Innocent until proven guilty

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  • This topic contains 73 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Avi K 2 months ago.
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  • #1318135

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    AviK: or the benefits and pension packages are very good. In other situations (especially) in larger cities, government jobs are attractive to yidden as there are fewer issues with leaving with Shabbos and Yom Tov

    #1318172

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    AviK…..
    different states, different systems.
    There is virtually no patronage in the CT States Attorney offices (we don’t call them DAs). A particular attorney might get to pick his own secretary from among the civil service list. He can choose which State Marshal to use to execute service, but he has to choose from the official list for the county and doesn’t get to hire new people.
    Judges don’t hire bailiffs, clerks, secretaries…they are appointed by the chief administrative judge form the civil service list. Appellate Court Judges can choose interns/law clerks who work without pay.
    The real Patronage is in the local Probate Court system. These are the only elected judges. They can appoint guardians, conservators and executors to make a percentage of the estate. The judges also hire their own clerical staff and bailiffs. There is a local Probate Court Judge who has multiple brothers who are also attorneys who get virtually every assignment and his family member, an ex-con is mayor of that city.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    As for the prosecutors office, the government does not compete with Wall Street and White Shoe firms for employees. The 3 beginning attorneys I hired this year would be paid about 10% less in the States Attorney’s office, but have better benefits (including a pension) worth far more than the differential.
    A career attorney in the department earns a comparable living to private practice attorneys who are not in the partner track or sole proprietors.
    The backstaff does not appear to be stretched thin. Unlike NY much of the investigative work/lab work are done by city and state agencies. We are a small state, only 3.6 million people equal to Manhattan and the Bronx) and statewide cooperation and workload sharing is the norm. We don’t have overlaying levels of government, only state and municipal which leads to fewer bruised egos.

    My brother has constantly told me how much easier to practice here in CT and work with the prosecutors. There are not the great logjams of backlogged cases. When doing appeals work, the farthest a prisoner might be held from your location is a 90 minute drive (compare that to a Brooklyn attorney with a client incarcerated in Malone on the Canadian border).

    Judges try both civil and criminal cases in the same Superior (our trial level courts) Courthouses. There is no sense of the prosecutors being the enemy. Yes, defendants’ attorneys are looking for the best deal for their clients. Prosecutors are looking for the correct outcome.

    The biggest difference is that CT does not indict by use, or misuse, of the Grand Jury. The local State’s attorney brings indictments. Defendants don’t face that Grand Jury alone and there are not the intimidating threats made to those who appear before a Grand Jury with its special and secretive ways.

    #1318236

    Joseph
    Participant

    CTL, with your description of CT’s system, you indict the other states (i.e NY) with all the problems inherent in those states system that effectively corrupt justice.

    #1318244

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    Joseph: the entire justice system in NY is not corrupt.

    #1318253

    Joseph
    Participant

    There’s a small part of it that isn’t corrupt?

    Perhaps.

    #1318260

    Avi K
    Participant

    Iacisrmma, benefits are not what they used to be and only are good if one stays for life. Apparently they do not make up for the salary differential for most people as in NYC they have to demand a three-year commitment in order to justify the expense of training people.

    CTl,

    1. Where can your associates expect to be in five years and where can a prosecutor who stays expect to be?

    2. How is the prosecutor’s ability to indict without even a grand jury better for the defendant?

    3. Obviously in a large city there will be much more work. That is part of being in a city. Everything is a trade-off. See Ketubot 110b.

    4. A. Paul Spinella, who is a defense attorney, of the Hartford Courant does not share your view of the system (Reanimate Grand Jury, State Prosecutor System).

    #1318264

    Joseph
    Participant

    It isn’t just the Judicial system that is corrupt, the laws themselves are corrupt. Poorly written, unevenly enforced, unfair and unjust.

    Laws frequently, hastily, written reactively in response to pubic and media outrage to some newsworthy event. Draconian sentences for light crimes while other more serious crimes carry much lighter sentences. Sentences are imposed on the whims of a judge. The same crime can result in vastly different punishments (or no punishment) depending which judge you get (even in the same courthouse) or which jurisdiction you’re in. Judges who are frequently highly unqualified and/or biased to judge.

    And all this is even before discussing the perversion of Justice based on who one’s legal counsel is. Is it real justice that in order to obtain true justice one needs the ability to afford very costly legal representation? How can you call it a justice system when an accused guilty rich man with a top lawyer can get away with a crime whereas an innocent poor man who cannot afford counsel can get convicted due to lack of decent legal representation?

