Interviewer: Is there a mercy on the court, or is it always a better idea to fight than just give up?
Eric: It’s a tough decision, but it’s always better to fight. It’s always better to discuss this with the lawyer. Yes, there is a certain amount of mercy that can come from the court but the court can’t violate the law either. Sometimes, the mercy of the court still requires a punishment that you don’t want.
True or False: A Person Who Represents Themselves Has a Fool for a Client?
You never want to have a client represent themselves. That’s the first and foremost, that goes back to Abraham Lincoln who said that. The saying is true, “A person who represents themselves as a fool for a client.”
By knowing what the ramifications are and how to deal with it, there are conferences that can be held with the court and it can be phrased in certain ways to find out from the judge, “Judge, by the way, if my client were to say he does, my client pleads guilty to this, would you give them a sentence that we’ve already discussed or would you give them probation? Would you give them just the payment of a fine?”
Obviously we don’t want people going to jail, but all these things are discussed with the client. Maybe the client says, “I’m facing a million years in jail and a judge only give me a week in jail, I’ll take the week in jail.” It’s always the full consultation and requiring trying to figure out what works best for your client.
What Are the Possible Benefits to You If Your Attorney Is Well Acquainted with the Court Personnel?
Interviewer: About the prosecutor and the judges, how well do you know all of them? I’m not saying you receive favors but does it help you and your client?
Eric: It’s incredible how much it helps. Many of the judges throughout New York City and throughout Long Island were former colleagues of mine from when I was in the DAs office or they were former defense attorneys. I tell the client’s all the time, “Just because I may know the judge or the district attorney or everybody involved in this case, I don’t expect that they’re going to do me a personal favor. Nobody is going to violate the law for me and nobody is going to do something that they shouldn’t do just because it’s me.”
A Good Reputation Lends Credibility to the Attorney and Fosters an Atmosphere in the Court of Mutual Respect
What it does do is I walk into the courtroom and the judges know I have credibility. The judges know I know what I’m doing, and they know my reputation. The judges know and the district attorneys know that I don’t lie to them.
By having that ability to walk into a courtroom, the judges will treat me with respect because they know I’m going to treat them with respect. I’m going to get information and I’m going to give them information and the case is going to go along as it should.
I’ve had cases outside the city, I handled cases all over New York State and I’ve gone to other states. It’s always better when the judge knows your reputation and you walk in the courtroom and you’re recognized. Even if it’s nothing more than the judge looking at you and knowing who you are.
By Eric Sachs