Thursday, May 05, 2005

Open Container

Finally resolved a case today for a client charged with "open container" in Albany City Court. Client was caught with a can of Bud Light on the street outside a bar (Mardi Gras). He had been to City Court several times but couldn't get the case resolved, so he hired me. The first time I appeared, the ADA (Assistant District Attorney) offered to "ACOD" (adjourn in contemplation of dismissal - effectively dismissing the case) if my client agreed to do 16 hours of community service. Apparently the assigned judge likes making college kids do community service.

I thought that was too much for a beer. Client agreed. The City Code provides a fine of up to $150, and/or up to 15 days in jail. No way he was going to get jail. A fine was appropriate. So we refused the deal and he pled guilty. The judge that was there refused to sentence him, told us to come back when the assigned judge was there, and ordered a pre-sentence investigation (PSI). PSI's are usually only done for felonies and serious misdemeanors. This charge is like a parking ticket, so PSI was totally unnecessary. Helped in the end though. We showed up this morning and the PSI said a lot of good things about the client and recommended a fine.

It is difficult for a judge to impose a heavier sentence than what the PSI says, so he was pretty much stuck. He fined my client $100, which is double the usual fine, but that was it. Client was happy. Judge looked pretty ticked at me. I had rubbed in his face that he couldn't do what he wanted. He'll get over it. He's too busy to hold a grudge.
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