Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

How To Destroy Your Life Like This Guy Did?


Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

Now, one of the questions a lot of people have when they or someone they love and care about has been arrested is, “Gosh, I have not heard from my legal team in two weeks, what should I do”, or sometimes people will say, “I am willing to do some of the legwork”, and I am like, “No, whatever you do, do not do the legwork, stay away because you do not know Florida criminal law”. It is like a minefield. And you just do not go running through a minefield unless you want to blow your life up. And so, instead, what should you do? What you should do, and this is very hard for people to understand, is you should master your own personal psychology and this is critical. And I am going to give you one example that is going to bring this home.

I have a colleague of mine who has had access to our materials, coping with stress during criminal prosecution for over 20 years, he has had access to it. That is how long I have had it. And sure enough, he does not use it. Why? He has practice managers. And what do practice managers say? “Bring people into the office when they are stressed”. It is a great time to find out if you can sell them additional legal services or you can do an upsell on what you are already doing. And if you do that a lot and act like they are your best friend and make sure you gather their birthday and their children’s birthday and send cards and sign them all on signing day and then have it calendared and your staff sends them, they will love you, they will give you referrals and I am guy in the room going, “Wait a minute! That is, number one, manipulative and number two, that is exactly the wrong thing to do”. And this is how I know it because my colleague had a client where he was charged with the child pornography. And this guy was not some major sex offender, he was just curious. And who is the world’s largest purveyor of child pornography in the world? United States government.

You would think they would want to keep this away from people, instead they flood the internet with it and claim they are solving crime. Not so sure I buy that. But be that as it may, he had multiple counts and he was looking at a prison sentence and my colleague did an outstanding job, got him 4 years of probation, he would be found guilty, he would have sex offender designation but would not serve a day in jail on a charge that normally, the plea bargaining is about how much prison, not whether there is a prison. And this guy was not going to have any.

He went to court and the judge had to do a conversation with the defendant before accepting a felony plea. You have a written plea agreement, then you have an oral communication and that is called a Plea Colloquy. And these are questions like “Do you understand what this says? Did you sign this document? Have you had any drugs or alcohol in the last 24 hours that affect your decision-making? Are you satisfied with the invoice and services given to you by your lawyer?” And this guy said, “He could have tried harder”.

Now, I am in the courtroom and I am looking at Judge Stone. And Judge Stone has a stone face, just like his name. And I could see his eyes wiggle just a little bit and that meant he was looking into every part of his brain to find a way to take this change of plea from Not Guilty to No Contest so that he would not have to call a jury the following Monday. This was Thursday. If every case goes away at the end of Thursday, no juries for Monday. If some cases stay and they will have set for trial, you call injury panels depending upon how many cases, that determines your number of people that are going to be on a venire panel. Well, sure enough, the judge decided he could not take the plea, so he said to my colleague, “I cannot accept this, we remain set for trial on Monday”. And then, with a question mark in his voice, he looks over the prosecutor and he goes, “State”, and she stood up with a smile like she always does, and she goes, “Yes, your Honor, the state will be ready”.

Now, here is what she did not say, “My entire family is coming in the town this weekend. My husband’s entire family is coming in the town this weekend. We are scheduled to do a marathon and actually it is a triathlon and at different points in the race, we were going to have family members throw towels at us when we get out of the water, we were going to have them hand gel packs to us at a different point and water or sports liquid at different points”, because the triathlon is different events”, but I cannot do any of that now because I have a trial on Monday, which means with my whole family in and his whole family in, I am working on a popup trial that should have been a plea in a case I gave the store away on”.

Now, she did not say anything of that, all she said was, “Yes, your Honor. The state will be ready”. So, Monday comes along and sure enough, guess what happens. The guy successfully enters his plea of no contest. So far so good, 4 years of probation, right? No. Instead, what happened is the prosecutor promptly added back 26 counts and the guy was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Now, why did he get 35 years in prison? Was it because he deserved 35 years in prison as opposed to 4 years of probation the previous Thursday? No. It is because he did not cope with stress during criminal prosecution effectively and he did not use a systemized method that actually works. And as a result, he blew up his life. And we do not want to have that happen to you. And in the next video, I am going to tell you exactly how to use coping with stress during criminal prosecution so that you have the highest degree of likelihood of success in your case, whether it is a trial, a motion hearing or plea bargaining.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

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Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

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