After working in a public defender’s office five weeks as the law office manager/legal assistant I felt it was necessary to write a letter to the Honorable District Attorney Dale Trigg and Honorable Judge Follett to make a plea in getting discovery to the public defender.
“October 24, 2014
Dear Honorable Trigg,
As you are aware Mr. Davies retired on September 30, 2014 from his position as a Public Defender. Mr. French took over Mr. Davies’ position and received numerous boxes of files dating as far back as 2004. Although we have managed to find a majority of the files, there are many that have not been found and we have had to make several requests to your office for discovery, which includes the rap sheet.
I understand from the capitalized lettering on the bottom of a discovery request that your office has a “policy” of not providing rap sheets to the public defenders. However, I still request the rap sheet according to California Penal Code 1054.1 in order to preserve objection for due process violation for the public defender. I am sorry if this offends your staff, but it is just a precautionary measure in which I will continue and should not be construed as anything more than ‘just business.’
As to the other documents that are requested, I fail to understand why we are not receiving them. It appears your office is taking a position that they have already been provided so they refuse to provide any documents again. This will ultimately slow down the judicial process.
I understand how busy your office is, but I have been informed by other attorneys that when Judy Reynolds worked in the office it was very efficient and all discovery requests were fulfilled. Mr. French and I are hoping we will be caught up within the next few weeks where discovery requests will be for all new cases instead of old ones. We need your patience and staff cooperation in this matter.
Legal assistant/Law Office Manager for Thomas French”
This letter was cc’d to Judge Follett.
Well, sadly I must report the immaturity of the District Attorney Dale Trigg who was completely angered according to Mr. French. “You have no idea the shit storm I am in right now because of that; I am dealing with the ensuing shrapnel from the explosion,” French sent in a text.
Quite frankly, I didn’t realize it was a capital offense to let the district attorney and judge know Public Defenders were not getting their discovery, which by the way is in violation of law. How would you like to be charged with a crime and not get adequate representation because the District Attorney refuses to uphold the laws of the land when he took an oath to do so and refuses to give the “evidence” to the public defenders? Wow, is that shoddy work or what? People need to be aware that their civil rights here in Del Norte County are violated every day and then instead of getting fair representation, you’ll get a “plea” to serve jail time and probation instead of the public defender providing a true defense.
The good that came out of all this is public defenders are getting their evidence without making requests. The bad part is it was at my expense to make a change, thus, I am the patsy once more because I am out spoken and because no one else really cares.
I lost my job, but I am happy everyone else benefits from it.
Crescent City, Calif.