Though still on vacation, I have been trying to keep up every other day or so with what's happening on sleepy Long Island. August 7th must have been a slow news day, because both the NY Law Journal and Newsday covered the self-aggrandizing "press conference" by some attorney (who shall remain nameless, less we give him an even bigger head than he already has) and the asinine law suit he filed against Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and Nassau County's Administrative Judge Hon. Anthony Marano. Now this particular lawyer, files more frivolous law suits than any other lawyer I have ever met. (I should know, he has filed at least 2 against me, making me a lot of money both times.) He usually holds a press conference each time he files one of them. Usually, the press overlooks these lawsuits, but like I said, the courts are vacationing, as are many of the lawyers, and it must have been a slow, slow, sloooowwww, news day on the 7th.
The law suit was filed, because this "Attorney" thinks that District Attorney Rice's plea bargaining policy is unconstitutional. He went on to cite a couple of Federal cases (that do not even remotely have anything to do with the issues), and then held a press conference. This is not the first time this guy has sued Rice. Back during the Halloween Egg Toss Case, this "lawyer" was the first one to run to the district attorney's office and beg them for a plea bargain, so his client could plead guilty to an act that was never a crime. Then, when the District Attorney's office didn't offer a plea bargain he liked, he invited them to put the case in front of a grand jury. When they did, he sued to be allowed to plea his poor client TO THE CHARGE (again he held a press conference to announce the lawsuit!!!!) DA Rice let him enter the plea to the charge. My client resisted the pressure of her co-defendants and instead went before the grand jury ALONE. She beat the trumped up charges that were brought against her. Mr. Lawsuit (obviously embarassed)then brought on a motion to allow his client to withdraw his plea based on my client's grand jury result!!! I have been told his motion was denied.
Salvatore Marinello, Chair of the Nassau County Bar Association's Criminal Law and Procedure Committee (a Committee I once chaired)was asked to comment on the tactic of suing the District Attorney. He told it like it is, to wit: ""As much as I don't agree with the policies, I really don't think I can say they're unconstitutional." He went on to say that the lawsuit has no merit.
Sal Marinello is right. The policies are ridiculously harsh for first offenders, however the self promoting, unnamed lawyer's lawsuit, is frivolous. You see, prosecutors have no duty to plea bargain cases. Hence Rice's position is not only constitutional, it's codified in the laws of the State of NY.
Nevertheless, there are a few things that the defense bar should be doing (that thus far it has not done) to convince District Attorney Rice that she should rethink her position. I will outline them in a post over at our sister blog Long Island (Criminal)Trial Lawyer. In the meantime the lawsuit that has been filed is a waste of taxpayers money and really gives a black eye to the legal profession. Far be it from me to tell Supreme Court Judge Tom Phelan what to do, but I think the case should be dismissed, and the lawyer fined for bringing it. Maybe then he will stop squealing about plea bargaining policies, and concentrate on winning the cases brought to him by clients who think they are hiring a criminal defense lawyer and not "Monty Hall."