This morning I had a motion to quash arrest and suppress identification set for hearing. I didn't set it for today, the judge did. Even though I told him that I have a very serious trial tomorrow, he still set his hearing for today.
I knew last week I wasn't going to be ready. I already had a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence set for the 3rd time on Monday (yesterday). I knew that hearing was going to proceed. I went to the courtroom and told the prosecutor I wasn't going to be ready.
Late last week I called the prosecutor and left a message that I wasn't going to be ready. Yesterday morning before my motion hearing downstairs, I went to the courtroom again. And you can imagine what I did. Yes, I said I wasn't going to be ready.
This morning came. I went into chambers with the prosecutor. I told the judge I needed a continuance. He asked why. I told him about tomorrow's trial and that I didn't have time to prepare. He asked when the trial was set. I told him before his hearing set. Then he asked if I told him about the trial. I said, yes.
He said he was going to get the transcript the last time the case was up to see if I really told him. Then I reminded him that he wanted to set his hearing for Wednesday, and I told him I had a trial that day and even told him which courtroom and judge. At that point I think he knew I was telling him the truth. He gave me the continuance.
After I left court, I had to drive down to a pretty rough neighborhood. It's the type of area where every other building is boarded up and there's trash everywhere. I was there to serve subpoenas for tomorrow's trial. I couldn't find a process server that would go in this neighborhood. Last month, I spent about an hour down there one day taking pictures and talking to residents. I had no problems.
I rang the buzzer on the building. Of course the intercom doesn't work. A head popped out of an upstairs window and asked me who I was looking for. Standing there in a shirt and tie, I probably looked like a cop.
"I am looking for Witness A. I am not poe-leece, I am a lawyer." After a minute or so, I was told Witness A & B were on their way down. Score! Got them both.
A couple of minutes goes by and I hear someone coming down the stairs. Then I see a shadow but there's no light inside the building so I can't see who it is. But quickly I realized it wasn't either Witness A or B.
The person that hit the landing and unlocked the door was smoking the end of a joint, or roach if you will. It was maybe 10:00 am. "Whatcha smokin' on?" I asked. The person just smiled and french inhaled the next hit.
Then he spoke. "He ain't shoot them boys." But he didn't say "he". He used my client's name. I told him I know he didn't. I gave him a one sentence synopsis of my case and he understood and agreed. "People around here are saying he's going to get life."
I explained it was my job to prevent that from happening.
On one hand this was a strange encounter. It's early in the morning. I am standing on the stoop of a run down building in no-man's land talking with someone that's already high and getting higher by the puff. And this guy knows exactly what happened, but wasn't there to see it. Or so he says.
But on the other hand it seemed completely normal and nothing about the situation made me feel creepy, uneasy, or paranoid (I didn't inhale, obviously).
"He's gonna beat this case" was the last thing my new friend said to me.
A Dialogue on Police Accountability and Justice - CJP's panel on police accountability and justice comes on the heels of the scathing report from the Police Accountability Task Force & the ongoing federal ...
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