27 May 2005

Who Gets the Blame?

A comment from my Prosecutors with Firearms post:
If a defendant looses a capital case who's facing either death or very long time, who does he blame? The defense lawyer or the prosecutor?
Well, yesterday a client of mine left the courtroom screaming at me1 and the deputy wouldn't let me go back to the lockup area to talk to him until they had him locked behind a door and I could speak to him through a screen. Once I got back to talk with him I found out all sorts of interesting things about my parentage, my competency, and my greed2; He never once said anything about the prosecutor or judge. It was all my fault.

Defense attorneys are yelled at, threatened, and blamed by their clients all the time. And we have to interact with these folks far more often than the prosecutor. Last week I was at a section of a local prison interviewing a client and during the interview they were so worried about him that they had him tethered so that he could not get to me. I'd bet everyone has heard stories about defense attorneys getting hit or stabbed by their own clients. I know this happens to prosecutors and judges too but suspect I am in a dangerous situation more often then they are. Heck, perhaps the General Assembly will give me the right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit too. Maybe a nice Mac 10?"

1 It went something like this: "You're fired! I want another lawyer! You're fired! He (prosecution witness) has a capias on him - tell them he has a capias on him! He should be going to jail! They're lying! He has a capias!! Tell them he has a capias! You're worthless! You're fired! You're fired!" It was at the end of a preliminary hearing and he was mildly upset because I couldn't wave my magic wand and make his case disappear.

2 I can discuss this (at least generally) because he was yelling so loudly that even the class of high-school kids who were outside observing the courtroom could hear it.; there is no way you can claim a reasonable expectation of privacy in that conversation.


Windypundit said...

Nah, the crappy MAC 10 is for street thugs. A distinguished officer of the court like yourself should get a Heckler and Koch MP5. All the really cool SWAT teams have them.

Mister DA said...

Nah. Something in at least a .40 S&W or .45ACP -- gun control means keeping all your rounds in the center of mass, not spray and pray.

Windypundit said...

Who said anything about spray and pray? With an MP5, you don't spray rounds unless you want to.

I was in Florida on business a few years ago, and I visited a gun range that would let visitors shoot a few machine guns---excuse me, fully-automatic rifles---for a fixed fee plus ammo costs. Being from Chicago, I felt I had to try the Tommy gun, which was okay, but kind of tiring.

The MP5, on the other hand, was a real pleasure and a hell of a lot of fun. I went back three nights in a row, and I must have put 1000 rounds through that gun without a single jam.

I did empty the 30-round magazine in one burst a few times, just to see what that's like: Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat in a little under two seconds. Amazing.

But if I just squeezed the trigger briefly, I got nice controlled bursts: Brapapapapap...Brapapap...Brapapapapap right in the center of mass.

Short controlled bursts. Your key to effective personal defense.

(I find .45 ACP a little too harsh to use without a lot of practice, but .40 S&W is very nice.)

Anonymous said...

I was in Florida on business a few years ago, and I visited a gun range that would let visitors shoot a few machine guns---excuse me, fully-automatic rifles---for a fixed fee plus ammo costs.

I need to change careers.

Mister DA said...

I confess to no personal experience with the MP5, and to a general prejudice against that whole class of sub-machine guns/ machine pistols. Modern, controlled burst weapons like the MP5 have their place in certain kinds of small unit actions, but for personal defense, give me a 1911A1 variant (or direct descendant) anytime. In .45 or .40 only, thank you.

Anonymous said...

You mention being yelled at and attacked, but there's also what this guy did.