Prosecution without Competent Court Appointed council
Unfortunately, I was cited and arrested for a DUI early in the summer of 2007. My blood alcohol level was tested at .09, but nonetheless exceeding the legal amount. I was pulled over for speeding as I was rushing home after getting assaulted at Vanguard in Hollywood by the bouncers. Near the end of the assault, a man in the parking lot that identified himself as an off duty police officer joined in the attack. I was handcuffed and embarrassed in front off all the patrons leaving the club, in addition to having my face smashed and cell phone broken. I was told to leave by the “police officer” after I demanded that he take me to jail. I did what anyone would have done, and got out of there.
I wanted to get pulled over by the police as I needed help. Instead I was arrested , car impounded, and I spent the night in jail. Next day I filed a police report for the assault that took place at Vanguard. As for the charges, I had a real good defense, and thought everything would be fine; I had to drive, and I was not drunk.
After over a dozen appearances at the Van Nuys courthouse, I still didn’t have a trial. My court appointed lawyer , Donald Green, was 2 hours late on the first court date, and asked for a continuance. I gave all types of evidence, even showed him in a Nolo law book a “Necessity Defense”. My lawyer requested more continuances, and when I finally demanded that we go to trial and came for the court date, I had a new lawyer and was told Donald Green had been “promoted”. My new lawyer had no idea what was going on, and recommended that I pleaded guilty to Wet Wreckless charges, basically DUI. I was told that “they” (court, prosecutor) don’t care, they just want a conviction.
Spending $5 to park each time at the courthouse, plus half a day waiting to ask for a continuance, and the countless nights worrying about my freedom, I had no choice but to plea guilty. I was not going to get a fair trial, and at this point, was without my vehicle as described bellow, and afraid of going to jail. I was also not getting paid for my time as those prosecuting me were.
The fines were almost $1400, plus $650 for alcohol classes where I watch educational videos such as “Pay it Forward” and ordered to attend the HAM program. Clearly this was about money, and not justice.
The State cannot try any individual for any criminal matter without providing legal council if they cannot afford it. This is to prevent abuses such as the ones above. Basically, the court played a waiting game at my expense, knowing that I would eventually cave and plead guilty without going to trial for fear of being imprisoned.
Continue to Part 3: Illegal Vehicle Impound