Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bizarre court compromise

The courtroom yesterday erupted into laughter as other lawyers listening to ourt court room sparring led to the most bizzare compromise arrangement I have ever encounter.
My client sued two defendants. My client sued a life insurance company and its agent.
I entered into a compromise arrangement with the insurance company and we signed a compromise agreement which we have submitted to the court already.
During the hearing of the compromise agreement yesterday, the counsel for the other defendant, the insurance agent refused to sign the compromise agreement because he wanted my client to apologize in writing to his client, as a precondition to signing the compromise.
Otherwise, he said he will pursue with the legal proceedings and cross examine my client.
I manifested before the court that I am at a loss in convincing my client into signing an apology as a precondition to a compromise.
My client was asking me how a "sorry letter" fits in a compromise arrangement when a compromise is supposed to settle things amicably, without having to ascetain who was at fault.
The counsel for the insurance agent was struggling to respond, in the end justifying his condition by saying that since my client was a man, and his client a woman, it is only fitting that the man apologize to the woman.
This elicited a reaction from the counsel for the insurance company who manifested in jest by saying that since his client is neither a man nor a woman, he would dispense with the apologies, generating laughter from the audience.


Rolly Cavan. said...

Re: Bizarre Court Compromise

Backlog of cases in the courts made popular some compromise or plea-bargain, usually offered by the prosecution, for the defendant to plead guilty and get lesser sentence before the trial, or choose rather to plead not guilty and get convicted, only, to suffer a much steeper jail sentence after the trial is concluded.

Some defendants who are truly innocent, plead guilty during plea-bargain to avoid protracted time in the courtroom and the risk of getting an adverse judgement, and a steeper fines or imprisonment.

The court benefits by saving time in the legal process and freeing more time for more serious cases, at the expense of ethics, that would result as a mockery of justice.

Classic example of this was the ENRON case where one of the defendants pleaded guilty and turned State-witness, while the other fought it out, because he is convinced that he is innocent of the charges against him. The result, the defendant turned State-witness served a token few days in jail. While the other white collar defendant, was sentenced to over 20 years in prison.

Plea-Bargain offers an attractive option at the expense of justice and a serious compromise of the legal ethics by officers of the courts of law.

Note: These are comments from a lay person, with zero legal training.

Jay Dejaresco said...

You are right.
Personally, I like court compromises as I get to collect my final attorney's fees early.