First I would like to thank all of the people at Excessive Bail for having me here. I have never had an executive staff and and a corner office suite (and truthfully I still don’t) but it’s still nice to be here. As the title of the blog suggests Execessive Bail is a site that discusses how criminal courts and the procedures and people who surround them don’t operate on the principles we were taught in law school, the Constitution (or sometimes any principles whatsoever). I’m sure we’ll discuss how the law shouldn’t differ from one county to the next, but it does (a lot). And, how sometimes simple legislative ideas become nightmares to those of us who work in the court system and those who are processed by the system.
I often hear from you out there about how you think the system works. It’s so amusing to listen to your high moral principles. For example, if a defendant hasn’t been read his or her rights that acts like a ”get out of jail” card. I shrug my shoulders go back to work and have to deal with, “take the minimum or risk the maximum.” And you would think that judges would just step in and put a stop to that (but sadly they are sometimes the source of the problem). Many call this a trial tax where the judge will add to the sentence just because the defendant chose to go to trial. Or set Excessive Bail which keeps the defendant in jail awaiting trial so there is pressure to complete the case. It turns out it is more important to get the case disposed of quickly.
I am sure it will be a fun ride. As an old lawyer once told me after I had appeared before a judge with my client, “This is theater, man, you have got to make it look more difficult if you want to make a living.” As it turns out there’s a lot more theater to this whole system and hopefully we will get a chance to pull back the curtain and see the dancing girls changing, so that you can appreciate that not all of the dancing girls are girls.