The Allure of Settlement
The Settlement Machine: The financial and professional incentives for criminal defense attorneys to "churn and burn" clients into the "settlement machine" appear very difficult for some attorneys to resist. This is especially true if you have pre-paid your attorney a flat retainer fee (vs. hourly compensation) that a) he keeps irrespective of his hours worked on the case and b) provides no further payment if the case deepens into lengthy, owed-to-you pre-trial motions and related hearings (e.g., evidence suppression), and then into a potentially lengthy trial itself. Attorneys will tell you how much they hate being in trial in that being there keeps them away from other current and prospective clients.
To the contrary, premature, pre-trial settlements lead to your attorney's avoidance of doing the heavy lifting underlying various pre-trial motions and hearings, preparing properly and thoroughly for the trial, and defending you at the trial itself. In addition and quite importantly, settling out an evidently innocent defendant allows your defense attorney to garner favor with the District Attorney. The DA shall have accomplished the goal of putting the wrongly accused through pain and suffering without having to prepare for and prosecute a case that is destined for acquittal.
Should You Hire a Proven "Street Fighter?" Achieving settlement reduces the risk and expense of going to trial. The matter would appear to be behind you, allowing life to proceed. However, if you settle, your false accuser and others forever shall be able to paint you as guilty since you never were exonerated. Moreover, given that neither your false accuser or misguided DA shall have endured any trial-related hardship of their own, what deterrent do they (or others) have to doing it all over again? Therefore, hiring a lawyer with a track record for exhaustive pretrial motioning and taking cases to trial may be the best long-term course of action. This is especially true in the case of an innocent defendant being maliciously prosecuted. District Attorneys know which defense attorneys avoid pre-trial hearings/motions and trials themselves. The DA shall know if your defense attorney's business model is based on churning as many clients quickly and quietly through the settlement machine. Therefore, the DA can foresee that filing invalid charges against you has a high probability of your being forced into an unfair, pre-trial conditional settlement. As an innocent defendant, you deserve unconditional (no community service, etc.) dismissal accomplished by a hard working attorney maximizing pre-trial motions/hearings (e.g., demurrers, motions to exclude evidence). At a minimum, it should be obvious to the DA that your attorney shall obtain your acquittal after a lengthy, costly (to-DA's office) trial when the jury sees right through the DA's transparently unfounded case. For an example of a fighting (vs. settling) criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles County, please click here.
The DA Rewards Attorneys Who Settle: Having to prepare responses to detailed defense briefs and then argue at pre-trial hearings adds to the over-burdened DA's workload. Preparing and going to trial also may involve a great amount of work if the DA's not going to "wing it." For this reason, DA's love defense attorneys who pursue pre-trial settlements. The DA's dream counterparty is the defense attorney who pushes his client into a "diversion" program soon after baseless or weak charges are filed. The DA's office, who is going to deal with your attorney repeatedly over the years, shall remember which defense attorneys made the DA's life harder, and those who made it easier by settling before the heavy lifting began. In future cases involving other clients, the DA shall punish fighter-lawyers and reward settling ones. Avoid hiring an attorney who inappropriately shall pursue settling your case, again in part to gain favor with the DA's office. To be clear, this is a favor that shall benefit a different client of your attorney down the road - not you.
As a matter of emphasis, it must be repeated that the DA shall know of your weak defense attorney's reputation for eschewing "tough fights" in favor of cutting deals before the hard work kicks in. This tremendously reduces the odds of the outcome you deserve: the DA "folds its bad hand" through unconditional pre-trial dismissal, or perhaps to not even bring charges in the first place.
Your lawyer may ignore your explicit instructions vis-à-vis your disinterest in a conditional settlement of the baseless, unsubstantiated case brought against you. Indeed, you would be appalled to learn that your attorney may engage in various acts actually to deceive and then pressure you into a premature, poorly-negotiated settlement. Again, the incentives for this misconduct are material: your lawyer avoids the hard work he loathes (lengthy, time-consuming pre-trial motions and hearings, trial preparation and the trial itself) while currying favor with the District Attorney's office with whom he shall be wheeling and dealing long after he has gotten rid of your case.
