Detroit Circuit Court

Originally Posted on: May 05 2008,13:16 by William Maze

I took a very serious case to trial last week. Mr. B was charged with an OWI 3rd and found himself before a very strict judge in the Wayne County Circuit Court. Although the judge is very serious and quite frankly scares me, he was an excellent trial judge, allowing us to argue the case. As a defense attorney, one cannot ask for much more in a judge.

The allegations were horrible, but we were successful in suppressing the breath test because of serious errors in both the administration as well as the maintenance of the breath machine. This was critical, of course, but the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office refused to offer any deals on this case.

Mr. B was a successful businessman, and he was married with two young children. If he had been convicted, he would have lost everything, and the stern trial court judge would have likely ordered him to prison.

Needless to say, this case took an emotional toll on me preparing for trial. I really took this case to heart because I felt that too many things were wrong with the case, and because the client was really a great guy with too much to lose.

But you might be curious… why wouldn’t the prosecutor’s office offer a decent plea if this case was flawed and the client was so nice? Because the prosecutor’s office decided that the assistant prosecutor attorney needed the trial experience! This reason was absolutely outrageous! They refused to offer a reasonable resolution because they wanted the APA to get more experience, with a man’s livelihood, marriage and everything else on the line.

For a few mere moments, after we put our field sobriety test expert up on the stand and after I had cross-examined the government’s witnesses to the best of my abilities, the prosecutor’s office briefly offered a decent plea. Although the client was convinced I had already won the case, I encouraged him to take the plea. Before we could walk back into the room, however, the prosecutor’s office had called back down and yanked the plea.

With the prosecutors leaving it up the jury, we got a two-word verdict: NOT GUILTY. I will go to bed every night thanking that jury until the day I die.