It's like the Steven King (writing as Richard Bachmann) classic short story: The Long Walk, as four ragged survivors struggle into the last two weeks of the season, pondering whether to pick The Browns, the Falcons, or the Vikings to try and stay alive. Yesterday we lost Alan Kaiser in overtime fittingly, as the Falcons stunned the Bills at home. Lurvey, Weisman, Lucy Lew and yours truly move on to next week.
RUMPOLE'S FIRST RULE OF JURY TRIALS:
We now enter that difficult time of year when there's still two good trial weeks left, but no one really wants to try a case. As your cases get continued, keep in mind Rumpole's number one rule of trials: DO NOT under any circumstances allow your case to be set for the first week of the new year.
There are a few problems with a trial date on the first court date of the new year. First, you spend your holidays preparing for trial, and that stinks. Second, the judge spends her/his holiday making resolutions to try more cases in the new year and issue stiffer sentences to scare others from trying more cases. They come back rested from six or eight weeks of avoiding trials, having read a few self help-time management books, and they've arrived at a startling idea: try a few cases in January, the word will get out, and they can coast the rest of the year. Don't let your client become that sacrificial lamb.
The prosecutor meanwhile, has spent the holiday season being pestered by his/her spouse as to why "so and so" got promoted and s/he didn't? By the time the first trial week of the new year arrives, they are so primed and angry that they are desperate to find some poor defendant to take out their frustrations on.
It's a stiff tide to swim against, and the prisons are littered with former clients serving lengthy sentences because their lawyer didn't follow Rumpole's First Rule of Trials: Do Not Try A Case In The First Week Of The New Year.
Rumpole's first corollary to the First Rule Of Trials is as follows: plea offers decrease proportionally from the new year, per week, until they reach the equilibrium of the prior year.
For example, if in November, you would be offered 364 for a sale of 6 grams of cocaine for a client with two drug possession priors, on January 1, the plea offer would be 8 years prison.
On January 8, the plea offer would be 5 years prison. By January 15, the plea offer is 2 1/2, and by the middle of February you're offer is back to 364.
We're giving you the playbook we developed over 25 years of practice. People pay valuable money to hear this crap at CLE seminars all over the country. But you, dear blog readers, get this wisdom for free. Ignore it at your client's peril.
See You In Court.
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