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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » For the attorneys (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Bob1Dog
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As someone with a keen interest in US law, (and other countries' as well), and some knowledge of it as a layman, I'm curious to hear from you who practice, or have practiced, both for the prosecution and the defense, of your single most interesting case, if that's possible. Please don't disappoint me.

I'm sincere in wanting to know your experience. I'm also interested in how you respond to each other on your cases. Who knows, as the thread progresses, some creative genius might find a book to be written or a movie to be made. So, let the telling begin.
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
LobowolfXXX
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My practice has been 99+% civil, not criminal.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
Bob1Dog
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OK, so you still might have an interesting case to discuss. I apologize for not mentioning civil attorneys in my OP.
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
LobowolfXXX
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My first job as an attorney was on the defense side of Workers' Compensation, on behalf of employers and insurance companies. Applicants with WC claims are treated (doctors, rehab, etc.) on a lien basis, i.e., they don't pay for the services, but when their claims are resolved, the providers are paid by the employer or insurance company. I did a lot of negotiating liens for services that were overpriced or overprovided. On one case, I found out that the applicant had died while his case was going on (unrelated to the claim that was the subject of his injury). I had a bill for physical therapy three times a week for about 4 months after he died. I negotiated the bill for quite a while before I let the cat out of the bag; I was having too much fun.
Lots and lots of fraud in WC.

Most of my work has been in eminent domain. Eminent domain is not a particularly exciting area of law, but I was involved in a few interesting cases. Most of the time, you're arguing over compensation, i.e. the state needs your property for a freeway expansion, they're going to get it; the eminent domain lawyers fight over the valuation using property or business appraisers as their expert witnesses. Here are two stories:

In one case, I was working for a school district that was acquiring residential and commercial property to build a new high school. The property was in a part of town that wasn't particularly well-off financially. One of the houses, though, was an absolute estate. I don't remember how many square feet, but I think the guy had a few adjacent lots, and the house looked like you'd see a South American drug lord's place in the movies. The aerial views were just amazing in the comparison of this one house compared to the surrounding neighborhood. Basically, this was a guy from the 'hood who became an extremely successful businessman, and rather than fleeing to a more affluent city, he wanted to stay where his roots were. This made the case really fascinating, because appraisals are largely based on "comps" - similar homes, and what they sold for. But in this case, there were absolutely NO comps; the guy's house was worth 2-3 times what the best other houses in the area were worth. He was the only person in town who could afford a house worth upwards of a million dollars, yet stayed in that neighborhood.

Perhaps the most interesting case was one in which a woman had died in the subject property (also residential), and her son, who was in his 40s or 50s and lived with her, didn't report it. He just continued to live in the house with the dead body, for several months. In the office, this became known as the "mummy house," and the appraisal reports from both sides were interesting, as they considered how to incorporate this into their appraisals. One wanted to deduct a percentage from what would otherwise be the figure he came up with; another wanted to just deduct a $25,000 "mummy penalty" off the top...it was interesting.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2013-04-28 16:58, LobowolfXXX wrote:
I had a bill for physical therapy three times a week for about 4 months after he died. I negotiated the bill for quite a while before I let the cat out of the bag; I was having too much fun.

I trust that you weren't billing your client for the negotiating time.

Out of curiosity, after the extra four months of therapy, did the client's condition improve at all?
Bob1Dog
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Quote:
On 2013-04-28 16:58, LobowolfXXX wrote:
Perhaps the most interesting case was one in which a woman had died in the subject property (also residential), and her son, who was in his 40s or 50s and lived with her, didn't report it. He just continued to live in the house with the dead body, for several months. In the office, this became known as the "mummy house," and the appraisal reports from both sides were interesting, as they considered how to incorporate this into their appraisals. One wanted to deduct a percentage from what would otherwise be the figure he came up with; another wanted to just deduct a $25,000 "mummy penalty" off the top...it was interesting.


Yup. I'd call that one pretty interesting too. Do you remember what finally happened to him and if a crime had been committed in what he did?
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
mastermindreader
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Okay- here's one:

The client was a low level "wiseguy" bookie who had a day job as a charter bus driver doing one-day casino trips. He'd come up with what he thought was a perfect money maker.

