Screw You, Judge

I defended a young man a few months ago on his second Minor in Possession (MIP) charge. When he received his first MIP he was given probation with the understanding that if he successfully completed it, the charge would be dismissed. Although I was not his attorney, I am sure that when the Judge asked him if he had anything to say, he apologized to the Court and said he would not drink again until it was legal to do so. A year later, and no longer on probation, he got caught drinking again and was charged with MIP 2nd.
That's when I was retained. I immediately told this kid to go to several AA meetings. I also suggested that if he was smoking pot to quit, perform some community service, and stay away from any parties where alcohol or drugs were present. Talking to the prosecutor at his pretrial, I explained all the things he had been doing since being caught and requested sentencing under the Youth Training Act (HYTA). The prosecutor and the Judge agreed. My client was sentenced to probation with the understanding that, once again, if he complied with the probation terms, this would not show up on his record.

The other day, I ran into this kid and asked how things were going. He told me there was a slight hitch that occurred a couple of months ago. He told me that because they were only testing him for alcohol and had stopped testing him for drugs, he had started smoking weed. He figured he could get away with it until, out of the blue, when attending a substance abuse course as part of his probation, he was drug tested and flunked.

I was floored. What his actions demonstrated was that even though the Judge had given him a break by sentencing him under a diversion program, this young man was saying to the Judge, "screw you, I can do whatever I want." In this case, the kid got another break, because his probation officer did not violate him. But what he could have faced was reinstatement of the original charge, having a criminal record, and possibly going to jail for contempt of court.

The bottom line, when you get leniency from the Judge, don't blow it. They don't like it when you tell them to "F--- Off"