May 16, 2011

Careful What You Wish For

My boss has said, on more than one occasion, “a day out is a day out, and a day in is a day in.”  Meaning that any reduction in a client’s sentence, even if it seems insignificant at the time, is a good thing.  It’s hard to see the long view, however, if you just got a 15-year sentence, even if you might have otherwise gotten 20.

That must have been what was going through Eric Torpy’s mind, if anything was, when he was sentenced for armed robbery in Oklahoma several years ago.  See, he made an odd request of the judge (via):
In October 2005, Torpy asked an Oklahoma County judge to tack on three more years to his 30-year prison sentence for armed robbery and two counts of shooting with intent to kill.

'He said if he was going down, he was going to go down in Larry Bird’s jersey,'’ Oklahoma District Judge Ray Elliott told the Associated Press back then. 'He was just as happy as he could be.'
I was a Larry Bird fan as a kid, too.  You know what I did?  I got 33 to be my jersey number when I played basketball in elementary school!*  I never thought of taking it farther than that.  Maybe my elementary-school self realized you had to draw a line somewhere.

Of course, after doing six years in the klink, Torpy is having second thoughts:
'Now that I have to do that time, yes I do,' says Torpy. 'I kind of wished that I had 30 instead of 33. Recently I’ve wisened up.'

'That three is a big deal, you know? Three years matters.'
Nonetheless, the fault for his predicament lies elsewhere:
Torpy said the district attorney and judge should never have lengthened his plea bargain agreement.

'In my mind, they became unprofessional,' he says. 'Why feed into my game? I’m a criminal.'
Here’s a bit of free legal advice – don’t taunt judges.  They are very unlikely to grant your request if it involves some type of break for you – less time, a better prison placement, what have you.  But if you make request for more time, even one as dumbassed as Torpy’s, you’re likely to get just what you ask for.  Judges don’t like to me messed with.  And they will let you know it.  And the prosecutor is not going to step in and keep it from happening.

* That was before I learned about my all-purpose number of choice for such things, of course.

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