Today a court appointed client, with me at her side, entered a guilty plea in exchange for 25 years in TDC. It's the longest plea bargain I've ever consented to. Her crime? Dope. Her minimum possible punishment had she been convicted by a jury? 25 years. Yep, she pled for the minimum of 25 years.
We've got some goofy laws in Texas and one of them is the so called "habitual offender law". It basically says that (1) if you've been convicted of a felony, sent to the pen, and got out, (2) then convicted of another felony, sent to the pen again, and got out, and (3) then commit another felony (third degree or higher), you are then subject to an "enhanced" punishment of no less than 25 years and no more than "life."
I know what you're thinking. Don't cry for me Argen-three-time-tina. (Poor joke, I know.)
Yeah, my client, who wouldn't hurt a fly, has had a couple of trips to the pen. (Once again, for dope.) So a couple of years ago she gets stopped in Bridgeport for a traffic violation, has an outstanding traffic warrant, and then readily admits she has some meth in the car. It was a cut and dry case. Obviously guilty. Obviously had been to the pen twice before. Obviously subject to the "habitual offender" law.
A jury would have no choice but to pick a number between 25 and life. It's an awful position to be in. Bad for me. Worse for her.
The really only loophole would have been to convince the prosecutor, out of a sense of right and wrong, to "waive" one or more of the enhancement paragraphs and, thus, allow her to enter a plea for less than 25. In a sad twist, I actually managed to pull this off a year and half ago when I got the plea bargain down to 20 years. Unfortunately, my client didn't show up for the plea. So the 20 years was off the table. (She was, obviously, arrested later.)
Parole, you ask? Well, she becomes eligible once her real time + good conduct time = 6.25 years. Being eligible for parole doesn't mean she'll be granted parole.
at 9:12 PM