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Monday, July 28, 2014
Criminally DumbPosted Tuesday, December 8, 2009, at 8:02 AM
I have practiced criminal law for approximately 15 years. During this time, I have concluded that most people accused of crimes are not evil, a sizeable percentage are not even criminally intended, but rather are criminally dumb. Typically there is an addiction, a temptation the person chooses not to resist, or a terrible misjudgment. Perhaps the best illustration of this was a case I had as a baby lawyer in Indianapolis.
The case involved a very handsome man, who knew he was handsome, who enjoyed being lazy and being taken care of. It also involved a woman who was rather plain, very hard working, and an attractive boyfriend. They had been a couple for quite a few years.
Eventually, the man began to think that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence. They talked about it and agreed that they would split up for a while. It didn't take long in the other pasture for the man to realize that those women preferred to be taken care of by their men rather than the other way around. It was time to go home.
The woman took him back into her home. However, now she was much less willing to put up with his faults and foibles. In short order, she kicked him out and obtained a protective order. He moved in with his mother. Soon after, the woman gave him a call. "Oh sweetie, why don't you come over and lets see if we can work things out."
Well, he rushed over. Soon after arriving, he discovered that she was out of beer. The woman agreed to go to the liquor store while he made himself comfortable. On the way, she called the police.
Twenty-five hundred dollars in bail money later, he was back in his mom's home. Shortly thereafter, the phone rang. "Oh sweetie, I don't want you to go to jail. Why don't you come over and lets see if we can work things out."
Well, he rushed over. A couple of the woman's friends were visiting. After a while, the friends went home. At the woman's instruction, the police were called.
This time, there was no bail. The woman called the man's mother and said: "Mrs. Sweetie, I don't want your son to go to prison. I just want him to get some counseling. Can you have him write me to see if we can work this all out." Shortly thereafter, the woman took a letter from Sweetie to the prosecutor's office. His charges were now: Violating a No Contact Order, Violating a No Contact Order While on Bail, and Violating a No Contact Order from Jail. At the time, each offense carried up to two years.
Indianapolis/Marion County has a court system all of its own. At the time, it had a division of courts called "Municipal Court" commonly known as "M1," "M7," "M13," etc. No contact orders and domestic violence cases were heard in what was affectionately known as "M16." In M16, the judge was female, the deputy prosecutor was female, the "victims" were overwhelmingly female, and the "perps" were overwhelmingly male. Hmmmmm.
I was very happy to have been able to convince the prosecutor to drop two of the charges if we would admit to one of them. Much persuasive argument later, I was able to convince the prosecutor to agree to allow us to argue sentencing rather than agree to the max of two years.
The Judge took the bench, our case was called, and arguments were made. We explained to the Court that the woman induced him to come over. That it was a trap. That while it was a technical violation, she initiated the contact.
When argument was over, the judge banged her gavel, half stood, and while pointing a finger said; "Sir. What part of 'No Contact' don't you understand! Two Years!"
Yep. Criminally dumb.
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