In this episode, Jordan and Tyler interview Gerard, an attorney inspired by Phoenix Wright. Hear stories from Gerard's life, including losing a case to Racoons to referencing Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me" in his closing statement.
Jordan Ugalde: Welcome to the Path of Passion Podcast where we hear from people who are pursuing lives they're passionate about. I am your host Jordan, and this is my co host ...
Tyler T Hamer: Hi I'm Tyler.
Jordan Ugalde: And today we're hearing from Gerard. Now I went to college with Gerard and now he's a lawyer. I remember him telling me he became a lawyer, because the Phoenix Wright. Is that the case?
Tyler T Hamer: So before we get into that and Gerard can answer this. What is Phoenix Wright for the audience, who is unfamiliar with it.
Gerard Gully: So Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney is a video game for the Nintendo DS. I picked it up when I was at an EB games back before high school,
Gerard Gully: which was like a knockoff Game Stop brand store.
Gerard Gully: Phoenix Wright is basically a like kind of a logic puzzle game that is cloaked in an anime so it's like a very funny anime style a courtroom drama, where you hear witnesses testify, you find contradictions in their testimony and you present evidence to contradict it.
Gerard Gully: It's got a huge meme following on the Internet as well. It's that spiky haired blue suit guy who shouts objection.
Gerard Gully: If you've ever seen.
Tyler T Hamer: So, to give a little bit more context of those who aren't familiar enemy is a style of Japanese cartoon and for those familiar memes.
Jordan Ugalde: People know memes.
Tyler T Hamer: Jordan, we can have Boomers on this.
Jordan Ugalde: Fair, fair. Okay, you are inspired by this game about courtroom dramas, is that correct?
Gerard Gully: Yeah so it
Gerard Gully: was very fun and I decided
Gerard Gully: Because I'm like a what, if this is like these Phoenix Wright games. Turns out it's not at all.
Gerard Gully: But it ended up being such a blast and it was a great team environment that encouraged me to go to law school. So I graduated high school after doing four years of this program and I knew I was going to go, be a lawyer so I went to college when I met Jordan.
Gerard Gully: Just knowing I was going to be an attorney already.
Tyler T Hamer: So, I guess, even though Phoenix Wright wasn't like the debate team, and probably isn't like actual law practice, is there anything from the game that you've taken away that you use in day to day law practice like moxie or something.
Gerard Gully: Weirdly enough yeah and it's weird if.
Gerard Gully: The game is it all, you know it's weird because the Games are like super unrealistic, but at the core what you're doing and the game is you're listening to people's stories and you're finding contradictions in it and you're figuring out hey.
Gerard Gully: This guy's got to be lying, let me figure out how and if he is lying it's got to contradict something else in the evidence.
Gerard Gully: Now, since I'm a criminal prosecutor, I actually think it's super helpful whenever I have a defendant take the stand in my case because whenever you know if I'm right which I, hopefully, I am a.
Gerard Gully: Then the defendant has to be lying, right? I can't both be right and the defendant is telling the truth.
Gerard Gully: Unless you know and the Defense just confessing or something but that's usually doesn't happen.
Gerard Gully: The game has been pretty helpful at figuring out, hey this is his story, all right. Let's find a contradiction to some other facts and evidence, and I can show that in front of the jury and if you ever get one of those moments,
Gerard Gully: I've only had a couple of those in our real trial, but if you get those contradiction moments juries love that because that's the stuff of you know, TV shows and movies.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah what is, what is the actual courtroom like because I've seen, Law and Order, and I assume real courtrooms are not like Law and Order.
Tyler T Hamer: I've only seen Suits and I definitely know you're not on the blackmail your client.
Gerard Gully: Yeah so Suits they don't even go into court rooms right? I think, maybe once a season they'll have courtroom scene.
Gerard Gully: Yeah Law and Orders courtrooms are a lot nicer than state courtrooms those Law and Order courtrooms scenes. Like they don't actually have real defendants in them because there's no like you know graffiti carvings or like.
Gerard Gully: Sure yeah so a real courtroom in a state courthouse, it's not the most luxurious place, but it is, I mean it's pretty imposing they've got a large audience sections.
Gerard Gully: Lot of space in between, where the jury sits the judge sits the lawyer sit.
Gerard Gully: You can you know you could pace back and forth between that like in pretty big strides you know, like.
Gerard Gully: I was, you know back in the day in high school, when I started mock trial, it was intimidating. Now I feel really comfortable and courtrooms.
Gerard Gully: But I think it's enough that if you were an average person going in one you'd probably still have that feeling of
Tyler T Hamer: Right.
Jordan Ugalde: Is that is that how you know when you doing like
Gerard Gully: Not anymore. Now I'm just like
Gerard Gully: On a daily basis right? So my current assignment every other day I'm in the same court room for like six hours out of the day. So it's basically like my office at this point. You know I do as much office work in the courtroom as I do in my actual office.
Tyler T Hamer: So is that because you're a prosecutor. Like, I assume, like there's a lot of what different types of lawyers and a bunch don't never see trial for example.
Gerard Gully: Yeah so criminal attorneys are in courtrooms all the time. Prosecutors and public defenders basically live in the courtrooms.
Gerard Gully: Private Defense attorneys, they come to court a lot, but not as much. And if you're in civil law, you could go your entire career, without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom and you'll be paid way better for it.
Jordan Ugalde: So what so what led you to choose the specific.
Tyler T Hamer: Yeah, what led you to take a pay cut?
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah.
Gerard Gully: Yeah that's fair, so I mean I became a lawyer, because I did mock trials and because I think trials are fun.
Gerard Gully: So when I was in law school, you know I'd already gone to law school knowing I wanted to do trials, so I was in law school and I'm like all right.
Gerard Gully: Let me look at the numbers. If I don't do trials, I can come out of law school probably making about $150,000 a year starting pay but I'm gonna work 50 to 60 hour work weeks and I'm never gonna see a courtroom for at least four years.
Gerard Gully: Or, I could go to the DA's' office and started about $75,000 to $80,000 a year and I could be in courtrooms constantly doing trials at least once a month and having a great time and working you know government 40 hour workweek.
Gerard Gully: And, to me it was, they talked a lot in law school about work life balance and that's what it came down to me.
Gerard Gully: Like if you work, you know 60 to 80 hour workweeks like a lot of my friends and civil do like I don't know, you get burnt out quickly.
Gerard Gully: And you see it. We see it happen all the time. We get a lot of them. We call them like refugees who come to our office from civil law firms.
Gerard Gully: Because they're just burnt out and they can't do it anymore, because I don't know. Working 80 hour workweeks for something you're not really passionate about is going to kill you.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah, I feel that.
Tyler T Hamer: Yeah I mean like now working from the government myself, I can confirm, it is nice have that 40 hour workweek.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah, like you use to be doing like 80.
