One way the criminal justice system breaks defendants into pleading is by wasting their time. Nowhere is this more evident than in making a defendant appear for a misdemeanor announcement PNC (plea negotiation conference), or first setting.
In Kaufman and Rockwall County (think the counties east of Dallas), the judges require defendants to attend all misdemeanor settings. What’s wrong with that? Let’s talk about the first setting in a misdemeanor case.
90% of the time at the first setting I have not received discovery yet. We usually pick this up in court and sign for it at the first setting. Not having discovery means I haven’t reviewed discovery. If I haven’t reviewed the discovery, then I can’t do anything on your case. If I can’t do anything on your case then we have to reset it (also called a pass). Which means you, the defendant is going to sit there for an hour while all this happens. We used to be able to appear for our clients on first settings in Kaufman County, but that’s gone away as a thing.