Friday, July 09, 2010

Justice in the Dark

Here's your legal hypothetical for the day.  

You were a defendant in a criminal case and were convicted.  Some time later it is learned by the powers that be that your defense lawyer was sleeping with the judge.

A meeting is convened among two other judges in the jurisdiction, the district attorney, the chief public defender and an attorney on his staff.

In discussing whether the defendants should be informed of the sleeping arrangements of their lawyer, the two judges opined that they should, telling the chief defender to advise his board of the issue (which wasn't done).  The District Attorney disagreed, as did the two defenders.  They said they looked into the cases of defendants convicted after discovery of the affair (but not those before the discovery) and concluded there was no harm done.  The PD's said telling the defendants about the situation would create a "monster" with every individual case needing to be looked into, leading to a flood of appeals (unsaid, and a bunch more work for the defender's office).

It's three months later, the philandering judge resigned, the compromising defender is on leave, with pay, and the defendants still haven't been informed about what happened.

Public defenders aren't paid a lot.  It seems that is reflected in their work ethic.


Anonymous said...

Are the names of the judge and defender in the public record? Surely word will seep out...

Dave said...

The story made the local legal rag yesterday which is where I saw it. I'm sure it will be picked up by general media outlets. So yes, word will get out, despite the efforts of the slackers to keep it quiet.