Tyler T Hamer: Yeah, I mean that's just Grad school but that's for a different episode.
Jordan Ugalde: So what is your day to day life like? So you said, like lately, have you been like spending 6 hours in the courthouse a day, but from what from what little I know from Better Call Saul, there's at least some crap work that's done before you're going into the court.
Gerard Gully: Yes, so right now my assignments called felony calendar. So every other day I'm on a prep day, where I get the cases that are set for the next day and I prepare them for what's called preliminary hearings.
Gerard Gully: Which in California, we have them there an alternative to like a grand jury. We don't use grand juries very often out in California. They're a terrible system. That aside.
Gerard Gully: We prep for these little mini trials.
Gerard Gully: So I'm preparing mini trials every other day, and then on the alternating day, I go into the courtroom and I send out the preliminary hearing calendars.
Gerard Gully: I also yeah that's what I'll do things like plea bargaining. Like you hear about where Defense attorneys will come and say
Gerard Gully: What if my guy just plead guilty. What sort of offer, can you make him and we negotiate like what the guy is going to plead to for a case.
Jordan Ugalde: Okay that's fair.
Tyler T Hamer: So I guess, like, I mean. There's a different a lot different directions we can go. I'm kind of curious why are grand juries.
Tyler T Hamer: That might be a loaded question.
Gerard Gully: I'm not happy to explain. So California allows grand juries but you don't ever have to go to one.
Gerard Gully: Here's what a grand jury is. A grand jury is when the prosecutor gets to go into a room with whatever witnesses he wants to go with.
Gerard Gully: And talk to a group of kind of random people from the community that are volunteering to be on a grand jury. There's, it's more than 12. It's whatever number your state has.
Gerard Gully: But it's just the prosecutor, the witnesses and the jury. There's no judge and importantly, there's no Defense attorney so the prosecutor gets to just tell the grand jury whatever they want
Gerard Gully: from whatever witnesses. And that can be the basis of an indictment. Now in California at least, there are some checks on this. The prosecutor has a duty to present any exonerating evidence.
Gerard Gully: And the prosecutor has a duty to give the jury the proper law but I don't know that those regulations exist in every state. Or and I don't know what they are at the federal level. So there's a saying in law that a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.
Gerard Gully: Ultimately,
Gerard Gully: when there's no one challenging you and you control all the evidence and witnesses, it's not very hard. There's no cross examination.
Gerard Gully: It's, there, I don't know. They're a very interesting tool and they do have some uses, even in California, but I think probably 95% of all felonies go through preliminary hearing and not grand jury.
Jordan Ugalde: When do when do they go through grand jury?
Gerard Gully: So if you want to, for whatever reason, if you want to get an indictment without the defendant knowing. Perhaps like a safety thing, so you can think like a mafia Don situation, maybe.
Gerard Gully: You see it a lot in political cases as well. So that, instead of saying we've charged with a crime, now we'll do a preliminary hearing. You can just roll up with your indictment from a grand jury.
Gerard Gully: Or if the defendant dragging his feet, because the defendant gets charged and then between that and the preliminary hearing a smart Defense attorney could probably drag that out like two years.
Gerard Gully: And then, after preliminary hearing, drag their feet another couple years for a trial. A grand jury could speed that up if you're concerned if they're going to drag their feet.
Tyler T Hamer: So, I guess, just like a little bit of clarification on my own. Like what is the difference is between like an indictment, an arrest or like variously things. What happens when you're indicted? I guess like, how far are in the criminal process are you along?
Gerard Gully: Yeah so let's. Well, so an indictment oftentimes is an alternative to an arrest. Like you can get an indictment on someone who's not arrested yet because maybe you're trying to do with the sneaky way, and you know jump in with an indictment.
Gerard Gully: So either what can happen is an officer can go get an arrest warrant or if he sees you commit the crime, arrest you for your crime. And then you'll be brought into custody let's say if he wants to arrest you.
Gerard Gully: Then the Prosecutor will file a complaint against you and then from there, though you'll get arraigned. That's the next step.
Gerard Gully: Then there's a preliminary hearing. That becomes an information, which is a whole different document and then you'll go to trial. Or a grand jury just indicts you, and then the COPs go and grab you and then you're going to go to trial soon.
Jordan Ugalde: You go to trial or you go to jail?
Gerard Gully: Well, you go to jail, while you're being held for trial, unless you get out on bail. I mean so arresting is always optional is something to note that.
Gerard Gully: I can indict someone without them being in custody or they can be in custody.
Jordan Ugalde: Okay okay.
Gerard Gully: Because technically I can indict you, for like non violent crime like if I really want to go to grand jury for like you know mail fraud, I could theoretically go indict you for that and I don't have to arrest you.
Gerard Gully: Have a cop arrest you.
Tyler T Hamer: So I thought the result of going trial was an indictment.
Tyler T Hamer: Or is the result of trail judgment?
Gerard Gully: The result of a grand jury is an indictment. The result of a trial is a verdict.
Gerard Gully: And if the verdict is guilty, it will lead to a sentence.
Jordan Ugalde: Okay okay.
Tyler T Hamer: Right and sentences don't always include jail time period, so it might be a fine.
Gerard Gully: Right, especially in California, they don't.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah yeah that's fair. So you told you told us about like some of the realities of your day. But what are they?
Jordan Ugalde: When you first went into becoming a lawyer, like when you first when you first walk into the courtroom, what are some of the things that you did not expect going in and that you weren't prepared for?
Gerard Gully: Well, I was, I was told there'd be a lot of paperwork, but, honestly, you can't be prepared for it till you actually go in, how much paperwork there's gonna be.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah?
Gerard Gully: It's amazing even in how much stuff is still done by paper. How much how often I have to go run a physical piece of paper down to the courtroom because you know, courts gotta love them, but they will not let you just email them documents.
Gerard Gully: Or upload them or anything. I gotta go run them down a hand signed complaint every time.
Jordan Ugalde: What about fax? Can you fax it?
Gerard Gully: Weirdly enough, the rules of court do allow we could fax the complaint in.
Gerard Gully: Like I'm not gonna learn how to use a fax machine to do that. It's just easier to run it downstairs.
Jordan Ugalde: Okay, fair enough fair enough, do you have paralegals that handle that?
Gerard Gully: Yeah paralegals. Our paralegals in my assignment handle what's called discovery.
Gerard Gully: Discovery, if you haven't seen My Cousin Vinny, is the rule that says the prosecutor has to give a copy of all of their evidence to the Defense if the evidence could help the Defense or if it's evidence the prosecutor intends to use at the trial.
Jordan Ugalde: Okay does the Defense need to share in the other direction?
Gerard Gully: Ha no.
