Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Undeniable Proof the SAPD is Awful

September 5, 2013: The Court of Appeals hands down State v. Schall.  Shawn Wilkerson of the State Appellate Public Defender (SAPD) was arguing, and won a small but important victory.  When the state claims a defendant committed a felony DUI requiring proof of prior DUIs, and some of those DUIs are from out of state, the state must show at the preliminary hearing that the DUIs from out of state are conforming convictions in terms of the law violated.  DUI differs a bit from state to state, so this is important.  The state, which merely needs to prove there is probable cause to believe the felony was committed, had argued the conviction which often says ".08 DUI" or something is good enough.  The Court of Appeals said no, bring a copy of the law and argue it.  Or lose.

State requested the Supreme Court look at it, and it granted the petition.

On August 20, 2014, the same day that Doug Phelps would argue Wulff to the Court and find that everyone agreed that McNeely likely killed implied consent (bless him)- this happened.  Shawn Wilkerson, fresh from his win less than a year ago, strides to the platform and shows his mastery of the law and the Court of Appeal's opinion.

Oh no, no he doesn't.  Actually, he flounders, freaks out, and shows a total lack of understanding of the law, the system, everything.  He basically concedes that preliminary hearings are useless and he has no idea why we have them.  What's the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?  He doesn't know.

Question: How did he win in front of the Court of Appeals?  Probably this way.

Update: Having thought better of the negativity I unleashed, I have decided to remove the insulting section here, but my opinion of the SAPD is unchanged to the extent that I believe they do more harm than good currently and are violating the rules of professional conduct by not properly serving their clients.


  1. Why don't you tell us how you would have responded to Justice Eismann's questions? Or how the argument should have been made? This blog is long on criticism and bluster but rarely gets into anything concrete.

    Also, I think that if you are going to call people out by name and refer to them as shit stains and criticize the rest of us whose cases are going to the SAPD, you should also have the strength of character and confidence in yourself to post your own name.



  2. First off, grow up. If you're a criminal defense attorney and you can't take name calling, find a new gig. Kid's name is stated in the argument and on the prior decision, so it's not like I'm revealing some arcane knowledge unavailable to folks. And if you don't know Sarah runs the SAPD, you probably should. The SAPD 1. can't argue its way out of a paper bag and 2. does not appeal the issues identified by trial counsel. For those two reasons, in my opinion, they are crap. You can have your own opinion. Go make a blog talking them up if you'd like.

    Second, this blog was never intended to be a blow by blow on practice tips. It's mostly just a spot for me to keep track of what is going on in Idaho law and blow off steam. If you can't come up with a better response than what is in the audio, don't be a defense attorney.

    Third, while perhaps in a perfect world a PD could have a blog under their own name, the reality is unfortunately that such a thing would be suicide. I like my job. So no thanks.

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    1. Bar chatter amongst the legal community about a controversial but “interesting blog” is circulating around the fancier watering holes in Idaho The person who told me about it couldn’t exactly remember the name but he was pretty sure it was something like Angry Weeds, or Farty Fallacies, or Flucking Flowers.It sounded intriguing so after a few minutes of internet sleuthing I found Defending Dandelions. This probably wasn’t the blog my companion was telling me about because: It actually wasn’t interesting; the title made it sound like a Mother Earth copycat; It was poorly written (I can’t believe you could actually author a coherent brief); it (unintentionally, I’m sure) reveals your ship wrecked soul.
      Bless your heart. I hope you get spiritual help and pastoral pruning for the Root of Bitterness that has twined and twisted around your intellect and spirit. My goodness sake, nidefatt, (why not just call yourself Defiant T. instead of a silly anagram, or gasp, your real name? I’m pretty happy to own what I say. Fear God and honor the King, that’s my motto.
      The last time I read such transparent jealousy was prior to my Confirmation when I was forced to memorize the seven deadly sins, the sixth of which is ENVY. (As an aside, one wonders where wrath, greed, sloth, PRIDE (you’ve got that one covered too, haven’t you?), and my personal favorite, gluttony, fall in your most recent Examination of Conscience, or if you are a secular kind of guy, the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale.
      So, here’s the deal. Get an undergrad degree, take the LSAT, hope you get accepted in a law school, pray hard that you pass the bar (some don’t you know) and then, hope even more (I suggest prayer, lots of prayer) some outfit will hire you. Just between you, me and the gatepost, I don’t think you should aim for a public defender position. You’re way to pissed off to be rational, your patronizing attitude is an insult to the court not to mention the poor sods you would be foisted on, and you just don’t seem to enjoy life – it’s that Root of Bitterness thing again. Get happy, turn that frown upside down, forget about critiquing others and take a deep dive into what makes you tick; discover what makes you such a dickory, dockery, do. Find a hobby. Say, Twinkle Toes, how ‘bout learning how to make some of those elasticy loop potholders? They sell kits at the Walmart. Think how pleased your friends and family would be to receive them as a Christmas gift. That’s a present folks would really appreciate and use. You could travel around to craft fairs and probably make enough money to pay for college. Trust me, Christmas is coming you I’ll bet you could make a killing.
      In the meantime, you’ve made really curious about the folks at the SAPD so I will be checking out Shawn Wilkerson (Hint # 1 nobody is fresh a year after a win – that kind of a statement suggests your victories are few and far apart in whatever you do for a living) and Sara Thomas’ (Hint #2, name is not spelled with a terminal h.) It’s the little details that separate the men from the boys, attorneys from jailhouse lawyers, the saved from the damned. Know what I mean, Mr. Jingles?
      Barbara Fisher
      Back of Beyond Idaho

    2. Fair. Wrath does tend to be particularly abrasive when you have no connection or feeling for where it is coming from. I suppose it makes sense that you'd assume envy. As I can't tell if you're an attorney, it's really quite difficult to explain the various ways in which bad lawyering is upsetting, particularly from assigned attorneys who handle the majority of felony appeals.
      You know, back in 2001 or so when livejournal came out and everyone had these super whiny blogs... heck maybe they still have them, I wound up making one of my own.
      I didn't really want this blog to turn into that kind of thing. But I still do a few angst ridden entries. I'd say this is a personal failing, but most PDs I know have a lot of angst. I think the job does that to you.
      Probably also why we tend to be rather defensive, as we do tend to fail a lot, and there's always the question gnawing at you, whether you should be in charge of anyone's fate the way you are. It's a scary thing.
      But I think we have to push past that. I am concerned by a lot of the lawyering I witness. The world is full of attorneys who are not very good, in one way or another. I think all attorneys accept they themselves are not very good. But some are so bad that it's troubling. And attorneys don't even discuss it, though we're required to report failing to the bar, we rarely do. No one wants to be a snitch, everyone lives in a glass house and does not want to throw stones.
      I don't know how to fix all the things wrong with the defense bar. But I don't see that being silent about things helps.
      What I'm trying to tell you is: I am full of a lot of anger on a lot of issues because I work in a system that is broken from top to bottom. I'm not alone, you can find other blogs like this one, though few of them curse as much as I do. They're trying to maintain respectability I'd assume. But as I have no particular interest in trying to establish myself as anything, I simply write as I wish. Albeit, not terribly well.
      I actually hope you will come back. I don't often (if ever) get such well written commentary. Very vivid and lively. Hopefully we can come to a better understanding of each other.

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  5. I am not an attorney, but I spend a lot of time mending things.
    If the system is broken work to fix it. Respect yourself. Don’t whine. Mend broken bridges. Apologize, publicly, for gratuitous insults on this blog. Make your part of the legal world shine – the glory will reflect on you. Don’t act like a high school drama queen. Laugh at life, the legal system, and mostly yourself. Be a hero.
    Still living in the back of beyond,
    Barbara Fisher

    1. True things. The rough and tumble world of criminal defense can generate a lot of negativity, and I don't know if its the acupuncture from this morning or just that it's the weekend and I haven't been to the office for a bit, but I will do as you recommend. Anger is only useful in the right doses and at the right time, and perhaps the timeless quality of blog postings simply will never be a good place for it.