Doing the Right Thing Isn’t Easy But…

I just had a very interesting courtroom experience today.
It reinforced my belief in the system and the basic fairness of our Courts.

I was in Beaver County Pa. about 40 miles outside of Pittsburgh.

I was representing a client on a DUI case.

In DUI cases the person’s prior record is extremely important for sentencing purposes.

Any prior convictions within 10 years of the offense for which your client is charged  affects their sentence.

If you have 2 prior DUIs within 10 years of the offense date you are looking at a year in jail.

So Wednesday I was in Beaver Courthouse with an older assistant DA.
We were in front of the judge.
The records showed my client had prior convictions in 2012 and one in 2007

They provided us proof the records were accurate and that made it a 3rd offense.


Then during the the middle of our hearing before the Judge the assistant DA voluntarily came over to me and said I’m not positive that that her 2007 DUI is accurate.

We brought this information to the judge’s attention.
The next thing I know we’re in his chambers and the judge is calling PennDOT for certified records to  reverify the clients prior convictions.

We must’ve been in the judges chambers 45 minutes. With a Courtroom full of people waiting…
Both the attorneys and the judge told every war story of their legal careers during that time waiting for PennDOT to respond to us.

Finally we got notice from PennDOT that my client had in fact 2 priors.

So the assistant DA was right all along.

What really impressed Pittsburgh wrongful death, medical malpractice, car accident and criminal defense attorney Bernard Tully about this whole experience is that the assistant DA was willing to stop a legal proceeding and bring to the judge’s attention that there was at least a question as to whether or not the prior record score was accurate.

The easiest thing for the prosecutor to have done would have been to stand silent and not even bring up the potential issue to the judge.

And we were able to get the court to consider a sentence that was below the mandatory amount that was required because of the ambiguity in the preceding.

So it all worked out well for everybody in the case.

But this incident really did cause wrongful death, medical malpractice, slip and fall, car accident and criminal defense attorney Bernard Tully to admire another person’s professionalism and sense of fair play.

You sometimes read about prosecutors that are so hell-bent on convictions that they will do anything to get one even if it means violating a person’s constitutional rights.

But the next time I deal with that individual assistant DA I will know that I can trust him.

That is very important in the legal profession where your reputation is everything.

Pittsburgh wrongful death, medical malpractice, slip and fall, car accident and criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully knows that doing the right thing is often hard.

But in the end you get a whole lot of benefits from doing it.

Especially as an attorney.

Thanks for reading.

Bernie the attorney.