In the Treasure of Sierra Madre the concern was “Badges, we don’t need no stinking badges!….but today the concern is that the poor and celebrities Don’t need/get no stinking fair trial!
It is challenging for the poor and celebrities to get justice in our court system. The poor can not afford a lawyer or at least a good lawyer. If they do get a competent attorney they can not afford all the costs that are necessary for their lawyer to do a first class job! For instance, the California courts no longer provide free court reporters and transcripts. If you want a copy of what was said that day in court (Dailys) then you have to pay for a court reporter.  If there is a trial and you do not pay for a transcript there is no basis for you and your attorney to effectively appeal the court’s proceedings because you can not prove that which you allege.
In a civil trial the court clerk has to receive a check for $500 total to cover the cost of the court reporter… before the Trial starts. If you are in trial and want a copy of the Daily Transcript of what was said that day the reporter will charge you extra to expedite the copy.
In a criminal case the poor will be appointed a public defender for the court proceedings. However, the Public Defender does NOT handle the DMV hearings on a DUI matter. This DMV hearing is necessary for EVERY DUI because the DMV hearing officer provides the defense attorney with a copy of the police report. This takes place before the DA and the court would have a chance to give the defense counsel a copy. At the hearing the defense attorney has a chance to listen and question the arresting officer’s testimony.  This will lock in the officer’s testimony of what happened and give the defense two bites of the apple.
If there is no DMV hearing, the defendant driver will automatically lose the DMV proceeding and thus their driver’s license will be suspended. Therefore what later happens in court is almost irrelevant. The driver will have already lost their driving privilege.
We recently had a case where an officer testified on a DUI at the DMV hearing one way. On our  Motion to Suppress the Evidence in the court proceedings, the officer testified the opposite. We ordered a copy of the DMV tape and the Court Reporter’s transcript. When we presented it to the DA they folded. The DA knew that when a jury heard the arresting officer had testified two different ways on the same case that a jury would not like him and no doubt would rule in favor of our client.
On a DMV Hearing the hearing officer is both the prosecutor and the judge. If the hearing officer screws up, most clients will not have the funds to purchase a copy of the DMV taped proceedings and will not be able to afford an attorney to file a WRIT to protect their rights. The DMV hearing officer will assume the driver will not be able to flex his/her muscles. They know that even though they rule improperly the average driver can not afford to pay their lawyer to TURN WRONGS INTO RIGHTS!
When representing a celebrity we often have another set of problems. Everyone in the DA’s office is gunning for the celebrity to add a notch to their belt. Even if the celebrity has a good argument the DA is afraid to be perceived as giving someone a break because they are a celebrity or VIP. In the past some DA’s would write VIP with a red pen on the front of the file.
Their concern is that if the celebrity is perceived to get off or receive a light sentence that the Enquirer or Star Magazine will report it the next week. They will portray the Judge and DA as being soft on crime or that the celebrity was given a break the average citizen would not get. This is true even though, with the same facts, all other clients would have received the same sentence.
To avoid this I have had to announce the defendants name with an accent on the wrong syllable. If I represented a defendant named Joseph Robert Cotton I would announce Attorney Gribow representing J. R. Koton pursuant to 977 PC. This code section allows an attorney to appear on behalf of their client. By doing this no one in court or the media would recognize the VIP/Celebrity. In other words I would mispronounce the last name and not use the full first and middle name.
Thus when you get down to it both the poor and the VIP/Celebrity clients have a lot in common………they both Don’t Get No Stinking Fair Trial.


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