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Quote of the Day - My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it. - Mark Twain
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Momma, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Criminals

Fresh out of law school, I volunteered for the San Bernardino County District Attorney as a Deputy DA prosecutor. After having tried small-time criminal cases in law school (with a professor in tow) for the public defender's office, it was quite a mindset switch.

I prosecuted drunk driving cases, prostitution cases, petty theft and a host of other misdemeanor crimes. The underbelly of civilization.

One case I remember most was a mother who taught her 12-year old son how to switch the price tags on jeans at the Sears store in the local mall. Shoplifting was the charge.

For about $10.00. Sears was adamant to prosecute the matter. Most people thought it wasn't a big deal, and not a big case. Most of the other DAs in the office thought I'd lose it. I was up against a very experienced criminal lawyer who was good at charming juries. I was a wet-behind-the-ears, first-year lawyer.

It wasn't until I started to make my closing argument to the jury that I figured out how to pitch the case. It wasn't the $10.00 that was the point.

It was the fact that a mother was teaching her child to steal.

Now before you go any further, check out that last link. Think about why the trial court judge in that case didn't get it, and why it took five justices on an appellate court to drive the point home.

By the way, my 12-person jury got it. Mom was convicted, and the sentence involved counseling for both Mom and son.

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Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, February 10, 2005 at 19:37 Comments Closed (2) |
 
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