Attorney Misconduct: Your defense attorney is required by the state Bar association to put your interests first, ahead of his own. Attorney misconduct includes making false or misleading statements, and failing to disclose all relevant facts. The California Bar's Rule 8.4 explicitly states that "it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or reckless or intentional misrepresentation." An example of such proscribed misconduct would be a defense attorney defrauding his client into a premature settlement by falsifying an E-mail from the District Attorney while repeatedly and intentionally misrepresenting the circumstances underlying a settlement offer (see J. Patrick Carey information at bottom of page). Such misconduct may lead to an attorney being suspended from the Bar, if not disbarred altogether for egregiously unethical conduct. Despite these consequences, it is naïve to assume that your lawyer shall behave properly, especially since nearly all of his actions are occurring out of his client's view.
Click here for information on filing a complaint against your California-licensed attorney.
Though difficult to believe, an incompetent or corrupt District Attorney can and shall a) ignore exculpatory evidence and/or b) not ignore untrustworthy, credibility-lacking biased witnesses/accusers before and after filing false charges against you. The reason? This type of DA cares not so much about applying the law to the facts but instead on serving social justice as she sees fit.
Contrary to what you've watched on Law & Order, more often that not the District Attorney doesn't truly suffer in the event of an acquittal of your case. No matter the outcome, the DA comes out a winner. The DA is getting paid to prosecute you while you are paying your attorney for defense. Tragically, indirectly with your taxes you are paying the DA to maliciously prosecute you.
Conviction: Though unlikely, a judge or jury may determine that despite insufficient evidence and non-existent/non-credible witnesses, you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, the District Attorney obviously won. Driving this scenario often is a DA playing to a popular current social bias that blinded justice. In this event, you cannot legitimately claim malicious prosecution since you did not obtain dismissal or acquittal.
Acquittal: Even though this is the worst of all outcomes for the prosecutor, the DA still wins. Yes, by not agreeing to a plea or conditional dismissal settlement, you forced the DA to do real work in their maliciously brought case: contest pre-trial motions, prepare for trial and argue their weak, losing case at trial. However, the DA isn't spending their own money - it is taxpayer money being spent. Since the DA predetermined you to be the "bad guy," and the perjuring "victim" the "righteous one," they may feel they got their money's worth by putting you through the pain and suffering of being a criminal defendant. Furthermore, forever you shall be someone who was charged of a crime, irrespective of your proven innocence.
Pre-trial Plea or Settlement: In a maliciously brought case, this is the DA's dream outcome. The DA takes a pound of your flesh through a conditional plea or settlement, with you having either a lesser criminal record or the disgrace of community service and/or counseling. Often, the prosecutor's trial preparation only begins in earnest right before the trial is to begin. Thus, the DA will have spent little time and resources toward the prosecution. It's possible that the DA put less than an hour into your case to file the false charges and show up at the courthouse a few times (arraignment and perhaps one more). If your lawyer is focused on delivering his innocent client on a silver platter in this fashion, you selected the wrong attorney.
Invalid Reasons District Attorneys
Charge Innocent Defendants
Legally, the State must decline to file charges against you unless credible, reliable, legally-obtained evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed an actual illegal act (a "crime"). "Beyond a reasonable doubt" means there is no other reasonable explanation for the incident's occurrence or the defendant's intent - the solid evidence only points to one reasonable source and an intent to break the law. "Crime" means a violation of a penal code (i.e., not something that the DA simply finds offensive). Essentially, the District Attorney is charged with applying the law to the provable facts of the case. Charges may be brought only if those facts exhibit guilt such that no alternative circumstance reasonably can explain your actions vis-à-vis the alleged crime.
a) the DA cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally committed the acts alleged to be criminal; or
b) the acts you allegedly committed do not violate a particular law,
no charges should be brought. Period. End of discussion.
Elicia Stoller's Apparent Prosecutorial Misconduct: Torrance, California based DDA Elicia Stoller violated not one but both of these requirements in her failed prosecution of Defendant.com's founder. In every single count, the act allegedly committed did not violate any law and/or credible evidence (including false accuser's own video recording) proved innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. In fact, the California Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that Defendant.com's founder never had violated any law in the first place - a documented assertion by the Victim that itself provided reasonable doubt that should have precluded Elicia Stoller's apparently malicious prosecution in the first place. Evidence of the defendant's innocence (see photo for just one of many examples), the false accuser being a repeat perjurer whose behavior belied her false statements, the false accuser's allegations materially contradicting those of her own husband, and the defendant's alleged acts being perfectly legal mattered little to Elicia Stoller. Stoller plowed ahead for a year and a half until the higher court shut her down, delivering a harsh defeat to the false accuser and her husband.