Whenever a charter bus arrived at the sponsoring casino, a representative would come on board and give each of the passengers fifty dollars worth of complimentary chips. My client's wife had managed to get a job as a cashier in the casino, and the casino girl who gave out the chips to the passengers was also in on the scheme he'd cooked up.

Rarely was the bus entirely full. But, according to the casino records it was always booked solid. The girl would simply give the extra chips for non-existing passengers to the driver, who would later give them to his wife who, in turn, would cash them in.

Everything went according to plan for several months until one day, a drunken gambler who had missed his return bus with another charter company went to the casino help desk to see if there were any other charters that had available seats. They checked the records and, unfortunately, they showed no open seats.

So the guy goes out into the parking lot and starts asking charter drivers if he can ride back home with them. My guy, a pretty pleasant fellow for the most part, said "Sure, I got plenty of room. Be leaving in about half an hour."

The guy goes back into the casino and goes to the help desk where he proceeds to drunkenly ream out the clerk for lying to him about seat availability. "The ****** driver on the ***** **** Tours Bus says he's got plenty of seats!"

Well that, of course, didn't match up with the records, nor with the number of free chips that had been distributed to the non-existent passengers. The casino did a bit of undercover investigating for about a week and figured out the scam pretty quickly.

The chip girl confessed and, when charges were filed, agreed to be a witness for the State. The wife/cashier was fired and my guy was charged with theft by deception and fraud. Given the amount of money involved, he was looking at state prison time.

The state, though, had no idea how long the scam had been going on and only had solid proof for three or four incidents, though they knew it probably had been going on for some time.

On the plus side, the girl clerk was a cocaine addict and not the best witness in the world. And the wife could not be forced to testify against her husband.

My client was smart enough to know not to make any statements other than, "I don't know whatchya talkin' about."

But it was still a pretty serious charge, and I was fairly sure he was looking at a conviction at trial and there was no way he wanted to go to state prison.

At the arraignment I had a plea discussion with the assistant attorney general, and given the weak spots in their case and after a lot of back and forth arguing, I got her to agree to a deal where my guy would get off with just a fine, restitution of a few thousand dollars, probation and no jail time.

My client thought it was a great deal. Until the day of sentencing. After the judge fined him, ordered the agreed upon restitution and put him on probation, he added that the client's name would be added to the black lists of all casinos in the state, meaning he could never enter any of them again.

The guy nearly went ballistic in the court room and we had to hustle him out before he got himself a contempt citation. Forget the fact that I just had saved him from a lengthy prison term, all he cared about was that he couldn't go gambling after the sentencing hearing.
Bob1Dog
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I knew you'd have a good one. Did you work for a firm or on your own, and I presume the guy paid uour fee promptly? Sounds like some nice lawyering on your part and I know defense attorneys have innocent as well as guilty clients, and that they all have a right to counsel. What did your gut tell you about this case while making the plea deal? I've often wondered if lawyers have any issues with representing folks they think or know is guilty and manage to get them off. That's not meant as being critical, just a curious question because I actually think the plea deal saved the public time and money if the guy would have been acquitted by a jury because of poor evidence.

I served on a jury once and I know how seriously most jurors take their responsility when someone's life or livlihood is in balance. It's a big job and it's all about the evidence in my lay mind.
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
mastermindreader
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I worked for a firm at the time.

I knew the guy was guilty because he was smart enough to know that it's not a good idea to lie to your lawyer. ESPECIALLY if you're guilty. (And, of course, all conversations between attorney and client are privileged.)

Everyone, regardless of their guilt or innocence, is guaranteed the right to competent counsel. If defense attorneys, as officers of the court, refused to take cases in which they knew the client to be guilty, no one could ever be convicted. That said, if a lawyer finds a certain case to be so morally repugnant that he feels that he/she could not provide effective representation, a judge will usually allow him/her to withdraw from the case. But not always. SOMEBODY has got to represent the defendant- and if that representation isn't competent there is the risk that any conviction will be thrown out on appeal for "ineffective assistance of counsel."

Note that in this case, the guy didn't "get off." His guilty plea had the same effect on his record as a conviction and he was fined, paid restitution and was placed on probation. I feel I represented him to the best of my ability and that is all an attorney is required to do.

And yes, he paid up front or we never would have taken the case.
Bob1Dog
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Thanks for that. I'd say you represented him well, and I do understand that I misspoke when I said he got off, that he did plea guilty to lesser offenses. Thanks again for your comments.
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
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