiles public defender 'elite'"

At NPR (motto: "we here at public radio couldn't be more pleased with ourselves"), Talk of the Nation's website has streaming audio and a nice long excerpt from "Defending the Damned":

Author Kevin Davis discusses his book, Defending the Damned: Inside Chicago's Cook County Public Defender's Office. Davis shadowed Chicago's elite murder task force, the public defenders who represent accused rapists and serial killers who have the deck — and often the evidence — stacked against them...

Assistant producer Sarah Handel at Blog of the Nation is soliciting your comments:

If you're a public defender, what's the best part of the job? What was your wildest case (that you can share, of course!)?

WA: amateur photography

From the Yakima Herald-Republic:

Alleged tagger framed by his own camera

An 18-year-old man from Union Gap suspected of tagging nearly a dozen buildings in Yakima, Union Gap and Wapato was booked on felony and misdemeanor charges Monday after sheriff's deputies nabbed him - with his own camera.

...(A)fter turning it on and looking at the photos, it became clear the camera was evidence of a different sort. All the images showed the suspect spray-painting graffiti on an assortment of buildings...

The suspect apparently took great pride in his work... (D)eputies raided the suspect's residence in Union Gap and seized a large amount of graffiti paraphernalia as well as a camcorder depicting the suspect spray-painting his tag on a building...

ID: murder retrial "will not sit well with our budget"

From the Rexburg Standard Journal:

New lawyers OK'd for Grube defense - Fremont County may sell property to pay for the retrial costs

A man the state continues to accuse of killing Amy Hossner in Ashton in 1983 will get the services of two lawyers in a retrial this year. In a hearing Thursday in Fremont County, District Court Judge Darren Simpson approved motions to allow Rauland Grube the services of two lawyers, Greg Moeller of Rexburg and Dennis Benjamin of Boise.

Moeller was Grube's lawyer in his first trial. Benjamin was Grube's federally appointed public defender for hearings in the federal courts, where Grube was found to have had his civil rights violated, a ruling that is prompting the retrial...

From the AP wire:

Ballistics evidence was a key element in Grube's original conviction, but it has since been disavowed by the FBI. And former Police Chief Ed Sebek, who could testify about the log alterations, is now in prison on an unrelated crime.

The state attorney general's office has insisted on retrying Grube, even though it was rebuked by another federal court judge earlier this year who said Grube would likely be acquitted if he were to be retried.

In January, Alex Kozinski... on a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals... said Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden should consider prosecuting those in the case who handed in tainted evidence "instead of holding onto a conviction that is incredibly thin on the facts and undermined by just unspeakable misconduct..."

Personal aside: go Dennis!

Update: more from KPVI:

Greg Moeller, Grube's Attorney: "There's probably about 10,000 questions that have to be made over the next 90 days and right now we're only on about number one or number two."

June 18, 2007

WY: "I was extremely lucky enough to just call him 'Dad'"

From the Wyoming State Bar:

Ken Koski: a Man of Adventure - a Man of Integrity (1950 - 2006)

Dad was the epitome of a public defender. He was a juvenile specialist and enjoyed being able to help juveniles succeed. He believed strongly that there was no such thing as bad people, only good people who made poor choices. He got so much joy when he heard back from former clients who had turned their lives around. A few years ago he took me to dinner and he talked about applying for a judgeship. While most my attention was focused on the Rockies game, I indiscriminately said, “Why would you want to stop being a Public Defender? What you do is so noble.” At the time I thought nothing of it. Recently, my aunt told me how they had talked the next day and how he was so giddy and happy that I was proud of him and respected what he did...

(link via Kris Koski)

June 17, 2007

Bubba the cat, 1989-2007

The other reason I haven't posted much recently:My wife wrote something nice about Bubba today here.

June 16, 2007

"My client decided... to try to rearrange my face"

Welcome another blogging p.d., with a rare distinction:

Actually, I have to admit, I’m rather on inactive status right now. About four months ago, I joined a VERY elite company among the ranks of the profession... The company I speak of has few members, and those there not by skill or hard work, but by sheer mischance... We are those who have taken one for the team, demonstrated our dedication, earned the equivalent of the Purple Heart for our ranks. We are the few, the proud, the defenders who have literally taken a hit from our client in open court. To be specific, in the middle of picking a jury for a Home Invasion trial, my client decided it would be a great strategic move to try to rearrange my face, right there in from of judge, jurors, court guards, prosecutors and bailiff. He gained himself a mistrial and a new charge of Aggravated Battery for his efforts. I got a bloody nose, a concussion, two somewhat blackened eyes, and a set of broken glasses for mine. Three of four weeks later, the post-traumatic stress symptoms started setting in and, and as a result, I got transferred to non-trial duty...