Elicia Stoller Plays by Her Own Rules: District Attorneys like California DDA Elicia Stoller and her boss AHD Alva Lin would appear to maliciously prosecute innocent people without much hesitation if they, using their own world/political/social views, deem the victim of their misconduct worthy of punishment. Charges are brought despite one or both of the requisite conditions above being absent. Essentially, prosecutors such as Elicia Stoller neglect their sworn oath to fairness by snubbing the longstanding rules of criminal justice requiring weighing all the evidence for substantiality and credibility, and then determining if reasonable doubt exists. Instead, those in Elicia Stoller's class reverse engineer justice, predetermining to bring charges and then working with corrupt law enforcement officers to squeeze non-credible, uncorroborated evidence and testimony into the prosecutorial pigeonhole of their choosing.
"Why would anyone do something so unethical?" you ask. The following, all relating to the District Attorney misconducting herself by playing favorites, are some of those reasons:
- Defendant Has Been Maligned: District Attorney has been misinformed by one or more of your unethical adversaries that you are a "bad guy" who deserves to be "taught a lesson." Your perfectly legal behavior (related or unrelated to the case) is gauged unacceptable by the DA's liberal moral compass. The DA refers to such a case brought without probable cause (that it can proven beyond a reasonable doubt) as a "deterrent." This kind of case is illegal; the DA has sworn an oath not to bring any criminal charge that it doesn't reasonably believe can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. However, since the DA operates with impunity, prosecutors do this all day long. In the case depicted on Defendant.com's Back Story page, liberal decision makers (AHD Alva Lin, Elicia Stoller) in the Torrance, California District Attorney's office were deceived into believing provably false allegations regarding the Victim's character, political and social views, and past behavior relating to when he was single.
- District Attorney Alliance with Defendant Adversary: DA owes favor to or has a pre-existing relationship with one/more of your community opponents (e.g., local government, local police department, etc.), and you happen to live on the wrong side of the political tracks. In the case depicted on Defendant.com's Back Story page, AHD Alva Lin reportedly lived in and supported the same small town's government and police department that had been the target of the Victim's persistent, harsh criticism.
- Defendant Falsely Accused of Other Uncharged Crimes: DA has been misinformed by one or more of your unethical adversaries, without any probable cause or evidence, that you committed other acts deemed criminal, but properly didn't bring charges due to insufficient evidence. Thus, the bringing of charges in the current case is intended to make up for what the DA believes you "got away with" in the past. In the case depicted on Defendant.com's Back Story page, the false accuser and her co-conspirators made numerous, unsubstantiated accusations of vandalism.
- District Attorney Malice Toward Your Attorney: DA wants to give payback to your attorney, whose past deportment (e.g., aggressive defense of other defendants) was disfavored by the DA. This is a rare reason for DA's malicious prosecution, but is a common reason most criminal defense attorneys live in fear of upsetting their legal adversaries in the DA's office. In the case depicted on Defendant.com's Back Story page, defense attorney J. Patrick Carey's separation from working as a DDA under Torrance, California AHD Alva Lin reportedly occurred under contentious circumstances. In this regard, Pat Carey concerned his client when making disparaging comments about Torrance, Calfornia DDA Elicia Stoller, AHD Alva Lin and her boss, HD Irene Wakabayashi. South Bay defense lawyer Patrick Carey, a self-styled "chameleon," derided all three women while behaving shamelessly obsequious if communicating with one of them.
Defendant.com strongly encourages anyone considering the retention of South Bay Los Angeles defense lawyer Pat Carey for criminal defense to contemplate very seriously this potentially life-changing decision. Pat Carey was caught by a client engaging in misconduct, including altering an E-mail from the Deputy District Attorney apparently in order to deceive his client into accepting an unfavorable, inappropriate and premature settlement deal. Lawyer Pat Carey secretly had crafted and pursued the deal, but misrepresented it as being a surprise offer from the DDA. Report to California Bar Association currently under consideration.
See Defendant.com's Back Story and Justice for All pages for information regarding Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Elicia Stoller. Whether you are guilty or even more so innocent, Defendant.com strongly encourages any criminal defendant to be aware that evidence exists Ms. Stoller has ignored exculpatory evidence in determining to bring and sustain charges against an innocent defendant. Elicia Stoller also brought multiple charges against a defendant for actions that were clearly legal (mandatory mailing of a notice of appeal, and E-mailing of legal information to a social media site administrator, specifically intended as legally permissible self-defense, following the defendant's accuser publicly maligning the defendant in violation of the site's membership agreement). For details, click here and see Pages 5 & 6 footnotes.