Gerard Gully: So Defense has an obligation not to actively bury evidence, but
Gerard Gully: if you know if the Defense attorney's investigator is going out and he interviews a witness, who says 'Yeah I saw the crime happened. It was your guy 100%.' And I don't know about that guy, the Defense attorneys allowed to say, 'Well, have a nice day' and leave.
Gerard Gully: And that guy and maybe I'll never find that guy.
Gerard Gully: If I though you know if my investigators go out and they find someone who's like, 'Yeah I saw the crime. It for sure was not the defendant.' I have to go tell the Defense about that guy. So it's not a symmetrical system at all. It's an asymmetric game, you might say.
Tyler T Hamer: So, I guess, in your opinion, is that, like advantageous, right? Because I guess in such a system you'd have less people like wrongfully convicted and more people like free.
Gerard Gully: Yeah, I think the fact that we have to turn over exculpatory evidence is a very good thing, like yeah. Definitely I think that we should have our discovery obligations. I think they're important to a free and fair society. Like could I mean imagine.
Gerard Gully: Some of these rules are new. Like the case that says we have to share with the Defense exonerating stuff, is only from the 1960s.
Gerard Gully: So I mean we always joke at the office is like how wild it must have been to be a prosecutor in like the 1930s, when you could just like legally, you didn't have to tell the Defense that the defendant was innocent.
Gerard Gully: Like, it was insane stuff back then.
Gerard Gully: I mean I'm glad those days are gone, though. Because I mean, really, who wants to convicted not guilty people. That doesn't really do anything for anyone.
Tyler T Hamer: That's fair enough. And the funny part is that they still couldn't convict the mob back then, right.
Jordan Ugalde: Well, you know, tax evasion.
Tyler T Hamer: Yeah, tax evasion.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah, yeah.
Jordan Ugalde: So, so if you if you feel free. If you feel comfortable asking, what do you think about our legal system today?
Gerard Gully: I think I think it's actually one of the better ones across the world. I think the jury system is probably one of the best safeguards of freedom that we've got.
Gerard Gully: Because, and even though it's the bane of my existence, sometimes, because you know I can have a case where I know for sure this guy is guilty. I've got the proof he's guilty. I'm going to show them the evidence he's guilty.
Gerard Gully: I can still get hit by a jury who just doesn't care or doesn't like the case and they find him not guilty anyways. And while that can be frustrating to me because it's like, hey I just proved to you it was this guy.
Gerard Gully: The fact that they can find them not guilty, it's kind of a barrier against tyranny. If I can't get 12 members of the community to say, 'hey this guy should go to jail' or 'this guy's guilty,' then you know, maybe the guy shouldn't go to jail.
Tyler T Hamer: That's fair. I mean I've definitely heard of the concept of, it's like jury discussion. It's like a rule. A jury supposed to follow the rules, the rules of the law, but like there's no checks and balances if the jury's choose to ignore the law and not convict someone.
Gerard Gully: You're talking about jury nullification.
Tyler T Hamer: Yes, yes.
Jordan Ugalde: Can you explain that? I've not heard this term.
Gerard Gully: Yeah so like he was saying. Jury nullification is the idea that you're not allowed to really ask jurors afterwards, like why they came to their verdict. Or you can ask them, but they don't have to tell you, and it's not legally binding.
Gerard Gully: So the jury can hear all the evidence in the world that someone's guilty and still walk away and say 'Nope. Not guilty. We're gonna find him not guilty,' and let him go.
Gerard Gully: And honestly there's not like a damn thing I can do about it. The prosecution.
Gerard Gully: Unless it happened because, you know, the defendant bribed or threatened the jury. The prosecution has no real recourse to a jury nullifying.
Gerard Gully: That said, you know, in a lot of cases, it would be pretty unethical to do that. Right like, if you know that this guy like murdered someone and you've.
Gerard Gully: found on him not guilty anyways, you're just kind of messed up. It's you really only see it in low level misdemeanors where it's like the jury's you know attitude is, 'Why are you wasting my time with this stuff?'
Gerard Gully: 'Or you know why.'
Gerard Gully: 'Or, just like I don't like how the COPs behaved in this sort of situation.'
Gerard Gully: Where I mean it's, it definitely exists and.
Gerard Gully: they're not supposed to do it, and they did swear an oath not to do it.
Gerard Gully: So yeah, I mean the morality of it, I guess depends on where you place your ethical values on like oath breaking and stuff like that, because they are technically oath breaking when they do that.
Tyler T Hamer: So yeah so it's like commonly is like really, really less. Like a more black and white simplified example would be like someone is starving and I steal an apple.
Tyler T Hamer: You could easily see that like public might say, 'Like well this person going to drop dead if they don't eat this apple.'
Jordan Ugalde: Oh ok, I actually. How would that be a case where that might fly?
Gerard Gully: Well, so like if that case were somehow at trial and the jury voted not guilty, yeah that'd be a case of jury nullification.
Gerard Gully: In reality, though, like we also have this thing called prosecutorial discretion that says when,
Gerard Gully: we prosecutors, the ones who file cases in the first place, we can choose to decline cases for the interest of justice. It's one of the abilities, we have.
Gerard Gully: So if I've got a case where it was a guy stole like one apple from a grocery store because he was starving.
Gerard Gully: Like we could just not file that in the first place. Like that wouldn't we wouldn't even let it get to trial because that's by the time he gets to trial, it's already wasted so much taxpayer dollars at that point that.
Gerard Gully: We're better off not filing it.
Jordan Ugalde: Oh so actually along those lines if someone's been arrested and then you, and then you don't you don't file the motion to actually take it to trial and then what happens next?
Gerard Gully: So when someone's arrested, we've got 72 hours to get them arraigned, which is the next step. They can't be arraigned if we don't file charges, so the cops have to let you go within 72 hours if we're not filing charges.
Jordan Ugalde: OK interesting.
Tyler T Hamer: And then is there, I guess, if the COPs if the charges are filed, like what is the timeline? Like and I guess the follow up question how has that changed with Covid? I mean like there's just kind of you know.
Gerard Gully: So I'm gonna I'm gonna only be able to give California examples, so I'll give you the timeline in California.
Gerard Gully: Say you get arrested. You get charged. Let's say you've got it your third time DUI right. So you're in custody. You come to the misdemeanor court now.
Gerard Gully: You're getting arraigned. The judge will tell you what you're charged with, and you can at that point plead guilty or not guilty.
Gerard Gully: Most people will plead not guilty at this stage, and then the judge will set bail.
Gerard Gully: Now bails really where Covid changed everything, because there was there was a while, where the California Supreme Court said 'We're going to do zero dollar bail for a lot of crimes.'
Gerard Gully: So essentially, know what. Everybody. Had to let Everyone out for a lot for several types of crimes which was end up being most misdemeanors and a few felonies.
Gerard Gully: If you don't make bail, then you're going to stay in jail until your trial. If it will stick with a misdemeanor till your trial date if you're in custody, you have a right to a trial within 30 days of when you pled not guilty.
