I was in Prince George’s County, Maryland for a DUI trial last week. The Defendant was a multiple offender hence he had a lot riding on the outcome of his case. I approached the prosecutor to discuss the matter, she, in their typical cavalier attitude told me what she wants the defendant to plead guilty to the Drunk Driving charge. I told her, in my typical response attitude, no dice; we’re set for trial. The state’s police officer is present and ready. The state did have a case and the defendant had prior DUIs so we were not in the best position. However the state had one other thing, a highly inexperienced prosecutor with an attitude!
Many times the prosecutors on these DUI matters are so inexperienced that they don’t know what they don’t know, better yet, they don’t seem to care much. So the trial begins. The prosecutor can’t seem to ask an appropriate question, I start objecting. “Sustained!” she opens her mouth to ask another question, objection, “sustained”, this went on for some 20 minutes, it was really quite humorous. The prosecutor was trying to get the results of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test into evidence but she didn’t have the first clue how to do so under the Schultz case. Objection- sustained! Ultimately, she gave up trying as she was squirming around trying to figure out what she was doing wrong. Then she moved onto other questions in a leading fashion, objection- sustained! This had to have been one of the most fun trials in a long time.
At one point I even offered to help the prosecutor and take her out of her misery. I offered to plead the case to a lower charge that did not involve alcohol. She in her typical prosecutor attitude said “no way”, I said fine. The trial continued…. I didn’t even have my client take the stand to testify because at the end, the state had proved nothing. I wonder if the prosecutor could appreciate that fact.
When the government stopped rambling on with its nonsense, I told the judge that the state had proven nothing- the judge agreed, the state proved nothing, other than the client was speeding. Verdict: NOT GUILTY!! Client very pleased because he gets to sleep at home tonight.
The message, experience counts for a lot. Prosecutors everywhere put on their attitude that everybody is guilty, but some times, the prosecutor doesn’t know how to get there from here. Inexperienced defense lawyers may fall for that crap. Some time experience costs a little more money, but having your case handled properly the first time is priceless when you consider the alternative.