I write often in this space about my experiences as a criminal lawyer. And I know that you believe that I be making some of this shit up. But believe me life is stranger than art.
Today I was representing a 27 year-old African-American who was charged with DWI II and Convicted Felon With A Firearm. His bond was set at $75,000.00. I knew nothing about the facts of the case as his family hired me the day before, which is not unusual. They requested that I try to get his bond reduced at the arraignment.
In court after I entered a not guilty plea the arraignment went something like this:
English: Your honor I have filed a Motion To Reduce my clients' bond. $75,000.00 seems excessive for a DWI II and a Convicted Felon With A Firearm.
DA: Your honor we object Mr. Johnson previous felony was illegal use of a weapon and he has now been caught with another weapon while driving intoxicated.
English: (In my arrogant southern lawyer voice, trying to be cute) Your Honor, Mr. Johnson has only been charged with a crime. If we are going to leave his bond at $75,000.00 why don’t we just go ahead and take him outside and hang him. (I can hear snickers in the back of the court. I let out a sarcastic smile)
Judge: Let me see the file.
(Pause for 30 seconds)
Judge: Mr. English according to arrest warrant your client had a AK47 fully loaded on the front seat of his vehicle. I am raising the bond to $125,000.00
Client: Am I going home today?
I turn to my client and then turn to the DA and I whisper with embarrassment "a mothefucking AK47?"
We both laugh