Gerard Gully: If you're out of custody, either because the COPs didn't arrest you or you made bail, and then you have a right to a trial within 45 days.
Gerard Gully: Okay that's pretty quick, right. Very few cases actually go to trial within then. Most defendants wave time. They waive their speedy trial rights
Gerard Gully: because their Defense attorney wants time to prepare the case. Because, think about it this way, right. You've most likely got a public defender for most crimes.
Tyler T Hamer: Right, yeah.
Gerard Gully: Like defender they've got. God knows how many cases right. They can't go to trial, you know, on every single case immediately so they've got to kind of stagger them they've got to figure out if they're going to try to negotiate.
Gerard Gully: Between that arraignment and the 30 day trial window, there's also going to be what we call a pre-trial conference, where the attorneys meet.
Gerard Gully: And then they try to plea bargain the case. Because you've got to plead. The reality of our system is you've got to plead out cases, because we could, like neither at the public defender's nor the prosecutors, could go to trial on every case. There's just too many cases, not enough attorneys.
Jordan Ugalde: Actually. I'm so, I have a friend who is living in the SF area and a case she was involved in actually got dropped so a question I'm curious about is, what is your process of filtering through what cases go to trial and what don't.
Gerard Gully: Well, so it depends what stage, she got dropped. That if they didn't file it in the first place, I'm like that could just be because someone read the police reports and thought there wasn't enough there to prove it. Legally, the rule is, we have to have probable cause to file charges.
Gerard Gully: My office's policy personally is or not personally but for our office is.
Gerard Gully: Yeah we won't file charges, unless we believe we can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
Gerard Gully: So we don't use the lower standard. We just figure, 'hey if you're not gonna be able to win this at trial, don't waste everyone's time with it'. So we have the reasonable doubt standard at filing.
Gerard Gully: So if it's dropped before filing, it's probably some DA thought they couldn't prove it. If it was
Gerard Gully: pled guilty to, like that's different than dropped right, if they gave him a plea bargain, that's not necessarily because they didn't think they can prove it. But more because hey if he's willing to take responsibility now, save the taxpayers
Gerard Gully: time, prevent us from having to hassle witnesses and have them come in, then we're willing to cut them a break, because it shows he's willing to take
Gerard Gully: responsibility and stuff.
Tyler T Hamer: Okay, that makes sense. I'm just going to go back. When you said you said beyond a reasonable doubt, was that the lower or higher standard you're referencing in there.
Gerard Gully: It's the higher standard. In fact, it's the highest standard in the legal system
Jordan Ugalde: What is the what is the lowest standard?
Gerard Gully: I mean that's a hard one because there's a lot of like really low. I think it's called scintilla, is the lowest standard which you can Wikipedia that later, but basically it just
Gerard Gully: means if there is any shred of any evidence whatsoever you've met the scintilla standard.
Tyler T Hamer: Oh wow.
Jordan Ugalde: Is that ever used?
Gerard Gully: I think it's used for weird evidentiary things. Though, I think the lowest standard that you're that you're going to actually see in day to day is probably called reasonable suspicion. That's the amount of belief a cop has to have to pull you over on this.
Tyler T Hamer: Oh, that makes sense, OK.
Tyler T Hamer: OK OK so that's like, if you like, you could be avoiding a pothole but you swerve so technically they don't know why you swerved.
Gerard Gully: I swerve of out of the lane on to the wrong side of the road or something. Yeah can pull you over.
Gerard Gully: Or here I'll give you the, this is a example from case law. It's a famous case.
Gerard Gully: So a cop sees a guy he's walking back and forth along the sidewalk in front of the store. He keeps looking in the window of the store.
Gerard Gully: He walks back walks forward again. Looks in the window of store. Got baggy clothes. Cop thinks dudes probably casing the joint to rob the store so COP goes stops him.
Gerard Gully: And pat them down or whatever. And finds the he's actually a weapon on him and he's about to go rob the store. That's Terry v. Ohio, which is where you hear Terry Stop come from.
Jordan Ugalde: OK and in that, just so I understand, in that case, it was ruled that because you have probable cause, that was that was a legal stop?
Gerard Gully: Reasonable suspicion is.
Tyler T Hamer: Reasonable suspicion. It's lower than probable cause.
Gerard Gully: By a little bit at least. Basically, if he's got specific articulable facts that he can say out loud as to why he thinks that guy is up to some criminal behavior, then he can stop them to talk to him.
Tyler T Hamer: Right and so this is usually like you were saying the standard for like introducing evidence or like just like stopping someone. It's not the not the standard we're ever going to convict someone by.
Gerard Gully: No. All criminal convictions are always beyond a reasonable doubt for criminal law.
Jordan Ugalde: And out of curiosity because I know this is another one where people are at least familiar with. Laws like lawsuits, what is the level of level of belief needed for that?
Gerard Gully: Yeah so if I'm suing you over, like a car accident, and trying to get some money, that's called a preponderance of the evidence, which is just means more likely than not. So it's like if you have the scales of justice. Right, the little balancing scale.
Gerard Gully: Preponderance just means whoever has more evidence. So whichever sides heavier, that guy wins.
Gerard Gully: 50% plus one belief is what they call that one.
Jordan Ugalde: Okay okay oh cool. So out of curiosity, you how long have you been a attorney for?
Gerard Gully: Since 2018. So December of that year is when I got my bar results back.
Tyler T Hamer: OK, and then without prying too much, I know I know people take the bar multiple times, but like in the in.
Tyler T Hamer: Not necessary how many times you took it, but like what does a lawyer do in the meantime? Like is there, waiting for the results, like are you a paralegal or like?
Gerard Gully: Yeah so what happened was so like many, I graduate between May in July, you do nothing but study for the bar it's like a full time job.
Gerard Gully: Then you take the bar in July. Two days for us.
Gerard Gully: And then I got like two weeks off and then in August, I started my fellowship at the district attorney's office. So our office, at least a lot of firms do this, our office has a program where they'll hire you while you're waiting for your bar results.
Gerard Gully: And you can help out around the office. It's sort of like a training period. You can do some stuff. You're not a lawyer, yet, but you can do some stuff.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah.
Gerard Gully: And then, if you pass the bar, then you keep working. If your bar results come back that you failed the bar, then they have to let you go.
Jordan & Tyler: Okay.
Gerard Gully: It's a very tense weekend. The bar results come out on a Friday, so it's one of those nights.
Gerard Gully: It's like right around Thanksgiving too. It's like the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Gerard Gully: Like, yah they introduce your bar results. You're like 'Man, I hope I have a job Monday. See you guys.'
Tyler T Hamer: That's brutal. I mean at least like if you go through like go straight into the holidays.
Jordan Ugalde: Could you enjoy the holdays?
Tyler T Hamer: I mean I can I just say it's a way to survive.
