Friday, October 19, 2012
Help I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up
It appears as though I've been doing nothing but posting videos here for awhile. There is a reason or is it an excuse? Well whatever. I've had two major (for me at least) trials.
One of the things that make my job more difficult is when I begin to like my clients and care about them as people and begin to believe their stories no matter how unbelievable others find them.
One of the cases was the one I call my "Dog Lady." She was busted with 70+ dogs. Not because she had 70+ dogs, but because the dog warden insisted that she wasn't properly caring for them. After meeting with her several times and seeing what the end results of the dog wardens investigation was, I don't think I agree. All of the dogs are healthy and living happy lives in foster families. None except one had to be put down an that one had cancer.
My client is a poor woman who simply didn't have the money to have a nice sparkling clean dog kennel facility. We she have been busted if she wasn't a little weird and gotten into arguments with her neighbors? I'm not sure. She was able to get food for the dogs from the Dollar General warehouse which is located near hear. Apparently they give away a very large amount of pet food to people who are rescue people. My client would come away with a heaping full sized pick up truck full of dry dog fool every approximately four to six weeks. That was how she fed them.
However, the dog warden said that the place wasn't clean and the judge bought it. I'm not sure I'm in agreement. The place was a mess, whether or not it was clean was another matter. All the dogs had names and they all had time on a rotating basis inside the home (in numbers of approximately twenty to thirty at at time) they were all socialized.
One of the things I've noticed in this job over the years (and I started out in Legal Aid) is that very poor people seem to have a lot of time to conspire against each other and do so on a regular basis. The second point is that I've been to the homes of a couple of the people who were testifying on behalf of the state and saw how many dogs they had and how they were kept. Trying to keep on the good side of the dog warden was also I suspect a significant part or their desire to testify. Kind of like the Russian woman throwing out her kids to the chasing wolves.
At any rate the judge found her guilty and sentencing will be in a couple of weeks.
The second case and the more serious of the two is a rape case. A husband was accused of committing forcible oral sex on his wife. The husband is my client and we had filed for divorce and he had custody of the kids and exclusive use of the martial residence. Wife had filed no Answer and did not have a lawyer. A week before the final hearing is when this alleged incident came down.
Understand that you can't commit rape on your spouse in Ohio unless you are living apart. Further, insertion of anything into the body of another however slight, even a tongue is defined as rape. Also, my guy claimed to the cops that what they did was consensual. The cops told him they were investigating and would let him know their decision about prosecuting in about a week. They prosecute an F1 rape.
Couldn't keep his statements out (perhaps more on that another time). But we ended up negotiating a plea to a non-sex offense F4, down from a rape which is an F1 and carries mandatory prison time and a life time of registration every 90 days. An F4 of this type is a non-jailable offense. He has also agreed to plead to a misdemeanor which requires registration for 15 years once a year.
My guy might have won had we gone to trial, but he might have lost and if he lost his life would essentially have been over. I thought and he agreed with me (eventually) that it was better not to take the chance. Plea is on November 1 and sentencing will probably be about a month later.
Now to paperwork that has piled up, argh.