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Old 03-17-2009, 04:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Breach of Trust Court Troubles

NOTE: This thread is a continuation of a thread which was closed. The beginning of the thread can be found here:

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Old 03-17-2009, 04:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, tomorrow morning I have my meeting with my lawyer, along with my character witnesses. My roll call is tomorrow afternoon. I am getting a litte nervous, mostly because I have really been left in the dark as to this process by my lawyer (who definitey has bigger fish to fry - he took my case as a favor to a friend of a friend and gave me a "discount rate"...). At any rate, I have written down a few key facts of the case, and taken into consideration the good advice I've got from this post, and will bring this to my meeting.

I know very soon the moment will arise where we discuss his extra $1,500 fee for this case going to trial.

FACT: I cannot afford to pay this fee.

QUESTION: If I lose my lawyer and have to roll the dice with a public defender, how would this process work? Is there an office somewhere where I go and say, "Hi, I need a public defender for a trial next week," or what? Will it stall the process yet again? Do I have to ask the judge?

Thanks.
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I replied on your thread "Why was my thread closed".

Hope it helps.
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Old 03-17-2009, 07:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Red face

GentleGrace...just to answer your questions about the lawyer...

When I originally sat down with him, it was agreed that I would pay him $1,500 for taking on the case. IF the case went all the way to trial, then it would be an additional $1,500 (jury or bench trial).

I'm just worried about the "moment of truth" when I tell him I'm unable to cough up the additional $1,500 right now. I had plenty socked away last fall, but with my job difficulties since this happened, it is no longer possible to fork this sum over.

I should have a better feel for things after my meeting tomorrow, but threre is a high probability that I will be lawyerless a week before my trial.
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Old 03-17-2009, 07:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by StickmanTen View Post
GentleGrace...just to answer your questions about the lawyer...

When I originally sat down with him, it was agreed that I would pay him $1,500 for taking on the case. IF the case went all the way to trial, then it would be an additional $1,500 (jury or bench trial).

I'm just worried about the "moment of truth" when I tell him I'm unable to cough up the additional $1,500 right now. I had plenty socked away last fall, but with my job difficulties since this happened, it is no longer possible to fork this sum over.

I should have a better feel for things after my meeting tomorrow, but threre is a high probability that I will be lawyerless a week before my trial.
If the case doesn't go to trial, that means the case is dismissed. He is going to charge you that much to get it DISMISSED??And an additional 1500 to have the trial?? One word.........WHEW.

Did you check with any OTHER attorneys? That seems like a lot of money ---and I, too, am in South Carolina. In the upstate I personally know attorneys who will handle this hands down for one grand.

You probably already know this but if your lawyer doesn't work out go immediately to the public defender and explain to him why you think the case should be dismissed. AND explain to him YOUR intention to having the charge removed from your record ( expunged, as though it never happened). HE may go to the prosecutor and say, "Look, less than twenty bucks---drop the charges, he is going to have the charge removed anyway. Lets just drop this".

You may be surprised to find it happen.

I was privy to a case where a guy wrote his landlord a check for rent. Few weeks go by, the guy closes down his account, goes to another bank. He didn't check to make sure the rent check cleared. Landlord was out of the country for an extended period of time. He comes back, the account was closed. He calls tenant, tenant said, SORRY---will bring you cash TODAY plus bank fees and late fees. Man drives to landlords house, landlords wife is there, takes the money, and GIVES him a receipt PAID IN FULL and SIGNS her name to it. Man thinks its over. Goes home. WIFE doesn't TELL HUSBAND she got the money. Man takes "bad" check to police, signs warrant. Man goes to judge after being arrested for bad checks, says, I HAVE A RECEIPT. Judge said, "Did you get the check back when you paid for it?" Man said, No, landlord wasn't home, his WIFE gave me a signed receipt. Judge says, I have no way of knowing if this receipt is real or not, remands the case for trial. Man hires attorney---on day of court, he figures Landlord wanted to say his wife DIDNT give the receipt--it was a fake. Easy way to solve this--attorney says to prosecutor,-ask the landlords WIFE (whom tenant had NEVER met before) to produce her drivers license. SIGNATURES MATCH. CASE DISMISSED. Attorney and client walk out of court without the case being heard --and this was ON the day of the trial.

What I am saying is, GO to the public defender. Say it was an oversight, the tape will show such and such, I have a good work record, I wouldnt jeopardize my job for less than twenty bucks, etc......and then say 'IF I am convicted, since this is my ONLY conviction, I intend to have it expunged anyway", can we get them to drop the charge since my record will be as THOUGH the charge is dropped anyway, and save us a lot of time?"

The PD doesn't want to waste HIS time either. See what he says. You may be surprised. The prosecutor, too, doesn't want to waste time bringing cases to trial that they cannot win. The DA's job is VERY political. Time is money and money means convictions. Yours is NOT a clean sweep so to speak--a lot of reasonable doubt.

Let me know what happens.
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Old 03-18-2009, 03:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, some interesting developments today after my meeting and roster call.

My lawyer attempted, at the roster call, to have the case dismissed. No luck. What was interesting, though, is that the district attorney was not there. Instead, my lawyer had to make this offer of dismissal to a representative of the sherriff's department. Of course they said no.