    #1318265

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Joseph
    I made no indictment of the NYS Criminal Justice System. I merely explained how the system works in CT.
    I am admitted in CT, MA and FL and the Federal Bankruptcy Courts.
    I made no statement that the NY Criminal Justice System is corrupt and appreciate your not putting words in my mouth

    #1318268

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    AviK….
    In 5 years, my new hires should be off on their own as solo practitioners or partners in a small firm of similar aged attorneys. They know when being hired there is ZERO chance of becoming a member of the firm. Long term family owned firms generally do not make non-family members partners and are not interested in large expansion.
    Lack of a Grand Jury Indictment means that a prosecutor has to justify bringing prosecution to his/her superiors without being able to shift blame on the Grand Jury. I feel it benefits all involved, not just defendants. I have seen witnesses terrified of appearing before a Grand Jury because they are without the benefit of counsel while in the room.

    Atty. Spinella is a Criminal Defense Attorney, he is NOT part of the Hartford Courant newspaper. Apparently he wrote an opinion piece or was interviewed by them. He practices in The Hartford area, I do not. I’ve not read his piece and can not pass judgment on his opinion. He certainly is not the be all to end all in Criminal Justice matters in CT.

    The beauty of America is that different people can have and express different opinions.

    #1318294

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    AviK: I can’t tell you about NYC agencies but not all NYS agencies se like that. Depending on what the profession is you don’t have to work for “life” . Pensions vest earlier then they used to. One has to weigh all the factors when taking a government job.

    #1318308

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @joseph
    You may not like the laws as they are written, enforced, etc. BIT that does not mean they are corrupt. You need to look at the dictionary definition of corrupt:
    “adjective
    having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.
    “unscrupulous logging companies assisted by corrupt officials”
    Laws may be applied by corrupt individuals but in and of themselves they are not corrupt.

    #1318328

    Joseph
    Participant

    CTL, so find a better word for unjust and cruel laws if corrupt doesn’t meet Webster’s definition. I don’t care much for the semantics here, which is far from the point.

    How about unjust or cruel?

    #1318337

    yehudayona
    Participant

    Joseph, I can’t tell from your comment whether you have ever sat on a jury. YitzchokM said he has been in jury pools, not that he’s been on a jury. I sat on a jury in the Bronx in a criminal trial over 30 years ago, and most of my fellow jurors were decent people who wanted to do the right thing. My wife recently sat on a jury in Queens, also in a criminal trial, and her experience was similar. Presumably, neither the prosecution nor the defense is interested in jurors who are “the lowest of the low.” It’s also not clear to me how one can tell in a jury pool who’s “the lowest of the low.” It’s not likely that you engaged in conversation with such people.

    #1318348

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @joseph
    Laws don’t have to be ‘just’………..they have to be applied justly. Meaning equally to all who fall under the laws’ jurisdiction.
    Cruel laws are not in and of themselves unjust. Our Constitution prohibits ‘cruel and unusual punishment’
    The good thing about America is that citizens via the ballot box can change laws and/or the legislators who enact them.

    The law is all about semantics and the meaning of words. It does not matter whether or not you as a person like it.

    #1318380

    yytz
    Participant

    Joseph, great post at 2:12. Every word of it is true.

    Prosecutors generally see themselves as the cops’ lawyers, with the mission of prosecuting everybody who’s arrested and getting them the longest sentence possible. They’re idealistic but in an unnecessarily partisan and punitive way. (This along with overly punitive laws and unfair policing practices resulted in our country having the world’s highest incarceration rate, which basically everyone, even Republicans like Gingrich and Norquist, thinks needs to be reduced dramatically.) Judges are often former prosecutors and have the same mentality. Other judges have quit after having to hand down so many unreasonable mandatory minimum sentences the defendants don’t come close to deserving.

    Prosecutors have the constitutional duty to turn over exculpatory and witness impeachment evidence to the defense but violations of this duty are extremely widespread (they are known as Brady violations, and they (and other forms of prosecutorial misconduct) are so common that they are a significant driver of false convictions.) However, they usually never get caught and when they do they are virtually never punished even in the slightest way. This is all very well documented, in research carried out in reaction to the Supreme Court’s Connick v. Thompson decision, which made it much harder to sue prosecutors even when they engage in misconduct that leads to innocent people being sent to prison for years.

