Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hurry up and wait.

So, it's now week 2 of my new assignment in East Los Angeles.

The plan is that I'm one of 3 lawyers assigned to one felony courtroom. And lot's of stuff gets done here:

1) Arraignments: People are told what their charges are, and we set them directly for a preliminary hearing, or we set them for an Early Disposition date, where we try to settle the case early.

2) EDP: We get probation reports from the Probation Department, which include a rap sheet, which tells us exactly what our client's record happens to be. Then, armed with this info, we try to get the DA to agree to a plea bargain that our client will be OK with.

3) Preliminary Hearings: Probable cause hearings, where the DA brings in just enough evidence to establish a) a felony has been committed, and b) the defendant is the one who did the crime.

We are still trying to work out a happy medium in terms of actually dividing the work. Theoretically, I'm supposed to do all 3 things, while one guy (Michael) only does prelims, and the other guy (Armando) only does EDP and arraignments. So, I get to be the jack of all trades, master of none.

It's still a work in progress. My guess is in the next couple of days, the three of us will sit down and figure this shit out.

But, in terms of work; all of it is easy. I don't have to prep anything; the prelim is very brief, sometimes 15 minutes, sometimes an hour plus. But, it's not like a trial. I take nothing home with me. And Sundays are mine again.

To a felony trial lawyer, Sunday morning is the worst. For everyone else, they leisurely get up, and it's a day of rest. But, for a felony trial lawyer, the first thing that goes thru your mind on Sunday morning is all the crap you have to do this week. Which case is going to trial? Which motions did you forget to file? Which investigation reports did you not do? And your day goes downhill from there.

But, with this gig; none of those concerns. It all rolls off of your back. Because your possession of the file is temporary. Of course, there are trades. Since there are more matters to do, you are in court more than you are in felony trials. And there is a lot of downtime in court. So, there's a lot of times, I'm sitting there, watching a prelim and waiting to do my stuff. And I lost my 9/80 Fridays. Back to the normal work schedule. But, a little bit of R/R isn't such a bad thing. I can recharge my batteries for the next felony trial assignment.

No comments: