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News :: DNC : Human Rights : Organizing : Politics
Legal Update: The Lafayette Eight
14 Apr 2006
Unfortunately we live in a nation without equal application under the law and special treatment and advantages are typically given to prosecutors
On the morning of April 13, 2006 Lafayette Eight defendants and their supporters gathered in Cambridge District Court for what was supposed to be their final trial. What occurred was a violation of the standard rules of criminal procedure, although not uncommon in these modern times.

Lafayette Eight legal council had previously submitted to the court a motion to dismiss, based on violation of right to a speedy trial. The District Attorney's office had apparently done nothing since the filing of the motion three weeks ago, and even began the day with submitting extended discovery a full two years into the litigation process. Despite numerous objections from defense council, the court awarded the prosecution an additional 30 days to answer the motion. The court even had the audacity to suggest that defense council should assist the prosecution in the matter. Additionally, in a very Orwellian fashion, the judge also used the words "Commonwealth" and "Court" interchangeably, as if they referred to the same entity. One final insult, two days prior to the court appearance, the Cambridge Police Department refused to accept subpoena notification from Lafayette Eight legal council, claiming that they did not accept papers at headquarters.

Unfortunately we live in a nation without equal application under the law and special treatment and advantages are typically given to prosecutors over defendants such as allowing witnesses to check notes prior to answering cross examination, rewarding noncompliance with extended grace periods, and use of state agencies to conduct pretrial investigations. With the recent trends of grand jury misuse, paramilitarization of local police agencies, and anti-defendant legislation such as the recent "anti-gang violence" bill authored by Senator Jarrett T. Barrios (D-Cambridge) and Representative Stephen Canessa (D-New Bedford), our courts will no doubt continue to function under pro-prosecution bias until the Commonwealth and the Court truly are the same entity.

The litigation process has now been pushed back into the pretrial stage, and a pretrial hearing to rule on the original motion is now scheduled for June 5.

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Re: Legal Update: The Lafayette Eight
14 Apr 2006
is this a speech or a report on a legal proceeding?

can you report what happened? are the eight defendants all alike? Do they have like most defendants separate interests and separate counsel? Why do you treat them like a block of cheese instead of eight different human beings?
14 Apr 2006
We don't have separate counsel. Our lawyer is representing all of us as a group. All the charges are given to us as a group, so it makes sense that all our motions and defense process are conducted as a group.
Re: Legal Update: The Lafayette Eight
14 Apr 2006
don't be a fool. get your own lawyer.
Weak Arguments From The Peanut Gallery
14 Apr 2006
Why would i get a different lawyer? I have complete trust in him.
15 Apr 2006
What ever you say cop mc-cop
Re: Legal Update: The Lafayette Eight
15 Apr 2006
I'm glad to see that I've made friends on IMC. It actually doesn't make sense to retain seperate council for each individual defendant. Individual lawyers tend to want to detach their client from the group simply because it makes their job easier. However, in Boston the National Lawyers' Guild provides attorneys who specialize in political cases, and since the interests of all defendants lays along the same path, retaining a single attorney for all all was the best course of action. The only other option is the CPCS, who (wth all due respect) would have treated the matter from a standard criminal litigation point of view, and who have extremely limited exposure to political cases.
Re: Legal Update: The Lafayette Eight
16 Apr 2006
It is interesting to see that this thread has attached all of this attention. We are a full two years into the litigation process and regular updates have always been posted here after each pretrial. Why the recent interest in the case?

I'm a bit confused by the last comment however. Are you implying that since NLG attorneys do not get typically get paid for their defense work, that their skills are somehow unfounded? Do you judge everyone by their income bracket? Is this this capitalists' stamp of approval that dictates your trust over another person? Strange logic.
Re: Legal Update: The Lafayette Eight
16 Apr 2006
You mention that "good" defense attorneys seek the "best deal possible". This reflects a broader problem with public defenders, and ironically, your argument adds credibility to the NLG. The payscale that covers public defenders encourages plea bargains and cooperation with the District Attorneys office. More cases taken off the board means more taken on, and thus higher pay. It is faster to settle cases than is it to win, and thus the end result is a classic conflict of interest between the economic interests of the public defense attorney and the obvious interests of the client. The NLG on the other hand is not affected by this conflict of interest and are seeking to win, rather than settle the case.

In this regard, your argument that the NLG is interested in politics is moot, so long as the outcome of whatever modivation you think governs them is to seek to win cases for their clients.
Re: Legal Update: The Lafayette Eight
16 Apr 2006
In the hypothetic example that some defendants are "illegal" (as defined by the state), then yes, seperate counsel would most likely be called for. All defendants continue to deny any and all wrongdoing and after two years are yearning for their day in court to prove their innocence. It is the District Attorney's office that continues to pull the political angle and stall the litigation process. It is the goal of the NLG to defeat these baseless charges and secure a verdict in favor of the defendants.

You seem a little confused in regard to the authorship of the original article. The legal update was written by the ABC, not the NLG. The NLG works to win the case in court, while the ABC works to regularly update the greater community as to what happens inside the courtroom.
Re: Legal Update: The Lafayette Eight
16 Apr 2006
Interesting. Does Feller's disdain for the NLG outweigh his disdain for the Lafayette 8? Or is he just focusing on the NLG becuase Michael Patrick is willing to debate him?

Either way, good luck to the 8. Sorry your case is dragging on so long, though it's not too surprising!
Re: Legal Update: The Lafayette Eight
17 Apr 2006
well, the immigration issue could be dicey.
I hope no one's individual defense is prejudiced if the hypothetical situation of several defendants' immigration status becomes a reality.