How To Properly Evaluate A Plea Offer
When evaluating a plea offer keep in mind the “Cleanest Pig In The Pen Fallacy.” As attorneys, often justify our actions, our plea deals and our advice based on what we have seen other attorneys do and experience. Often, this knowledge is invaluable and can save clients from making horrible misjudgments of their situation. We base our decisions on the context, providing our clients with a risk assessment based on our (limited?) experience with the court, the facts, the prosecutor and the judge. Being a competitive lot, attorneys feel good when we perceive our result better than the “average” attorney. Thus we are happy being the “cleanest pig in the pen.”
As a client, you should not care who the cleanest pig is. You should take into account your specific facts and evaluate the case with your attorney from all perspectives. This is the essence of plea bargaining and plea negotiation. In other words, you should look at the offer from “outside” the pig pen. You may see that while your offer is the cleanest, it is still covered in s**t.
Whenever I relate a pre-trial offer to a client I tell them that the offer should be evaluated from all possible perspectives. I impose upon myself a strict self-regulation not to view the offer only from the limited perspective of how I feel about the offer. By looking at an offer from all sides I am able to provide a full context and look at the case through my client’s eyes, the prosecutor’s eyes, the judge’s eyes, etc. Being aware of the “cleanest pig in the pen fallacy” has made me a better attorney. I offer this story here as a reminder that we, as attorneys, have an obligation to not judge ourselves by any standard other than our client’s.
Dayton DUI Attorney Charles M. Rowland II has been representing the accused drunk driver throughout the Miami Valley since 1995. If you face a DUI or OVI charge, please contact him immediately at (937) 318-1384.