Jordan Ugalde: Did you did you have friends who didn't pass the bar?
Gerard Gully: I, of my hiring class, oh one guy did not pass the bar the first time.
Tyler T Hamer: You said the first time so they've passed like a future time that.
Gerard Gully: I actually don't know I didn't follow up with him on that one but uh now he did not pass the first try and I have not seen him since, so I don't know, maybe he got a job somewhere else.
Jordan Ugalde: Brutal brutal. Out of curiosity, how much, much debt from law school are you in. Sorry because I've heard it last all is expensive as hell.
Gerard Gully: It is it's very overpriced. I was very fortunate and I got a scholarship.
Gerard Gully: Okay, so UCLA let me go for dirt cheap so between that and then I was a TA for a philosophy course.
Jordan & Tyler: Okay.
Gerard Gully: So that gave me so many TAs are way overpaid for the amount of work we gonna do.
Gerard Gully: Have on my soapbox real quick. I did very little work and I got like two grand a month to like do two hours of section teaching.
Gerard Gully: Each week it was very easy.
Tyler T Hamer: As the opposite of an engineering TA.
Jordan Ugalde: How much time did you spend?
Tyler T Hamer: You're lucky if you can do your research and you need your research.
Jordan Ugalde: yeah.
Gerard Gully: That's rough I just had to teach two hours of philosophy lecture of like a discussion section, where we just talked about like Plato and ancient philosophy, so I would have done that for free.
Gerard Gully: sucker.
Tyler T Hamer: So I guess like yes, like so I mean like in terms of the financials, most people are taking on a huge amount of debt so like.
Tyler T Hamer: I guess like is there, do people go in kind of knowing like if they pass, like how long they're going to, it's going to take the payoff or pay off that debt, and if you don't pass.
Tyler T Hamer: the bar, like how long will it take to pay off that debt.
Gerard Gully: yeah so I can tell you UCLA with no scholarships is $45,000 a year for law school and it's.
Gerard Gully: So you know if you're going all that on that, that's.
Gerard Gully: quite a heavy burden right there.
Gerard Gully: Kind of what they do, though, right, I mean.
Gerard Gully: I'm not saying it's intentional, but it makes big law firms sound really appealing if you're $150,000 in debt and they're like.
Gerard Gully: Starting salaries $150,000 a year and will give you a $20,000 signing bonus.
Gerard Gully: Come over here and work 60 hour workweeks. I you know it makes sense, why a lot of people do it. A lot of, a lot of my classmates graduating said the same line of I'm just going to do it till I pay off my student loans and then maybe I'll go do something else.
Gerard Gully: So you get a lot of that.
Gerard Gully: I think that, I mean if you go big law firm you could probably pay off all your loans in two to three years.
Gerard Gully: If you go public interest,
Gerard Gully: which would like a public defender or a district attorney or any other public interest job, the government actually has programs where they'll forgive your loans after 10 years.
Gerard Gully: You make payments on your loans for 10 years and then at the end, whatever you oh leftover they just.
Gerard Gully: kind of forgive.
Jordan Ugalde: Oh nice yeah.
Tyler T Hamer: So that's that's kind of how you get people actually be public defenders. Besides the fact the hours are reasonable and you're not slaving away for a corporation or something.
Gerard Gully: yeah and I think most people who go to become public defenders truly believe in the cause.
Gerard Gully: You know it, because ultimately being a public defender, at least from me talking to them. It comes down to they believe in the system. They believe that everyone has a right to an attorney. They want to make sure due process rights are respected.
Gerard Gully: And you know that sort of thing can get you fired up too.
Jordan Ugalde: Right, yeah sure why did you decide the side you're on instead of being public defender.
Gerard Gully: So my between my first year in law school and my second year that summer, everyone goes and does some internship somewhere.
Gerard Gully: I interned with the district attorney's office that I work at now and I just fell in love with it. It was such a great experience working at the DA's office.
Gerard Gully: I just like everything about. I like the culture that we have that. We're typically very, I don't know how to say it, like we're very thick skin, we all joke around with each other.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah.
Gerard Gully: You can just go and like call your like colleague like, 'Hey assholes, get over here,' and like
Gerard Gully: I said, which I, like the culture of it's very nice. But I also like that are one command that we have in the oath we swears is to do justice. That's when were sworn in as DAs as we swear that we will uphold the laws and always do justice.
Gerard Gully: And that's a very unique thing to get to do as a lawyer, because every other kind of lawyer has a client.
Gerard Gully: And you have to run by your client and you have to usually do what your client wants, whereas I don't have a client. I don't have any clients at all. I'm just supposed to do the right thing and that's kind of freeing like.
Jordan & Tyler: Yeah yeah.
Gerard Gully: Its liberating to not have to worry, 'Oh what's this person going to think.' Just go I'm going to do the right thing and it's going to work out.
Tyler T Hamer: So is there ever been like a case then were like
Tyler T Hamer: earlier, you said that the Defense doesn't have to turn over and over there evidence. Or like you know reveal like they talked to so and so to where like I was saying, like you realize that like this person is probably innocent as a prosecutor.
Gerard Gully: Oh yeah no and it happened, my first summer working at the DA's office. And those are my favorite moments because I'm like. So my first summer, we had a case it was a fight in a parking lot front of a bar and someone got stabbed.
Gerard Gully: Several people were involved in the fight and my supervisor at the time it gave me the case and she's like, 'Hey can you read this over. Something doesn't seem right. I think the guy we're charging might actually be innocent.'
Gerard Gully: So I read it over and I come to the same conclusion. So she and I we go to our supervisor and we explained the situation where like we don't think the guy did it.
Gerard Gully: And the supervisors like, I remember very distinctly because he just listened and he said 'All right go drop the charges, then.'
Gerard Gully: And that was that we called the Defense attorney. We told them we're dropping the charges, let the guy go.
Gerard Gully: And he was super happy about it. And it was it was just really nice to be like hey even when we're wrong, it's good because we're in a position to do the right thing, and you know not prosecute innocent people.
Tyler T Hamer: Yeah definitely, I can see why that's like very freeing, right. Like you're always on the side of being right like, even if personally you're not you know, going to win a case but that's obviously not point.
Tyler T Hamer: You know that, like at the end of the day, you the steps you've taken incremented the greater good yeah.
Gerard Gully: Yeah and I don't get paid per conviction right. So it's not like, I want to be, you know we always joke and say, 'Look, we have a hard enough time getting all of the guilty people. You think we can get the innocent too. We don't.'
Jordan Ugalde: That's fair. Out of curiosity, you know I'd imagine as a district attorney, you see a lot of the same faces in terms of judges and police offices. Do the relationships you build through that impact the trials that you partake in?
Gerard Gully: Oh yeah I mean.
