CriminalCriminal

dealing with prosecutors and negotiating pleas

We’re addressing for other women to think; Wow that looks good! And I think sometimes there’s some of that, that they, they expect judgment from us differently than they do from a male lawyer and I think, I agree, we’d have to be very sensitive to that and I think a lot of questions is the key and I’ll tell you with a lot of female clients, I lot of female clients what i do is, I get mental health help.
I have a friend who’s a psychologist and I utilize her services a lot! Because so often I do think there is a mental heath issue and also she’s better at getting sometimes to the bottom of what the issue is and I know lot of times finances, you just can’t do that! But i think it’s important to talk to mental health people, and find out how they glean that information because you’re right!

There’s always something else there that, and God, yeah they lie like hell! Yes, they tell you some wild ass story, I had one gal she was telling me that everything in the car belonged to the other girl in the car and showed me this horrible story about the other girl in the car and how cope able she was and they found some of the drugs inside a cigarette pack! And she said that they weren’t her cigarettes.
Well, then when they, when I get the offense report and reviewed the offense report, the other girl did have cigarettes in her purse but it was a different brand and the brand in which the drugs were found was the brand that was found in my stupid ass client’s purse.

So I suspect that some of what she was telling me isn’t true and is making it a lot harder for me to defend her but, and I think you have to be careful and another example , I am the city attorney in Corsicana which involves, also involves prosecution in municipal court. And I had a, well I had a couple of interesting ones. One little girl, a little shoplifter who is 11 years old and steals, I mean I’ve never seen anything like it! She gets in home from the elementary school field trips because she’s stealing shit from, whether they’re going on the field trips. I mean it’s, it’s insane, and she’s got about 13 pending cases right now.

So I sent her straight out of the municipal court, straight over to my psychologist’s office, who is able to learn that this little girl is being locked in her room at night while dad goes to work, and literally locked in her bedroom where she doesn’t have access to a bathroom, she doesn’t have access to food, she has access to nothing! And I mean I think this little girl’s basically begging somebody to remove her from, from that environment!

So you’re right! I mean I think so many times we see, and the other thing I was going to add which kind of goes along with which you were talking about was the gentlemen that was the city prosecutor before me, would apparently if it was a shoplifting case in front of the whole the court room when they’re there for the docket, he would read aloud the shoplifting offense report which is horribly offensive to me. And did it for the purpose of attempting to humiliate this person! And, and maybe because we don’t understand shoplifting, you know we find it so we don’t understand it and so we find it more offensive you know most of us can understands somebody who, you know maybe gets involved in drugs or maybe a DWI or something like that whereas we really can’t understand that! But I think, I think we have to recognize the mental health aspect if it out there and do whatever we can do to reach those people from a mental health perspective.

And like I said I was talking to a guy who, you know he said; you know I don’t know that I ever noticed that being a problem, and I said ok, how many female clients do you have searched and he starts going as well; yeah and he said I have 1, 2, 2, 3 and 4 then he starts thinking about them and 3 of the 4 he acknowledged definitely have mental health issues! So I just think that something with female clients, we really, really have to address in whatever way we can and I even have a psychologist that’ll go to the jail and see the people that are in the, my clients that are in the jail. I mean talk to them and, and evaluate them and figure out what we can do and then information that we can use I think with the persecutors to help with our cases that we can show you know whatever the issue is that they’re having that may be it will help when we’re negotiating with the prosecution about those cases.

do you find a difference in dealing with male persecutors and the female persecutors or female client?

Wow! That’s a very interesting question! You know I do find a difference in dealing with female and male prosecutors, with reference to female clients. Wow!

I think it depends on if they’re married or not! Sometime it does! Because the way you talk about the relationship you’re having with the client and this is why you need to go this way they can probably relate to that if they have that issue at home, even tendencies for that issue at home. I think the single ones are just kind of go getters like look, you know, checking out the list, that’s my stat, you know it’s part of my stats whereas the, I guess the more seasoned attorneys who are married or in partnerships, I think they are able to communicate better with the you with regard to that, because they can put them in your shoes.

So does that also go to, I don’t care you do some civil work too like me, so we have civil female clients that are completely different breed of female clients?

Well a lot of my civil practice is Family law and you talk about bad shit crazy hit, I’ll take a, I’ll take a criminal defendant female any day over my family law clients and you talk about mental health help, there’s where you really need to, you’ve really got to utilize Sara, you know and Kelly does of this that, can confirm you know, that those are really, you need help to, you know we maybe attorney and counselors at law but hell I ain’t no counselor! I don’t know how to provide what they need a lot of times. I mean the counseling realm and I need somebody who’s an expert who can do it. Yes Sir?

I see how, I see how in your official capacity, you found the visits with the psychologist and any suggestions on how we could [inaudible] reported cases?

