Monday, February 22, 2010

The Good PD

Don't have time for a lengthy post but wanted to note this quickly because I bumped into something extraordinary today.

Every now and then I am reminded that there are some very caring people in the world. In my line of work it's rare, but it does happen.

Today was I called by a public defender in Minnesota. I am not going to mention any specifics because I don't know if she would want to be named. However, a former client of hers was recently arrested in Chicago. He called her for help.

There might be some video footage relevant to his case. There is fear that if this video does exist, it will be destroyed 30 days after it was captured. Therefore, a subpoena has to be issued immediately. But there's a problem.

The defendant has not been assigned a public defender in Chicago. A defendant usually has one PD at the bond hearing, a different one at the preliminary hearing, and finally their assigned PD at the arraignment in the trial courtroom.

Right now the defendant is between his preliminary hearing and his arraignment, so technically he has no attorney. And if he has no attorney, no one can or will issue a subpoena for the video. By the time he is arraigned the 30 days will have expired and the video, if it exists, will have been destroyed.

This is where I come in.

She asked if I could help. I found it a little strange a PD in another state was calling me about an ex-client of hers that's now in Chicago and has a legal problem.

I was told a very sad story. This man was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 10 years in prison before he finally got a new trial. Apparently, she was his attorney at some point in that process, if not the entire time.

It appears they bonded. He has reached to her for help and she wants to help him. It was impossible not to want to help her, help him. 

I told her I would gather what case information I could and issue a subpoena. I made a couple of phone calls, then quickly prepared a subpoena and sent it out.

I asked her who was going to represent him. He has a very serious case. She said he had no money, so likely the PD's office would be defending him. She believes he's innocent. I kept talking. Eventually she asked how much I would charge to take the case. I made a generous offer, including trial.

She said she would pay. It's not a lot of money. But it's a lot of money for an out of state PD to pay for an ex-client. I don't know who this woman is, but I hope to meet her. People like this don't come along everyday. It would be nice to actually see one in person.


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