I have an idea what it is like to handle a large, fast moving felony case load. The quote that surprised me was “This isn’t like a transactional practice where you throw down everything in writing. You can’t do that in criminal law. The caseload is too huge. You have to make snap judgments, and you do things as you go along.”
That is, in my experience and opinion, precisely incorrect and deeply troubling. Every felony file has, or certainly should have, a section for the prosecutor handling the file to make contemporaneous or same day notes on what happened, why, and what the plan is for the next court date, so if another lawyer has to handle it, that lawyer can be up to speed. It's basic. Even misdemeanor files have note sections. Writing such notes is a basic responsibility, and becomes fairly easy with practice.
As for snap decisions, since Marsy's law amended the California Constitution, victims have the right to be informed and to be heard on proposed deals. Was the victim present when the court accepted the deal? Or does "snap decision" mean the victim was not informed and did not have a chance to be heard regarding the Cruz waiver for a felon in possession/assault case- was the victim present for the deal? Informed of the deal? Consent to the deal?Consulted on the release issue? Or informed of the release? The file should always have notes showing that the victim was informed of, and whether the victim wished to exercise any of, the "Marsy's law" rights.
There are rational arguments on all sides of the question, and I decline to rehash them (sorry). After 30 years in court, mostly law enforcement, during which I have both prosecuted and defended the use of marijuana, it is my opinion (and it is my personal opinion as a citizen, not as a representative of any agency) that the costs of making marijuana illegal for adults far outweigh the benefits. Treat it like alcohol.
In Print This Week:
Dec 12, 2013
vol XXIV issue 50
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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