So, today was a bad, bad day (only this pic cheered me up, hence I posted it). One of the attorneys who has been in our office 20 plus years has decided to leave. It is for a mixture of personal and professional reasons, which I won't go into. But it is bad news. She is irreplaceable and it almost certainly means substanially more work for the rest of us. She had many of the serious felonies and everyone is very, very worried. To be honest I'm not sure how much more work I can do. In other news, a DA who sometimes reads my blog complained about the fact that I bitch so much about the DA here in Kenai. He said my reporting was not accurate because I did not tell my readers that when I said the DA had won only 2 out of 7 cases. I did not tell the world that some of those were hung juries. So, to set the record straight, some of those were hung juries. I stand by my earlier position: the DA still did not convince the jury as to guilt. I'm not sure how that qualifies as a "win". I remain intensely frustrated with my work. This DA pointed some things out to me that will, quite frankly, change the way I practice law here. I realized that my frustration stems from 3 sources. First, I was under the impression that there would be more personal freedom here in Alaska. To an extent there is. However, at least in Kenai, it seems the cops are called over every little thing and every little thing is charged. It is really quite remarkable how many police officers are here on the Kenai Peninsula and how people call them for the most minor infractions. I mean do cops need to be called for a "disorderly conduct" on private property? For too much noise at a bar on the Fourth of July? I could go on and on but both of those are real examples of cases I have had. I expected people in Alaska to be more independent and a little tougher. So I am disappointed. Believe me, this is a feeling that is not just mine. Everyone in my office is amazed at the charges people get here, as is the private bar. Moreover I am assured that things used to be different when there was a different DA. So that is the first source of discontent for me. Second, is my case load. I expected a more laid back lifestyle. But here, I am working harder than in California. As I have said, I can only do it by volunteering at least 20 hours a week to the State. The bulk of my case load is just BS misdemeanors. The mistake I have been making is thinking that if I called the DA and screamed "what the F&*^ is this S*&^" they would see my point of view. Not so much. So from now on, I won’t do it. It is ineffective and gives me heart burn. The DA mentioned above has convinced me to stop. From now on I will try to resolve the case by asking for an offer. That's it. If the DA wants to be unreasonable, I will not complain or whine. I will simply say this: "ready for trial". Let’s see what happens. I may very well lose. But instead of the DA’s thinking all I can do is whine and complain when I am handed BS case after BS case, they will think "when will he stop"? In every town I have practiced I have been considered one of the best trial lawyers. In time, I am sure it will be the same here. The best trial lawyers get the best offers. So no more complaining. Ready for trial. Finally, the source of my frustration comes from the perception I had that Alaska was the "Last Frontier". People could do what they wanted. Nonsense. Again, it is way better than most places. But it is not what I expected. Life in Alaska is really NO different than any place else. Don’t let anyone tell you anything different. But big changes are coming. Here’s why. Our district court judge was just voted out. He will be replaced soon. One Superior Court judge announced today he is leaving in June. The other Superior Court judge is in the Reserves and is getting called to active duty to Iraq in August. The State is making a third Superior Court position. So there are four new judges coming, who hopefully see the world more as I do (i.e. not everyone needs to be prosecuted to the hilt for every possible "offense"). There are changes coming in the PD and DA offices (for good or for bad). If some of the rumors about changes to the DA's office are true, maybe this summer I can actually have a decent case load. Spend some time fishing. But I will change my perception. I appreciate the DA setting me straight. No more trying to convince the DA. Ready for trial. P.S. Kadee is already thinking about the Outdoors this summer too!


Anonymous said…
i know you're bummed that the person was convicted, but was he or she guilty of the charges?
Who knows? Even if I DID know, I sure would not say so publicly. That is not the issue anyways. The ONLY issue in a criminal trial is whether the government can prove the charges. I don't care if my client is guilty and I don't ask. Obviously the DA did prove the case to the jurors in this case.
Anonymous said…
You're an idiot. Why are you an idiot? For one thing, you're creating a personal diary in which you exposre your thoughts for the entire DA's office to read at its leisure. I'm sure your clients would be thrilled to know that.

