This interview is the second with criminal defense lawyer, David Benowitz. For those that missed Part I, you may read it by clicking here. The interview comes to you the day after Mark Hardy’s June 4, 2010 court date, called an Ascertainment of Counsel hearing. Mr. Hardy did not appear. His attorney appeared on his behalf. We asked attorney Benowitz, an experienced and esteemed lawyer and one of the best Washington D.C. criminal defense attorneys, several short questions about Mr. Hardy’s choice of counsel, the upcoming and important preliminary hearing of July 1, the options of a plea agreement between now and then as well as a reader submitted question. We will be coordinating with attorney Benowitz on July 1 and will be bringing you complete coverage of the hearing as lakingsnews.com will be obtaining information real time from the courtroom.
SCRIBE: What can you tell us about Jon W. Norris, the attorney that Mr. Hardy retained?
BENOWITZ: Jon Norris is one of the best criminal defense attorneys in Washington, D.C. He has a tremendous amount of experience handling similar cases. I had the privilege of working with Mr. Norris at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS), known as the best public defender’s office in the country, for several years during the mid-1990s. Mr. Hardy will be well served by his choice of attorney.
SCRIBE: I see that a preliminary hearing is set for 7/1. I understand that is where testimony is taken. Is it just the arresting officer and/or detective that testifies or do you believe the alleged victim will also testify and be examined by both the prosecution and defense?
BENOWITZ: Since under D.C. law hearsay is admissible in a preliminary hearing, the prosecution will use a police officer or detective to testify to what the complaining witness and others said and did in connection with this case. The prosecution will not want to expose the complainant to cross-examination before trial; in 15 years of practice I’ve never had a complainant testify at such a hearing.
SCRIBE: Typically, how and when are plea agreements discussed?
BENOWITZ: In cases like this, potential plea agreements are discussed informally outside of court. At hearings to discuss the status of the case, one side or another may inform the judge what offer(s) and/or counter-offer(s) have been made, but that is not required.
SCRIBE: One of our readers wanted to know whether, during the pendency of the case, a deal could be struck to allow Mr. Hardy to travel with the team. As you know, the NHL plays in both US and Canada. The pre-season starts in September. If this case is still going, is it unusual for such a request to be granted given the circumstances?
BENOWITZ: It depends upon the particular allegations that have been made as well as Mr. Hardy’s background. An issue that may arise is whether Canadian authorities will allow Mr. Hardy into the country while a charge of this nature is pending. Besides that issue, there is nothing to prohibit Mr. Hardy from traveling with the team, as long as the judge overseeing this case agrees to allow it. Mr. Hardy may be required to check in by telephone with the Pretrial Services Agency, an organization housed at the D.C. Superior Court.
As a follow up, lakingsnews.com found it of interest that in addition to Mr. Norris, another lawyer has sought to appear “Pro Hac Vice” on behalf of Mark Hardy. Pro Hac Vice means “for this occasion” and in the legal world refers to a lawyer who has not been admitted to practice in a certain jurisdiction (for example, Washington D.C.) but has been allowed to participate in a particular case in that jurisdiction. That lawyer is Los Angeles based criminal defense attorney, Craig Renetzky. Mr. Renetzky will likely be a liaison for coach Hardy when communicating with counsel in Washington D.C.
Keep lakingsnews.com one click away on the developments of the Mark Hardy case. We once again thank David Benowitz and his outstanding staff (most notably, Seth Price) for their generous devotion of time and sharing their knowledge with our readers.