Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

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Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:07 pm

Tanicius wrote:You couldn't pay me to negotiate with private defense attorneys. Jesus Christ are some of them blusterous morons. Don't get me wrong, I respect a good lot of them, but the ones I see every day on the misdemeanor calendar, holy shit. Was once stuck in line waiting to talk to a prosecutor for an hour cause this one private spent 20 minutes talking and haggling about his case, only to figure out at the very end that he wasn't talking to the prosecutor who was actually assigned to handle the case.


To be honest, the reason you see such a shit-show from private lawyers in misdemeanor court is because nobody takes misdemeanors serious except for DUI's and Domestic violence.

Depending on your jurisdiction and how much business the jail gets, nobody is getting any REAL jail time for a misdemeanor. So everybody (including the Judges) are in on the racket and are just trying to move cases off their docket as fast as possible.

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Dafaq
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Dafaq » Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:29 pm

Can you speak about the grand jury process?

Also, take an identical high profile case where the only difference is that the defendant is represented by a public defender versus the defendant being represented by a large firm attorney. From your experience, strategically, what are the differences?

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:41 pm

Dafaq wrote:Can you speak about the grand jury process?

Also, take an identical high profile case where the only difference is that the defendant is represented by a public defender versus the defendant being represented by a large firm attorney. From your experience, strategically, what are the differences?


Ferguson and Eric Garner has really made people get all amp'd up about the "Grand Jury process" when in reality, they aren't that big of a deal. People are making it sound like they are these ULTRA SECRET closed-door meetings where minorities are being disenfranchised and discriminated against by evil racist prosecutors who are too busy high-fiving their police-buddies.

"large firm attorney" vs. "public defender" = large firm attorney getting his ass whupped up and down that courtroom.

For all the shit that people talk about PD's, I'd take them over some law firm attorney any day of the week. Unless that private lawyer DOES criminal law on a regular basis, I wouldn't trust my freedom with them.

"But--but--he graduated from HYSP and has done work with the innocence project!"

IDGAF! He is an outsider which means he does not know the Judge, court reporter, bailiff, and a couple of prosecutors. He will not get the client a better deal than the PD who deals with these same people day in and day out.

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:44 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Are there any large firm defense attorneys on cases that a PD would be on? You only get big firms in maybe white collar defense, and I can't see any white collar defendants qualifying for a PD. Private defense attorneys are almost invariably solos or in tiny firms.



What does DLA or Kirkland gain by representing Da'Travious in an aggravated assault/armed robbery trial?

Nothing

Now, if they JUMP ONBOARD in the post-conviction stage after an experienced attorney has already looked at the appellate file and determined the SUBSTANTIVE issues to argue to the courts, then that is different. The firm can jump on board, help out THE REAL CRIMINAL LAWYERS, and then bask in the glory of victory.

Anonymous User
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:24 pm

Have you ever been called out / threatened by a defendant?

Is there any fear in that these people you are charging will seek retaliation on you?

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Have you ever been called out / threatened by a defendant?

Is there any fear in that these people you are charging will seek retaliation on you?



Nope, because I go by the "Wal-Mart" rule.

Meaning, i can always talk shit in the courtroom because I'm surrounded by cops and bailiffs.

HOWEVER,

I might see the defendant (or his family) at a Wal-Mart one day or in the parking lot. I'm not going to have security around me. So I always make sure to be respectful to the Defendant in the courtroom because I NEVER KNOW when I might see them again.

I've had defendants shake my hand. I've had their mothers come apologize. Hell, I was at the gas station once and a defendant's uncle recognized me from court and we had a nice conversation about the status of the case.

The important thing is to remember that you aren't dealing with BAD PEOPLE.

(except for murders and child molestors. They are assholes, fuck them)

In reality, you are dealing with REGULAR PEOPLE who just did BAD THINGS (and got caught)

