Tuesday, October 05, 2004

What's Up With Mister DA

MIA No More

Geez, it's been awhile since I posted, hasn't it? To the one or two faithful fans, my apologies. I know how irritating it is to keep hitting a site and find it hasn't been updated FOREVER!

I've been doing head down writing the last two weeks, and the last thing I've wanted to do when I got home was strap on another monitor and keyboard and strain the eyes a bit more. If you know what I mean. Today, I finished 99% of a big deal application for leave to appeal to our state supreme court (all that's left is formatting stuff and getting the proofs of service right), so I took a little break and started to inventory the library. Ah, restful. At any rate, I feel up to a few lines here, so no one thinks I've died. Or gone over to the dark side, or something.

Ken Lammers sent me an invitation to guest blog on his CrimLaw blog while he was away, but something in my privacy software grunged it, so, I guess I missed my chance at fame and fortune. Thanks, anyway, Ken.

Let me tell you about last Friday. You might remember my comment about some days you eat the bear. . .? Well, Friday last was clearly one of those days the bear looks forward to.

Recall the two day adventure I described at the Wonderful World of Oz we like to call our intermediate appellate court? Well, the opinions showed up in the morning e-mail last Friday. This is all of what, three weeks since oral argument? If that's what you can call it. Actually, this is about a week longer than usual. More proof that the panels write the opinions well before the argument. but let me back up a step.

Friday was the day set for my augment in one of our felony parts, regarding an appeal of a arraignment court decision on a probable cause hearing. In brief, our defendant either clotheslines or grabbed and threw on the ground a genial drunk who was wheeling by on his bicycle. The drunk hits the ground, head first, and doesn't move. Defendant runs off and bystanders call 911. The victim is messed up -- a lot. He's currently a resident of an extended care facility and will probably be there for a long, long time. The magistrate declined to hold our defendant for trial on the felony assault charge, opining that he didn't believe there was any intent to injure the victim. Sigh.

In our state, intent is almost always a jury question. As long as there is some evidence that there was a felonious intent, the magistrate is supposed to send the matter to the felony court. Or, in this case it could have been held as an aggravated battery, a one year misdemeanor. That is, the maximum sentence of confinement could not exceed one year in the County jail. Our least favorite judge did neither, dismissing the whole matter out of hand. At that point, we have an appeal of right to the general trial court. Friday was our day to argue.

Opposing counsel is a mellow general practice lawyer who is one of my contemporaries from undergraduate days and who actually married one of my high school classmates after we graduated from college. We lost touch, except for one or two high school reunions when he would accompany his wife back to the glory days of our misspent youth. Then, here he is, practicing law, right where I wind up, practicing law, 27 years after college.

Like I said. He's pretty mellow about it, as is the judge, another more or less contemporary of mine, by age if nothing else. We're the only thing on his docket this morning so, after we run down the court reporter, we get on with it.

A lovely, civilized 'argument' with the dispute clearly stated and a pretty good possibility I'm going to win. What a lovely start to a slow day. Ha!

I'm back in the office about 20 seconds before my secretary and the juvenile secretary (she's the secretary for the juvenile division, if you were wondering) corner me and want to know if I've seen the opinions. Now, I went from the parking lot to my office, picked up my case file, and went directly to the judge's chambers and from there to the courtroom and now I am standing in the door between the victims' rights office and the main corridor of the suite. When, exactly, I am to have seen anything is a mystery. At least to me.

Anyway, no surprise on the parental right termination case - reversed, remanded, etc., etc. On the evasive drunk, kind of disappointing - drunk driving convictions reversed, resisting arrest reversed, failure to report a serious accident, affirmed. Sigh. I wish they would have asked questions. Apparently, the panel felt if the officers had time to get a blood draw search warrant after they winkled the defendant from his den, they had time to get a search warrant for him before prying him out of his hole. Not a lot of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth on this one - the judge lo-balled the sentence and, as far as I know, defendant was discharged from probation a couple of months ago.

Today, the bear seems to be tucking in his bib and settling in for a good meal. Ah, well.

No comments: