Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

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Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:53 am

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.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby JohannDeMann » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:11 am

You've gotten a lot of hate in here, but you're pretty awesome. You got a family of want to have one ever?

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fats provolone
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby fats provolone » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:13 am

is this dude sparty's cousin?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:15 am

Kivan wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:

In the least dueshey way possible...I'm above median at HYS and really think I'd love being a prosecutor for the long haul (and have knowledge of what that entails) but I'm just trying to figure out if I wake up 5 years in and decide I've had enough of being poor if I've basically closed off the biglaw door. (I know if you make it to the US Atty level making the jump to (or at least back to?) biglaw seems more feasible. If others have experience with this I'd love to hear it. Thanks.


We're talking about BIGLAW and not just "law firms" in general.

After 5 years, why would you want to go to BIGLAW to become somebody's highly paid bitch? Nobody in BIGLAW will care about your trial experience b/c the client is paying for the Partner or Senior Associate to go and argue the MSJ. Not the new guy who's spent the past 5 years trying drug and gun cases in Middle City Superior Court.

You've spent 5 yrs controlling your own cases, talking to Judges, negotiating with lawyers, and dealing directly with victims. You won't have any of that experience in BIGLAW.

Then there is the VERY REAL QUESTION of why BIGLAW would want a trial lawyer? You will have to be trained from the start as if you were a First Year. In 3 years when your classmates are up for partnership you'll only be a 3rd year.

Don't sound like a good life plan to me.


So the only thing I would push back on is that BIGLAW then needs people who have trial experience because they don't have it. I know US Attys do this. That said I'm not really arguing with you because you obviously know way more about this than me.

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ManoftheHour
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby ManoftheHour » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:21 am

Do grades really not matter?

Also, what should one ideally be doing 1L, 2L, and 3L years/summers? Like volunteering at the local offices as much as you can?

Jaymore
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Jaymore » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:36 am

ManoftheHour wrote:Do grades really not matter?

Also, what should one ideally be doing 1L, 2L, and 3L years/summers? Like volunteering at the local offices as much as you can?


Not OP, but maybe I can offer my opinion.

Its important to get criminal law experience, but its also important to get good experience. If you are volunteering at a local office and not getting great assignments, than it has little worth. Don't intern with a DA just to intern with a DA - talk to previous interns to get a feel for what the experience is. In my experience internships with a DA are a little hit or miss with regards to quality of assignments/experience.

Summer clerking with a court is fine as it exposes you to a lot of criminal law and criminal law issues. You can get some solid writing samples that way. It worked for me.

Grades matter, but they are secondary to desire to be a prosecutor. The interview is important, and so is the resume. If you have a lot of civil shit on your resume, there will be questions about that. Someone with OK grades and relevant experience would be more attractive than someone with top of their class GPA and all civil firm work.
Last edited by Jaymore on Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:39 am

I've got an interview for a summer internship with a DA office, but I'm not sure what kind of questions to prepare. Any suggestions or things DAs like to talk about?

Jaymore
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Jaymore » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:I've got an interview for a summer internship with a DA office, but I'm not sure what kind of questions to prepare. Any suggestions or things DAs like to talk about?


I didn't intern with a DA for a summer job, so can't really tell you for sure.

If its anything like a full-time position, they will ask several hypothetical questions. What would you charge, what are your ethical obligations, what plea would you offer, etc.

In Las Vegas, they give you a packet detailing a fact scenario (two or three pages), have you sit in a room for thirty minutes to read the packet, and then they question you. As a group. Like five attorneys alternating difficult questions. For a good twenty minutes. The majority of the interview. That sucked balls.

I would expect a question or two on ethics as well. Like, "name a time where it was tough to do the right thing, but you did it anyway". Or "how do you feel about being held to really high ethical standards".

There might be a dose of the standard questions as well - why do you want to be a DA, what you are hoping to get out of the internship, etc

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:56 am

Jaymore wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've got an interview for a summer internship with a DA office, but I'm not sure what kind of questions to prepare. Any suggestions or things DAs like to talk about?


I didn't intern with a DA for a summer job, so can't really tell you for sure.

If its anything like a full-time position, they will ask several hypothetical questions. What would you charge, what are your ethical obligations, what plea would you offer, etc.

In Las Vegas, they give you a packet detailing a fact scenario (two or three pages), have you sit in a room for thirty minutes to read the packet, and then they question you. As a group. Like five attorneys alternating difficult questions. For a good twenty minutes. The majority of the interview. That sucked balls.

I would expect a question or two on ethics as well. Like, "name a time where it was tough to do the right thing, but you did it anyway". Or "how do you feel about being held to really high ethical standards".

