Oh god, Stickie… :(
Well, since that’s probably the last example (Bartholomew), that probably means it’s the last trial Stickie has to go through… and we don’t know that it’s Stickie yelling in disbelief, there. Maybe there’s some overly-zealous misandrist in the gallery who’s been viewing Stickie’s travails as a cause célèbre.
I suspect that the person yelling “No!” was the prosecuting attorney, because they were counting on getting a conviction to impress their superior and get a promotion.
She looks like the third woman who refused to participate in the rape examples. I think she really doesn’t like the author about now. Can’t blame her.
The case against Bartholomew was doomed from the start, though. The prosecutor had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Stickie didn’t consent and that Bartholomew knew that she didn’t consent. It’s an almost impossible task.
You mean the woman in the bottom left frame? the “no!” isn’t coming from her. It is coming from off frame.
Now I want some tacos. Anyone want to join me? We just need to get the cheese, and the salsa, and the beef, and the spices, and the shells, and the tomatoes, and the lettuce, and the sour cream…
Taco taco taco taco taco taco taco taco
I COUNT 28 TACOS THERE! That’s like, 14 tacos apiece! SHEESH!
Well, as has been noted…
So… two tacos for DC and the rest for Pi, then?
Dragons love tacos too. (funny kids’ book)
I’m lost here :-( There’s a parallel court trial going on here? Could anyone summarize/link so that I can make sense of it?
It’s a call-back to the chapter on rape: http://lawcomic.net/guide/?p=1228
Either it’s the trial of the last example in the chapter, or Stickie had a VERY bad week…
Thank you, good guy UsaSatsui!
Funny, I pictured Marv as more of a quesadilla man.
He needed to tell her, “I am nacho friend.”
Then she should respond with “Can’t we taco bout this?”
In your prosecutors office you have a poster of Satsuki with “OBEY” written under it, is there any way I could get a (preferably signed) full size copy of that?
Sure, email me at n.e.burney at gmail.
I wonder how often defense attorneys have to ask their clients if they are “still innocent?” Do most people take the plea bargain as soon as its offered or initially refuse and take it later?
I think he was being a little bit sarcastic. My guess is that, deep down, DC thinks his client is guilty. Most of them are, despite what they say.
I couldn’t find anything on how often pleas are offered at different stages, but I did find that more than 90% of cases end in a plea bargain, and that you’re far less likely to see one the further along in the process you go – the point is to avoid the time and expense in a trial, and the closer you get to the trial (or at the trial itself), the prosecution has lost that incentive to deal.
“Still innocent” means he thinks his client should plead out. Of course, Pi is only offering her last-minute deal because she knows that her case is really pretty weak and might not pass the jury.
Also, most criminal defense attorneys are conditioned to plead out wherever possible, even when they think they can win. I’m sure Nathan will explain more about courtroom workgroups in advanced crim pro, but the gist of it is that defense attorneys and prosecutors are co-workers more than they are adversaries, and a defense attorney who fights a lot of cases will get a bad reputation for clogging up the system.
DC established at the beginning of the scene that his client “isn’t going to plead guilty to something he didn’t do.” So he’s probably asking the question here more to communicate that fact to Pi than out of a genuine curiosity.
As for your second question, plea bargaining is a kind of negotiation. Both sides are exchanging trading off severity of punishment in exchange for finality. When and how these decisions are made varies as much as there are different kinds of cases, defendants, and prosecutors. As a rule, you’ll get a plea earlier the more certain a conviction is, and the greater the difference between the sentence after trial and the sentence being offered. That can mean a plea on day 1, or a plea in the middle of trial.
Let’s say you’re convicted of a crime that, after trial, is likely to get you 10 years in prison. If the case against you is strong, and the prosecutor is offering 5 years, you’re going to prefer the certainty of those 5 years to the strong possibility of 10 years. If the case against you is weak, on the other hand, you may prefer taking your chances with a jury (yeah, they usually convict, but your case is different) because you think the odds of going home free are better than the certainty of 5 years.
