Well, Court Is Cancelled In San Antonio Today

I am supposed to be in San Antonio today for a court appearance on what is called the “rocket docket”. I really have no idea what that is, but I suspect it is something like this,,, for those who are in jail and are charged with small amounts of controlled substances, the theory must be not to warehouse these folks in the county jail, but to get them moved through the system and on to another facility or some sort of community supervision, (probation).

Anyway, I got a call from the coordinator yesterday that the setting I was supposed to have today is being moved to another time and date.

I will just wait and see how this works,, it may be great,, it may be terrible,, but if the client gets something in the way of a deal he or she can live with,, so be it.

Another progressive move by a large county trying to keep the correctional institutions free for more violent, harsh accused conduct crimes. I suppose in the end there are shortfalls and strengths to this idea,, but just for today,, I am in favor of this.

I see a drawback though and one that must be thoroughly explained to the client though,, the analysis of the potential illegal substance may not be back from the forensic lab and if it turns out the client accepts a deal,, he or she looses the right to have the supposed illegal substance tested to see if in fact it really is an illegal substance.

You see, sometimes, people buy junk drugs,, substances that taste like the illegal substance, but the chemical makeup of the crap they buy isn’t illegal and the field tests the officers do,, may show inconclusively that it is a controlled substance. When it is forwarded to the forensic lab in Austin or Waco or wherever,, the chemical analysis of the junk may show it isn’t a controlled substance subject to any penalty in Texas and thus,, you have a client who has pleaded to a crime he or she could not have committed.

On the other hand,, I suppose that if the substance is in fact real,, the deal offered in this “rocket docket” court is probably better than any other plea bargain that he or she might ever receive.

I suppose a proper thing to do is something like this,, a conditional plea. By that I mean this,, go ahead and plea,, if your client wants to and a deal can be worked out that he or she is happy with,, then analyse the substance anyway. If it is truly illegal,, the deal stands,, but if the substance is fake,, then the charges should be dropped.

I doubt anyone would ever listen to my suggestion, but if we really are interested in justice,, the cost of analysing the substance would be something that should be taken into account in the price of justice. I mean after all, a felony conviction can hurt someone’s chances for employment and the social costs of having a felony hanging over your head is something that costs all of us money in the end.

So there you have it,, my idea of an even better “rocket docket” program.

May peace be with you always in your journey in life.



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