Wednesday, November 07, 2007

DJ Cooper

District Judge Cooper has been visiting my local Court this week. He is a famous character who has a 'street name' of Custody Cooper because of his unusual style of locking people up to get them to change their plea, or as a sentence. I have encountered Mr. Cooper in the past and have always found him to be a very pleasant man.

Today I appeared in front of District Judge Cooper representing a Client who was in custody, and had pleaded not guilty to an assault charge. When the Court case was called on after lunch Mr. Cooper strolled in to Court, sat down and said, "What's this all about then?" The Clerk explained that the Client had pleaded not guilty to an assault and that a trial was going to take place in a few weeks time. Mr. Cooper then said, "Does he really want to plead not guilty? Let's have a look at the papers." He was then passed the case summary from the prosecution and said to the Client, "Why have you hit this man? That's an awfully silly thing to do. You have been in custody for a week. Let's see if we can sort this out." Mr. Cooper then looked at the Client's previous convictions and said, "He is on a community order, he will never finish that will he? Does your Client really want to stay in custody until his trial date? He will probably get convicted." At this point Mr. Cooper was using his distinctive charm and style to get my Client to change his plea. I took the opportunity to seize the moment and asked Mr. Cooper what he would give my Client if he did change his plea - to my surprise Mr. Cooper suggested he would revoke my Client's existing sentences for community service and let him walk out of Court with a Home Detention Curfew Order (otherwise known as a tag). At this point my Client summonsed me over and said that he wanted to change his plea. After a brief discussion my Client stated he was more than happy to accept responsibility for the assault if he would be released immediately and that he would not have to continue with his community service.

The end result of the hearing was Mr. Cooper cracked the trial, the Client walked out of Court after regaining his liberty, and there were smiles all round. Personally I was happy that the Client had decided to change his plea because the evidence against him was overwhelming and very likely to result in a conviction had the matter gone to trial and the witnesses had attended.

4 comments:

Dungeon Master said...

Aah Custody Cooper, I have to say that cells staff always look forward to visit from him. Sensible, amusing and concise what more can you ask of a DJ. I think one of his classic moves is when he sends someone off bail down to the cells to consider how they might like to plead. Can we have him cloned and sent out to all the Eastern Region Mag Courts.

Essex JP said...

Sorry just linked to here from Bystander's blog. I know DJ Cooper and regard him as "my hero" He is not that popular with other Magistrates although he is very supportive of them. I find him refreshing and he reminds me of the good old days at Bow Street, London.

Anonymous said...

Quick note to let anyone interested know that you can but "I've been Coopered" t-shirts in various markets in the Eastern Region.

DJ Cooper must be glowing with pride, bless him!

Sam Green said...

DJ Cooper's creative, or common-sense, approach worked out better all round. I never saw him pot an honest man or woman - sorry to use legal lingo; I never saw an unfair conviction or unfair treatment. His approach may have seemed rough-and-ready but it suited the relatively trivial matters that he had to deal with, the defendants who were no strangers to the criminal justice process, and saved much court time and many unnecessary court hearing.