“Mr. Lafrance, thank you for believing in me and my story.” Those were the words my client said to me as she hugged and sobbed in my arms.
I remember when she first walked into my office and asked me to represent her. My client was being accused of battery (at the time). The allegations were that she hit the bus driver after getting into an argument with him. I understood her story and told her I would be looking into the matter before I would agree to take the case. My law clerk however was able to find the video and after watching the video of this incident I was absolutely baffled.
It took just 30 seconds of watching the video for it to become clear that she was not only innocent but a victim. The video did not show my client hitting the bus driver but instead it showed her being attacked by another passenger and the Bus Driver jumping in to attack my client.
I distinctively remember talking to the prosecutors prior to the filing of charges and ask them how could they be pursuing a battery when the video showed otherwise. They disagreed with me (its normal for this happen and doesn’t make them bad people) and filed charges in August of 2017.
We conducted some pretrial investigations and once the investigation was complete we were prepared to go to trial. Unfortunately, I fell ill and was hospitalized and couldn’t physically go to trial. That was in January of 2018 and my client was patient and understanding. She said she wanted me to get healthy so that I can be the trial lawyer.
By April 2018, I was ready and that’s when the games began. The State apparently had witnesses issues and the Judge granted a continuance. Again, my client was patient and understanding.
In June 2018, we were set for trial again and once again the State asked for a continuance and was granted one by the Judge. I admit I loss my temper because it was absurd but my client was patient and understanding.
Then July 31, 2018, after filing a demand for speedy trial and the Court giving us this Court date, the State asked for and was granted another continuance. My client, rightfully so, was no longer patient and no longer understanding. She had waited for months for her opportunity for a jury to hear her story and again it was denied.
In August 2018, we were again set for trial. Speedy trial having already run and everyone in my firm was as pissed as me and now prepared for a full on legal battle. I asked my client to accept the possibility that the judge may grant another continuance. She understood and then she led us in prayer before we walked in for battle.
On that day there was no battle. Just a quick 5 minute hearing which ended with the State announcing a dismissal of the charges. My client was overjoyed and for once she was finally given justice albeit delayed.
“Mr. Lafrance, thank you for believing in me and my story.”
No, thank you for reminding me why I do what I do for a living.
Houson R. Lafrance