Thank you for your follow up, Lynda.
I truly am sorry for your friend's predicament. Please understand that the answer that I have provided to you is based on existing laws and is not based on what your friend may hope to be the case. To ensure that I do not miss anything I will go line by line and respond to each concern you raised.
The public defender talked her into (scared her into) pleading guilty the first time with no consideration of this being a seizure related.
I am sorry to hear that but your friend had the choice to not listen to the PD, or appeal the decision, or choose to retain her own counsel if she had the means to do so. Pleading voluntarily really limits the options of appealing, which really makes this a non-issue for the most part, as it is not able to be reversed.
She has the use of only one hand. She was eating a hotdog, had no place to put drink while eating hotdog, so put drink in purse and they accused her of shop lifting. She had not even left the store at this point. You cannot accuse a person of shoplifting without proof that they had no intent to pay.
I apologize but that is simply not true. A person can most definitely be accused of shoplifting even if the have the means of paying. The intent has to be to leave without paying, which does not necessarily mean that a person has to walk out before that person can be stopped. In any case p,acing the item in a pursue appears to be an intentional act, which no longer appears to be an involuntary act based on some sort of a seizure.
The public defender talked her into pleading guilty by scaring her to death about jail.
The public defender was potentially correct since even a first time offender could potentially be sentenced to jail time. It is very unlikely, I agree, but it is possible.
The second time, she was completely in a seizure and remembers nothing. She was in department store and had complex partial seizure the second time. If you look up medical information about complex partial seizures, people can go about routine daily tasks while having this type of seizure, including driving a car, changing their clothes, eating, etc. You can act perfectly normal while having a complex partial seizure, but not be. Please research this if you do not believe me. She was accused to taking a pair of jeans. She had just undergone anesthesia prior in the day, and the probation officer did not give her a chance to explain that she was suffering from a medical condition, and put her in jail. She had several seizures while in jail.
In that situation your friend must obtain a medical doctor who is willing to appear in court and testify, or rather that is something that should have been done when she was being tried. The courts do pay attention to these expert witnesses who may be able to shed light to the events. But they will generally not listen to laypersons who have no medical training when the theories that are being provided are not well known, well researched, or potentially plausible. Whether or not I research this medical condition is somewhat irrelevant since I am not a medical doctor--what matters is placing someone with medical expertise on the stand to see whether or not they could explain this to the courts in a way that would shed insight to this event, and fight off the natural skepticism of blaming an involuntary condition on what the courts would see as an intentional act. This is not my opinion but how a typical judge would analyze this concern.
I am merely seeking legal insight into the victim's right for a friend.
There is always the ability to file a timely appeal for the second conviction. The first conviction at this point is no longer likely to be appealable,
In my opinion, our society is on the way down the drain and our legal system is becoming a joke. This proof was offered to the judge who did not take time to examine it, and did not care enough to look into the situation.
My apologies but it is not the judge's responsibility to conduct research--a judge is a fact gatherer but he is not the fact obtainer. The job to provide proper information to the judge is the defendant's or her attorney's. If that was not done, it may be a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel but a judge's role is not to act as an advocate for your friend or the other side--he is not an advocate for either side and is not supposed to do their work for them. I can understand your frustration and your concerns but it is not fair to blame a judge for something he is not supposed to do. Believe me if the judge was wrong I would have pointed it out, but I do not see it as that a situation. Let me provide you with a different example so that the distinction may be made. Say you have a contract with a friend that is not being executed as promised. You both go to court. The judge asks both of you for written terms of the contract so that the terms can be read and reviewed. Your friend says that the contract is posted on a locked site on the internet. The judge does not have to go search for it and he can instead look to your version of the contract if you brought one with you for review--the other party came unprepared. This is a similar situation where a judge likewise has no duty to conduct medical research--he can only parse information brought to him by the parties.