Tag Archives: Abuse

Solving Prostitution Part II

Solving Prostitution Part II

Update…

This all started because I read a petition that used sensationalism over substance to achieve a visceral reaction to gain a signature for a petition. A member of the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery told me that he agrees with me that the law DOES undisputedly contain a a way to detain juveniles without criminalizing them.

But that part of the petition remains unchanged. Which means they still choose pretty fiction over uncomfortable fact.

Earlier this week I sat down with the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery. After explaining everything to them, After their representative saying they AGREE with me on my point about the law, they amended a PART of their petition (to something that is still wrong). But the first sentence of their petition is still WHOLLY A LIE. It’s absolutely not true. I showed EXACTLY where in the law they can “detain juveniles without criminalizing them”, and they prefer to keep it as the lead in their petition. Probably because it is effective. It is only effective to people who don’t know what the law reads.

Basically there have three responses once they are made aware:

  1. “Marcus, we won’t change it because you read the law wrong. HERE IS WHY you read the law wrong, HERE IS WHERE the law says something different than what you say.”
  2. “Marcus, you read the law right, so we will change the petition to be intellectually honest.”
  3. “Marcus, its a great pitch, why should we change it?

Guess which they’re going with so far? Change it to be honest with the people you’re attempting to convince. They’ll quote you, they’ll then get corrected. Then they’ll blame you for leading them on..

(and the one edit they did make is wrong, here is the correct chart of the park closure vs. prostitution punishments:)

wpid-548666_457289240975801_310775165_n-2012-10-5-00-30.jpg

Intellectually disingenuous.

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Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery – Landsberg Law Office

Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery - Landsberg Law Office

I read something on a friend’s webpage today, a friend who I trust and respect to use the brain and best judgment. And when I read it, it literally blew my mind.

I. Here is where I lose friends.

What I’m talking about is a petition by the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, read it first here: http://www.change.org/petitions/pass-safe-harbor-end-demand-for-prostitution-laws-in-hawaii. Read that first for the context. I don’t think I’ve thought this hard about potential new laws since the Food Truck mess. I would point out, after my post on Bill 59 (still one of the most popular posts on my minor webpage) Tulsi Gabbard took the bill back into committee and made pretty much 100% of the changes I advocated. This is tough love. I post this to help you.

After reading that petition and reviewing the PASS – PACIFIC ALLIANCE TO STOP SLAVERY webpage, I immediately reached out through the network of professionals I deal with everyday in the Juvenile justice system. The network includes Prosecutors and Defense attorneys; their experiences and their contacts, including actual cases and Probation Officers. The juvenile justice system in Hawaii is confidential, meaning I can’t betray names or individual cases, but I can talk about specifics using generalities to explain particular points. I’ve also written about the juvenile justice system here before. I have also been published in the Star-Advertiser with my views on the Juvenile justice system.

II. The Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery Petition:

The very first sentence of that above webpage reads: “Currently, Hawaii has no protocol to legally detain juveniles rescued from prostitution without criminalizing them.” The first sentence is the first misstatement of the law.
Hawaii Revised Statute 571-31 “Taking Children into custody; release; Notice;” reads
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Choosing the right attorney — Hawaii Lawyer Today’s Story

Hawaii Criminal Defense Lawyer, best criminal lawyer, honolulu, hawaii

The Choice is Yours

“You can’t do that” the Prosecutor told me, but I expect her to say that.  She gets paid to say that.  Exasperated, but not obnoxious.  She simply doesn’t need one more thing to do.  The manila folder on her desk, three inches thick with paper slammed shut as her index finger ran along the edge of the table. “I don’t know what you want me to do, it can’t be done.”

I just need you to let me address the judge.  I don’t care how, but I need to address the judge.

Yeah, you can’t do it Marcus.

Now this second voice I didn’t expect to hear.  Another Defense Attorney had chimed in, to tell me I can’t do something?  He doesn’t get paid for that.

It’s an interesting life being a Defense Attorney.  It’s an interesting camaraderie.  On one hand, we’re in precisely direct competition with each other: every dollar I make is a dollar he doesn’t; every time he drops his price, I lose money across the board.  But on the other hand, no one else can relate to what we do.  It’s very hard to be required to descend into the bowels of humanity for X hours everyday.   Our goal is to find that small slice of innocence we can hold up as an example of redeemable good.  But to find that slice, we wade through a lot of muck.  It is impossible to do it and come back unchanged.

