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LawTalk
LawTalk, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 35754
Experience:  30 years legal experience
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Should a public defender ever tell his client to take a plea

Resolved Question:

Should a public defender ever tell his client to take a plea deal because he has too many priors? And should he not at least try to impeach a witness if the only witness is under indictment and perjures himself in his statement?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 6 years ago.
Good morning,

You asked: "Should a public defender ever tell his client to take a plea deal because he has too many priors?"
Absolutely, the risk of having the full force and effect of the book being thrown at you, even for a relatively minor felony/misdemeanor---if you happen to have multiple priors----is significant.

"And should he not at least try to impeach a witness if the only witness is under indictment and perjures himself in his statement?"
There is a lot more to winning a criminal case, from the defendant's perspective, other than making the primary witness look bad. Some jurors think your guilty just because you are there at trial. There is usually circumstantial evidence in addition to witness testimony so that even a witness has committed proven perjury, that will not necessarily result in a not guilty verdict. There is always a risk to trial---even when you are completely innocent. When you are not 100% innocent, the risks are even greater.

The whole idea of a plea is that you avoid the uncertainty of a much stiffer sentence if you roll the dice. For every case you hear of where the defendant rejected the plea deal and walked free after trial---you'll find 10 behind bars, doing a lot more time than they were offered in the first place.

I wish you the best in your future.

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Doug



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