Meet ‘Em and Plead ‘Em: Is This the Best Practice?

A defense attorney arrives in court to represent a new client. She is given a cursory police report and/or complaint. If the attorney is lucky, she may have an opportunity to view the state’s file that includes a printout of the client’s criminal history. The state makes an offer to the new client, and it sounds decent. Perhaps the state offers probation when the client may not otherwise be eligible. Maybe the state offers a deferred prosecution or diversion program. Perhaps the offer is prison time, but by the defense attorney’s understanding of the criminal history, the offer is a lot less time than the client would be facing at trial.