"Court Case Friday" "He who represents himself has a fool for a client." As a D.A. in the 1980s, I handled the pretrial motions on a unique death penalty case. Defendant Willie W. was accused of murdering his father-in-law in order to inherit life insurance. Willie allegedly rigged a tractor-trailer, so the cab would crush … Continue reading Murderer Represents Himself in a Death Penalty Case
"Court Case Friday" One afternoon I had a large group of prisoners in the “cage” in my courtroom. I started advising them of their constitutional rights. One of the women suddenly interrupted me and screamed, “I don’t recognize you.” I thought to myself, “I don’t’ recognize you either.” She continued: Defendant: “I am a God! I don’t … Continue reading Defendant: “I am a God! You are a mere mortal!”
"Court Case Friday" One afternoon, I was discussing a felony case with the district attorney and the public defender at my bench. The woman defendant was in custody in the “cage.” Public Execution All of a sudden, the she screamed at me: Defendant: “What are you doing?” Judge: “I am discussing your case with the … Continue reading “My” Prisoner had been “Executed” and then “Resurrected”
"Court Case Friday" I was presiding over the high volume arraignment calendar in my OC courtroom, when I called the case of a criminal trespasser. As I thumbed through the police report, I noticed that the defendant was arrested for disrupting an LDS stake conference. I also learned that the LDS Church had obtained a … Continue reading The Paranoid Defendant – “Constantly Surrounded by Mormons”
"Court Case Friday" I was presiding over a misdemeanor DUI jury trial. On the first day of trial, the female defendant showed up late after lunch and after each recess, inconveniencing the jurors. When I adjourned for the evening, I warned her that if she showed up late the following morning, I was going to revoke her … Continue reading Defendant Puts Nude Selfies, Sex Toys, and Cocaine in Her Purse Before Reporting for Jail
"Court Case Friday" I presided over a misdemeanor case where the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the charges if the defendant completed 10 AA meetings. The defendant submitted documentary proof, and the D.A. dismissed the case. Afterward, I looked at the document, and I believe it is a fake. The defendant worked very hard at making … Continue reading Can YOU Spot the Forgery Clues?
"Court Case Friday" I had a prisoner in my courtroom charged with felony transportation and sale of a drug. It was a new designer drug I hadn’t seen before. It had a very long technical name. I started to advise him of the charges: “You are charged with felony transportation and sale of drugs: to … Continue reading Prisoner Tells the Judge How to Pronounce the Name of the Illegal Drug
One of the most stressful things for trial attorneys is the unpredictability of judges. One of the most stressful things for judges is the unpredictable trial attorneys and their clients. Although almost all of my courtroom articles are from my personal experience there is one New York judge, whose unpredictable sentencing hearing, is one of … Continue reading Judge Physically Attacks the Defendant in Court
(Caution: Mild Adult Content) I had a very entertaining jury trial that completely caught me and the jurors off guard. The defendant was charged with being under the influence of methamphetamine. We had impaneled the jury and the district attorney (DA) called as his first witness, an emergency room nurse. The following dialogue took place: … Continue reading "My Balls Have Exploded"
When criminal defendants appear in my court by themselves, I ask, “Do you have an attorney?” Most defendants request a continuance, so they can hire a lawyer, or they ask me to appoint the public defender to represent them. Occasionally, I get a defendant who stands erect and proudly proclaims, “God is my lawyer!” or … Continue reading “Jesus is My Lawyer”