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Ex-politician avoids serious prison term in computer crime case May 21, 2009

Posted by jefhenningeresq in My Cases.
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This was a rather high profile case that I just finished up last week.  Due  to my client’s position as a politician at the time of his arrest, this incident was featured in a ton of news articles.  However, I was able to keep the sentencing out of the news for the most part so I’m going to be vague on the details.  Other than a brief mention on television, there was nothing in print. 

Basically, my client was charged with very serious offenses that could have landed him in prison if convicted.  He confessed before he hired me and the evidence against him was strong.  I worked the case out with prosecutor for a plea to lesser charges with probation and 364 days of county jail time.  I’ve had these cases before and I have been able to get that 364 down to zero but it isn’t easy to do that.

I filed a sentencing brief that the prosecutor viewed as so impressive, that he agreed to slash his recommendation in half.  So,  the new recommendation to the court was 180 days in jail and not 364.  This is the first time I have seen the State do this.  Of course, I still pushed for zero days.

However, when I got to court, the whole game changed.  This judge does not like these cases and there was another defendant with the very same charges. His attorney also asked for no jail time but the judge ripped him up pretty good.  I the end, he got the full 364.  The prosecutor told me that he knows this judge and he rarely departs from the 364 when these deals are made.

Great huh?  Looked like my guy was getting the 364 and not even the 180 that the State was recommending now.  I spent about a half hour arguing with the judge, focusing him on my client and his situation, his service to the community and the circumstances of the case.  The judge thanked me for my zealous advocacy of my client  which was important because he did not thank the previous attorney. 

In the end, the judge gave my guy 120 days in jail.  Would I have liked nothing?  Of course!  However, I can’t see how I could have done anything else with this case.  Of the 120, my guy will probably do about half of that.  Even better, the judge granted my application to delay his entry to jail so that he can get his life together.  The last guy went right out in cuffs.

While my client was happy, especially after seeing what happened to the last guy, I had a prospective client that was sitting in the audience watching me as well.  She was so impressed with me that she fired her previous attorney and has since hired me.  Thus, I had a good day in court.

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