Tag Archives: News

Can you get a DUI on a bicycle

Can you get a DUI on a bicycle


Another attorney pointed this out to me, seems very apt for today’s news. Here’s today’s news:

October 13, 2013 Woman killed on a bicycle

I hope she figures out which attorney to get.

Original post:

Can you get cited for Driving Under the Influence while on a bicycle?

Absolutely not. If your bicycle has a motor, you are on a moped, and the answer is YES, you can get a DUI on a moped, on a bicycle? Absolutely not.

It shocks me how many people think that you can get a DUI on a bicycle. Just this week I was with a group of attorneys who do a lot of DUIs, make a living on them. And one said to the group “Do you know you can get a DUI on the bicycle? It’s true!”

The group agreed. Probably to be more polite than anything. But one person even said that they saw someone convicted of a DUI! But you can’t, at least not the way the law has been for the last ten years. Let me explain how lawyers (should) look at laws:

I. Read the Law. Again.

The most useful skill I learned in law school was not in a criminal law class, but in a business law class. The teacher called in Close text interpretation, at least, I think that’s what he called it.

II. Close Text Interpretation

The rule we learn at the Public Defender’s office is this: “Re-read the law, every time.” Every time a new case lands on your desk, re-read the law, every time. You’ve done 1,000 DUI cases and there’s another one on your desk? Re-read the law, every time. There’s always something new that shows up.

III. DUI law

In Hawaii, the DUI law is called Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant.  Here we’re going to call it DUI, since everyone I know, even the judges, call it DUI. Most laws get one statute, DUI has evolved to have it’s own section of statutes. Any statute that begins with 291E have some relation to the DUI law.

a. The DUI law is HRS 291E-61

The definition of DUI is held in Hawaii Revised Statutes sec. 291E-61 and reads below:


A person commits the offense of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant if the person operates or assumes actual physical control


This is not the FULL text of the DUI law. This is just the charging section. This is the part that is relevant to today’s issue.  Actually, we can reduce that part to a shorter section:


Hawaii Revised Statute 291e-61 defines DUI as: A person commits the offense of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant if the person operates or assumes actual physical control


And here’s where the confusion lies:

Notice the first sentence: “VEHICLE” what does that mean? Notice most laws talk about “Motor Vehicle”. But we’re not talking about Motor Vehicle here. Why?

BUT before we get to the problem, let’s finish the close text analysis. The rule is Definitions, ALWAYS definitions.

b. Read the Definitions in HRS 291E-1

Hawaii makes definitions easy, they’re almost always (ALMOST!) in the first section of the same statute. here we find vehicle. The definition is found in Hawaii Revised Statute sec. 291E-1:

Vehicle is defined as (1) Motor Vehicle. (2) Moped; and (3) Vessel. The Definition of Vessel is a boat on the water.

III. Answer:

Vehicle means Motor Vehicle. Is a bicycle a motor vehicle? no. Case closed.

If you get drunk on a bicycle, don't drive into traffic.

YOU CANNOT GET A DUI ON A BICYCLE. (as long as it doesn’t have a Motor.)

Addendum: Answers are easy, why the confusion?

Confusion is more fun to figure out.

Here’s why, the Hawaii Revised Statutes criminal traffic sections define “Vehicle” no fewer than three times!

There’s the above.

There’s HRS Sec. 291C-001:      “Vehicle” means every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a roadway or highway, including mopeds and bicycles, but excluding toy bicycles, devices other than bicycles moved by human power, and devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

And there’s HRS sec. 286-002:   “Vehicle” means every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, but excludes devices moved by human power or devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks and mopeds.

And then I got tired of looking things up.

Three sections, three different definitions, SAME WORD. Notice, for 291C-1, both bicycles and mopeds are vehicles. For 286-2, both bicycles and mopeds are NOT vehicles. Whoever the attorneys were who believed that you can get a DUI on a bicycle, got their definition statutes confused.

Hawaii laws that can be enforced on both a bicycle and a car.

On closer look, the charges you CAN get while riding a bicycle include

  1. speeding ticket
  2. racing charge

On the other hand if you get a Hawaii Revised Statutes sec. 291-2 Reckless Driving charge while on a bicycle, now there is a problem, because which statutory definition of “Vehicle” applies, since there is none! Horse on the other hand is explicit. Guilty!

And that’s the long way to say, Drink and Bike is legal, just make sure your balance is good enough to you don’t land face first!