And so Defense Attorneys become some kind of a fraternity.  There’s certain stories I don’t tell on my blog.  There’s things we’re required, by law, to do that I don’t brag about in public society.  There’s one case in particular I’ll probably never explain on this blog.  Surrounded by Defense Attorneys it becomes almost my rank or insignia.  If anyone questions my merits, another attorney who knows will mention the ten word synopsis, and the response will be, “What? You were able to do THAT?” And they’ll be no more questions.

You can’t do it, Marcus, you’re going to have to get it done another way…

I tuned out.  Why was this guy even talking?  On one hand he wasn’t kissing the Prosecutor’s butt in order to curry favor.  That was an option, but I didn’t  believe it.

See Marcus, you can’t do it.  What you need to give us…

Give us? Give US? You’re a Defense attorney!  And I tuned out to the rest of his speech as I tuned in to the problem.  He wasn’t one of us.  He hadn’t joined, in his own mind, the fraternity of the Defense Attorneys.  Don’t get me wrong, he collected money to “defend” people.  He stood next to them as he pled them guilty to crimes they may or may not have committed.  He explained to them their right to plead guilty, the right to throw themselves on the mercy of the court.  The right to pay him a flat fee that includes nothing but showing up.

“Give US.”  See, he was an ex-prosecutor, but something worse.  He still self-identifies as a Prosecutor.  He still self-identifies as someone who wants MORE people in the system, rather than less.  But people pay him for it, maybe I’m wrong.

And I turned to the real Prosecutor, “I just need to get before the judge”.

I stepped outside and made a phone call down to the Beretania Police Station to get my facts straight, then came back inside.  I sat in the front row and waited. Long. I had to wait until the rest of the calendar was done.  When the judge got to the end of his schedule he asked the Prosecutor if there was anything else they could take care of before the break.

As I jumped to my feet, the Prosecutor dismissively allowed me to address the judge. I would have yelled had she not.  The judge heard my request and  said, “Well, Mr. Landsberg, that sounds like a reasonable request to me. Granted”.

120 seconds. Done.

And as I looked around the court, the “Defense Attorney” was not there. Too bad, I wanted him to see me win.  I collected my things, placed them in my bag, and on the way out the door I saw him in the hallway talking to his client with a familiar refrain:

I understand you think you can win this case, You can’t do it. It can’t be done.  You can’t win here…

And I shook my head, And sung to myself:

You can get with this, or you can get with that.
You can get with this, or you can get with that.
You can get with this, or you can get with that.
I think you’ll get with this, for this is where it’s at.



Parental Discipline — The defense to Abuse

abuse, parental discipline, acquit, lawyer, win, hawaii, Kamehameha

Not for hitting children.

“What high school did you go to?” I asked him in front of the jury.

“Kam”

This defendant didn’t go to Kamehameha, I knew that.  No one from Kamehameha calls it “Kam”, they’re trained to call the school by the full name.  He’s lying to the jury, I told him he’s not allowed to do that.  If I catch him saying something I clearly know is untrue, I think I have to report him.

Pause. Jaw drop. Look at him sternly.

“bull”

Campbell High School.  Beat. Jury laugh.  Everyone fell for it. He smiles.

What’s he thinking, *I* tell the jokes here.  But now he has a taste for it…

__________________________________

He was a large Hawaiian man.  Many kids of his own.  His new wife brought a few of their own to their blended family.  He worked during the day and she worked at night, and while they rarely had time together, they found time to make sure people were always home with the kids.  They lived on old family land and the kids had enough space to run and play.  Homework always got done first.  No one was getting straight 5′s on AP tests, but no one was getting arrested before they were 18, at least as far as my defendant was concerned.

So when his 14 year old son (who could easily passed for 21) got questioned by the police at the local mom & pop market for stealing, that wasn’t allowed.  Now compound that by hiding in from the father.  Now mix that up with the father finding out by going down to the store and getting thrown out, “Get out of here! Your son steals ‘Girlie Mags’ from my store! Your money is no good here.” And then the boy lies when confronted with the facts:

Not only did he steal, but he stole pornography.  (Which was probably as much the reason for the secret from dad.)

Someone’s getting hit.

So when the student was sent to the school nurse for limping, he didn’t mention

1. Theft.

2. Pornography.

3. Lying.

4. Talking back.

All he mentioned was:

“My father beat me with a bamboo stick”.  He didn’t mention the father told him the purpose of the stick was to limit the strength of the giant ham hocks at the end of the Defendant’s arms.    He didn’t mention that Defendant was aiming for this boy’s rear end, but he kept moving, causing other bruises.

