Just cut this little anecdote...
“Listen, brother,” I start again. I’m addressing one particular client. Unlike all the others, he hasn’t yet talked to a lawyer. It’s late; night court is almost over, and I have a choice. I can either leave this kid for the day shift—meaning another night in the cramped cells behind the courtroom—or I can try to get him out in front of the judge. The kid is charged with selling three bags of marijuana to an undercover officer.
Meet and plead...
And while he’d been arrested before he has only one previous criminal conviction, it is a pretty good bet that the judge will give him time served—essentially a sentence of the day or so it takes to get the kid from the streets to the courtroom. Around me, the other men are filtering out one by one to be arraigned. Most pled guilty to the charge or to some lesser charge, receiving a fine, time served, or some community service. Some, charged with more serious crimes, have bail set and are brusquely returned to the well.
I turn to the kid: “I had you pulled because it’s late and the judge is gonna leave soon and I need to know if you want to take time served to get outta here. You are charged with selling marijuana. I can probably get you out, but it’d require that you plead guilty,” my voice trails off, but the kid only has one question.
“Tonight?” he asks, giving me a hard look to see if I’m serious.
“Yeah, brother, right now, cop to the sale and you’re outta here.”
“Let’s do it,” he says, breaking into a broad grin.
Our lawyer-client relationship: 15 seconds.