Shaming as strategy

So there is a new imaginary problem that people are complaining about on the Internet.  A summary of the complaint for context, but I really don’t want to engage in it. Understand, based on my calling in life I have no problem defending misguided people,

Racist Misogynist Poster

The Poster in Question

but what is happening is that a few people are angry that an insensitive person used specific imagery designed to “shock and awe” in order to get attention for his event. He used what is understandably called a racist image to promote a completely ordinary, otherwise uninteresting music show. He did this with the goal of getting exactly what he is getting: attention!

And to be clear, there’s no suggestion that he is consciously racist or misogynistic, simple that he is insensitive.

I’ve already talked about that more than I want to. As this blog has long been centered on *how* to argue, or *why* to choose certain rhetorical strategies more than *what* to argue, the interesting part to me is the techniques in the arguments, not against the racist, misogynistic poster creator, but against the people who say “Racism?  I Just don’t see it!“  I want to talk about the shaming of the people who are simply saying “it’s art”, “it’s stupid, not racist”, or “it’s really unimportant”. Because the argument against these people spueaking is very very scary to me. what’s more so, it is much more frequent than I imagine it should be.  Look at these screen captures so I don’t take anything out of context (to be clear, these are two separate comments — click more):



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Honolulu 911 App

Honolulu 911 App

Honolulu 911 calls go like this: Your heart is racing. You either witness, or suffer, an illegal activity. You’re nervous, everything is coming at you. You manage to get to the phone, often your cell phone, hit the numbers and as the quickly pick up you blurt out your narration of the facts and they say “so do you want the paramedics or the police department?”

The first response doesn’t even pretend to care about what’s going on.

Then they connect you, and then they start asking you questions. 5 seconds, ten seconds. Enough for a crime to be committed, for people to escape. More importantly, enough time for the attacked to swat the cellphone out of your hand. By talking you draw attention from the criminal to yourself as the most dangerous person in the room. You’re the one bringing the police. The most dangerous outcome for society is when it is more rewarding for us to protect ourselves than each other. That’s the endpoint on the road to anarchy.

And that’s not where it stops. THEN they start asking you questions: “Where are you? What does he look like? Tell me more? What did you say? Could you spell that?” I’ve listened to literally hundreds of 911 calls. It is like they are trained to keep you on the phone FOREVER. When the best thing by far is to say “Okay, run.” They want to ask questions until they are blue in the face.

You know, when you’re hiding in the closet and trying to be quiet, the state doesn’t even accept text messages. DUI attorneys accept text messages. I’m hoping the Government becomes at least as advanced as them.

Honolulu 911 Solutions

By now hopefully we realize the way we operate is not to only point out a problem, but to offer a solution. So here’s the solution, the Honolulu 911 APP! Clearly, in our society of cellphones and smartphones. Of Galaxies and iPhones and HTC and SONY there is no reason we should still be using 911 technology from Alexander Graham Bell.  Now what follows is designed for Honolulu 911, but really it could work for any wired metropolitan city.

Start with the big three:

Who, where, when

  1. The message can automatically send the phone number, and name associated with the phone to whoever receives the text messages.
  2. Yelp knows where you are. AroundMe knows where you are. GoogleMaps knows where. Clearly this app could send your location.
  3. And the exact time you sent it would log in the record.

and the big three are taken care of!

Precise information for Honolulu 911

Clearly there’s more precise Information that needs to be told to the officers.  Two things happen. ONE, we decide what that is in advance and we can put that ON THE PAGE, that minimizes time to process the information. Already after the case we ask witnesses to fill out statements and ask particular questions

911 Speed

If we really sit down and think about it, for many, the speed of typing on the phone has long surpassed the the speed of talking, answering questions, and processing information. Watch any kid send on a phone three sentences of info (or three paragraphs) and at the same time say the same three things and ask the next person to process it and filter it into the right categories. The typing will win every time. And these are our next generation of witnesses!

Outlay of the 911 App


911 App Honolulu

First, look at the top three buttons:  Police, Fire and Ambulance. These are the big three and they’re clickable. what that means is, you can request one, two, or all three.  No information is sent until the SEND button is pressed in the lower Right corner. These buttons are clearly not binding on the dispatcher who would respond to the message, but merely advisory. This is included since the very first question you are asked when you call 911 is “Police or Ambulance”. A large part of the purpose of the app is to get around the lag time it takes to process that first question and direct you the right way. Especially

when for very serious crimes the answer is YES.

