A criminal case is high stakes because of the potential penalties involved, but it doesn't necessarily follow that it also needs to be high drama. Yes, heated exchanges concerning the facts or legal issues are par for the court system's course, but you never want to see your case become impacted by personality clashes among the court's main players – the lawyers and judges.
District Attorney v. Criminal Defense Attorney
Take, for example, the recent situation in Western Pennsylvania that saw a white district attorney tell his deputies not to make plea deals with a particular black criminal defense attorney.
Earlier this year, Stephen A. Zappala Jr. circulated an email in his department instructing deputy prosecutors that “[n]o plea offers are to be made” with Milton Raiford because, according to the email, Raiford had demonstrated “unprofessional conduct” in open court and had gone on a “convoluted critical diatribe.”
The “diatribe” to which Zappala apparently referenced Raiford's expression during court proceedings on May 13 that he believed “the criminal justice system is systematically racist.”
Zappala told his staff that cases could proceed “by general plea, nonjury or jury trial” and that any withdrawal of charges had to be approved by the front office.
Raiford declared the move “vindictive,” and Zappala has expressed no further public comment on the matter. Raiford also noted that Zappala's proclamation only hurt Raiford's clients, who, of course, had nothing to do with their attorney's behavior.
When Court Players Aren't Playing Nice
While this is an extreme example of conflict among criminal justice system personnel, unfortunately, similar personality clashes could potentially affect your case. Unfortunately, the court system isn't immune to the effects of the various personalities and egos involved in any given case. In normal situations, each party can put aside any personal conflicts or ill feelings and still get the job done.
But what if this doesn't happen? When individuals can't manage to put personal differences aside to perform their court duties properly, you may begin to see tension between attorneys or even between attorneys and a judge. These situations can escalate quickly and put your freedom at risk. In a criminal case, especially, the potential consequences of having a case derailed by these types of personal disagreements can be downright devastating to a defendant.
Get Independent Legal Counsel Immediately
If your case is being affected by any type of personality clash among judges, lawyers, or anyone else involved in the case — that has nothing to do with your case — now is the time to let an experienced criminal defense attorney step in and make sure your rights are protected. You don't want to let this go any further.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the team at Lento Law Firm have the experience and skill required to help you maneuver successfully through even the stickiest of personality clashes your case may face. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.