Gerard Gully: So you're stationed at specific courthouses and at that courthouse, there's maybe seven or eight judges per courthouse so you get to know those judges like very well.
Gerard Gully: They all have reputations. When you're told, oh my case got sent to this judge, you know exactly what to expect.
Gerard Gully: Some judges, you know it's like any job right, some judges I'm going to get along with. Some judges, I prefer not to be sent to, you know. That's life. You got to be respectful because they are the judge and you got to be,
Gerard Gully: you know, professional. But at the same time you're an advocate so if a judge is, you know, doing something wrong or hurting your case, you've got to push back. And it's a very weird experience, you know, arguing against someone who's like 40 years older than me and has been
Gerard Gully: doing this for 40 years.
Gerard Gully: But.
Gerard Gully: It's a very, it's a very weird professional relationship because it's not like most jobs. Like I've had other jobs, you know where you have co-workers
Gerard Gully: and, you know, you kind of all work for the same company as your co workers. Here, half of my co workers are like my opponents, right. It's an.
Gerard Gully: adversarial system, they say.
Gerard Gully: So I argue with my co workers all the time. And there are some co workers, I can't stand and my other Co workers can't stand because they're a judge or their Defense attorney.
Tyler T Hamer: So are there, like Defense attorneys or judges that like have obviously gone against you that you are not adversarial with? You're like, you know, very friendly with?
Gerard Gully: Oh yeah. I would sit with most public defenders. I get along very well because, like the public defenders their regulars. They're here all the time.
Gerard Gully: They also kind of you know they're doing this because they believe in a cause.
Gerard Gully: They're very easy to get along with, for the most part. And then a lot of the judges are good or neutral. I think the best you can hope for with the judge usually is neutral, because the judges don't want to be super buddy buddy with you. Because that,
Gerard Gully: you know that, you know there's judges where you can feel you get that sense of I think this judge
Gerard Gully: respects me as an attorney and that's
Gerard Gully: all you can hope for.
Gerard Gully: Now the clerks.
Gerard Gully: Judges have clerks. Those you can get along with because they're friendly. They're super cool people. The clerks are great to get along
Gerard Gully: with and the bailiffs in the courthouse too. They're awesome.
Tyler T Hamer: Yeah so I guess like one thing I always wondered. What does a clerk actually do? Like I know, like you know, like the stereotype is the bailiff tackle someone who approaches like the jury, right. The judges decides the case. What does a clerk actually do?
Gerard Gully: They basically run the courtroom. I mean like they decided the docket. They decide which is like the order of cases.
Gerard Gully: They take all the paperwork. They upload it into the court system because of because, like, I was saying earlier, you know, I have to give the Clerk a physical paper copy of my motion.
Gerard Gully: And then the clerk is going to go scan it and upload it into the court system. Because obviously I couldn't just upload that document directly to the court. I've got to print it out, so they can scan it, so the Clerk does that.
Gerard Gully: They'll choose scheduling. They'll pick calendaring. So when we're like 'Hey we want to come back on this day for trial,' the Clerk checks the calendar schedules all of that stuff in.
Gerard Gully: They do a lot. And that we always say, one of the first things you learn is don't piss off the clerks because they can make your life miserable.
Tyler T Hamer: So it's like working in a corporation. Don't piss off HR or the secretary's because
Tyler T Hamer: you already know that like, if you want to like go talk to some executive like tomorrow, you know if you're buddy buddy with secretary ...
Jordan Ugalde: If you're buddy with the secretary, that can get you pretty far.
Gerard Gully: Exactly and I've seen cases where some defense attorney came in and just started like you yelling at the Clerk. Giving him shit. Saying things
Gerard Gully: are taking too long. It was like 10
Tyler T Hamer: So good. Such sweet revenge.
Jordan Ugalde: Aww man.
Gerard Gully: And we all just loved it. Everyone else in the room watching just nodded along.
Tyler T Hamer: Oh wow. That's why. I bet the judge enjoyed it too because I'm sure they like to just ... Do judges get to like pick their clerks you know?
Gerard Gully: Yeah, it's like a sorority/fraternity thing. Apparently, like you, as a clerk will apply to go be a judge's clerk and then, if they get applications, and then they give you like the bachelor rose. And then,
Gerard Gully: you're attached to that judge for as long as that judges at the courthouse. And then if that judge moves courthouses, you're given the option to go follow them to whatever courthouse they go to.
Gerard Gully: So, like if you've got a judge, you know, they've could have had their clerk for like 30 years. And so judges are very protective of their clerk. You don't ever. The quickest way for a judge to hate us to disrespect their clerk.
Jordan & Tyler: OK.
Jordan Ugalde: So, in general, what is that the trajectory? For you? For clerk? What can you do? Where can you go?
Gerard Gully: Well, so clerks are not attorneys at the State Court level. Clerks are administrative. They serve an administrative function, not necessarily a legal function.
Jordan & Tyler: OK.
Gerard Gully: For me as an attorney, I can, you know, keep working at the office work my way up to management, theoretically. A lot of DAs go and become judges later.
Gerard Gully: In California, judges are both appointed and elected. So you can either run for a position or if you know the governor, you can get appointed. I don't know what the law is where you guys are.
Tyler T Hamer: Yeah, I was gonna say one thing is. This has nothing to do with where we are, but from my limited understanding of how
Tyler T Hamer: the DA's office is from like The Dark Knight, like is everyone who works there a DA? Like in The Dark Knight, there Harvey Dent is the district attorney and then Rachel is the assistant district attorney.
Tyler T Hamer: There's only two. So like how does an actual district attorney's office work? Is there multiple of them?
Gerard Gully: Yeah, so
Gerard Gully: that's a good question. So they're. In any county there is one district attorney.
Gerard Gully: That is the role okay.
Gerard Gully: Everyone else is either a deputy district attorney or an assistant district attorney.
Gerard Gully: Those terms will mean opposite things in different states. I know, New York is the opposite of California.
Gerard Gully: In California, an assistant district attorney means you're like a manager in the office. You don't usually do trials. You're sort of like overseeing things. As deputy district attorneys when I am,
Gerard Gully: so that means you're like on the front line, so to speak. You're doing trials. You're plea bargaining cases. You're doing stuff like that. So an office will only have one DA but they'll have, you know. Ours I think probably has like 100 or so deputy district attorney.
Jordan & Tyler: Wow.
Gerard Gully: Like 20 assistant district attorneys.
Gerard Gully: So I like I'm sure Gotham has way more than two because the
Gerard Gully: crime in Gotham's out of control.
Tyler T Hamer: That's totally fair.
Tyler T Hamer: So then along those lines, like does the, or so I guess like is the head district attorney elected or like?
Gerard Gully: Yes, so the DA will always be elected just directly by the voters. So that's why you see Harvey Dent, you know, campaigning to try to get reelected.
Tyler T Hamer: Right.