Then we move to the second row of Honolulu 911 App buttons

The second row is our optional buttons. These are designed to help whoever the dispatcher is give more information to whoever the first responder is going to be. While not mandatory, these are the helpful questions that would keep you on the phone for a thousand years The second row first includes a spinner that lays out a number of different potential reasons to call for an emergency responder.

These are just advisory, and broad messages, clearly the police would need to decide on the final list. I would point out, maybe 10 should be the maximum. We don’t want people getting lost in lines of words they need to bifurcate.

App Slider 911 Honolulu

Photo and Sound Clip are a little more time consuming, which is why they are optional.  Clearly Photo is important. Since much of the thought behind this app is to reduce words and processing time, and one picture is worth a thousand words, the picture option needs to be present. Imagine the benefits to having a picture of a. the scene, b. the offender, c. the victim, d. ANYTHING. Currently the design is one picture per message. If you need multiple pictures, use multiple messages.

Sound Clip is if you don’t want to type or are poor at typing or if the actually sound of what’s happening is most important.  Imagine if, during listening to your neighbor’s husband threaten her, you were able to record the threat and then did not have to actually appear in court to testify. Imagine if, during the heat of passion, you could witness by just recording the occurrence and sending it in.

I would suggest 1. the recording be processed the same way Google Voice processes their messages in a sense to get a typed version instantly. But also 2. It is preserved digitally as a sound file, in order to be used affirmatively in a prosecution. A voice recording is even better than a picture when it comes to independent  verifiable evidence. It is very hard to say that a recorded threat never happened. It is very hard to say a police officer told you to record a certain statement (where it is very common to say that on a written statement. “I am willing to prosecute” anyone?)

Finally the third row: A text box and a SEND button. The text box is the same as any other app you can write in. You have the keyboard, on the iPhone 5 or equipped phones you can type via voice. And the SEND, here shown with a little envelope signal. In the time it makes to hit three clicks, someone has your location, information, and identifying factors they need to initiate a life-saving procedure. And that’s what every step of this conversion needs to be about. What can we do to save more lives.

Evidentiary rules

When I first proposed this solution the pushback I immediately got from people in the know is “How does this get around the Rules of Evidence? This is all excludable evidence.” Which is a valid worry, but let’s answer it.

  1. It’s not. It’s clearly all “present sense impression” and admissible the same way any Honolulu 911 call would be. In fact, it is more admissible, since a 911 call includes a government employee asking questions. The App in this case would by an uninvited communication, and obviously an excited utterance.
  2. Who cares! 911 is about saving lives, not catching criminals. That’s what it has to be about. It has to. Let’s not forget that.


Honolulu 911 App: In Closing

Now I don’t have the computer background to actually program this APP, but I have the legal experience to say what is necessary and what is extraneous. I suppose the next step is asking the Police department, or the city, or the State to get on board with some financing.  Or maybe just a computer programmer somewhere who wants to go a good deed and make things smooth for the next generation. Or if doing good things is not persuasive, maybe someone who just wants their code to take over the world. You want to talk about disruptive, explosive growth? Think about it, this is an App that should really come standard with every phone.This app is coming soon, who’s going to make it. Or make it well?


Punishment in Hawaii – Laws and Trends

Punishment in Hawaii - Laws and Trends
“We can and should do better. But “doing better” doesn’t mean simply focusing on social services and systemic reforms and ignoring the need for punishment. It means using punishment intelligently, which means using it as sparingly as possible but also as much as necessary.”

Punishment in Hawaii

Punishment in Hawaii is heading the wrong direction, is an opinion I’ve long maintained. So when I woke up today to an article talking in depth about punishments that largely mirror my own views I was excited. Everyone I know in the system who takes time to talk to criminal defendants comes to one conclusion early on: To a person in prison, there’s not much difference between ten years and twenty years. It is all unforeseeable time to them. Quite frankly many of them are surprised to live as long as they have. When you grow up surrounded by gang members, prison is simply a stop on the road to expected early death.

So why do we insist on keeping our children in prisons until they become our fathers? Grandfathers?

No one is denying crime exists. Or that real crime deserves real corrective punishment. No one disagrees that when other people on our island hurt or steal or trespass against us they need to be taught, or re-taught, that such a thing is not allowed. Whether by fine, by community service, through classes and counseling, or through incarceration, talking softly only works when someone is carrying a big stick. A few days in the judicial system and you realize talking loud never works.

