July 16th, 2010
Someone reminded me the other day that it’s been over 4 months since I last put anything new on my blog. I’ve been a little too tied up in trial to engage in much self-promotion.
Starting in April, I came out swinging in 3 nasty felony jury trials…
In the first trial, I represented a fellow criminal defense lawyer accused of aggravated assault for choking his girlfriend and kicking her in the face, breaking her cheekbone. It’s a different ballgame when the DA prosecutes a lawyer, but it’s even worse when they have a chance to prosecute a lawyer who opposes them in court on a daily basis. This was one of the most personally hostile cases, and most bizarre trials, I have ever taken part in. We made our case for self-defense, and the jury found my client NOT GUILTY on all counts.
In the second trial, another one of my clients was accused of shooting at a car full of women and children at an apartment complex during a domestic dispute with his girlfriend–(he was accused of shooting at the girlfriend, too, as she got out of the car and walked up a flight of stairs. Then he fled, forced his way into an apartment in a different complex, and engaged police in a stand-off until he finally surrendered peacefully.
In a nutshell, this is how the whole thing played out…
Prosecutor: “If your guy pleads to 15 years for shooting at the girlfriend, we’ll dismiss the rest of the charges for shooting at the car.”
Bristol: “My client’s not as bad a guy as he seems on paper. Besides, he’s already serving 8 years flat (no parole) in the federal system just for possessing the gun. Isn’t that enough?”
Prosecutor: “He shot at women and children. I think 15 more years is a gift.””
Bristol: “Let’s see what a jury thinks.”
After trial, the jury found my client guilty and sentenced him to six-and-a-half years and a $6000 fine, far less than the 15 years the DA wanted.
Juror: (to Bristol) “Regardless of how dangerous your client was that day, I could just tell he is not an evil person at heart.”
My last client stood trial for attempted burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit sexual assault. He was accused of jumping the fence of a local battered women’s shelter and attempting to force his way into two rooms, all while he was masturbating. If he pled guilty, the DA would agree to 4 years in prison. We opted to let a jury decide whether he was guilty or not. The testimony of the women at trial did not hold up well under my cross-examination, and the jury ended up returning a verdict of guilty on a lesser charge. And while the judge sentenced my client to 7 years in prison, my client will NOT have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, thanks to the jury’s verdict.
Bear in mind that every case is different, and just because I was able to get these results in these cases, it does not mean I can do the same in other cases.
But at least you have a sense of what I do when I’m not blogging.
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