Little Havana

Earlier this week while on vacation in Florida we checked out Little Havana and ran across this poetic act of resistance painted on the sidewalk. 

2014-04-22 15.28.06.jpg
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AuthorJonathan Handelman

My ducklings

Earlier this week (before the awful surprise snow) I was driving home from work and had to stop in the road so a duck could waddle across. The duck, in addition to making me think spring was here to stay, made me think of my students at the law school.

Today is my last class for the semester and I feel like the mother duck about to send her ducklings out to face the world. Every year my students surprise me with the breadth of their interests and experiences. I haven't had a chance to teach the class for enough years to know how well my students do over the long-term in opening solo practices, but from what I saw in my students this year, there is potential for some very interesting and well-planned solos in the coming year.

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AuthorJonathan Handelman

Say it ain't so

My friend Jay Baker stopped by to say hello today and snapped this picture of me as I was on the phone. Funny thing, I was talking to my dad about cars, not to a prosecutor about a case.

(My web guy tells me I'm supposed to use words like OUI, criminal defense, not-guilty, lawyer and domestic violence in my posts. So here you go, Al.) 

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AuthorJonathan Handelman

Hearts of stone

For the past two spring semesters  I've taught  a class on solo law practice management at the University of Maine School of Law. Basically, the University recognizes that in today's challenging job market, new graduates often have a hard time finding work at a law firm so they need skills and information that will help them strike out on their own if they choose that path.

 

This semester is nearly over - just three weeks left. Each year I've had lawyers with relevant experience come in to speak to the class about their views and experiences on solo and small firm practice. We have had some interesting guests this year. Yesterday a very experienced prosecutor came in to give the students a sense of what does and does not strike her as effective defense lawyering. 

 

It was an illuminating view into the philosophy of a prosecutor. Contrary to the easy belief that prosecutors have hearts of stone (if they have hearts at all) it is clear that although we often disagree about the right outcome, the right level of responsibility, and the way to interpret the facts of a case, prosecutors share with defense counsel the desire to do the right thing and make sure justice is done.

The theme

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AuthorJonathan Handelman

Well oiled machine

I was in a county jail (not the Cumberland County Conjugal Visit Jail) earlier this week and heard the corrections officers complaining about some administrative hassles they were dealing with. I said that I always figured their jail ran like a well oiled machine.

One of the guards responded, "Yeah, if you oil it with dirt and sand."

 




Source: https://bangordailynews.com/video/details-...
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AuthorJonathan Handelman

Only one at a time, please!

I noticed that most of my clients have been charged with more than one crime, and it occurred to me that if you are going to break the law, you should only break one law at a time.

It's easier to charm your way out of a speeding ticket if you don't have a bale of marijuana in the trunk, for example.


pot.jpg

(Not my Chevy, by the way.)

Posted
AuthorJonathan Handelman

Time-served sentence in Robbery, Assault case

This afternoon I was in Rockland to resolve a challenging and disturbing case. My client exhibited clear mental health issues throughout the time I represented her, was evaluated by a series of doctors, and ultimately was found competent to stand trial. 

It was an outcome that took months longer than it should have, and it resulted in a plea offer my client was thrilled to accept, but it all masks the reality that our society is using the jails and the courts to resolve mental health problems that really belong in the hands of medical professionals.

The standards used by the State Forensic Service and the courts are pretty rigid when competence and criminal responsibility are concerned. The application of these standards results in plenty of people who are at best marginally competent (or who were not competent at all when they committed their crimes) being forced through the criminal justice system and the jails instead of receiving treatment in hospitals.

Today I managed to get my client released from jail with conditions that ought to help guide her away from the kind of self-destructive behavior she exhibited last summer. But there really ought to be a better way to address issues of people like her without involving the courts.

Source: http://bangordailynews.com/2014/01/21/news...
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AuthorJonathan Handelman

You can't negotiate better deals at a garage sale

Yesterday I played a small role in a pretty big case in Rockland. My client, John Thibeault was represented by other attorneys and charged with manslaughter. He failed to appear at court as ordered for one of the hearings. So I represented him in that felony Failure to Appear because his other attorneys were now witnesses to the new crime.  

We were in Superior Court for the plea when I saw someone taking a picture and managed to get caught with a funny look on my face before I realized what was happening. Fame is a fickle mistress.

The first comment at the bottom of the article is wonderful, despite the spelling error and absence of punctuation. I'll add an extra period here to make up for the one the writer of the comment omitted..

 

 

Source: http://bangordailynews.com/2014/01/09/news...
Posted
AuthorJonathan Handelman

Bail argument reported in the Bangor Daily News

Yesterday in Rockland I made a bail argument for a client I represented as lawyer of the day. Prosecution wanted her held without bail, but after presenting the details of her situation to the judge, we managed to get her a better bail than I had even asked for.

The article doesn't really capture the full story, but that may just be the nature of court reporting. It does lend strength to my policy of not talking to the press. The nuances and subtleties of what I do in court do not always translate well into a newspaper article. I would rather be anonymous than misquoted.

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/12/31/news/midcoast/judge-goes-out-on-limb-to-grant-bail-to-rockland-woman-charged-with-assault-while-on-bail-for-another-assault/comments/

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AuthorJonathan Handelman

Double dismissal

This fall a client experienced a nasty break-up with his girlfriend. When the dust settled, he was left facing a Protection from Harassment complaint and, more significantly, a criminal charge for violating a temporary protection order.

After a conference with the judge at district court, we agreed to continue the PFH for half a year. But a week after reaching that agreement, the ex-girlfriend's actions were so inappropriate that the judge granted our Motion to Dismiss. One down.

Last week, after some discussions with the alleged victim, I convinced the prosecutor to dismiss the criminal charge because the alleged victim had changed her story and because of our success with the PFH. Two down. 

My client got the best Christmas present – all charges dropped.

Posted
AuthorJonathan Handelman