Pick Your Fight

I’ll let you in on a little known secret: I used to be somewhat well-off.


Sometimes people will ask me how I became a criminal defense lawyer. I tell them the truth: I used to have a high-paying job. I got tired of it. Decided having (enough) money was just too much for me, so I decided to go to law school and become a lawyer instead.

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Great Job! You’re Fired!

If there’s one thing the San Joaquin Valley of California hates more than anything, it’s a good defense attorney. In Kings County, it’s long been rumored that if you do your job — your actual job of defending clients — you will lose your right to defend indigent clients. If you represent people for money in that county, you will find your ability to practice severely limited by the court. So far, I’ve not heard of one case where this caused a problem for the Fifth Appellate District Court, so if the rumors are true, I guess it’s constitutional.

The courts — and no doubt the attorneys I’ve seen counseling their clients (plural) en masse about plea agreements in the foyers of the County courthouses — would say I’m mistaken. I heard it wrong. They fight like hell. Like hell they fight! Like hell.

Now federal prosecutors in Fresno say what’s good for Kings County is good for the King.

There’s just one problem: the defendants are police officers.

And if there’s one thing the San Joaquin Valley of California loves more than anything, it’s a police officer.

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