My first case (Long)
Anyway in a small Tennessee town just north of my hometown I tried a case for a CDL driver I knew on a probono basis. It was crazy. No one in the town knew who was the prosecuting attorney! The City Court had no clerk and the girl who gave traffic ticketinfo said for Court Rules I'd have to talk to the Judge who only came on court days.
So anyway I got there early and the court was in city hall aldermansroom. The judge saw my client and I were there early and called us. I introduced myself. Judge- "He got a traffic ticket. So what's the problem" After a momentary shock at the judges confrontational attitude. I made a motion to dismiss based on the several due process defects in the ticket (court and time were scratched out, no subsection, etc).
Judge - Due Process What's that? Oh that a technicality. We don't care about technicalities here.
Me- Legal jargon on importance of due process
Judge- So did he run the traffic light or not?
Me- Well your Hon. thats irrelevant to a motion to dismiss, but we plan to plead not guilty.
At this point the clerk is getting scared and saying they have to transfer to Gen. Sess. Court and my client needs to post bond. (as near as I can figure they take the money for non-guilty pleas and treat as municipal violations and treat guilty as state criminal offenses.)I argue I haven't enter a plea, my client is entitled to a trial, andappeals are to circuit court per statue. Offering to show them the statue.(Judge mutters "its just a traffic ticket")
At which point a random police officer starts saying he was there and describing a standard running red light. He and my client start havinga conversation which I try to shut off and then after realizing this was the best I was going to get in terms of a trial sort of guide in the right direction. Judge acts like this is whats suppose to happen. (not according to law school) I get the officer to admit it would have been unsafe for my client to stop. (He gave me that one. Once you start testi-lying when you are not there I guess anything complicated you give benefit of doubt to opponent.) Argue that was a clear case of necessity.
At which point a light clicked in judges head. (assuming he was thinking of a way to get rid of me as this had been going on for fifteen minutes and was probably the longest traffic trial in the history of the town.) "Well wouldn't this affect his job" I launch into a description of how important driving records areto CDL drivers and how drastic anything on his record would be. "Well we don't like to affect peoples jobs around here orinsurance rates" Judge looks meaningfully at me (I think it was a don't do this again look just go for a dismissal with costs) "I'll dismiss this with costs." So thats my first case. Even though I didn't get this dismissed completely I'm chalking it down as a win. (I'm not entirely sure a complete dismissal would have been possible in that court and a dismissal with cost was the goal going into. )
I went into Deliverance country with a hostile Judge/Prosecutor and kept a CDL driver's record clean on an intersection where a truck had caused a fatal accident about amonth or two before. My client was extremely happy and on the drive back talked about how assertive I was, they couldn't shut me up, and they would have told him to "just pay the ticket boy".