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jury trial no defendant....sentenced 20 yrs....attorney a big-0-


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#1 bell04_1149

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:53 PM

My son has been on drugs since 14 now 37...in and out of prison for stealing small stuff..never hurt anyone but himself and family's hearts.....but he ran from police a few times..that made them mad...so he became known in our small town and always made front page .
Ttwo yrs ago he was out on parole , did not see his parole officer so a warrent was issued...he was caught at a drug dealers home...he had nothing on him and the deal had not been made...the home owner said the stuff was all his...in the evidence pack his statement was that the stuff was all his and even had photos of drugs in his crack ......my son was charged with manuf meth...and other charges dealing with meth...went back to prison for parole violation......served out and finally "GOT IT" how stupid he had been all those yrs..
So now it has been 2 yrs he has done everything perfect...drug screens 2x a month clean....home arrest at 350.00 a month times 10 months...allowed to work and go to church...... we get a lawyer....he says all will work out...my son says he will give 5,000.00 to area drug task force...will talk to students take 10 yrs probation..anything but go back to prison.....then he decides trial is best...the lawyer calls him once to come in......then he calls his lawyer a few times ...each time reasured it will work out and be conuined untill the home owner goes to trial first......so on the 19th of nov....he goes.....it was suppose to be a hearing on evidence.....but it is the trial ...right then and there....he ask his lawyer to put it off...judge NO ask about evidence...NO ask to get new lawyer... NO........So he turned and ran.....THey had jury trial without him....he got 20 yrs......an escape charge and persistant felon charge......
Can this really happen....yes he was wrong to run but this just seems wrong....Can Anyone Help...

#2 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:02 AM

You did not say in what state this happened, and that matters because it is state law that applies here. There must have been some miscommunication or other problem somewhere because trials are scheduled in advance so that the prosecution and defense can prepare, ensure that witnesses are there, etc. Evidence hearings don't suddenly get converted into a trial without advance notice.

As I understand the facts, your son showed up at court for the day that this trial began and when he found out the trial was to be held that day, he fled the courthouse and didn't return. If that's what happened, then very likely the trial could indeed proceed without him. He knew the trial was going to occur and had the opportunity to participate in his defense, but chose instead to flee.

As for whether the sentence is appropriate, I cannot comment on that without knowing all the details of his history, what these most recent convictions were for, and in what state this took place. I will note, however, that "persistent felon" status indicates he's had a history of felony convictions, and at some point most states take a hard stand against guys who go out and commit crimes over and over again by having some sort of habitual criminal statute that locks them up for a very long time. It may be that your son simply got into trouble one too many times and the state got tired of it.

Your assertion that he's not ever hurt anyone other than himself is obviously not true — he was a thief, and stealing other people's stuff hurts the people from whom he stole. That's part of the reason why he's got a problem if he has a history of stealing over and an over again. The relatively small sentences he got for it before evidently weren't enough to deter him from crime, so to make the point to him, he now has 20 years to serve.

As his parent, I can see why you'd think it unfair. But fair or not, the law may allow for what happened to him. You may hire a criminal defense attorney who does post conviction relief to see if there is anything that can be done. Perhaps his lawyer screwed up and didn't know that the court date was for the trial. That might get him a shot at reversal for ineffective assistance of counsel. It might also give him a legal malpractice claim to pursue.

#3 bell04_1149

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:55 AM

we are in ky near Lake Cumberland....He went to court thinking it was a evidence hearing...Yes he had a Really bad lawyer......Thanks

#4 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:47 AM

I agree with the previous poster, you may wish to discuss this matter with a local Kentucky Legal Malpractice Lawyer to address your concerns. Legal malpractice lawyers help sue a former attorney for malpractice based on issues like conflict of interest, ineffective assistance of counsel, and other attorney misconduct.

#5 LegalwriterOne

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:29 AM

First, your son was the client so any action would have to be by him, not you. Second, he cannot sue for malpractice unless and until he is exonerated. Ky requires that the conviction be overturned before any malpractice issue would lie. As to asserting ineffective counsel, it's a bit hard to make that argument when the client ran from the trial. That he didn't realize it was the trial date may not be the attorney's fault. It might be because your son did not understand what the attorney was telling him. People who do drugs for an extended period of time often have severe comprehension problems and when they start using at a young age, as your son has, the problem is only exacerbated. I agree, however, that consulting another attorney would be a good idea.

#6 pg1067

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:52 AM

You didn't ask a question, and I'm not really sure what the purpose of your post is. I also doubt that you are at all qualified to be judging the quality of the services that your son's lawyer provided.

The issue seems to be that, two years after the arrest and parole violation, he was prosecuted for the meth manufacturing charge. You said that his lawyer "reasured [him that] it will work out," but it's not at all clear what the lawyer actually said, what he meant, or how your son interpreted what the lawyer told him.

You then said that the November 19 appearance was "suppose[d] to be a hearing on evidence" but, instead, was the trial. But you didn't say why you (and your son presumably) thought it would only be an evidentiary hearing. Perhaps your son made a mistake; perhaps the lawyer made a mistake; perhaps they both made a mistake. Impossible to know from here.

You said your son "ask[ed] his lawyer to put it off," but it wasn't within the lawyer's power to do that. Apparently, the lawyer followed your son's instruction to the extent possible and requested that the court continue the trial, but the court declined to do so, and it was within the court's discretion to do that.

You then said, "ask about evidence...NO," but I don't know what you meant by that.

You said your son "ask[ed] to get new lawyer" and the court denied that request as well. Again, it was well within the court's discretion to do that.

Now you seem to be complaining not only about the consequences of your son's admittedly wrongful decision to run, but also the consequences of his lifetime of criminal behavior. I get that you're his parent, but think about how this looks to strangers like us -- who are completely objective.

Did his lawyer commit malpractice and/or provide ineffective assistance of counsel? There's no possible way for us to know. As noted above, it's impossible to tell from what you've written why you and your son thought the trial date would be merely an evidentiary hearing. Did the lawyer improperly reassure your son about the possible outcome of the case? Again, no way for us to know, but I would not be surprised if the lawyer tells a very different story than your son, including that he gave your son any number of disclaimers about the possible outcomes. It's also impossible for us to know what happened at trial.

Note that, even if the lawyer made a mistake or two, that doesn't necessarily mean your son had ineffective assistance of counsel. The state still had to prove it's case beyond a reasonable doubt, and the jury obviously concluded that the state did exactly that. It's also worth pointing out that, even if your son fled the courtroom before the jury was present, his decision to flee probably was used against him because it made him look awfully guilty.


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