Why your criminal defense lawyer cannot just "Call the Judge!"


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I often have clients ask me to call the Judge to resolve an issue in their case. For example, “Call her to see if she will lower my bail.” or “Have you spoken with the Judge to see if he will give me probation?” The problem is that the legal rules of ethics prohibit me from doing any of that. Calling a judge without the prosecution’s involvement or permission is called “ex parte” contact. Under the Kentucky Supreme Court’s Code of Judicial Conduct SCR 4.300 Canon 2.9(A)” A judge shall not initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications, or consider other communications made to the judge outside the presence of the parties or their lawyers, concerning a pending* or impending* matter, except as follows:…” Although there are limited situations where this rule can be avoided, my clients do not fall into those situations. Our system is adversarial, which means we want both sides to be able to argue their opinion before a Judge makes a decision. Similarly, I would not want the Judge having secret meetings with the prosecutors to decide how to handle a case. We want everyone present and everything out in the open, so there is no doubt about what is happening. Sadly, that does leave clients in a stressful position at times. Without a crystal ball, criminal lawyers are left with arguing their position and waiting for the Judge to rule in Court.‚Äč

By Eric Ray on 11/05/2018 3:26 PM
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