Then, a funny thing happened. Before I stood up, the defense attorney asked to speak with the judge. We approached and the attorney indicated his client wished to plead guilty.
Just like that, eighteen months of preparation ended.
This happens in more cases than you can imagine. Defendants who are set on taking a case to trial plead guilty the day it is set to begin. There are many reasons:
1) The defendant doesn't realize how serious a case is until 40 prospective jurors are staring at him and judging,
2) The defendant needs to wrap his mind around the amount of jail time involved in an offense,
3) The defendant doesn't think we will go forward, or
4) The defendant doesn't think the victims will show
It's disappointing when you put that much work in and a case ends before it begins. The excitement and adrenaline remains in full swing for the rest of the day. But, a sure resolution is always preferred to an uncertain outcome.
The next week and a half are cleared now and that's always a good thing. It will allow me to attend to some cases that have lacked my attention. And it gives me time to write some blog posts.