We assigned counsel to get a crappy rap. We are assigned by the MIDC and are independent of the court. So I got an assignment in my inbox today 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐭 𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐓𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐨𝐨𝐧. My immediate task after downloading the assignment sheet (we need certain case ID numbers to properly do further inquiry) is to fire off an email to the prosecutor discovery division to get the police report(s) and demand the recordings. I actually have a saved form for this purpose.
On the positive, the prosecutor’s office is pretty good at getting us the police reports. Now with the assignment sheet and the report, I am now ready to speak to the client. Note the MIDC requires us to interview our clients within a reasonable time if on bond and within 3 business days if incarcerated. I work every Sat doing client-on-bond interviews. I go to jail within a day of assignment because I fought hard to help create the MIDC and feel that someone sitting in jail must know they have a lawyer.
So today, at the end of the interview, the client says what about ********? I am like who and the client says *****, the full name. Me: Oh you hired so and so. Client: Yeah and I am feeling a little confused. I probe a little further and his confusion is why this state-assigned lawyer is contacting him and he hasn’t heard boo from the dude he paid. The process of getting your discovery from the prosecutor’s office in the entire metro area is very simple.
This paid lawyer has the firm overview criteria for assessing what a good criminal defense attorney should be. One is a personal relationship between the judge and the prosecutor. I see my friend Neil Rockind cringing. Yes, I have had cases with judges who were once prosecutors. Some of us had our kids in activities together, etc. But that does not mean we are pals. Same with prosecutors. We work together and occasionally see each other in social settings. But in the courtroom we are adversaries. My dad of blessed memory taught me to “kill people with kindness” Another criterion, is being a former prosecutor. While several of my colleagues are former prosecutors, there is quadruple the amount of us who never did a day in the office. We continuously train and hone our skills and we fight There were many other criteria the lawyer posted.
My thoughts are if you take on the case, you damn better be ready. I have turned down plenty because of the calendar. And if you take a case on, you damn better be ready to discuss the matter cogently shortly after retention. If you are so connected as this lawyer claimed to be, you better be making those calls. Many of us have access to the warrants division or to a special unit prosecutor
I have no issue with lawyers retaining me. Hell, I have done it multiple times myself. Be ready Don’t make yourself look like a fool. A know because of the MIDC, a lawyer is going to be assigned because we have to be ready to go (discovery acquisition and client interview) in a very short period of time.
So when hiring a criminal defense attorney, maybe the real question is whether he or she is familiar with the particular process to get the necessary information and when can we expect it. I, on a client who is paying me, am firing off that email, for the above material, as they are finalizing the Engagement Fee “paperwork” Mine are now all electronic, but I digress.
Side note As a defense lawyer, I look forward, in light of Donald Trump’s indictment, to seeing our glorious criminal justice system on full display…