When I was a young lad in misdemeanor court,
a private attorney came in on a bench trial.
After the witnesses were sworn, the defense attorney immediately makes a motion to dismiss the charges based on an insufficient complaint.
There is no arguing the complaint was shitty.
It was just bad, drafted by a cop and neglected by the assigned ASA.
His motion was granted because he provided case law saying the complaint had to be strictly evaluated when the objection is brought up before an appeal.
The prosecutor (I swear it was not me – I observed all this from the sidelines) was left flat-footed…and that’s an understatement. He just didn’t see it coming or really know what the hell the defense attorney was talking about.
Oh, that sucked for the ASA.
But I learned a few valuable lessons that day.
First of all,
police officers are basically illiterate. Prosecutors have to double check a complaint drafted by police and just assume they’re going to have file motions to amend the complaint BEFORE TRIAL.
The second, and most valuable lesson, was that you could be a real bad-ass if you knew the case law.
After the motion/trial I asked the private attorney for the citations of the cases he cited. He was happy to give them to me. I looked up those cases, learned the rules, and slid the marked up cases into a binder.
That began a habit of case law collecting and binder building.
It might have even been that very experience that taught me it’s better to be the attorney who knows the cases than to be the attorney who is absolutely clueless.
I’m still reviewing the cases, this time though, they go into a podcast rather than a binder.
You can reap the benefits if your into it. Sign up below:
Samuel Partida, Jr.