There might be a dose of the standard questions as well - why do you want to be a DA, what you are hoping to get out of the internship, etc

I've spent a year at a prosecutors office getting pretty substantive experience and "what would you charge" in most situations would only bring a blank stare. Scares me shitless for next year.

Jaymore
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Jaymore » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Jaymore wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've got an interview for a summer internship with a DA office, but I'm not sure what kind of questions to prepare. Any suggestions or things DAs like to talk about?


I didn't intern with a DA for a summer job, so can't really tell you for sure.

If its anything like a full-time position, they will ask several hypothetical questions. What would you charge, what are your ethical obligations, what plea would you offer, etc.

In Las Vegas, they give you a packet detailing a fact scenario (two or three pages), have you sit in a room for thirty minutes to read the packet, and then they question you. As a group. Like five attorneys alternating difficult questions. For a good twenty minutes. The majority of the interview. That sucked balls.

I would expect a question or two on ethics as well. Like, "name a time where it was tough to do the right thing, but you did it anyway". Or "how do you feel about being held to really high ethical standards".

There might be a dose of the standard questions as well - why do you want to be a DA, what you are hoping to get out of the internship, etc

I've spent a year at a prosecutors office getting pretty substantive experience and "what would you charge" in most situations would only bring a blank stare. Scares me shitless for next year.



They aren't looking at the answer, they are looking at the process. Lay out what charges you could bring, difficulties such as difficulties of proof, more investigation you think should be done, etc. If you are unfamiliar with their code, say "I don't know Utah law, but under Colorado law you could do this".

Most of them are fairly simple, they aren't going to hit you with an obscure law or anything. They just want to know how you think. Stock answer would be, "you could charge X, Y and Z. But it would be difficult to prove X at trial because.... There are similar concerns for Y, before charging I would ask the police to do some further investigation into..... We also have to consider culpability and whether charging Z is the right thing to do, whether it would be just. In this case, (reasons why it might be unjust). Just because we can doesn't mean we should".

Don't mean to butt in on someone elses thread. Just as background I have a little more than a year experience as an ADA at a medium sized town in the pacific northwest. Taken multiple felonies to jury trial, one vehicular homicide, two burglaries, one SAM. (I don't keep score, but I'm 3-1 for the record). Also taken multiple DUIs, misdemeanor assaults, reckless drivings as well. My limited experience is at your disposal, to supplement OPs.
Last edited by Jaymore on Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:12 am

Jaymore wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Jaymore wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've got an interview for a summer internship with a DA office, but I'm not sure what kind of questions to prepare. Any suggestions or things DAs like to talk about?


I didn't intern with a DA for a summer job, so can't really tell you for sure.

If its anything like a full-time position, they will ask several hypothetical questions. What would you charge, what are your ethical obligations, what plea would you offer, etc.

In Las Vegas, they give you a packet detailing a fact scenario (two or three pages), have you sit in a room for thirty minutes to read the packet, and then they question you. As a group. Like five attorneys alternating difficult questions. For a good twenty minutes. The majority of the interview. That sucked balls.

I would expect a question or two on ethics as well. Like, "name a time where it was tough to do the right thing, but you did it anyway". Or "how do you feel about being held to really high ethical standards".

There might be a dose of the standard questions as well - why do you want to be a DA, what you are hoping to get out of the internship, etc

I've spent a year at a prosecutors office getting pretty substantive experience and "what would you charge" in most situations would only bring a blank stare. Scares me shitless for next year.



They aren't looking at the answer, they are looking at the process. Lay out what charges you could bring, difficulties such as difficulties of proof, more investigation you think should be done, etc. If you are unfamiliar with their code, say "I don't know Utah law, but under Colorado law you could do this".

Most of them are fairly simple, they aren't going to hit you with an obscure law or anything. They just want to know how you think. Stock answer would be, "you could charge X, Y and Z. But it would be difficult to prove X at trial because.... There are similar concerns for Y, before charging I would ask the police to do some further investigation into..... We also have to consider culpability and whether charging Z is the right thing to do, whether it would be just. In this case, (reasons why it might be unjust). Just because we can doesn't mean we should".

Don't mean to butt in on someone elses thread. Just as background I have a little more than a year experience as an ADA at a medium sized town in the pacific northwest. Taken multiple felonies to trial, including vehicular homicide, burglary, SAM. Also taken multiple DUIs, misdemeanor assaults, reckless drivings as well. My limited experience is at your disposal, to supplement OPs.

Career goals? You seem to enjoy it. Do you worry you won't be able to have a family?