`“Viewed from the perspective of deterrence, long prison terms are a bad bargain: The last 15 years of a 20-year prison sentence start five years from its beginning, a period distant enough to be beyond the planning horizon of the typical armed robber. And those long prison terms are no better viewed from the perspective of incapacitation—the purely mechanical effect of preventing crime by keeping the criminals locked up… Thanks to “three strikes” laws and absurdly long terms for drug dealing, the average prisoner is now in his (or, much more rarely, her) mid-30s while the average new crime is committed by someone in his early 20s. That’s a very costly mismatch.”

Inherent Worth in the Criminal

The first thing we have to agree upon is that there is some inherent worth to society of these incarcerated people. Let’s be very clear, we’re keeping them alive for a reason. If there is no inherent value to society in our inmates, they need to be killed. Period. We’re investing our time and dollars because we want something back from them. Maybe work, maybe intelligence, maybe just love and support for their families. So there is something there. And if there is something there, our next question is, how can we maximize the utility of whatever we want from them. How do we do that for punishment in Hawaii.

Is it locking them up until forever and a day? Well there’s different thoughts, let’s look at a couple:

Different punishments in Hawaii

Prostitution and punishment in Hawaii


I’ve talked all of us blue in the face with what I see as the problems with the proposed prostitution amendments and how they will over-punish for prostitution. About how they take a crime, being a John and want to increase the punishment ad nauseum. I’m slightly surprised no one has suggested thumbscrews yet for men so brash as to ask a woman, dressed for prostitution, how much she charges. Part of the question is what is the social utility of not only branding these men with the criminal seal, but also requiring them to miss 30 days of work, lose their job, lose their means of supporting their family, and have to explain to their children where they went.

Understand, this is not a deterrent unless they know about this. Know about this before they got drunk and stumbled back to a hotel and on the way back an attractive female dressed in sex approaches them and turns out to be an officer. And yes, that is quite a few cases, not the exception.


And remember equal protection and women’s rights? Every time you raise the penalty for men, guess what, you raise the penalty for women. And there is one thing law cannot do, erase the 2000 year old social stigma in Christian societies on the prostitute. These laws will have, at the top of every resume forever, a brand that says she carries a prostitution charge. And, when she gets out of jail, and the pimp is waiting, do we think he’s going to give her credit on 30 days of payments. She gets beaten to make up the money.

No one who asks to increase the penalty for prostitution has any compassion for prostitutes. Period.

New marijuana law and easing punishment in Hawaii.

Great Marijuana in Honolulu

Let’s talk about the opposite issue. Currently the debate in Hawaii is whether we decriminalize marijuana. The argument being that somehow people “getting away with” smoking marijuana is “getting one over” on society. But the question goes back to the basic utility of what should be allowed in America. Or more importantly, what should be allowed to stop your growth for the future. As if people who smoke marijuana, as minors, cannot grow up to be anything important.

Of course they can. But should the failure to avoid arrest be enough to stop your admission to college, Harvard Law School, even  the Presidency? Hawaii’s movie in the right direction. Stop ending lives prematurely by marking people with a criminal conviction for something so manini.

The secret about most crimes:

“The progressive tendency is to fixate on the plight of those punished rather than the plight of those victimized, though of course these are often the same persons under different labels or at different moments.”

Ready for the secret? Almost all felony trials in Hawaii are over drugs. Very rarely do we see a case where the complainant is virgin white. People learn to be bullies by being bullied. People learn how to steal cars because someone who is successful at stealing cars shows them how to better their life. I became a lawyer because I watched a lawyer save my fathers life.

 The Right direction: HOPE in Honolulu

At this point in the essay, I was thinking, Mark Kleiman would really like J. Alm’s HOPE program. And then I read the next paragraph:

“HOPE: The obvious (but hard-to-administer) common-sense alternative is to make the rules less numerous, the monitoring tighter, and the sanctions swift, certain, and reasonably mild, and to clearly tell each probationer and parolee exactly what the rules are and what exactly will happen, every time and right away, when a rule is broken. Mildness—or proportionality, if you like—is essential to making the threat credible, and severity turns out to be unnecessary. Experimental evidence from the HOPE program in Hawaii showed that two days in jail is as good a deterrent to drug use as six weeks, as long as the two days actually happen, and happen every time. We don’t know yet whether a day in jail, or a couple of hours in a holding cell, or a weekend of home confinement, or a week of a 9 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew, would do the trick, but we ought to learn.”

I wholly disagree with the idea that it is hard-to-administer less rules. In fact the situation is much easier than having every violation require a long complicated penalty. But the we can’t argue with the facts and the science. If we can get the same punishment from two days of jail that we can with six months of jail, keeping someone in jail for six months is not only inhumane, it minimizes social utility.  With luck HOPE will increase use across the island.