You know I think there’s a couple of ways to handle that. I think that is a really good question because I think what you have to do first of all is you have to get the courts sensitive to that issue and, and we have , the courts where our practice is pretty sensitive to that issue to allowing us to have some mental health assistance on our cases and to actually pay for that services, you know one thing that I’ve noticed and I don’t if you all have noticed this in cases where you have people that are non-lawyers you know we’re court appointed they pay us some kind of minimal fee that’s totally unrelated to what we would charge a paying client but with our experts they seem, a lot less inclined to pay them a reduced rate, you know when they come in and they’re expert whether it’s a psychologist or an investigator whatever you know they’re getting to charge a regular fee and we’re getting our just cut but I guess that’s just subject for another day. But I do think that if you, first of all I think you have to develop a relationship with somebody that’s in the metal heath professional and they’re several of em’ that I utilize and then you have to sell that to either your prosecutors or to more particularly your judges to get them to help you to pay for that.

Or you can do ex parte under seal because it’s probably how I would do just because it’s going to be a public record if you’re going to want them to pay for your client to get psyched and I would definitely do it under seal and it can be done under ex parte because it’s in expert potentially down the road. So that the other side doesn’t have to know yet but I would definitely do it under seal to protect them though!

Well also have Interim County, we have a MHMR’s liaison on who is officing in the adjustor center that would go across the street and evaluate your client if your client is in custody. So, don’t know if your client sat on bond! MHMR’s always a possibility for an evaluation. I don’t know how long it takes because it’s going to vary by location to get them evaluated. Sometimes they don’t have insurance but the public hospital or you know the county hospital will have the, system in place to get them evaluated for you, also!

Good morning Anna, You had mentioned earlier that there is some resistance from certain attorneys that think some of these diversion programs are not ethically doing the best thing for your client because post-conviction Blah Blah Blah…

I think most of us would agree that we do have an obligation to, try to get to the root of some of these issues, I think most of us would agree that sometimes there is a tension between our duties. If a prosecutor says; Hey you do that diversion mumble jumble and you can do 30 days and get out! Just, I’m sure there are zillion different perspectives but just from the three of your perspectives is there a dilemma there? And what kind of cache or priority do you put to each?

I was actually quoting department of justice research! [Laughs] I don’t know why that conflict exists, why the defense bar will want to fight these diversion programs. My position is; it’s always up to the client, whether or not they’re going to plead guilty! I’m not witness, I don’t know if they were guilty and I don’t know if they are not guilty. So it’s their choice! However I can only put it in front of em’. And if they choose to do 30 days and get out, fine because frankly, some of these diversion programs, you go into the fake perk and you screw it up, bad, you’re going away. And I can understand that fear. The mental health program not so much because they do have progressive sanction and that’s why I was talking about evidence driven probation, because some of these programs have built in safety belts because they understand that these people are sick and they’re going to have issues maybe even in direct court there’s a safety belt for relapsing.

You know as long as they’re working their program and it’s a combination of several things, and NA and one on one counseling. They will go under progressive sanction but it’s never up to me to decide which way my client’s going to go, it’s ultimately their choice. I did work for one firm and that would make them sign a waiver and say; I know this program exist and it’s my choice, solely my choice to win or plead guilty and accept the state’s offer. So that’s one way to handle it I think.

oh and yeah! And just one minor thing we’re running out of time here. One thing you might need to know with regard to dealing with your female clients, don’t have sex with them!

no, that’s obviously given. But I one, I had a client recently that was a narcissist ok? And she kept barking at me continuously, I would literally feel like I was about to have a stroke or something every time she was on the phone with me. Because she was abrasive; what did you do for me! Did you not do this, this should be you top priority Blah blah blah!
Of course because you’re a narcissist, of course but what I started doing and ended it, bought down my stress level so much. I started giving her lists of things to do.

Okay? Yeah yeah yeah I’m sure a lot of you do this, I probably got that by you or somebody else, so I started piling on the lists, and then she keeps her busy, oh my Gosh! She comes back with the entire list and she goes like; I didn’t do these last 2 so I dropped the ball on this, Oh my Gosh! So nice to hear that you dropped the ball, not me!

But, so anyway, one of the things about dealing with people that are just barking and, because a lot of women clients, not all of them, have that the sky is falling mentality. I get that way to, I get panicked at work; what am I going to do! What am I going to do! And then you got to calm them down and then give them a task to do. And so, if you give them 10 tasks to do, it’ll keep them busy and then, feel like they’re working with you in a partnership.

yeah that’s, does anyone have any other questions, like I said we wanted to do this, I want to just to be where we kind of talked with y’all about the issues that you had. Yes Ma’am?

Yeah, there are 2 thing s some people had asked, how do you get a female client to start talking to you and I have 2 different strategies and it depends you really have to fill it out. But one of them I explained to an attorney client privilege and I say its lie this; if you could say Rain yesterday I shot and killed that rat bastard, I say great let’s talk. If you’d say Rain tomorrow I’m going to kill the rat bastard, I’d says; God damn it don’t tell me!

That’s the first one and the second one that I tell them is, I say; now I want to just make this clear to you. Marge Simpson just say is the most popular mother in the world on more surveys than anywhere! Now, Donna Reed, psychopath, she comes into my office I’m her kicking her out because she is too perfect I hate her guts. Marge Simpson’s like me, we’re all flawed human beings and so if you don’t look a little bit like Marge Simpson you can get out of my office because I don’t like people who aren’t real and if you’re not a little flawed I don’t believe you because I’m a little flawed myself! And so those two things will get them talking faster than anything else that I’ve tried.

Francisco Hernandez

Author Francisco Hernandez

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