And second, I fail to see any difference between you and Jay Kuo, who was reprimanded for a judge for whining about other lawyers and/or bragging about how great a trial lawyer he was on his blog. Which the judge read in its entirety once the DA got hold of it, of course.

Common sense isn't common.
Anonymous said…
Warning: Blogs can be hazardous to your career...
Judge Reprimands Temp Prosecutor for Blog Posts

A California attorney with the firm of Keker & Van Nest, while participating in a job swap with the San Francisco DA's office, was reprimanded by the judge overseeing a misdemeanor case he was prosecuting. The judge found out about comments made in the attorney's personal blog!

"[The judge] didn't find the postings prejudicial enough to throw out the entire case, as the defense wanted. But in turning down that motion to dismiss this week, the judge still came down hard on ex-prosecutor Jay Kuo, calling his conduct "juvenile, obnoxious and unprofessional." Karnow also stated his intention to send his written ruling to the State Bar.

The contents of the blog posts were not available online Wednesday, but according to Karnow's ruling, Kuo at various points called his opposing counsel "chicken" when she asked for a continuance, directly alluded to her with some posting titles obscene enough that the judge did not repeat them and mentioned a prior conviction that had not yet been deemed admissible at trial."

It was not only the judge who didn't appreciate the attorney's blog entries. "Kuo, who declined to comment on the ruling itself, did say he resigned from the temporary position after his posts on the Web site had made their way around the DA's office. "It was just not a comfortable environment to be in any more," he said."

Remember: You never know who is reading your blog out there, so be smart about what you post.

Excerpt taken from on
Thanks for your concerns. However, if you notice I am not talking about any particular clients. Gee I'm sure my clients would be upset to know that I think the DA is over-prosecuting. I am told that the DA herself reads my blog every day now. So what? If you don't see any difference between my general postings and Jay Kuo then you are not reading carefully enough. I HOPE the DA's read my blog. If they have a complaint they are free to take it to the Judge. I don't personally attack any of them, although I do think some of their policies are unfair. I also don't mention inadmissible evidence. Here is another BIG difference. I am a defense attorney talking about the DA. Wow. What a concept. Even more mind boggling is that I do not always agree with how they do business. I should be reported to the State Bar for that. I'm not sure who you are (because you choose to remain anonymous) but I suggest you read a little more carefully before you say I am idiot. Thank you for your input.
Anonymous said…
I just discovered your blog. You may not see this comment because it is on an older post, but I just wanted to comment on your expectations about your workload. I am a lawyer in AK. I was a public defender for a few years in the 90's and I have continued to practice criminal law. All of the PDs that I know - past and present - work very hard. No one works only a 40 hour week. It is not realistic to expeect to work only 5 days per week and be off by 5 p.m. I always worked at least one weekend day and I always worked late during the week. If I was in trial, I worked many, many more hours. The State of AK pays well and offers great benefits. You have a good job and like all other PDs, you will be expected to work hard and put in the time.
I don't MIND working hard. It is just that I expected it to be different. And I disagree.....this winter I will put in the hours but this summer I will not work past 5 p.m. if I can help it. Obviously I have professional responsibilities but I get paid to 4:30 p.m. IF I can get away with that in the 4 months of nice weather I will. And by the way the State doesn't pay that well or offer that great of benefits. I took a $13,000 a year pay CUT. Check out tier 4 benefits sometimes...the State dramatically cut benefits as of July 1, 2006. But thanks for the comments.
Anonymous said…
hahha, some of these folks that make these anonymous comments really have no idea as to what goes on here.

I too will remain anon, but what the public defender has been posting is absolutely true on most if not all counts.

There are those on the inside and those on the outside, some are way way way on the outside.

mrtattoo13 said…
As a "defendant" to say that the justice system is lacking, is a understatement!But a least with a competent P.D. the average defendant might stand a chance. So thanks for at least not giving up like so many others in your chosen field.

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