Every once and again, it's important to stop, take stock and own up to some big blogging bloopers. I seem to have made a few of late, so let me say in advance: My bad.
In particular,Skelly points out that my recent post (see below) about Washington State I erronously suggested that the series was recent. In fact as Skelly correctly suggests:
"It was a good series; it came out in April 2004. In 2005, it turned out to be a catalyst:
Second Substitute House Bill 1542 passed both houses of the legislature. It was designed to provide a state “down payment” of $25 million on woefully inadequate criminal indigent defense funding, albeit with “null and void” language if funding wasn’t provided. Although major funding was not provided, $1.3 million was allocated in the 2005-2007 biennium to the Washington State Office of Public Defense to provide intensive training to new public defenders, to give legal and expert services to those public defenders, particularly in isolated areas around the state, and to work with public defenders as they enter into appropriate contracts with local government. There is $1 million to fund a pilot project as well. In future years, we will be seeking additional state funding for this major responsibility currently borne entirely by the counties.
Skelly points out that things have changed since the time that article was published.
Secondly, on the subject of Judge Jennifer Brunner, I got this from Robert Essex, a public defender in Franklin County who appears before her regularly:
"I am more than familiar with the type of judge you refer to who constantly looks to the prosecutor and says "What do you want to have happen?" I, like you, deal with this everyday and it is extremely frustrating.
The situation in this case, however, involved an attorney who I am confident in saying over 95% of the defense bar in this city believes was out of line. Mr. Vogel is not a "legal aid" lawyer as you incorrectly state. He is a lawyer in private practice who has since been removed from the court appointment list due to his irrational behavior.
Although you are correct about many judges constantly siding with the prosecutor, I hope you are responsible enough to recognize you may be wrong about this one."
If a public defender is willing to publicly back a judge while diming out a fellow defense lawyer--yes that means quite a bit to me. So let me publicly recognize that I might be wrong about this. I'm still very concerned about a jail sentence of 40 days for something that doesn't on it's face seem contemputous, but I am also willing to allow for the possibility that the lawyer was a bit off his rocker (as Mr. Essex suggests). Not a full-fledged retraction, but certainly worth a public airing.
So is a 40 day jail for suggesting that the judge was trying to coerce a plea extreme? Feel free to post away about my errors or your assement of Judge Brunner's conduct.