Sometimes, OK, I admit it, sometimes late at night I stalk other defense lawyers on PACER

PACER is an acronym for Public Access to Court Records Online, and it provides electronic internet access to pleadings and motions that aren’t sealed in federal cases; my interest being in federal criminal (rather than civil) cases.

Every so often I strike actual gold with my internet research. For example, I discovered an interesting legal argument for a downward departure in a sentencing memo by researching Scott Greenfield cases on PACER in a recent mail fraud case. Short version? I plagiarized incorporated his request that the Judge consider, for 3553(a) purposes, the lower guidelines at the start of a continuing offense than those in place at the time of the plea. [**Tangent continued in the comment section.]

So tonight, while browsing, I come across this gem in a filed factual basis. After starting with the obligatory “had this matter proceeded to trial”, many paragraphs later we have:

On or about [Some Date In Time], the jail recorded a phone call from inmate DEFENDANT to his brother BRO. DEFENDANT told BRO the names of drug customers who owed him money as well as the amount that was owed.

They also discussed the need to get SOME GIRL to claim the “shit” (cocaine) that was the subject of DEFENDANT’S arrest as she would get probation. 

DEFENDANT told BRO that he still had some ounces of cocaine which he referred to as “onions”.

Number one? You’re talking on a jail phone. You Are Being Recorded. Number Two? Talking in “code” is for TV/The Sopranos. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that hard to tell you aren’t talking about onions. And yes, the defendant in question was convicted of conspiracy to distribute narcotics.