David S. Markus said...
The Monday meeting in Au Bon Pan is off.
Thank you to the many lawyers who responded to Joel and I, stepped up and contributed. We were too little, too late.
We all should have gotten involved months ago. Now, the battle will be trying to undo this system. It can be undone. We need to have concrete ideas on how to reduce the costs of conflict representation.
Perhaps now would be a good time to seriously address the need to depose every "A" police officer in every case, particularly where a detailed report is provided........... Or how about if the SAO were to review death penalty cases at the front end to determine if the case is really a death case. Most of my "death cases" begin with the ASA saying that they will probably waive death, but can't right now. A second chair is appointed and tens of thousands of dollars in atty fees, expert fees and investigative fees (for penalty phase investigation)are generated in cases where the facts and the defendant's age and lack of significant priors drive the decision to waive the death penalty-facts that are known in the beginning of the case. The SAO has to deal with the next of kin and often it is easier to get their assent to a waiver after the case is delayed a couple of years- but that should not be the reason to unnecessarily spend so much money preparing a penalty phase case that everyone knows will never be presented to a jury. I truly believe that the role of second chair counsel only matters in about 25% of the cases. Those are the cases where the fruits of our mitigation evidence search really matter.
I invite all to think about these ideas, and others that will save money yet not deprive our clients of a meaningful defense. The legislature cares only about how much money the system will cost. We can undo what they have done this year only if we present alternatives to the old way of doing things. We need to do more than simply tell them to "Stay The Course"- It's not working for Bush in Iraq and it won't work here.
Time to think outside the box.
Anyway, these are my random musings on a Sunday night.
David S. Markus
Rumpole says: Haven't we been saying "think outside the box" ever since we started this blog? Nobody listens to us (except juries).
Anyway, to paraphrase another of our favourite movies: "My advice to you is to start drinking heavily."