Jaymore
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Jaymore » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:24 am

[/quote]Career goals? You seem to enjoy it. Do you worry you won't be able to have a family?[/quote]

I have general goals. I'd love to be an AUSA, but that might be difficult given my location. Long term I might seek employment in a larger city.

I've also considered JAG, as that is a good conduit to federal work, but that might take me out of prosecution. You do whatever work JAG wants you to - if they want you to do civil for four years, that is what you do.

I know I don't want a promotion. My boss deals with administrative crap and doesn't get much actual courtwork. Actually, my boss was fourth in line for the job. They asked three other people in the office, and they all declined. I love life on the ground floor.

Family wise I'm not worried. I'm single and in my mid-late twenties. Don't want a family right now, but that may change. I grew up poor, single mother with two children who made less than 1/4 of my salary now. I make almost 70k per year now. Maybe its unrealistic, but I think I could support a child with that. And the hours are much more conducive to family life.

This idea that you have to earn six figure to have a family is a little ridiculous. The majority of America does it on far less than I make right now. Its overblown, IMO

You can't plan your life on exigencies that may or may not happen. I know I love being a prosecutor and I'm not about to sacrifice that because I might want kids, and I might marry a person with a low paying job, and I might have triplets, etc.. I think about it sometimes, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

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Young Marino
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Young Marino » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:03 am

I am an aspiring prosecutor as well. Worked at my local DA's office prior to law school and going back this summer. It seems that the only real negative would be the pay but when you factor in the fulfillment, benefits and reasonable hours, it seems to offset the pay. Like you, I grew up in a working class household and have no problem driving around Toyota Camrys all my life. I guess it's just of question for most of "what do you want out of life"? Personally, I would perfectly fine living in a one bedroom apartment working a job I love for minimal pay rather than waking up in a 6 bedroom house to a life I hate because my job is terrible and I have no time to spend with my family.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:26 pm

if you could redesign the criminal justice system, free from constitutional constraints, what would it look like?

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:if you could redesign the criminal justice system, free from constitutional constraints, what would it look like?


Juvenile Court would be filled with Court-certified Professional Ass-Beaters.

Commit a new offense, get ya ass beat, then go on probation.

Violate probation, get ya ass beat, then go to jail.

Drugs would automatically go thru "Alternative Courts" upon 1st offense. 2nd and subsequent offenses, you get prosecuted just like every other crime.

Weed and Crack under a certain amount would be de-criminalized or misdemeanor. All other drugs would remain felonies subject to jail time.

Repeat Domestic violence would become a serious felony with mandatory PRISON sentences.

All juries would have a count-appointed "Legal Advisor" to sit in deliberations with them to explain the law so they would stop giving inconsistent verdicts that make NO DAMN SENSE.

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I've got an interview for a summer internship with a DA office, but I'm not sure what kind of questions to prepare. Any suggestions or things DAs like to talk about?



Sell them on why you'd be happy being a Gov't drone for low pay. Also, distinguish why you are applying w/ them vs. the local PD's office.

All lawyers recognize that the economy is shitty and private firms aren't hiring newbies, so don't worry about the whole "Why not private practice????"

Also sell them on how you wish to go into Prosecution after you graduate. DO NOT TELL THEM THAT YOU ARE JUST COMING TO THE DA'S OFFICE FOR TRIAL EXPERIENCE AND THEN YOU'RE LEAVING!

WE ALL KNOW THAT IS THE OVERALL GOAL, BUT TRY NOT TO BE TOO OBVIOUS ABOUT IT.

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:

So the only thing I would push back on is that BIGLAW then needs people who have trial experience because they don't have it. I know US Attys do this. That said I'm not really arguing with you because you obviously know way more about this than me.


BIGLAW doesn't need trial experience to make $$$ hand over fist. Most of your Partners have never seen the inside of a jury trial yet they make more than all of the Elected District Attorneys COMBINED!

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:16 pm

ManoftheHour wrote:Do grades really not matter?

Also, what should one ideally be doing 1L, 2L, and 3L years/summers? Like volunteering at the local offices as much as you can?



Nobody cares about grades b/c the Prosecutor probably didn't have stellar grades.

Plus, nobody reads Law Review or Journal Articles in criminal law so they really dont' care about whether you were EIC of whatever fancy-shmancy journal.

Intern at different offices during your summer to show that you are serious about prosecuting and not just dropping a resume "for a job".

I had interned and I clerked for a judge after I graduated, so when I applied at this totally different office, you could see on my resume that I had an idea of what I wanted to do.

