Tough Times Call For Tough Representation

Photo of Gary S. Bernstein

A Good Man as Well as a Prosecutor

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2016 | Criminal Defense |

We are very fortunate in Maryland that the people hired to prosecute criminal cases are good decent people with compassion, as well as being smart.  It helps create a bond of trust and respect between the state and the defense. It creates a wonderful atmosphere to try cases and I have had my share of good trials the past two weeks.  Yesterday (Friday) something happened that was not unusual, but it was just really really nice.

While eating lunch with another lawyer I get a call from a girl about a case she has MONDAY in Towson District Court. She tells me she misplaced the notice and it wasn’t her fault, etc… I tell her I will call her back and quote her a fee that she says she will have tomorrow (meaning today). I call her back and get her name. She is here on a Green Card from Honduras and is getting her money together to finish the immigration process. She lives in Bronx, New York with her family. She is 19 years old and works 2 jobs. I look up the case and the car’s tag she drove was suspended for vehicle emissions. All downhill from there. She has no license, the car has no insurance, and on and on- 10 tickets. I ask her why she drove. She was visiting relatives and the owner of the car got drunk. She then had to drive. I tell her I will call her back in 5-10 minutes. I call the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office District Court Division and find out the Everett Bryant has the case on Monday. He is free so he gets on the line and I run the case by him. He remembers the girl as he had the case when it was in the last time and postponed for her to get a lawyer. We discuss the facts as I know them and he has the police report and he agrees to drop everything but a payable ticket, provided she really lives in New York, etc… I tell him we will do a conference call with her and he says it is not necessary because my word is good enough. I say I have known her for about 5 minutes and I am not going to sell him a pig in a poke (whatever that means- Jews do not raise pigs seeing we are not supposed to eat them- I will be having ham on Easter). We call her back and get the story and confirm she lives in New York, does not have a license, etc… I ask her how she is going to get down here for court on Monday morning and she says she will take a bus on Sunday. That was enough for Everett, he interrupts and says no she isn’t. Her immigration status would be altered by the incarcerable charges, and what she did was what a 19 year old kid would do under the circumstances. She drove well enough without having a driver’s license(like Michael Meyers did in Halloween) as she apparently she has some driver’s education. I tell her to remember to correct people if she hears them speaking badly about police and prosecutors and she tells us she is thinking of being a cop. She does not believe us and keeps asking if she is going to get a warrant on her. I tell her the prosecutor is on the line and he says she can stay home, no fines, no costs, and I say no legal fee (although when I retold the story to my suite mate I said she still had to send me the fee and I thought he was going to throw something at me). When we hang up she asks me my name again as she She calls me back 10 minutes later to verify that what went on was real. I told her it was over and done with. Her sister called an hour ago to make sure the charges are being dropped. They were not on case Search yet. I told her it all happens on Monday.

After we disconnect her Everett tells me there is absolutely no purpose to be served from prosecuting this kid. She is not going to re-offend and there is no reason for the judicial system to get involved in her life. He could have made her pay one of the tickets on-line. he could have made her get on a bus and come to MD, or in the time he took to analyze this, he could do the right thing and let this girl get on with her life. Neither Everett nor I will ever hear from her again, and she absolutely does not know his name to call back and thank him.

I do not know the Honduran justice system, but she and her family know that there is fairness in the American justice system, and I am sure that today she is happy to be in this country. She’ll be happier on Monday when she sees the charges dismissed on Case Search. Everett is not alone in the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office as being fair in these kind of circumstances. However it was so nice to hear how excited this girl was when we explained all this was over and she could move forward in her life, that Everett’s decency deserves to be memorialized somewhere. He should feel as good about himself as this girl feels about how she was treated. The hand bag that Donald Trump says the country is going to hell in may not be as large as he thinks since Everett and his fellow young prosecutors are our future leaders.