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:18 pm

2.5 years as ADA in county of 100,000. Case load at any given time between 250-300 cases. No State Court so everything from a guy who wants a jury trial on a turn signal violation to murder. Few contributions then bourbon time:
1. Pay could certainly be better but you don't do this job because of the pay. I'm at 55k plus 2k in loan assistance from law school. Could probably lateral to another office that bumps it up to 61k then 68k come end of year but for now, happy where I am at. We got our first pay rise in 8 years and word is will hopefully happen every year like it used to. Work in county about thirty minutes out of large southern city not in Florida so COL means I'm comfortable as a single young guy but it's bud light instead of whatever rich people drink.
2. When you have as many cases as you have, you don't get emotionally invested in a lot. On non-victim crimes, it is basically the crime and the defendants history that decides my rec. On victim crimes, I take into account victims wishes on my recs, but consistency is my most pressing concern.
3. Walmart effect is way to go. A lot of your people are repeat offenders and you also see them for probation and often times are your witnesses or victims in other cases. The guy you prosecute on a simple dope case will turn out to be the guy who gets robbed down the road. Don't go burning bridges.
4. I don't personally agree with a lot of the laws or even the recommendations of my office on drug cases, but the fact is that it is illegal and consistency in sentencing is important. It isn't fair to the guy who gets his cases handled in another courtroom that he gets jail and my guy gets probation when they have same history. I'll vote to legalize it and make my job easier, but don't get pissy when I do my job and enforce the standing law.
5. People need to learn what the hell reasonable doubt actually means. it isn't to a certainty, it isn't beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is a doubt based upon common sense and reason. Is it reasonable to think the defendant isn't guilty? Fucking CSI effect, too.
6. Give me a PD over 80 percent of private attorneys if I'm a defendant. Because they are appointed, they don't get respect that their client would give them if he paid them despite them doing better.
7. A lot of victims are pains in my ass. They want me to send someone to prison for a misdemeanor theft, they disappear/lose interest as case proceeds, want me to revoke bonds for stupid shit, and don't understand why I can't prove their cases.
8. Fuck meth and crack. Half my burglary, thefts, etc. are related to that shit. A lot of our armed robberies and murders are just robbing even weed dealers. It's smart (they carry money, unlikely to call police, are convicts themselves, non-sympathetic victims), but annoying.

Bourbon.

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Bourbon.


Amen, Brother

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15 styx
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby 15 styx » Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:43 pm

Since my JA experience hasn’t extended itself to your side of the field, I am asking this out of curiosity. The plea process, how does it really work? Especially when both sides are far apart from seeing things eye-to-eye. Hypothetically, talking white collar, not serial killer.

Have you come up against a situation where you wanted 4 years and they were willing to accept 1 year.... verdict comes back not guilty.... is that something you deal with a lot?

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:51 pm

15 styx wrote:Since my JA experience hasn’t extended itself to your side of the field, I am asking this out of curiosity. The plea process, how does it really work? Especially when both sides are far apart from seeing things eye-to-eye. Hypothetically, talking white collar, not serial killer.

Have you come up against a situation where you wanted 4 years and they were willing to accept 1 year.... verdict comes back not guilty.... is that something you deal with a lot?


No way I'd go to trial over a gap of 3 years.

I go to trial when it is a SERIOUS crime and the defendant REFUSES to plea to anything reasonable. Or they ask for something stupid like straight probation.

If I've wasted the city's money by bringing in a jury over a difference of 3 years, then I need to be fired for mis-managing taxpayer funds.

Most defense attorneys I deal with are reasonable (and intelligent) enough to recognize the value of a case based upon the evidence. If I got A LOT of evidence, then they won't argue with me over 3 years b/c they know:

1) They'll probably lose at trial
2) If they reject my offer and plea before the Judge with NO OFFER, their client will get a HIGHER sentence than what I offered
3) They'll drag this case out longer than it needs to be.

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15 styx
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby 15 styx » Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:28 am

Great description, thanks. One final question. What is your feeling about house arrest…nonviolent crime? Perceived as a slap on the wrist,or good because it [theoretically] saves taxpayer dollars? Or something else....

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:45 am

15 styx wrote:Great description, thanks. One final question. What is your feeling about house arrest…nonviolent crime? Perceived as a slap on the wrist,or good because it [theoretically] saves taxpayer dollars? Or something else....


Enjoyed my bourbon so going to tag in. Define non-violent crime. If the guy is selling dope or stolen stuff out of his house, all house arrest ankle monitor tells me is that he is at work. My view on ankle monitors is that it is good for pretrial in custody defendants who haven't been adjudicated guilty, but I don't ever do house arrest recommendations as a sentence. It also inherently calls for me to give a benefit to the wealthier who have static housing situations. Give me probation where I have someone supervising and drug testing, or give me confinement and the jail (as they will often do) can decide that the sentence can be served on ankle monitor so when they kill their significant other or the guy buying dope from them, shit falls on the jail and not me.

sparty99
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby sparty99 » Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:43 am

Kivan wrote:
Jaymore wrote:
I'm a prosecutor and don't think of myself as poor. I feel rich. I have beer in the fridge, my rent is paid, my bills are paid, I drive a decent car (Toyota Camry) and I have discretionary money left over for vacations, big screen TVs, etc. I grew up poor, so maybe its different for me.