A lot of things affect this decision. You may think you can get a better deal from the prosecutor, and so you’ll delay taking the plea to make sure. The prosecutor may have a reputation of raising the plea at each stage of the case, making you want to take the plea earlier rather than later even if you think the case isn’t rock-solid. The offered plea might not be that much better than the trial sentence, so you feel what’s the point, roll the dice and try for an acquittal. You may have an irrational hope, a sullen acceptance, or the frantic indecision of panic. Your family may be hounding you to stand firm. They may be hounding you to admit guilt. There are more reasons to plead early or late than even I can imagine, and I’ve seen a lot.
Taking a plea means admitting guilt, and being convicted, of a lesser offense. You’re admitting you did it, and will suffer the consequences. If you really didn’t do it, should you? Some lawyers do advise taking a plea to cut one’s losses in the face of overwhelming odds. Others (myself included) will not advise someone to lie and convict themselves to avoid a harsher punishment. Ultimately, it’s the client’s own decision and nobody can make it for him. When and why he makes that decision is likewise up to him.
PS — It’s a little disingenuous to say the prosecutor is “giving something up” in this deal. She’s making you suffer less of a punishment than otherwise. That’s not giving up anything. It’s no skin off her nose one way or the other whether you get two years or twenty — she still gets paid the same, and actually her caseload is now one lighter. Looking more broadly, the State isn’t giving anything up, either. Sure, you’re getting less penalty than the legislature in its infinite wisdom wanted you to get (if they even thought it through this far). But the plea you’re given is very likely within a statutory framework — it’s already contemplated that you’ll get a plea, and the law restricts what the prosecutor can offer. Moreover, each prosecutor’s office has a sense of what a given crime is “worth,” given your criminal history and whatnot, and there will be a practice or even official guidelines of what pleas will be available. (The job of a defense attorney is very often to persuade the prosecutor that the case is “worth” less than the official going rate.) The point is that the State’s plea offer isn’t giving anything up even from the broader perspective — you’re still getting what the State already thinks is the appropriate punishment.
PPS — When I was a prosecutor, my practice was to give a written schedule of what the offer would be at each stage of the case. It always went up, the further along the case went. And the moment the first witness was sworn in, the offer was off the table. Once word got around that I meant it, you’d be amazed how many early pleas I got. (Later, though, I got a bureau chief with a reputation of undercutting his prosecutors’ offers on the eve of trial, and smart defense attorneys learned to ignore my plea schedule and pester my boss for a better deal later. Whaddaya gonna do.)
Quit and become a DC?
I’m surprised you drew someone having a cell phone in the court room, I just served on a jury and nobody in the courtroom could have their phones on. Probably differs from judge to judge, but still…
Nathan has said in the past that a lot of things in these comics (especially when it comes to how people talk and the relative lack of procedure) don’t reflect real courtroom etiquette, since that isn’t really part of what he’s covering (at this stage, at least). I would certainly assume this is one of those cases, but I’d be curious to know for sure…
It depends on the courthouse, mostly. Some don’t let cell phones in the building at all. Some only let attorneys have them, but not use them in the courtroom. Some turn a blind eye to attorneys using them, recognizing that they need to be in touch with superiors and colleagues. Some don’t care who’s using a phone, so long as it’s on silent and you’re not taking pictures or video.
You might be amazed at the differences in courtroom decorum depending on the judge and the type of court. Some courtrooms are hushed and reverent. Some courtrooms are noisy as hell and resemble a junior high cafeteria — and it’s the lawyers in the audience making all the noise. (Contrary to what you see on TV, most courtrooms don’t have an audience of interested citizens. Any given audience is going to consist almost entirely of people waiting their turn to get in front of the judge.)
You mean that Night Court did not represent reality? I’m shocked, simply shocked!
I dunno, the early seasons (before they went for “Oh so wacky!”) weren’t too far off, considering. Account for staging, artistic license, and the need for a plot rather than the rapid-fire “He-did-X-we’re-offering Y-and-ask-for-$2000-bail. It-should-be-$500-because-Z. Bail’s-$1000-be-back-in-two-weeks-NEXT!” of an actual Manhattan arraignment, and it wasn’t bad.
I feel like I went from 1L to 2L when I went from watching Night Court to Law and Order.
I know it’s been mentioned that we’ll get to plea deals later on, but I just came across this interesting account that seems relevant:
Thoughts, comments, screeds?