Judge Attempts to Pressure Accused into Plea Agreement

By Michael Apfel

MODESTO, CA – Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Linda A. McFadden expressed frustration with the demeanor of the accused in a misdemeanor case after he refused a deal proposed by the prosecution last week.

The accused was facing two misdemeanor charges, including one count for driving under the influence, and reckless driving.

The prosecution offered the standard sentence to the accused of a 10-day jail sentence, suggesting to the court that there may be more evidence against the accused coming to light in the near future.

“I don’t have confirmation yet, but there is a possibility that the officer in this case is on (family leave),” said the DDA, noting “she will be out for the rest of this week.”

The judge suggested the prosecution offer an altered deal, reducing the fine but still containing the same amount of jail time and probation.

“You still get the three years probation, and you still get the prior,” said Judge McFadden. “It’s just the fine is less. That seems reasonable. The most important thing is the prior because really 10 days in jail is not much based on what we see here usually. Do you want to offer that to him?” said the judge.”

The accused declined the offer, still not persuaded by either the initial or modified plea offers. In response, the DDA said she had a witness willing to testify in the case, prompting the judge to urge the defense to reconsider.

“You (defense counsel) need to go talk to your client,” said Judge McFadden. “You need to talk to your client about the offer.

The judge then turned her attention to the accused, instructing him to reconsider the offer and confer with his attorney again.

“You need to go talk to your attorney on this. OK? I’m telling you,” the judge said.

The accused and his attorney stood up to walk away to discuss the offer, and something about the accused’s body language or facial expression appeared not to sit right with the judge. Judge McFadden moved closer to the microphone and began raising her voice.

“Don’t act like that, don’t be looking like that in this courtroom,” said Judge McFadden. “This is a court of law. I tell you to go do something, I want you to go do it. I’m doing it for your interest to talk to your attorney. Don’t act like that in court. The court can sanction you, and it won’t tolerate that behavior. Now go talk to your attorney. It’s important that you talk to him about this case. Thank you.”

About The Author

Michael Apfel is a second year at USC majoring in Legal Studies and minoring in Sports Media Industries. He plans on law school after his undergraduate studies looking to work in social justice.

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