Read more about hope here

Let me close with a story.

Whenever we talk about proportionality and punishment in Hawaii I tell this story. Now, it’s a story about a loss, and I don’t normally tell those, but I’m honest as much as you can expect from a lawyer so I’m going to be honest about this one:

It was a harassment case, short, one hour trial that resulted from a domestic violence situation between a couple with two kids.  In the State of Hawaii, think of harassment like an “assault” where no one gets hurt. Just someone touches another person in a way they shouldn’t, pushes them out of the way or pokes them annoyingly. Like that.

Well the basic defense was, the guy just wanted to get into his car. The female wouldn’t move, he moved her out of the way. There was a question about how hard it was and whether it was warranted or not, but the when the judge brought down the gavel he said “GUILTY”. Man, I hate that word when I’m the defense attorney. And I was angry, I didn’t think he was guilty!

Gavel Punishment in Hawaii

But then the judge said something else, very quickly. “SENTENCE: $100.”

“WHAT!” the Prosecutor and I both yelled out. A conviction for a case like this comes with jail time. He harassed the mother of his kids. We’ve been trained to expect at a minimum a week.

The Prosecutor went in “Judge, we need jail. At a minimum anger management and domestic violence!

“Nah,” the Judge said, “He feels bad. It’s not going to happen again. It was just that one particular situation.”

And I thought to myself wow, I guess he is about one hundred dollars worth of guilty!


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Lawyer Headlines in Honolulu DUI

Lawyer Headlines in Honolulu DUI

I had the most wonderful visitors in my office last week.  After visiting during my one-year anniversary party, Nonstop Honolulu Online Entertainment and Hawaii: In Real Life decided to do a profile of me.  During my time helping out the food trucks I got to know Melissa Chang and Russ Sumida through another attorney I commonly associate with, Ryan K. Hew Esq., and they all became familiar with my work. After speaking to a couple of the people I defended, and getting to see me speak before the City Council, they decided I needed to be one of the local businesses they profile in their online magazine every week.

For me, even being considered to stand with the ranks of local businesses like Leonard’s Bakery, Brasserie Du Vin, and Hank’s Haute Dogs is a humbling experience.  I also appreciate the crew stepping out of the regular comfort zone of restaurants and retail, to profile a business that so many people want to divert with the joke “well, I hope I never need your services”.  So I kind of chuckled and stumbled my way through two videos, both of which went almost double overtime.

Read the profile! Click here->Nonstop!

Look at the tip of my pen, don't move your head. -- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

The first video is something we could do quick and easy.  DUI is something I’ve been doing for years, and it is always fun to sit around and give each other the Field Sobriety Test. Actually, while reviewing the tape, I think I might’ve changed Melissa’s score (I noticed a couple extra clues I missed because I was thinking about the camera.  She’s lucky she got away with a warning!

Here’s the video with the DUI test:

And here’s the video with us just talking. Mainly just explaining the story about how a lawyer used the law to save my family’s lives. The inspiration behind me going to law school and moving up. Also, it’s one of the few times I think you might actually be able to tell I’m nervous.  Usually I’m much better at hiding it!

 Now to update both the DUI pages of the website as well as the Press sections of the website. And while this is a great way to start July, be careful out there. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser just updated their breaking news with this:
For more frequent updates, follow us on twitter, Melissa Chang says!

It’s been a Year!

It's been a Year!

It’s a Celebration!

It’s been One year!

I can hardly believe its already been a year.

And at the same time I can hardly believe it’s ONLY been a year!

In May of 2011 I had finally had enough. I steeled myself, took the tear-stained letter sitting in my desk far too long in hand and told my boss, “I can’t play for this team anymore. It’s time for me to do it on my own.”

He looked me in the eye, and didn’t tell me to stay, didn’t try to talk me out of my decision.  He looked at me and nodded, “You know, I think you’ll make it.  You’ve really grown up while you’ve been in this office.” This is especially surprising, as he hadn’t really talked to me much over the past few years. He chuckled about dunderheaded stunts I pulled years before. And he recounted recent victories that even I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t been there.

I know this is something you’ve obviously thought a lot about. I know you’ll succeed.”

And what a success this year has been! And to celebrate that success I want to invite ALL readers of my blog to the “One Year Birthday Party” where like any good birthday party, we’ll have cake and ice cream, both provided by successful clients of the last year.