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:05 pm

Young Marino wrote:I am an aspiring prosecutor as well. Worked at my local DA's office prior to law school and going back this summer. It seems that the only real negative would be the pay but when you factor in the fulfillment, benefits and reasonable hours, it seems to offset the pay. Like you, I grew up in a working class household and have no problem driving around Toyota Camrys all my life. I guess it's just of question for most of "what do you want out of life"? Personally, I would perfectly fine living in a one bedroom apartment working a job I love for minimal pay rather than waking up in a 6 bedroom house to a life I hate because my job is terrible and I have no time to spend with my family.



You say all of that now because you are still a student. Wait until you've busted your ass for 3 years, tried more cases than YOUR SITTING JUDGE, resolved HUNDREDS UPON HUNDREDS OF CASES, handled every violent offense on the books, dealt with uncooperative and unappreciative victims

WASTED COUNTLESS HOURS FIGHTING WITH OPPOSING COUNSEL OVER HOW MANY YEARS OF *SIMPLE PROBATION* THE DEFENDANT GETS....

. . .and yet you still make close to the same salary you made as when you first came out of school.

You'll either </self> or leave the office.

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sublime
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby sublime » Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:21 pm

..

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:02 pm

sublime wrote:Defense lawyers advocating for their clients sounds super annoying.


Yes, because heaven forbid this three -time shoplifter get 4 years of probation vs. 2 years.

Oh God, the Injustice of it all.

kingofspain
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby kingofspain » Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:20 pm

Kivan wrote:
sublime wrote:Defense lawyers advocating for their clients sounds super annoying.


Yes, because heaven forbid this three -time shoplifter get 4 years of probation vs. 2 years.

Oh God, the Injustice of it all.
If it shouldn't matter to the defendant, shouldn't it matter WAY LESS to the prosecutor? So aren't YOU the one being obnoxious by insisting on your arbitrarily determined, 100% longer sentence?

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Displeased
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Displeased » Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:13 am

kingofspain wrote:
Kivan wrote:
sublime wrote:Defense lawyers advocating for their clients sounds super annoying.


Yes, because heaven forbid this three -time shoplifter get 4 years of probation vs. 2 years.

Oh God, the Injustice of it all.
If it shouldn't matter to the defendant, shouldn't it matter WAY LESS to the prosecutor? So aren't YOU the one being obnoxious by insisting on your arbitrarily determined, 100% longer sentence?


Speaking as a public defender, I don't know where he's getting the "countless hours haggling" from. This idea that plea negotiations are elaborate back and forth negotiations that take hours is just nonsense, usually the case is a slam dunk for the prosecutor and either the defendant takes the offer or he doesn't. Prosecutors usually hold all the cards, they know more information, they usually have a confession, and they have trained witnesses (aka police) to testify for them. How would you even haggle over a couple years of probation? Defense asks for it, prosecution either agrees or disagrees, defense maybe comes back with a counter-offer, done and done. There's just usually not enough sticking points to have a real negotiation, the defense rarely has anything to negotiate with aside from the sheer annoyance of forcing the prosecution to go to trial.

I do have a question for Kivan. What is discovery like in your jurisdiction, and how would discovery work in your ideal world?

Kivan
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Kivan » Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:15 am

Displeased wrote:
Speaking as a public defender, I don't know where he's getting the "countless hours haggling" from. This idea that plea negotiations are elaborate back and forth negotiations that take hours is just nonsense,


This actually highlights a very common misconception that defense attorneys have regarding their cases. They assume that THEIR CASE is the ONLY CASE that the Prosecutor has to deal with for that particular trial calendar.

"Your Honor! I called the Prosecutor and he never responded to my call or my e-mail regarding this case!"

PD's only deal with Prosecutors, so they never have to worry about multiple private lawyers calling/e-mailing them about other cases. If a PD has 50 cases on a calendar, then that Prosecutor has the same 50 ON TOP OF every other Private Defense Attorney who has a case.

"But I have to deal with multiple prosecutors"

Dealing with multiple prosecutors in the same office/same boss is a far cry from having to deal with multiple lawyers who each are their own island unto themselves.

If I have a 4 defendant armed robbery, the PD is conflicted out of representing the other 3 defendants. S/He only has to focus on their client and their defense. The Prosecutor, on the other hand, still has to worry about the other 3 knuckleheads. If there is a Bruton issue, then that same Prosecutor is going to have to try the same case 4 separate times. Or at the very least negotiate with 4 separate defense attorneys on 4 separate plea deals.


So when I say, "SPENDING HOURS" I mean exactly that.

I do have a question for Kivan. What is discovery like in your jurisdiction, and how would discovery work in your ideal world?


???

- Police gives me evidence
- I give you evidence
- I don't get your question.

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Tanicius
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Re: Real Life Prosecutor - Taking Q's

Postby Tanicius » Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:46 am

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.




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