Not trying to get on a high horse or be sanctimonious here, but chasing money won't get you anywhere. I think that is where we lawyers get our rep for being depressed and hating our jobs - we chase money and prestige over happiness. Keep it simple, pick work you like to do, and do it.


The problem is that you don't gain this perspective until you get out into the REAL WORLD and work a real job and see your friends who have shitty jobs that they HAAAAATTTTEEE.

Life is a lot easier when you know that you can leave at 5:00 - 5:30 and don't have to come in on the weekends.

In fact, I LAUGH at my coworkers who have their work e-mail pushed to their personal phones. Fuck that! When I'm off, then I.AM.OFF.

Don't call me unless it is an emergency,

even then, don't call me unless the office is on fire.


How easy is it to be a prosecutor for a year and then lateral to Big FED or some type of government agency in DC, NY, or Chicago? Does being a prosecutor help? I live in a shitty city and want to do prosecutor work to get the trial experience, but I don't want to live in my current state for more than a year. I'm hoping being a prosecutor and being licensed in any state could get me a government gig after a year of experience

sparty99
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby sparty99 » Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:44 am

fats provolone wrote:is this dude sparty's cousin?


Don't do it.

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KingDongKong
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby KingDongKong » Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:56 am

Kivan is a fucking rock star and should post moar

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sublime
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby sublime » Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:25 am

..

Anonymous User
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:36 am

sparty99 wrote:How easy is it to be a prosecutor for a year and then lateral to Big FED or some type of government agency in DC, NY, or Chicago? Does being a prosecutor help? I live in a shitty city and want to do prosecutor work to get the trial experience, but I don't want to live in my current state for more than a year. I'm hoping being a prosecutor and being licensed in any state could get me a government gig after a year of experience

Not the OP, but also a prosecutor: if you're looking to get hired by (say) a USAO or litigating component that looks for trial experience, one year will probably not be enough, but it will depend on what experience you get and the office (mostly I see 3 years experience minimum and most people who've been hired out of state prosecution have more like 3-5 years in that job).

Also, when you say "government gig," what exactly do you mean? There are tons of jobs with government agencies for which being a prosecutor won't help you at all. For instance, working for the VA or the EPA, where you deal mostly with the administrative regimes specific to those areas of law. For those jobs it will matter more whether you know the area of law they address than whether you've been in the courtroom.

Being a prosecutor will really only help you get into a USAO or maybe some other litigating component of DOJ (particularly the criminal division, I'd guess). In general, it's not going to transfer to every bid fed position. (I say "in general" because everyone is different and I'm sure someone somewhere has managed to swing the transition, but it's not the most straightforward path.)

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:25 pm

Regarding the ease of being rehired, how difficult is it for an individual in your office to come back to the job after taking time off? For instance, if someone decided to become a stay-at-home-parent for a few years, and wanted to return to the office after the kids were school-aged.

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15 styx
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby 15 styx » Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
15 styx wrote:Great description, thanks. One final question. What is your feeling about house arrest…nonviolent crime? Perceived as a slap on the wrist,or good because it [theoretically] saves taxpayer dollars? Or something else....


Enjoyed my bourbon so going to tag in. Define non-violent crime. If the guy is selling dope or stolen stuff out of his house, all house arrest ankle monitor tells me is that he is at work. My view on ankle monitors is that it is good for pretrial in custody defendants who haven't been adjudicated guilty, but I don't ever do house arrest recommendations as a sentence. It also inherently calls for me to give a benefit to the wealthier who have static housing situations. Give me probation where I have someone supervising and drug testing, or give me confinement and the jail (as they will often do) can decide that the sentence can be served on ankle monitor so when they kill their significant other or the guy buying dope from them, shit falls on the jail and not me.


The house-arrest scenario I was thinking of regards a defendant accused of a crime like embezzlement, fraud, etc. not drugs (or worse). So, if you’re offering × years and the counter is yes, but house-arrest, how might that play out?

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:59 pm

15 styx wrote:The house-arrest scenario I was thinking of regards a defendant accused of a crime like embezzlement, fraud, etc. not drugs (or worse). So, if you’re offering × years and the counter is yes, but house-arrest, how might that play out?