________________________________

“How many kids do you have”.

“Nine, or ten, I’m not sure.”

An uncomfortable laugh, now we’re on the wrong side of the jury.  He breaks the first rule of testimony: “Don’t answer more than you have to.”  The more you answer, the more ammunition they have. Get in, say the facts, say the feelings, get out.  If there’s a second rule its “don’t be flippant in front of a jury”.  This is about as serious as a situation gets.  There’s a jail sentence hanging over your heard.

I suppose I should say here, there’s an exception to the second rule:  I have a full presentation on “The use of Humor for the Lizard Brain: Comedy in Courtrooms” that is beyond this post here.  And really only for attorneys.  The purposeful sublimation of perceived Court customs (but never court rules) is just about the second most important tool we have to make jurors listen.

But that one line flipped the momentum of the trial from us to the prosecutor.  And the Prosecutor seized on it in closing:

This is a man who wants you to think he cares about his children.  He doesn’t even know how many he has!

Hard to come back from that.  Good thing the jury never heard about his prior Abuse convictions on two of these ten children.  Explainable, but better left unsaid.

__________________________________________

Now, even if the boy had mentioned WHY he got punished,  School’s often have mandatory reporting. Police still get called, still make arrests.  Prosecutors are given the duty to dismiss these cases.  Often that duty is taken away by their supervisors.  Often these cases just aren’t dismissed.  Overcharging is the number one reason cases go to trial. Overcharging and over arguing for punishment.

They should. They just don’t.

So we go before the jury, and we explain. Everything.  Tell them everything.  Lay bare the the home life and the discipline plan of these nine or ten kids.  Then the judge reads the law and they all go to the jury room to deliberate.

But they walk past something that I couldn’t plan or predict.

Outside, on the bench the jurors have to pass on their way to the jury deliberation room, the jurors walk past the two boys who testified.  They’re taking a nap.  The larger boy is using a rolled up jacket for a pillow, the smaller boy is using the larger boy’s lap.

A picture of boys raised correctly.

And no matter who wins on points or pontification, spilling guts or speechifying before the jury.  The jury seeing that these kids are raised to love and protect each other.  Raised to do the right thing when their father isn’t there.  The jury realized this was real honest discipline meant to guide the children to do right by each other, themselves, and their family.  Not for simplistic, sadistic reasons.

And you can’t beat that with a stick.  Not Guilty.  (And I don’t think he ever came back.)

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Tone Loc, NO!

$50,000 for bail on an abuse charge?  In Hawaii the going rate would be closer to $2,000, or maybe $11,000-$15,000 for a felony.  Once it gets into that range, we’re talking a class A or B felony.

I have no facts as to what may have happened, outside the newspaper article, but to completely speculate:

She said, “I’d like a drink,” I said, “Ehm – ok, I’ll go get it”
Then a couple sips she cold licked her lips, and I knew that she was with it
So I took her to my crib, and everything went well as planned
But when she got undressed, it was a big old mess, Sheena was a…


The jury is out…


A real conversation with the judge from my first jury trial, waiting for a verdict:

“Waiting is really the hardest part,” The judge of my first jury trial told me.  The Jury had yet to send back a jury communication, and it had been hours.  Jury communications are like chicken bones to a Trial Attorney.  Juries aren’t allowed to suggest in their communications how they stand in their decision.  Jury communications are used by attorneys solely to determine how they stand in their decision.

“I just want to know what’s going on in there. What could they possibly be talking about?”

“Y’know son, have you ever had a child?” This is about five years before I married.

“No judge.”

“It’s kind of like waiting for your wife in the delivery room.  You can’t really do anything but wait and hope the baby comes out healthy.”

“That’s great judge, but there’s only one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“I’m scared the baby won’t look like me!!!”

This was a real conversation I had with a judge while waiting for my first verdict.

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Hawaii Criminal Defense: The Legal Blog

Issues in Hawaii Law.

Below is a collection of Articles I've written about Hawaii law.  Most are about criminal defense, Honolulu trial work, or future legal trends. Courtroom experience is probably the most common.  Others are comments on local or national law.  Hopefully there is something for you to find and enjoy.  If nothing else, you'll see the way I feel about certain issues, and the thought processes I put into legal problems we solve.

And some stories are just too funny NOT to tell.......

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