Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Nothing Nice to Say? Try This

It was a nasty case, complete with two armed home invasions where children were duct taped, a shooting, a kidnapping, an attempted murder of a police officer, and lots of resisting arrest. It's the type of case that usually garners a long prison sentence due to the severity of the many crimes.

Once I finished my spiel at sentencing, discussing the heinousness of the crimes and the utter lack of remorse from the defendant, what else can a defense attorney say?

He's a good guy who made a mistake?
He's kicked his drug habit?
He is very sorry?

Nah. The attorney knew none of them would be true or likely to mitigate the sentence. Like any good attorney who has the facts stacked against them, this attorney ignored them. He argued that the defendant's sentence should be lower because of the significant piece of legal precedent this defendant had set. The case was reversed by the Appellate Division because the police used excessive force to obtain his DNA sample and this was his second sentencing on the same case. This, the attorney argued, has been a landmark decision and will affect the collection of DNA samples by law enforcement in the future. Isnt' the fact he was used as a guinea pig the first time around enough to warrant a minimum sentence?

Turns out it wasn't.

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