Boy those Federal Prosecutors. Can’t say enough about them.
Here is one of their newer tricks. They’ve been doing it for awhile, but they are really accelerating the number of cases they are filing in these matters, and as practitioners in the REGJB and State court we need to be aware of this pending problem.
The Feds are scanning the calendars and investigating cases where clients plead guilty to Carrying a Concealed Firearm, many times for Credit Time Served or a withhold and probation. The Feds are then, after the plea in state court, indicting the defendant for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, where the penalty is a 15 year (or as they say in Fed land- 180 month) minimum mandatory prison sentence.
It’s kind of hard to defend a client in federal court to a charge he has already pled guilty to in State Court.
What’s the lesson?
If you have a client that has any possibility of being indicted for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, think twice or even thrice before entering a plea in State Court. If possible, try and get a provision in the plea allowing your client to withdraw the plea if indicted. We are not giving legal advice here, just pondering some possible ways we can do our job better.
Lets face it- no one wants to have a jury trial when a client is offered CTS or a withhold and a small amount of probation, where an angry state court judge might sentence your client to five years prison if you lose. Before the emails start flooding in from our robed readers, lets just say in a hypothetical sense, there just might exist, in some far off land, a judge not nearly as wise and kind as you, who may just slam someone who turns down what appears to be a reasonable plea offer, and is found guilty at trial.
The Feds could, to use a colloquial yet sexist expression, “be a man about it” and indict the defendant before allowing him to be tricked into pleading guilty in state court. But then again, if we take a close look at just who we are talking about, “honesty” and “integrity”, which as we all agree starts at the top of any organization, are not qualities that immediately spring to mind.
Anyway, this has been a RUMPOLE ALERT.
See you in court, rejecting plea offers on CCF’s.