Sometimes You Just Have to Pay the Price

I was recently talking with a prosecutor and said that sometimes I wished I was on his side of a case. In particular, I was talking about a client who walked into a fast food restaurant with a sawed off shotgun, pointed it at the manager and several other employees and demanded money.
Unfortunately, my client had worked for the restaurant for eight months, had been fired a few weeks earlier, and didn’t wear a mask or disguise. While my client left with about $600 before the police arrived, five of his fellow employees were able to positively ID him.

When I visited him in jail, I showed him the police report. He asked what I could do for him and was upset when I said that going to trial was not realistic. And even though the security video was not particularly good and was difficult to see the face of my client, the video was irrelevant considering the positive identifications of his former co-workers.

What I told him I could do is to try and minimize the consequences of his actions. This meant talking with the prosecutor assigned to the case, obtaining letters of reference, pointing out that my client had no prior criminal history, that he graduated from school, and, lastly, given he did nothing to hide his identify suggested he wanted to get caught by showing the manager that he could get back at her for, what he thought, unfairly terminating him. I really don’t believe that he really wanted to hurt anyone but was his response to being “disrespected”.

Sometimes, given the facts of a case, I have to tell a client that there is no doubt of his guilt and he will be punished for his actions. In this matter, my client was charged with armed robbery a crime punishable with life in prison. In addition, he was facing an added charge of committing a felony with a gun that carries a mandatory 24 months in prison even before serving time for the underlying offense. Given the amount of prison time he could face for his stupid action, if I could get him three or four years would be a victory.