What if the government is not offering a reasonable plea bargain?
There are some cases in which a prosecutor won’t give us what we would think is a reasonable plea offer. A classic example of that, unfortunately having been a former prosecutor myself, I see prosecutors now that they get certain kinds of cases, such as sexual assault of a child, sexual assault those sorts of cases, they will quite often give really high offers because they think that if they go to trial they will get a conviction.
Not necessarily, because the facts support the conviction, but because it’s such a heinous offense that’s been alleged, all they have to do is walk in the courtroom and go, “hey this guys been accused of sexually assaulting his nephew,” well you might imagine a jury usually thinks that person is the lowest form of life, even though the facts may not support that.
So, what my job becomes is to get through to the prosecutor that they have two options—you can give us a reasonable offer, or if they won’t do it I’ll go to their chief, I’ll go to the District Attorney, if its federal case I will go to whoever is running the US attorney’s office, wherever the office is located, and we will not stop until we get to the top. I don’t jump over people, in other words I am very respectful of the line prosecutors, but if I think they are abusing their power I will go over their heads and I will get the type answer that we’re looking for and if we don’t get it from anybody, then we go forward if the client decides to do that.
Something I never lose sight of is it’s the clients decision, it’s not my decision, so if the client determines it’s not a reasonable offer, not me, because the clients life’s at stake, reasonable with the client—that’s all that matters. If we don’t get there then we go to trial, but that’s how we get a reasonable offer—is by not stopping at one unreasonable offer, but rather appealing to a higher source if we need to.