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Can I Get A Great Deal From Plea Bargaining, Or Just A Little Better Than A Trial Verdict?

Can I Get A Great Deal From Plea Bargaining, Or Just A Little Better Than A Trial Verdict?

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“I guess a question that the family and the defendant would want to know …. In terms of plea bargaining, ‘do I just get a little bit of a deal, or can I get a great deal? Is it somewhere in-between?’ That’s one of the questions they’re going to say. ‘What should I expect?’ And I know it such a general question. I hate to use this analogy, but it’s like somebody buying a product that’s on sale. 10% on sale is not that good a deal, but 30% off is a much better deal. And I know that it’s going to be hard to put in context, but I’ll bet…and I’ve been asked that question… by a cosigner on a bail bond, by the family members, by the defendant. They say, ‘well, that’s not good enough of a deal for me. I want more’.”

Spencer Freeman – Criminal Defense Attorney – Pierce County, WA

“Sure. It’s an almost impossible question to answer in the way that it’s asked. Well, it’s a good question, but also a difficult question. There’s no way to say this particular….in general, criminal defendants can expect by way of plea bargaining. It’s also hard to say, at least at the beginning of a case, in an individual case where I may know what the facts are, and I may know what the prosecutor does traditionally, and I know the persons criminal history. Which by the way, criminal history plays a huge role. So, it’s hard to say what to expect.

But what any defendant needs to know here, is that the decision to take a deal is the defendant…solely. And if the defendant feels like the deal isn’t enough to warrant not going to trial, then the answer to that is go to trial. It’s always a risk balancing thing. The defendant needs to work closely with the attorney to balance those risks. Being presented with an offer, and that offer is whatever percentage better, if we want to talk about it that way, of whatever percentage better than a guilty finding after trial. And you balance that against how strong of a case do you have at trial. What is the likelihood of actually being able to win at a jury trial? You balance those things. Obviously, if the deal is just a little bit better than after a loss at trial, then maybe you don’t want to take it. But if it’s a lot better, then balanced against those same exact facts and risks at trial, you may go, ‘that’s something I want to do’.

I think that as a criminal defendant, you really need to be careful if you hire a private attorney…in who you hire. Because my experience is that some attorneys don’t like going to trial. And so, some attorneys will try to influence their client’s decision on going to trial or not. Because the attorney is scared of trial, or doesn’t want to do the work, or doesn’t want to go to trial. One of the things that I try to pride myself on is ‘that’s not in the mix at all’. Because I love going to trial. That, to me, is where this is fun. So that’s not part of the mix. My advice to my client really is about balancing those risks and trying to help them to balance those risks. But it’s the one thing, in the course of the litigation, one of several things, the defendant has the absolute say on. I don’t get to make that decision.”


Born and raised in Colorado, Mr. Freeman stayed in the Pacific Northwest after graduating cum laude from Seattle University School of Law in 1995, at which time he was awarded the National Order of Barristers by the National Board of Governors. After gaining extensive trial experience as a prosecutor for the City of Tacoma, Mr. Freeman worked locally for several small law firms focused on personal injury and criminal defense. In 2000, he began to work at a downtown Seattle law firm, where he worked with some of the best lawyers in the nation. During the better part of the next six years, Mr. Freeman was blessed to do work for one of the largest national television providers litigating matters involving the theft of encrypted satellite signals. During this time, he worked closely with corporate counsel and assisted in developing and managing a national litigation campaign. He appeared in federal courts throughout the nation, gaining extensive experience in both federal court litigation and the pursuit of intellectual property thieves attempting to hide on the Internet.

In late 2005, Mr. Freeman decided to open a practice in Tacoma, where his family was growing. Mr. Freeman’s connections locally and nationally nourished his practice over time. He has served the local community as well as handling cases in federal courts across the country. Locally, Mr. Freeman has assisted local businesses in such matters as contentious shareholder disputes and individuals in matters ranging from catastrophic injuries to class A felonies as well as lawsuits against insurance companies for bad faith claims practices. He tried a Whatcom County Superior Court case for a bail bond company that resulted in the first appellate law in Washington truly outlining the rights of fugitive recovery agents. He has tried cases in many counties throughout the State of Washington, argued before the Court of Appeals Division I and Division II and the Washington State Supreme Court.

Mr. Freeman’s practice has taken him beyond Washington State, where he has handled cases for national Internet multi-media companies enforcing copyrights in states such as Florida, Nevada, Arizona, and California. In those cases, he has successfully argued for jurisdiction in the United States against individuals that reside in other countries. Mr. Freeman also represented a publisher against sheriffs regarding First Amendment Rights to distribute a magazine in county jails, resulting in arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the first case law of its kind. He has argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals five times and submitted a briefing to the United States Supreme Court.

On more than several occasions, Mr. Freeman has been retained by parties on the near eve of a trial solely for purpose of being lead trial counsel. One such successful case was against the U.S. Department of Justice in their first trial attempting to enforce the CAN-SPAM Act for the actions of independent contractors.

Mr. Freeman’s passion and strength lay in front of a jury. He finds a beautiful balance between fact witnesses, statutes, case law, rules of evidence, and the different contexts of each jury. Most cases find a resolution before trial, but the best resolution occurs when counsel is prepared to try the case. And, when a case cannot find resolution, Mr. Freeman loves to go to work.

Contact Attorney:

Phone: 253-383-4500
Freeman Law Firm, Inc. is one of the most reputable and reliable attorney enterprises with two locations in Tacoma and Olympia, WA.

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