June 14, 2007

Immanuel Kant would've loved us

From Über Rechten, Freiheiten und Erfahrungen:

A common misconception about public defenders is that they are rotten in every way, because they can get people off for murder, rape, assault, robbery, etc. What I am going to say is that this misconception is not entirely true...

Vielen Dank für die schöne Post, Adam, aber, was über meine p.d. Schwestern?

WA: Oly port protesters' cases dismissed

From the Olympian: Port defendants prevail

Citing “gross negligence” by Thurston County prosecutors, a judge on Tuesday dismissed charges against 16 people accused of trespassing during a protest of a military shipment at the Port of Olympia last year. The courtroom erupted in raucous celebration when Thurston County District Court Judge Susan Dubuisson announced the dismissal of the cases...

And from Olyblog:

Because the case has been dismissed, the in camera hearing with the judge, prosecutors, and representatives of the Thurston County Sheriff's office, tentatively scheduled for this week, will not occur, and the identity of the "informant" who leaked information from the defendants' list-serv to the prosecutor's office will not be disclosed. Questions of prosecutorial misconduct have also been laid to rest with this dismissal...

June 13, 2007

It's to the fact-finder

Manslaughter trial done, judge to give his verdict tomorrow.

Blogging can recommence now.

Update: guilty, first degree.

June 09, 2007

ID: ''There are no winners in this''

Two eastern Idaho defendants found guilty for two separate deaths, from the Idaho State Journal:

Adamcik Guilty of Murder

At 7:10 p.m. Friday, Torey Adamcik's attorney, Bron Rammell, leaned over, looked at the defendant's family and quietly advised them to prepare for the worst. The teen murderer's older sister began to cry, and his mother, Shannon, started to shake and leaned forward in her seat. The two hugged with tears streaming down their cheeks.

Before Sixth District Judge Peter D. McDermott read the verdict, he briefly told those in the courtroom to control themselves during the culminating moment of nearly nine months of investigative and legal work since 16-year-old Cassie Jo Stoddart's Sept. 22 murder.

"I know this is emotional, but let's try not to have any expressions," McDermott said, asking those in the courtroom to remain calm during the reading of the verdict, handed down after about seven hours of deliberation. McDermott then read the verdicts. Murder in the first degree: "Guilty." Conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree: "Guilty..."

Woman Guilty of Manslaughter

A local jury found an Idaho Falls woman guilty Friday afternoon of involuntary manslaughter for causing the death of her 4-year-old son last year. Prosecutors said Savannah Berrey, 24, passed out after smoking a marijuana pipe, which then ignited a fire in their Idaho Falls rental home on L Street. Berrey's son, Eric Brady, died on his bed in the next room. Sentencing is scheduled for July 17. Berrey could face a maximum 15 years in prison...

June 07, 2007

Lucky rabbit's feet

Yesterday I'm coming out the side door of the courthouse by detention, when one of these little guys goes flying across the sidewalk three feet in front of me:I've got some interesting challenges coming up soon, but I'm taking that bunny as a good omen.

IL: when a p.d.'s contorted with hate

Interesting stuff from Eric Zorn's Chicago Tribune blog, Change of Subject:

Standing up for rights isn't always pretty

Here’s a startling passage from author Kevin Davis’ new book “Defending the Damned ---- Inside Chicago’s Cook County Public Defender’s Office.”

“When I’m on trial and we’re in a truly adversarial proceeding, I hate the mother of the victim. I hate the father of the victim, I hate the children of the victim. I hate every part of it. It’s actually a terrible thing, but I can literally hate them when I’m fighting. I have to.”

The speaker is Assistant Public Defender Marijane Placek...

Uh, about that self-justifying "you have to" ...

I have known literally dozens of defense attorneys and have never met one who felt this way. Hate the lawyers on the other side of the aisle? Occasionally. But hate the victim? Never.

