"Criminal Law Basics: From Arrest to Sentencing," by Jeremy M. Evans, NLD Board Member

On Tuesday, February 19, 2013, the NLD held its first CLE of the year and in its new Conference Center! Five distinguished panelists converged on the Bar Center at 401, the brand new home of the San Diego County Bar Association. The distinguished panelists included the Hon. Peter C. Deddeh (San Diego Superior Court, Central Criminal Division), Deputy District Attorney, D. Cal Logan, Esq. (Vista Office, Gang Prosecution Unit), Assistant U.S. Attorney, Jaime D. Parks, Esq. (Southern District of California, San Diego), Supervising Deputy Public Defender, Wil C. Rumble, Esq. (Multiple Conflicts Office-Major cases-homicides), and Criminal Defense Private Practitioner, Thomas J. Warwick, Jr., Esq. (Grimes & Warwick). The panel of distinguished speakers discussed the criminal law case, from arrest to sentencing, which included the following topics: criminal law fee agreements, limiting the representation of clients, appearances for attorneys, client management, bail bonds, negotiation, trial and post-trial tactics, and words of advice for the new and not-so-new practitioner.

As to criminal law fee agreements, the audience of 30-plus new lawyers listened intently as Tom Warwick added that the California Bar frowns upon fixed fee agreements because cases are not predictable, and limiting your time can either end in time management issues for other cases or a financial windfall for the attorney. Mr. Warwick stated that if an attorney charges a one-time fixed fee for limited representation up until trial, but it does not include trial and the case ends in a plea agreement at the first arraignment, there is a financial windfall. Take for example, an attorney who has just charged $25,000.00 fixed fee, but has not worked enough on the case to warrant such a fee.

Wil Rumble added that attorneys need to be prepared when making appearances for other attorneys and to know the case inside and out. Mr. Rumble provided that when you make an appearance the court looks to you for the answers and inquiries regarding the client. Rumble concluded by stating that embarrassing moments in court can be prevented by questioning the attorney whom you are making the appearance for to help you prepare. This will also save the court's time. Jaime Parks added that all appearance attorneys should immediately introduce themselves to the Prosecutor on the case when walking into the court room, so housekeeping items and any requests can be worked out. Ms. Parks added that this saves time, energy, and earns the respect of the Prosecutor.

The Hon. Peter Deddeh added when asked about general advice to new attorneys, that reputation is everything. Once it is lost, it is gone forever. Judge Deddeh completed his comments by stating that he loves what he does and loves the time he has to spend with his kids and family, something that would be very tough if he had stayed on with the District Attorney's office. Cal Logan completed the panel with the last comment. Mr. Logan stated that he loved his job and considered it an honor to represent the People (a statement echoed by Ms. Parks), that his preparation for trial was helped by reading practical preliminary exams and other legal books, and that in whatever role (defense or prosecution) you find yourself, to do it well! There is never an excuse for lack of preparation or seriousness about your role in the criminal process.

Overall, it was a well-attended and very informative criminal law CLE from the feedback received. The New Lawyer's Division of the SDCBA encourages you to visit the Bar Center at 401 to enjoy the Bar Center at 401 and to utilize all of its technological advancements, specifically watching CLEs remotely.

You can view the original article in For The Record.

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Jeremy M. Evans is the Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing Sports, Entertainment, and Business Professionals and is licensed to practice law in California.