My court date is set for next Friday. The DA will not be there for the trial, either. In his place running the prosecution will be the police officer who arrested me.

There will be a jury comprised of six people. My lawyer was right, I did not want to do this in front of THIS judge. She definietly leans toward the police, and was just recently elected having no experience whatsoever (there is a strong "old boys network" here in this small, affluent island community). She came in with sunglasses on her head, and looked like she just got off the beach.

Anyway, now I'm really nervous. I have a jury selection on Monday, and then the trial on Friday. My lawyer seems to think that my former co-workers, who he met with this morning, had some great things to say and should be able to help my case. He was also able to dig up some interesting dirt on the lady I mentioned who "mystery shopped" me and signed a statement. Apparently she has a STRONG history of alcoholism and prescription pill problems within the past year, and was both divorced because of it, as well as fired from a previous job. She was also sent to rehab.

(No mention from my lawyer about the extra $1,500 yet...).
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Old 03-18-2009, 04:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Of course, the police aren't going to agree to a dismissal--they aren't elected officials who NEED to win. They get paid and would rather BE in COURT than out on a beat.

I find it interesting that the DA isn't even interested enough in pursuing this case that they would SHOW UP. When the police officers "prosecute" it is little more than traffic court in terms of seriousness.

Did your lawyer say anything about expungement?
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Of course, the police aren't going to agree to a dismissal--they aren't elected officials who NEED to win. They get paid and would rather BE in COURT than out on a beat.

I find it interesting that the DA isn't even interested enough in pursuing this case that they would SHOW UP. When the police officers "prosecute" it is little more than traffic court in terms of seriousness.

Did your lawyer say anything about expungement?
No, but he did mention that I could apply for something called PTI. It would be a few hundred bucks to apply for the program, I plead guilty, perform community service for a few months, and then the record is expunged. Nothing was mentioned about expungement if I was found guilty by jury. I will ask him on Monday, during my jury selection process.
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Seems that your lawyer is delaying the question of expungement.

But the question is whether you mentioned the expungement angle to your lawyer. If you did not, then your lawyer needs to put together the appropriate legal passages for the judge and then write a motion to quash because of the expungement probability. Now, the judge may just want to get a little experience and use this case to do so, so be prepared for having to do this in multiple steps.

Generally, there is NOT a directed verdict to quash an indictment because it is only a misdemeanor... so don't get your hopes up.

I suspect your lawyer will want to make the police feel like they are on the OUTSIDE of this case. You don't get to bring in the evidence attacking this witness until she gets on the stand, so just make sure that it is not done by affidavit... must be able to question those who testify against you (confront your accusers). It should be his tact to make the bar owner and this witness into questionable witnesses. Must be SOMEONE doing it... you're it. The fact that it happened does not make it anything more than ONE $16 transaction that didn't get into the register. Did they find a discrepancy with the register tapes that evening? If not, where did the money go? Can you think up anything that would make this go away? Somehow I think it will be harder to find a way that a $20 bill could get into your tip jar without first paying for the drinks, than it would be to talk about how it was an accident but that you can have it expunged if she convicts you. Your six man jury might find your story more palatable if you could come up with some statistics to show how many people you served that evening ... how many per x minutes. Did the ticket make it to the closed tickets? Did the cash drawer YOU controlled balance? What is the normal procedure for closing that drawer? How often is it out of balance? Was this a fast night or not?

You need to think about how to quantify these descriptions in a way that will impress your jury... and in order to do this, YOU will have to testify. That will probably impress them more as long as you are straight arrow with the prosecutor... er, policeman... who does the questioning. This is NOT an open and shut case, but the jury will be incensed against a bar owner who runs a fast bar and sues his employees for a single transaction for $16.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Seems that your lawyer is delaying the question of expungement.

But the question is whether you mentioned the expungement angle to your lawyer. If you did not, then your lawyer needs to put together the appropriate legal passages for the judge and then write a motion to quash because of the expungement probability. Now, the judge may just want to get a little experience and use this case to do so, so be prepared for having to do this in multiple steps.

Generally, there is NOT a directed verdict to quash an indictment because it is only a misdemeanor... so don't get your hopes up.

.
First of all, why are we assuming the lawyer is "avoiding" the issue of expungement? COURT is a very busy atmostphere and the laws regarding expungement are detailed. To assume he is avoiding it for some nefarious means isn't fair. Perhaps he just hasn't had time to discuss it yet.

And, actually the fact it is "only a MISDEMEANOR" charge is helpful because misdemeanor charges are most often dismissed and/or pled down. People are actually successful in getting FELONY charges DISMISSED before trial? Ohhh, I think not.

And I don't really think it is necessary to tell him WHEN to tell his attorney to "allow" questions about the witnesses credibility. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess the lawyer KNOWS when is the appropriate time to cast aspersions on the legitimacy of the witnesses testimony.

What in the love of God is a "directed verdict" to QUASH an indictment because it is a misdemeanor" mean?? You do not QUASH these charges. You QUASH a subpoena. He is not being subpoenaed. AND furthermore--did you actually READ his posting? THE JUDGE denied his request to DISMISS ( not quash ) the charges against him and they were denied. Anddddddddd, a "directed verdict" comes AFTER the plantiff or prosecutor PRESENTS their case. That hasn't happened yet.

Are you making this stuff up?
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