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JasonLantz
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Oct 7 JasonLantz commented on Municipal Court Candidate Says He Returned Money from DUI Lawyers.
Further, people accused of DUI or other misdemeanors will need defense attorneys regardless of who sits on the bench so this is not about "business." I hope the Stranger supports the Sixth Amendment and the rights of the accused to an effective defense. For a liberal leaning newspaper, it sure seems like the writers have disdain for the defense bar. Every country has prosecutors but we are fortunate that our Constitution provides for individual rights and defense attorneys to protect those rights.
Oct 7 JasonLantz commented on Municipal Court Candidate Says He Returned Money from DUI Lawyers.
These "low-level" judges hear thousands of cases including civil cases with amounts in controversy up to $75,000, can and do sentence people up to a year in jail, officiate marriages, grant protection orders, and other matters. I assure you that the people with cases in the Courts of Limited Jurisdiction do not feel these courts are "low-level" and it is important that qualified people are elected to these courts.
Feb 9 JasonLantz commented on UW School of Law Drops Plan For Controversial Prosecution Clinic, For Now.
Mr. Gidge, the prosecutors have been granted substantial power and resources compared to the defendants in their system and the defense bar. Therefore, they have a responsibility to try to improve the system and make it better.

As for my clients, the vast majority of the time I'm able to achieve their goals. However, it is usually not because the parties sit down and discuss what makes sense in a particular case based on the unique circumstances of each case. Instead, it's usually based on leveraging the mistakes and violations of rights by the officer in the case that I use in pretrial litigation and plea-bargaining. It would be nice if the parties could work together to achieve social justice.

Also I believe anonymity is toxic to public discourse. I discloses my name?
Feb 8 JasonLantz commented on UW School of Law Drops Plan For Controversial Prosecution Clinic, For Now.
Although each defendant does have a right to a jury trial, the US Supreme Court has acknowledged that we have a plea-bargaining system rather than a jury trial system. If the defendant is convicted at trial, then the judge decides that sentence within the guidelines provided by the law. However, the judge will almost always follow a plea bargain.
Feb 8 JasonLantz commented on UW School of Law Drops Plan For Controversial Prosecution Clinic, For Now.
@35 usually, yes. The law typically provides for extreme punishment so if a defendant loses at trial they will suffer greater than if they take the prosecutors plea bargain. Therefore, the prosecutor exercises her discretion to offer a plea bargain that is less than the consequences the defendant would likely suffer if he loses at trial. The prosecutors discretion gives her power to set the terms of most punishment. It is negotiated but there is no doubt that the prosecutor has the power. The defense attorney usually only gains the power position through pretrial litigation and suppressing evidence. The system is designed to coerce defendants into forgoing their right to a jury trial in lieu of the punishment offered by the prosecutor through a plea bargain.

@28 social justice acknowledges that a just system is not one size fits all. In some jurisdictions prosecutors absolutely take into account what we call equitable factors such as unusually disparate impacts, however, in King County this is being taken into account much less frequently. There's no doubt that some people will suffer much greater punishment as a result of their particular circumstances and this absolutely should be taken into account to meet the ends of justice. We need to implement restorative justice that crafts individual solutions to make victims whole, provide for treatment, do justice and make sure we are not creating more problems in our society then we had before people entered the system. The current system is counterproductive. I work in it and see it every day.
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Feb 8 JasonLantz commented on UW School of Law Drops Plan For Controversial Prosecution Clinic, For Now.
@30 did your friend mention that the King County prosecutors plea-bargaining policies have overloaded the court to the point that some cases take up to two years to get a trial? Or that in Washington the defendant has to show up to every pretrial hearing which can mean many many days away from work and family when a lawyer could easily appear on his behalf?
Feb 8 JasonLantz commented on UW School of Law Drops Plan For Controversial Prosecution Clinic, For Now.
@30 it's not your friend individually that's the problem, it's the system. Prosecutor's always pick out the most violent and heinous crimes to justify the whole system. Why didn't your friend point out the 100th person he prosecuted for petty theft or driving suspended or malicious mischief domestic violence for breaking a plate?
Feb 8 JasonLantz commented on UW School of Law Drops Plan For Controversial Prosecution Clinic, For Now.
@16, yes, violent crime should be prosecuted but the misdemeanor system the students would work in is a travesty. I am a criminal defense attorney. It is a massive oppression machine that create unthinking prosecutorial automatons enforcing strict guidelines set by their superiors. They have no regard for the special circumstances of any individual and view everyone in their court as nameless defendants who deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law per their guidelines.

For example, let's say a defendant will lose his livelihood and ability to support his family if the prosecutor doesn't take this into account in plea-bargaining for a DUI charge because he drives a commercial motor vehicle for work. The prosecutor will say "that's too bad. My negotiating table doesn't allow me to take that into account." This leads to an unemployed person, greater poverty, and affects not only the defendant but all his family. Another example would be a non-US citizen. Let's say it would help if the prosecutor crafted a plea bargain that would avoid deportation. Again, they will likely not take this into account and lack creativity in applying their guidelines set forth by their superiors. Or what about the poverty crime of driving while suspended for not paying traffic tickets. This charge usually leads to a snowball effect where a person has to drive to work to support his family and accumulates thousands of dollars in fines and ongoing criminal prosecution for being poor.

Our misdemeanor system is all about punishment. It has absolutely nothing to do with social justice. The good results we are able to get our clients usually come from litigation tactics against intern prosecutors. It has nothing to do with prosecutors voluntarily doing the right thing.

What we need is restorative justice where victims are made whole and people get treatment but defendants are not made outcasts. If they have a clinic that can promote that system from within, then it would make sense for the school to be involved.
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Feb 1, 2013 JasonLantz commented on Local Coffee Chain Starts Charging Customers a 1.5 Percent "Sick Leave Surcharge".
What's wrong with educating consumers about the effect of policy choices on the price of goods. Shouldn't Cherry Street customers feel good about paying the surcharge since its their choice that created the policy knowing their coffee price was lower when they weren't paying for sick leave. He shouldn't be required to hide the price increase which you apparently want him to. Plus you are assuming that he doesn't support the policy. He just wants to receive benefit for his small business (a healthy income). I think it's a shame you are hurting one of our local small businesses.
 

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