According to my fellow Temple Law alum Jamison Koehler, Dontrell Deaner was sentenced to 10 years prison today. Dontrell Deaner pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Apparently Deaner could have pled guilty earlier, but “he was represented by two lawyers who clearly were not up to the task: It is hard to consider the merits of a plea offer when you are not getting the right advice.”
According to Jamie, the judge did not have kind words…
If both lawyers were somewhat circumspect, Judge Jackson did not pull any punches. Apparently not cowed by Rakofsky’s earlier accusations of defamation, Jackson noted that, while he didn’t know what the outcome would have been had better advice been given at the outset, Deaner had been represented at trial by two lawyers with “no ability to assess the quality of the evidence” against Deaner. The Judge said that he hadn’t been aware that the trial was Rakofsky’s first ever until Rakofsky mentioned it during his opening statement.
The primary lawyer in the case [Joseph Rakofsky?] the Judge said, the one who had been retained, was clearly not interested in considering a plea for Mr. Deaner; he wanted to be able to say he had tried a murder case. Both lawyers, he said, were “clueless” and “motivated by self-interest.”
Keep in mind that it was Joseph Rakofsky who said “We are trusted with people’s lives. There is no greater responsibility.” So did this hubris, self interest, and cluelessness hurt Mr. Deaner’s interests?
In the end, splitting the difference, the Judge imposed 120 months of incarceration – or 10 years – to be followed by 5 years of supervised probation. That sentence is twice the term offered by the government in its initial plea offer. This was the offer that Deaner, receiving advice from different counsel, had rejected.
What a way to go and commit career suicide.
[Video credits: This is my brother Xander Rushie’s band, Paradise Movement. Yes, my brother is cooler than me and became a musician instead of a lawyer. He is the tall guy singing.]