Jury Trial

Well, it’s almost that time again,, time where I am in front of a jury telling my client’s story. One problem though, I am unable to communicate with my client. My client is said to be incompetent by all the other lawyers who represented him before I was appointed. So, I demand a competency trial. I have no problem with that. Actually, it is important to determine whether or not your client has the sufficient mental ability to communicate with you and help you prepare his defense.

I’m okay with that. Here’s the problem,, I get a call last night from the court telling me that of the jury returns a verdict that my client is competent, then I must try the underlying case on Wednesday. Now that’s a problem for me and here’s why.  If I am told by the lawyers who came before me that my client is not all there, then if I try and discuss the facts of the case with him, I become a witness to his behavior and reactions to my attempts to help him defend his case. I might be called as a witness to testify to a jury about his mental condition and his inability to understand and help in his defense.  I have intentionally not gotten into the facts of the case for this very reason.

So, I have no objection to a jury trial, but I want the opportunity to try the case properly. If a jury says he is competent, then so be it. I can begin to work on the defense of his underlying case.

I am supposed to be given 10 days to prepare for trial and this is less than 10. I know the judge is very smart and wants to either get my client in front of a jury or get the case over with. That’s fair. I know the judge will say I have been given more than 10 days from the time I was notified about the trial to prepare, but I have only been preparing for his competency hearing, not his underlying case. Maybe that’s my fault, I don’t know.

I will file a Motion for Continuance and try and get some subpoenas issued, but I’m out on my own until I get a ruling from the jury about my client’s mental state. I wish the judge would give me 10 more days after the hearing, if the jury says my client is competent to get ready for trial.

So readers, what do I do? I don’t blame the judge, because he’s technically right, but what do I do? I appreciate any suggestions. Have a nice day, I’m off to court in Houston.

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