And more from the comments:

* Ms. Placek's "hate the victim" view is not the standard attitude for members of the defense bar...

* (G)ive Placek credit for, at the very least, being honest about how she does her job. We need hardworking public defenders, but I don't believe we need them "hating" the children and wives of murdered police (or murdered anyone). I wonder if she reflects on the damage her words cause to a family that's already suffered a loss that no one should experience, or if that's just part of the game she enjoys so much...

* Yes, EVERY litigant--even a guilty defendant--deserves vigorous representation. But they are not entitled to my soul, my conscience, my values. By "hating" the victim's family, the system is compromised. It does not improve representation, it diminishes the attorney, the system and society. All of us are a little bit less when winning becomes so important that one person, one attorney, is willing to hate and revictimize innocent victims...

I'm starting a manslaughter trial on Monday, and somehow I don't feel any hate toward the victim's family at all. I hope you all can still respect me as a p.d.

June 06, 2007

ID: a compassionate judge passes

From the Times-News:

Judge Carlson dies

It's difficult to find a person with something bad to say about Cassia County's 5th District Court Judge Monte Carlson.

Carlson, who died Sunday, is remembered as a compassionate judge who helped start the Magic Valley drug court... With Carlson's help, 177 drug addicts graduated from the 5th District Drug Court since he helped start the program in 1998, said Darrell Roskelley, drug court coordinator. The program boasts about a 60 percent success rate, compared to about 20 percent with other treatments, Roskelley said.

"He (Carlson) could see the potential of these drug court people and what they could become," Roskelley said. "Everything that drug court has become has been (because of) him."

My drug court clients loved Judge Carlson, and I did too. Farewell, Your Honor.

June 05, 2007

NM: the whole 'free-floating anger at the clients' thing boils over

Down Las Cruces way, Michael (who seems to relate to Ron Livingston in "Band of Brothers" and probably in "Office Space" too) explains his recent behavior:

How most criminal defense attorneys feel...

I (used to, up until last week) work as a public defender in a medium sized college town in southern NM. Last week, I had a motion hearing on a very specific point of law; my client was a 22 or 23 year old punk...

At this point he mumbled something again about me being a "rookie" and I yelled "F*ck You!" He screamed it back and at that point, I grabbed his orange pajamas and pulled him toward me. At the same time I pulled back my fist to pop him in the nose...

I resigned the next day. You see, most public defenders don't like they're clients. They hate them as much as the general public... We are just doing our duty (somebody has to do it), to uphold the constitution. I'm just glad I'm not doing it anymore...

Assuming this is non-fiction, I guess I would tell the writer, "I'm glad you're not doing it anymore too. Get some r 'n' r, but speak for yourself about the 'most p.d.'s feel this way' thing."

Bonus link: not in response to this but obliquely on point, a law student reflects on clinic and disrespect:

The students and some of the professors in this clinic should get oscars for how dramatic and exasperated they get from even the most minor things our clients do or say... Frankly, they should not be defending people if they have such a hard time dealing with it...

"Lately she’s been going on these tangents"

Ranee at Izzy's Boutique looks at her 4-year-old's future:

Do you ever just contemplate spending your kid's college fund on new things? Mommy needs new carpet, get by on your looks kid. The sad thing is she’s really cute. She also likes to argue. I’m torn between super model and like public defender...

Coincidentally, this was the same dilemma once faced by Blonde Justice.

AS: "Anytime"

Court news from American Samoa, from Sean the Idahoan's Potatoes to Papayas blog:

I've discussed the prison system several times already. Well, here's another not-so-great story about our inmates:

Inmate walks out of court and out of sight under TCF watch

By La Poasa Samoa News Staff

Immediately after District Court Judge John L. Ward II continued his case yesterday afternoon to another date, inmate Atoa "Anytime" Sipili walked away from where he sat with his attorney, told the TCF officer in the courtroom that he was going out for a smoke and disappeared...

(O)nce outside, Sipili took off his orange jumpsuit uniform, which easily identified him as an inmate, and told the officer that the judge had released him and that he was free to go...

June 01, 2007

Homenaje a ti, Greg Worthen

So long, Greg, and thanks for all the Public Defender Stuff!