Sometimes clients think that the cop really didn’t like them and the cop is out to get them or screw them over. Or maybe the prosecutor or the judge doesn’t like them and is abusing his or her authority to punish them.
But 9 times out of 10, that is not the case. If the police officer didn’t get mad at you and you weren’t rude to the police officer, then arresting you is just a routine part of their day.
Judges and prosecutors clock in for work and deal with drunk driving cases all the time. They are just not emotionally involved. The honest fact is, neither the judge nor the prosecutor likely cares about you at all.
But the Police and Courts Are Stonewalling on Giving Up Evidence that will Clear Me!
If something strange happens in the case it is not because someone is out to get you. Much more likely, it is someone that is lazy or incompetent or overworked, and something slipped through the cracks.
For example, if we are having a hard time getting a video in the case, or evidence or witnesses at trial, it is not the courts intent to make your life difficult. If papers get lost in the court system (which has been known to happen), or if we show up to move a court date, and no one knows anything about it, this is just routine government bureaucracy at work.
The Massachusetts court system is going through a budget crisis. They are getting less money every year and they are losing personnel.
It’s an unfortunate mess, and the court system is sloppy and inconsistent. It is absolutely true tat situations caused by poor organization in the district courts can often affect my clients DUI cases. Sometimes it does hurt our clients, but more often sloppiness or inefficiency actually works in favor of a client.
My experience in all my DUI trials tells me that, as long as I don’t try to make a police officer look bad on the witness stand, the officer doesn’t usually have a personal stake in the case. The officer probably wasn’t mad at you, unless you were messing with him or making his job more difficult. Otherwise, they really don’t care what happens either way.
If the courts are out to screw you, they are doing a very bad job of it.
Situations like this happen regularly:
I meet with the client several times preparing for trial, spent many hours going over strategy. We visit the scene where the police pulled over the client. We walked through the entire event, review hearing transcriptions, and work through extensive custom trial analysis preparation notes.
I go in fully prepared with the all of the specific facts of this case, and ready to argue the case at trial. I love being ready to fight for and protect my clients.
We go to court and are about ready to start a trial. Five or ten minutes before we are about to start, the prosecutor I’m expecting to square off against hands the file off to another prosecutor. The new prosecutor has never even looked at the case file.
He’s working completely off the cuff, reading the file as he goes, and basically winging it.
If there was a big conspiracy to screw my client, that’s a pretty poor way to enact it. This is simply the result of a poorly organized, and fairly overworked judicial system.
Now this doesn’t mean that everyone will be fair and evenhanded towards my client. The judge or prosecutor or cop may be unreasonable or unfair or even biased, but it’s probably the way they are towards everyone. Some cops and judges are just tough or mean. But it is hardly ever a personal grudge against the defendant, so taking it personally is not helpful, and will just make a stressful situation worse for you.
Russell Matson is the founding attorney of The Law Offices of Russell J. Matson, PC a criminal defense law firm in Massachusetts. His web site is http://madrunkdrivingdefense.com.