Sometimes I am Disappointed

M.R. was asked by his older, next door neighbor to help him and another guy rob someone who the neighbor said was a drug dealer. They promised he would get 1/3 of whatever they took.
So even though M.R. had a full time job, was on track to become a manager, had a fiancé and child, and was thinking about enlisting in the National Guard, he decided to go along.

But not only did he go along, he held the gun when the victims were forced to lie on the floor and get undressed. Unfortunately, the victim’s nine-year old son, who was hiding in a closet during the robbery, was able to jump out a window and alert the police.

There was little doubt that M.R. was guilty. The police captured him as he was trying to escape through a side door, his car was found just down the street, the victim’s identified him as the one who held the gun, and the victim’s car keys and wallet were in his pocket. He was charged with armed robbery, a life in prison capital offense; home invasion first degree, a 20-year felony; and felony firearm, a mandatory 2-year felony that must be served first.

By negotiating with the Prosecutor and my appeal to the Judge at sentencing, M.R. received 10 years. While certainly a long time, his partners in crime were sentenced to 18 plus years.

To my surprise, M.R. decided to grieve me with the State Bar. He claimed I failed to adequately represent him even though it was his decision to plead guilty and take a pretty good deal under the circumstances. The State Bar threw his complaint out. Sometimes when you commit a crime and you are caught in the act, cutting a deal is the best you can do; the evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he had done it and going to trial and being found guilty would certainly have resulted in a much more severe penalty.

As a criminal defense attorney, you learn to expect these complaints but it is still disappointing when you do your best for your client, get him a good deal, and then be blamed when he doesn’t walk free. What happened to, “
"If you can't do the time, don't do the crime”?