Gerard Gully: My boss's highest boss, right, the district attorney, he's also an elected official.
Tyler T Hamer: Okay, so then the rest of you are hired underneath them.
Gerard Gully: We're all theoretically deputized by the elected district attorney. It's through him that we all have like any governmental authority.
Jordan Ugalde: Okay, so in the public space, the highest role in general is appointed for an attorney?
Gerard Gully: Well, at the federal level, yes. State, well it depends what you determine it to be higher. So the district attorney is the top prosecutor in a county.
Gerard Gully: That's an elected position.
Gerard Gully: The Attorney General of a State is appointed by the governor.
Gerard Gully: And the Attorney General of the United States is appointed by the President.
Gerard Gully: But I don't know that. It's not super fair to say that one is higher than the other, because they all handle different sorts of things. Like if you know we got a serial killer, let's look at the Golden State Killer for example. Our office prosecuted, the golden state killer recently.
Gerard Gully: He was a serial killer who went up and down California terrorizing people. Truely, truly monsterous dude prosecuted by the district attorney's office. That doesn't go to the Attorney General or US Attorney General necessarily.
Tyler T Hamer: Right, because it never crossed
Tyler T Hamer: state lines, right?
Gerard Gully: Right, right. And he crossed county lines, but it was just multiple district attorneys that were handling it.
Tyler T Hamer: Okay. So I guess along those lines for people who don't know, what you know, how, what is the separation between like the Federal Court system?
Gerard Gully: Yeah, a lot of people think it's just like oh federal offense means higher than state offense. But it's really, it's
Gerard Gully: more just
Gerard Gully: who you commit the crime against or what crime you commit. Like if I were to, if Jordan came out here to California and I stabbed him, that's a state crime.
Gerard Gully: But if Jordan came out to California because he got a job as a mail carrier and he was delivering mail and I stabbed him, it's a federal crime.
Gerard Gully: It's not a different act. It's just a different jurisdiction of who's prosecuting it because the Federal Government has a law that says you can't attack mail carriers, or you can't.
Gerard Gully: interfere. Whereas California has a law that says you can't stop anyone, not in self Defense.
Jordan Ugalde: OK OK, and then it's in the case so I were if I were a mail carrier in California and you stabbed me. By you stabbing me, you broke both state and federal law. So do you, would you be prosecuted prosecuted at both levels?
Jordan Ugalde: Or how does that work?
Gerard Gully: Yeah so technically you could be, but usually what we're gonna do in practice is we're going to see if the Feds want the case. If the Feds take the case, we'll let them handle it. If the Feds decline it for any number of reasons,
Gerard Gully: then we'll handle it because you are breaking both laws.
Gerard Gully: But a weird fact about Double Jeopardy, most people don't know is that Double Jeopardy only protects you from being prosecuted twice for the same crime
Gerard Gully: by the same government. So the State Government and the Federal Government can prosecute you for the same crime, and this came up recently with the Derek Chauvin thing.
Gerard Gully: It came out after the Chauvin verdict that had he been found not guilty, the US attorneys are right there ready to initiate proceedings to prosecute him for the same crime.
Gerard Gully: And they can do that because it's a different sovereignty and that's not Double Jeopardy.
Tyler T Hamer: So that'd be like in the case of, you know, let's say you stab Jordan and you ditch the knife. And the Feds went after and couldn't prosecute or couldn't get a conviction. And then the knife washes up months later and there's the DNA evidence, so the state can still convict you.
Gerard Gully: Yeah we could do it that way. We could even do it if he got found guilty by the Feds, weirdly enough.
Jordan Ugalde: Assuming you can find me.
Tyler T Hamer: So I guess that, I guess always wondered is like with sentencing, like would that get added on or I know, in some cases, some sentences like run at the same time.
Gerard Gully: It would almost certainly. So in that example if the Feds got a conviction and they got a sentence and then, for whatever reason, we decided to go after him for the same crime and get a conviction,
Gerard Gully: I am fairly confident, it would be found to be concurrent time. So meaning, it would not really get added on. You'd serve your sentence simultaneously to the other one.
Gerard Gully: I wouldn't say unless you're like Derek Chauvin right and there's like a media pressure or something, I can't see a judge deviating from the norm of concurrent sentencing.
Jordan Ugalde: And is it the judge that determines if it's in parallel? Okay?
Gerard Gully: Yeah, it's the judge. Judges will do, it's, we call them concurrent sentences or consecutive sentences.
Jordan Ugalde: Concurrent or consecutive.
Tyler T Hamer: Okay so then so this kind of answer the question of like if you commit the same crime and multiple jurisdictions,
Tyler T Hamer: what happens if you're like in one jurisdiction, but you commit like multiple crimes. Like Martin Shkreli, he was like convicted on or he was he was charged on 11 counts of fraud.
Jordan Ugalde: Like how does that, how does ...
Tyler T Hamer: Right so like Martin Shkreli was charged with 11 counts. For people that don't know, that's the guy.
Tyler T Hamer: That's the Pharma Bro. He raised the price insulin and everything. He was with his investors money,
Tyler T Hamer: he like gambled it and lost a bunch and so his investors wanted to pull out. And then,
Tyler T Hamer: he gambled it in buying the insulin company and got the money back. And so, then so people we're trying to charge him with fraud but they're having difficulty. And he was originally charged with 11 accounts and convicted on four.
Tyler T Hamer: So, I guess, like the question I have is, like if you're convicted on multiple counts, Are they usually concurrent or are they consecutive.
Gerard Gully: So that, there's really no answer in a vacuum. It's going to depend on a lot of factors. It's going to depend how close in time they were. How related they were. If it was different victims.
Gerard Gully: So there's just a lot. So here's a good example in California. There's a law that basically says you can't get double punishment for the, for a single action, even if that action violates multiple laws.
Gerard Gully: The example being if you're driving drunk and also your license is suspended, you're committing two crimes, right? You're driving under the influence and driving on a suspended license. We can only punish you for one of those.
Gerard Gully: That's what the rules say.
Gerard Gully: So you'll see, so it's going to depend. Is he defrauding ten or four different people for those convictions? Did he do them weeks apart? those are things and then ultimately a judge decides. So there's all these.
Gerard Gully: factors and the judge makes the call.
Tyler T Hamer: That's fair. So then going back to the example about the DUI and driving without a suspended license, like in that scenario which one did you ...
Tyler T Hamer: Would you prosecute both of them at the same time? Or like, how do you choose? Or do you just go for like the one with the longer sentence? Or like, how do you determine what you're gonna to want the conviction on?
Gerard Gully: So you prosecute both because he can get found guilty of both.
Gerard Gully: So we try to get him found guilty of both if he did both and then, when it comes time for sentence, the judge picks the heavier one which would be a DUI in this case.
Jordan Ugalde: Okay.
