Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Day Without A Plea?

There have been some fliers circulating around the courthouse the past two days that are indicative of more of the fallout from the Rosenthal e-mail scandal. I saw one of them, but don't have one with me to quote verbatim.

The article basically calls upon all defense attorneys to boycott pleading out any cases on Thursday, January 31st to protest the sexist and racist administration of Chuck Rosenthal. It purports to be sponsored by the same coalition of groups that are scheduled to protest at the CJC that same day. It also, of course, calls for the removal of Chuck Rosenthal and his staff.

Now, that's all well and good, but I can't help but wonder who this boycott would potentially hurt the most. Maybe felony cases wouldn't be that big of a deal because they are typically plea offers for significant amounts of time (a day or a week or two reset wouldn't matter so much, since there can be credit applied for a Defendant's time in custody), but what about misdemeanor cases?

Isn't there an ethical duty to convey any and all offers made by the State? What if the offer is for "time served"? Does the client get to spend an extra night in jail because his or her attorney is trying to make a point? What if the court resets the date for four weeks? What if the prosecutor won't hold an offer open past that day? It seems to me that there could be numerous problems that a boycott could cause to one's profession.

I'm all for making your voice heard and protesting all day long if you want, but it would seem that the client should be consulted about whether or not they want to participate in the protest as well, before they spend another night in the HCJ.


Michael said...

It's hard to believe that the fliers were circulated by attorneys.

Leviathan said...

They weren't circulated by attorneys. They were handed out by group members to people entering the CJC this morning. A coworker showed it to me and I just shrugged my shoulders. I'd like to think that defense attorneys are, as a rule, intellectually superior to the oxygen bandits who came up with this moronic idea.

Mark Bennett said...

Collective action will never work for criminal defense lawyers because we have to put our individual clients' interests above almost all else. That'll always be the chink in the collective armor.

This idea reminds me of the email that circulates now and again encouraging people not to buy gas on a particular day. Well, so what?

anonymous c said...

Oh, man! Like I said...politics. And I don't care what legal crap anybody cares to spout. It's all bs in this case and you know it. Just like during Rosenthal's weekly meetings...where he acts like nothing's happening and the ADAs sit there feeling sick, it's the BIG ol' neon elephant in the room. Rosenthal is an IDIOT and an egomaniac. Every day that he refuses to resign will be another day for the media to do their Jerry Springer-style, "witch is dead" jig and another day in which the ADAs will continue to be distracted from their important work for the public by these bullsh*t distractions from the salivating liberals.

Anonymous said...

It's just another attempt of liberal brow beating to look like they are "actionaries" when in essence they are " reactionaries".
There are several other issues to conside outside of the legalities of such an attempt...
Let me remove my brain for a moment while I venture to dare to contemplate the thought of a "shut down" protest on the courts for just one day.... Ok. No one mentioned the cost ( immediate and residual) that such an action would carry. Everyone associated with the courts are being paid that day. Right down to the parking lot attendants. Chuck gets paid, the ADAS's get paid. Who pays their salaries? Duh! LOL Anyone can answer,this is after all an open forum! LOL And not only for THAT grandstanding day but for the fall out days, weeks, months that would be needed to correct that one day. Ok.
I am back in full body mode with brain back in place. If a price tag were to be placed on that " action" ( it would be astronomical) and the tax payers of Harris County were asked to vote it in, would it be passed? What if only those that were responsible for the flier, would they billing to pick up the tab? I am so laughing at this one. I agree with Bennett's reply. Who cares? The only thing the persons achieved from passing out the fliers yesterday morning outside the CJC and court house is, well, they proved they are moronic enough to stand out in the rain passing out fliers! ~JAGJO

anon c said...


A Harris County Lawyer said...

Well put by all of you guys. When I saw the flier, it was by an attorney who was very amused by it, and certainly had no intent of heeding the call to participate in it. I agree with earlier writers that this is not something that was sponsored by credible attorneys.

That being said, I saw did see this group on the news regarding how they planned to protest, and I did see at least one criminal defense attorney standing with them. She must not have thought this out.