Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My cat & my almost trial.

I freaking love this dumb cat. Wardy is my guy. I honestly don't know what I would do without him. He is such a cuddly, cute, slightly dense, loving furball.

Okay, I know, enough. My crazy cat lady is showing. But I do have to give him a little credit because he did let me cry into his big, chubby belly every night for like a year after YKW left. And purred the whole time. He is happy for any attention...

All right. No more cat talk, I promise. Onto other topics.

I thought I was going to be in a trial today. The client had been wanting a trial for some time. On Monday, we were #2 for trial & #1 was a very short civil case. So, we were going to start ours today. But once we showed up today, the client decided to accept the offer & resolve it.

In the back of my mind, any time I am up for trial, I always have this thought that it just might end up settling. Regardless of how much work I have put in prepping it, regardless of how much the prosecutor refuses to budge off their offer, regardless of how insistent my client is that they want a trial. It. Always. Can. Still. Settle.

There are various reasons for this. Some clients are calling the state's bluff, wanting to see if they really will try the case. When they get there & realize the state will try it, they decide to settle.

Some defendants are certain they want a trial till they get there and then they get freaked out.

Sometimes it's the prosecutors calling our bluff, to see if we will really take it to trial. They have weak witnesses or unpredictable aspects of the case that will only be a concern @ trial, so when it gets to that point, they have called our bluff, we have delivered, and so they modify the offer.

Sometimes witnesses move or disappear @ the last minute.

Sometimes, the original offer is based on an understanding of things that ends up being legally incorrect, so the offer that once was a good offer under mistaken information is suddenly not. 

Sometimes it's because the evidence permitted @ trial is dramatically or significantly limited after pretrial motions.

And in one unique case, it was because the judge brought the lawyers into chambers. The judge asked why this was going to trust and what the offer was, which was plead as charged (aka not really an offer). The judge then asked the prosecutor why he wasn't making a better offer because the case was terrible & his witness had major credibility problems. I just about fell out of my chair since I had never seen that before. Lo and behold, the offer then became significantly better!

The point is, no matter how absolutely certain it seems that a case is going to trial, there is always the chance it won't. There is always a chance for a last minute settlement.

Now there is something you don't see on TV.

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