Party Invite. And year one highs:Click Me!

Donations from:

New Web Page

While I send you over there this is another celebration of the New Year is the facelift of the old WordPress blog into the current “808crime.com” website. It’s brand new (less than a few days old) but it’s pages and pages deep. Please give feedback, tell me what you think, and provide any other suggestions that might be important!

See the new page:Click here!
New DUI Handbook

And lastly I want to announce the “Landsberg Law Office DUI Manual”. I’ve been giving the same DUI speech for nearly ten years, updated only as laws changed, I figured “why not just write it down”? It’s also the one charge people ask about, who never have any other run-in with the law. Information should be free, it is technique that I charge for. So rather than telling each person this information individually, now everybody has my thoughts on general DUI cases and practice in Honolulu, Hawaii.

So it officially went live today, the “Landsberg Law Office DUI Manual”. Read it before they force me to take it down. If you have any questions/comments, there’s a comment section on that page, let me know what you think!

DUI. Get the manual now:Download

Finally, I want to thank each and every person who reads this. I love all of you, and I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without your help, support and love. My wife and I appreciate each and every one of you in our lives. I named the office after myself, but if you’re reading this, you have some personal ownership in the success it has become.

Thank you, for one of the greatest years of my life.

Let’s go make some more!

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Thank you for 2011. Look out 2012!

KHON Legal Expert News Hawaii Lawyer Attorney

Thank you for the most amazing 2011.

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy New Year from the Landsberg Law Office. In 2011 we went, in a short time, from Zero to the Penthouse. We made successful appearances in front of the Liquor Commission, Family Court, and Military Court (in addition to Circuit and District). We beat the same cop twice. The only time they let us go to Jury trial, we won on the first vote. The very first case we consulted on was a murder in the news, and this week we again were assigned a murder, and again in the news!

We launched our social media presence. We made great contacts and partnerships throughout the legal community, and more importantly we made great friends from everywhere.

I just wanted to take a moment to be thankful to each and every person who reads, responds, and shares this page. Thank you ever-so-much for taking this ride with me. I can’t aim for anything except being the best. I appreciate you riding shotgun as, in 2012, we aim to be better than the best.

Happy New Year!

Honolulu Attorney Lawyer Hawaii Criminal Defense


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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.

Recommendation Hawaii Lawyer — Lawyers recommend Marcus Landsberg

Lawyer Referrals Hawaii, Recommended Hawaii lawyers
SO recently I’ve been engrossed in a jury trial (we won!) and now I’m turning my attention to a CPS custody case, and I don’t normally want to “tweet” my own horn.
But today my twitter tweeped and I checked it and I saw this recommendation from Hawaii State Representative Della Au Belatti, I definitely wanted to put it up here and let everyone who follows my blog know.  It’s very easy to know who is currently sitting on top of the attorney mountain, but it’s not everyday that you see one attorney publicly declare another attorney is a future “leader in the profession”.
And being that Representative Au Belatti is a woman of great foresight, there’s a very good probability she’s right!
Big Teeze Recommends lawyer Marcus Landsberg, Big Teeze, 808 HoesAnother person who got on twitter to support my private attorney life is my old friend Big Teeze.  You all know Big Teeze from as a veteran of Hawaii Radio, currently on 93.1 Da Pa’ina Radio station Afternoon drive time.
I cannot guarantee everything he says, but Big Teeze has always had a way of saying the truth by speaking his mind.  I always appreciate the love from my Bredren, from the Capitol, to the courthouse.
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Exciting Changes Coming Soon!

Well, we’ve been building up to this point!

Keep checking back to this webpage for the announcement. but there should be exciting changes coming soon. The webpage for one thing should have a complete overhaul. We’ve already announced our Facebook page (please like us):


And follow the twitter at @LandsbergLaw where I post

The latest updates in Hawaii Law.
The latest news I receive on roadblocks or potential police infractions.
Anything I’m in the mood to post!

A good way to get started is to follow the twitter and go back and read some of my favorite posts. Already, my research shows I’m the highest Klout ranked lawyer in the State of Hawaii, and that was within about two days of joining Twitter.

Soon I’m launching “Free Legal Advice in 140 Characters” Any question you can ask in 140 characters on twitter, I’ll do my best to answer in the same. We have to pick a day. Or maybe one random day a week? Not sure. Feel free to start with questions now though.

It’s an exciting time at the Landsberg Law office. Recently work has picked up, and that means less time spent on the website. See you in Court!

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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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