    The Bill of Rights looks good on paper (and indeed, it resembles Torah criminal procedure in some respects, such as the Fifth Amendment) and sometimes these rights are enforced. But the system as a whole produces massively unjust and unreasonable results.

    #1318391

    yehudayona
    Participant

    Speaking of draconian punishment, AG Jeff Sessions told federal prosecutors in May to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” and follow mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines.

    #1318450

    Avi K
    Participant

    CTl,
    1. That means that they will be making much more than there peers who remained in public service.
    2. How is having to justify an indictment to supervisors better than having to justify it to a grand jury?

    Iacisrmma, you are correct but the pension (assuming one worked five years, which is the minimum for vesting) is based on years of service and final salary . That means that the pensions they will receive thirty years down the line will be very small and even smaller if inflation reawakens.

    Yehudayona,
    1. I second you. I personally was never on a jury although I almost was (after I was selected the judge decided the split the trials of the two defendants and dismissed us) but my father a”h was on both a state jury and a Federal grand jury. From what he told me it was very fair. In fact, the state jury was going to acquit except that the defendant said to the complainant at the stationhouse “I didn’t rob your store” without being told that he was specifically accused of that.
    2. So? Kim lei b’d’rabba minei. Learn the third perek of Makkot and you will see that in Halacha we also pile on every possible aveira (the record is six for eating a wasp – Makkot 16b).

    Yytz, no system administered by human beings can be perfect. I consider it unfair that prosecutors have to turn over exculpatory info but defense attorneys may not reveal the reverse. What are “overly punitive laws and unfair policing practices” is also in the eye of the beholder. At least at one time Manhattan prosecutors considered themselves lucky to get convictions because juries identified with the defendants. In fact, the reason why the British did not introduce it in EY was that they thought that Jewish jurors would automatically acquit Jews and Arab jurors would automatically acquit Arabs. They had three-judge panels with one Jew, one Arab and one Britisher. The majority decided. As for highest percentage of citizens incarcerated, the US is No. 41 in overall crime rate and No. 14 in violent crime rate.

    #1318468

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    AviK
    Just because an attorney is in solo practice or a partner in a small firm is no guaranty that e/she’ll be making more than someone with similar years experience working for the government.

    Solo practice or partnership means you are running a business with a bottom line and shouldering all expenses.
    Some years the bottom line may be great, others the attorney may be eating noodles most nights.

    #1318475

    Avi K
    Participant

    CTl, as I recalled when you first mentioned your new associates you said that they will also have the option of corporate legal departments. I presume that they pay much more than government agencies.

    #1318489

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    AviK
    Once you are out of NY that is not always the case. Many corporations in this area pay staff attorneys approx 75K plus benefits.
    There is a huge glut of attorneys on the market. Many cannot find decent paying jobs.
    I encouraged my children to go into the profession because they could step into (and later take over) a successful firm with an established client base. If I did not own my firm, I would not have encouraged the younger children who attended law school after 2005 to do so.

    #1319428

    yehudayona
    Participant

    Avi K, I should have mentioned that Sessions was talking about drug offenses. Throwing the book at low-level drug offenders has been shown to be ineffective. It’s hard to argue that the War on Drugs has been a success. Perhaps the Trump administration is pushing this to create jobs in prison construction and for prison guards.

    #1319463

    Avi K
    Participant

    CTl, now you are saying something else. People should forget about law schools unless they are super-geniuses, rich or live (or can live) in or near Queens (CUNY has a law school where the tuition and fees are only $7,331.45 for NYS residents and $11,991.45 for non-NYS residents. While it is a super-leftist school it may or may not have a Federalist Society chapter – it is not listed on the school’s site but is on the Society’s site – as well as a Jewish Lawyers Society chapter alongside Students for “Justice” in “Palestine”).

    Yehudayona, not being clairvoyant I do not know his reasons but I agree with you on this. In fact, the Israel Anti-Drug Authority has recommended adopting the Portuguese plan. I would also add that it is disappointing that Sessions opposes reigning in asset forfeiture (although personally I find it very suspicious that people drive around with tens of thousand of dollars in cash).

    #1319549

    yehudayona
    Participant

    Avi, while his boss may think he’s reigning (rather than serving), you presumably think Sessions should rein in asset forfeiture.

    #1320428

    Avi K
    Participant

    Yehudayona, was this the first nit you picked today? To show that there are no hard feelings I will pay you half of what the YWN paid me.

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