A Washington, D.C., judge declared a mistrial in a murder case on Friday, saying he was “astonished” at the performance of the defense lawyer who confessed to jurors he’d never tried a case before.
Judge William Jackson said lawyer Joseph Rakofsky did not have a good grasp of legal procedures, citing as an example the attorney’s rambling opening statement in which he told of his inexperience, the Washington Post reports. Rakofsky graduated from Touro law school in 2009 and obtained a law license in New Jersey less than a year ago, the story says.
Rakofsky had repeated disagreements with his local D.C. counsel, causing his client, Dontrell Deaner, to become “visibly frustrated,” the Post says. On Friday, Deaner told the judge he wanted a new lawyer.
The judge declared a mistrial after reviewing a court filing in which an investigator had claimed Rakofsky fired him for refusing to carry out the lawyer's emailed suggestion to "trick" a witness, the story says. Rakofsky's suggestion allegedly read: “Thank you for your help. Please trick the old lady to say that she did not see the shooting or provide information to the lawyers about the shooting.”
Afterward, Rakofsky refused to comment and rushed out of the courthouse, the story says.I often find that the comments are more interesting than the story itself. Even here on BIDER, I find your comments to be the highlight of my day. On this particular story, an interesting comment was made by someone about Mr. Rakofsky:
Clarence Smith Apr 6, 2011 7:40 AM CDT
Rakofszki was never fired. He requested that he be relieved because of a conflict between his client and him. The judge removed him because he asked to be removed; it was Rakofszky’s request. Have you ever, even one time, read the transcript?
Conflict is completely different from and has nothing to do with “incompetence,” but none of the “reporters” have lifted a finger to read the transcript. After the judge removed him, he criticized Rakofszki (but never accused him of being incompetent). Anybody who was actually in the courtroom on Friday already knows this—the Judge was very clear about this.
I doubt that supposed email (and the quotation in it) exists. If the Post was willing to quote Rakofszki, why did they not print the supposed email? Is it possible that Rakofszki does have a lot of experience? Is it possible that he was telling the truth?
Some of you are truly awful. If you at least read the transcript, no one could fault you; but, instead, you glibly accepted what the Post said and ran with it. I was there on Friday and there is no way the Post reporter was even in the courtroom at the time the Judge was addressing Rakofszki. What the Post wrote and what actually happened are 2 different things. That kid has been catapulted into this, what is undoubtedly a terrible event for him and his whole family, and none of that which has been reported about him (which is said to have occurred on Friday) actually happened.Could this be Mr. Rakofsky commenting on the story himself? I didn't think of this on my own, but another comment called attention to the ludicrous misspelling of the dude's last name. Could he be more obvious?
I really feel for the kid. I made a comment on the story, something along the lines of ... silly him to think that going to law school would qualify him to be a lawyer. Someone took my comment a little too seriously and asked if I was an attorney for thinking something so naive. I am sure my readers know what I meant.
Maybe he's a narcissist. Maybe he's overly confident. Maybe he's misguided to consider this a win (someone who commented on the story had a looksie at this Facebook page where he declared this a win. But isn't it though, in a way?). The readers were ruthless in tearing him a new one. I don't blame him for piping up. His legal career is pretty much over before it began. I have to pity him.
But no story or comment trail is complete without a troll. The latest comment comes from a Tuoro student herself:
Mr, Rakovsky does not fairly represent Touro Law Center—and his behavior maligns the dedicated faculty and the many hard-working and high achieving students that Touro has educated over the years. Touro Students work as Judicial Interns for the Federal Judges of the Eastern District Of New York as well as State Supreme Court Justices, Our Vis Moot Team has consistently won honors in interntional competition, Touro Alumni serve honorably and competently in the NY State Judiciary and the Assembly. My professors always stressed the importance of professional ethics, I had the privilege of learning from professors who trained at Harvard and Yale. I was fortunate to take part in Touro’s Collaborative Courts program which gave experience in arguing before federal judges. I know better than to take on a case I am not qualified to handle. Jackasses can be found at EVERY law school, but don’t malign a school because of ONE individual. I remember Mr, Rakovsky. He had many of the same professors I did so I dont know why he didnt learn the same things I did about professional responsibility and the duty of competence,Did they teach you grammar and spelling at Touro as well? I will quit maligning a law school for the acts of one student when law schools stop admitting people that aren't qualified or mature enough to be attorneys. If every law school is allowed one "nut" a year without an impact on its reputation, that's 200+ crazy attorneys fucking up people's lives royal--yearly. That's way too many nuts. If we cherish our profession and our collective reputation, law schools need to become more selective with who they admit and who they allow to graduate.