Again, we deal with economic consistency and when we deal with embezzlement/fraud, those defendants often have more stable living situations so I would be offering a recommendation to a wealthier person that I can't offer to many indigent person for many lesser offenses. That is also exacerbated by the defendant being the one who has to pay for ankle monitoring, something indigents can't do. To me, house arrest is fine for Pretrial monitoring of those who don't pose much risk of cutting it and disappearing or committing new offenses while out on bond, but after I don't agree and it is not offered by my office as a punishment in place of confinement because it is so much better than the confinement similarly situated people get. If the jail wants to put them on ankle monitor, more power to them. Our new guy had someone sentenced to 180 days county jail after trial and she served 2 days before the jail put her on ankle monitor. If their offense earned them prison, then the pardons and parole board can spit them back out when they see fit.

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To me, house arrest is fine for Pretrial monitoring of those who don't pose much risk of cutting it and disappearing or committing new offenses while out on bond, but after I don't agree and it is not offered by my office as a punishment in place of confinement because it is so much better than the confinement similarly situated people get. If the jail wants to put them on ankle monitor, more power to them. Our new guy had someone sentenced to 180 days county jail after trial and she served 2 days before the jail put her on ankle monitor. If their offense earned them prison, then the pardons and parole board can spit them back out when they see fit.

Not the OP, but I completely agree with this. I don't think a white-collar criminal should get house arrest just because they can pay for it. Frankly, I have a bigger problem with white-collar crime than with a lot of drug offenses, since the white-collar people usually come from a much better situation with more advantages/options than many people committing drug offenses. I tend to think you're either probation-eligible or you're not - if you are, then fine, but if not, house arrest isn't some kind of reasonable alternative.

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twenty 8
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby twenty 8 » Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:11 pm

My state has a serious prison overcrowding problem. This includes the Martha Stewart cupcake facilities. State legislatures are engaged in keeping non-violent offenders out of jail cells.

Granted, in years to come when minor drug offenders are treated differently the overcrowding might be alleviated but until then we’re dealing with serious overcrowding. Doesn’t that factor into your decision on house arrest and negotiating the length of time to be served?

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:52 pm

Not-the-OP, but generally I think sentences should be negotiated based on the severity of the offense/culpability of the defendant and maintaining consistency across similarly-situated defendants, not on factors unrelated to the crime like overcrowding. Obviously overcrowding is a real problem that needs to be addressed, and it may well affect things like charging policies, but I don't think it should alter how you deal with any given specific defendant. I dislike the idea of offering a different deal to one defendant over another for the same offense just because one can pay for house arrest and the other defendant can't.

So, it's one thing for an office to say "the volume of people going to prison for felony X is too high, in light of overcrowding in our prisons and a community perception that felony X isn't really that serious a crime. Accordingly from now on we'll plead felony X cases to misdemeanor Y charges," where misdemeanor Y is probation eligible and felony X isn't. It's another thing to say "Defendant X and Defendant Y have both been convicted of [whatever] and have similar criminal histories, but X can pay for house arrest and Y can't, so to deal with prison overcrowding X will get the house arrest option and Y won't."

(As an aside: house arrest is really almost never an option, at least in my jurisdiction. I've never seen it imposed. Custody or probation, generally.)

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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:Regarding the ease of being rehired, how difficult is it for an individual in your office to come back to the job after taking time off? For instance, if someone decided to become a stay-at-home-parent for a few years, and wanted to return to the office after the kids were school-aged.


Depends on how they left the office the first time or how cool they are with the NEW administration.

If they left on good terms and the Head Prosecutor is STILL there, then it will just be a question of available positions within the office. In my office I had co-workers who left for:

- private practice
- hired by a firm in a different city
- ministry work

and they were all hired back within a few years.

That's why it is so important to NOT burn bridges whenever you leave a job.

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:Frankly, I have a bigger problem with white-collar crime than with a lot of drug offenses, since the white-collar people usually come from a much better situation with more advantages/options than many people committing drug offenses.



LOL!

The majority of "white-collar" crimes that a State-level prosecutor will deal with are going to involve some meth or prescription pill addict stealing their mother's credit/debit card and buying dumb shit at the local WaWa. Or maybe they stole someone's information and opened up lines of credit.

That Bernie Maddoff stuff is usually cherry-picked by the local USAO.




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