Tyler T Hamer: Okay. Yeah I've definitely learned way more about the legal system than like ever like I, like you know, I listen to like legal podcasts like Legal Eagle and stuff and.
Tyler T Hamer: I dabbled in it. I would like obviously say I'm not close to an expert, but like I've definitely like, this has been really interesting. Like I think, so a question that I have is like.
Tyler T Hamer: Like you know, what keeps you motivated through like the day in and day out like, you know? Like is it just, you know, knowing constantly that like you're incrementally improving society? Like you're always on that right side or?
Gerard Gully: Yeah, I think what what's really helpful is that every day that, I wake up to go to work, I just think today I'm going to do the right thing and it's never different than that. It's, I'm going to go get paid to do the right thing, each day.
Gerard Gully: And if I come across a situation where I see something happening that I don't think is right, I just won't do that. And then I'll do the right thing, instead. And I feel like you don't get that in a lot of jobs, right. I feel like
Gerard Gully: at some point you're gonna have to follow orders
Gerard Gully: from someone that you, you know, disagree with on an ethical level.
Gerard Gully: And at my job, it's great. You know, my bosses cannot give me an unethical order and I don't have follow if they did.
Gerard Gully: So it's really nice like if I can't be ordered to do the wrong thing. And I'm, you know, I can feel good about what I'm doing. And, you know, you get to sometimes, you'll get to talk to victims of cases and they'll be really grateful. And you can kind of put a human face on what's happening,
Gerard Gully: instead of just saying numbers. You're like, oh yeah this is the guy he robbed, you know.
Gerard Gully: And you get some really sad cases where it's like because, you know, in reality the victims of crime are usually the most vulnerable people in society, right. It's very rare,
Gerard Gully: like the rich hedge fund manager is getting mugged. It's usually the minimum wage worker at 7-11
Gerard Gully: who's getting mugged.
Jordan Ugalde: Right like.
Gerard Gully: Proportionately, crime effects poor working class people, so it kind of, it feels good to be helping out working class people because that's who crimes hurt really.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah, that's fair, so one thing that I found really important in pursuing anything you're
Jordan Ugalde: passionate about, is having a strong communities surrounding you. You talked a bit about like your firm and public defenders. Like what is the community you spend your time around? Is that lawyers, the other lawyers in your life, the other law people in your life?
Gerard Gully: Oh yeah I'm good friends with several DAs. We have game nights. They come over. We hang out, and play board games and stuff. Like
Gerard Gully: it's a great time. We the DA's office. It's almost like high school again, because we always go out to lunch together. We eat our lunches together. We hang out and talk and unwind. Like we end, because our lunch window is you know 12
Gerard Gully: So we have a very locked in lunch window, because the
Gerard Gully: judges want an hour and a half, so we get an hour and a half.
Gerard Gully: So we sort of all just hang out and talk. And it's really that's what makes the job awesome is the Community. It's just so like, we're so tightly knit. We're all really supportive of each other.
Gerard Gully: And you know I've made a lot of really good friends from this job that I hang out with outside of work hours.
Jordan Ugalde: That's awesome.
Tyler T Hamer: Totally. Okay, so if you earlier, you said, like you know, you do a 40 hour work week and there's an hour and a half lunch break. So like, what is like, is it 9
Gerard Gully: So I mean, we're not a, I mean so okay, I get in at 8
Gerard Gully: at trial. My hours go up temporarily because I'm going to stay late after trial to prepare things for the next day stuff like that.
Gerard Gully: So certainly work more than 40.
Gerard Gully: And you know some and some weeks, you get done at 4
Tyler T Hamer: Right that's cool.
Jordan Ugalde: That's awesome.
Tyler T Hamer: Yeah that's been my experience with the government. It's nice.
Jordan Ugalde: I haven't done I haven't dealt my government much. Yeah, I'm okay with that.
Jordan Ugalde: I'm personally okay with that. I wouldn't want unnecessarily do it.
Jordan Ugalde: But honestly, I would like to go to jury duty at least once. I've never been called.
Tyler T Hamer: That's fair, I have been called the once and it was during finals week, so I was like Oh well, I would really prefer not to have to jury duty, while like you know, trying to graduate.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah yeah that's fair.
Gerard Gully: I actually got called the jury duty pretty recently. I got one of those things in the mail, so I signed in and where I live, I got assigned to the courthouse near where I live, but that's not the one I worked at.
Gerard Gully: So I went and I talked to the jury assembly room guy at my court house where I work and I'm like, 'Is there any way we can transfer this service over here so that like, I don't have to like miss a day of work, just for jury duty.'
Gerard Gully: And he let me. He was cool about. He's like, 'Yeah as long as you're doing jury duty, that's fine,' so I got to be in my own courthouse for it. And then they just didn't need me. They ended up not needing me to come.
Gerard Gully: Look, there's no chance I'm going to get on a jury anyways because I can't do criminal cases in Orange County because there's, I work for the one agency that prosecutes criminal cases so.
Jordan and Tyler: Yeah.
Gerard Gully: And the civil lawyer would be crazy to keep me.
Jordan Ugalde: Is there any is there any even a point in like taking you to jury duty? Or is it just you're definitely going to wait?
Gerard Gully: Well, theoretically, I could be on a civil jury. It's just it's, I think it's a weird decision to keep a lawyer, on your jury. I wouldn't put a lawyer, on my jury, so I don't know if a civil attorney would keep me on theirs, but that's usually considered pretty risky.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah, so now that you bring that up, so in terms of forming a jury, how, what is the reality of you going about that?
Gerard Gully: So we get about 15 minutes, they, so the judge calls 40 people into your courtroom. Then he's going to put 18. So 12 in the box and then six people in front,
Gerard Gully: and you get to talk to those 18 people for 15 minutes. And you can ask them, you can ask a lot of stuff. There, it's really more, there's a couple things you can't do. And other than that, you can just talk to them.
Gerard Gully: You can ask them questions. You can tell them things. It's really weird and free form. And as long as you don't break one of the few rules there are, it's pretty much up to you what you want to do.
Gerard Gully: You're, trying to do a couple things. You're trying to figure out who's going to be an unfair juror because of like biases they have. And then you're trying to get them to admit that, because most people, like no one's going to come out and be like, you know, 'I'm racist.' Like no.
Gerard Gully: Someone trying to get out of jury duty might say that, but if you're actually trying to find racist, you can't just be like, 'Show of hands, who's racist.' It's not going to work.
Gerard Gully: And also, I don't want like, you know, nut jobs either. Like people who are just like, 'Oh, I don't trust anything like unless I have it on video camera from three different angles. I could never convict,' because that's
Gerard Gully: not what the standard is, right. I don't have to have every crime on camera in order for a conviction.
Jordan Ugalde: What kind of questions do you ask to suss this out?
Gerard Gully: I'll give you one. Here's what I actually do. So this isn't exact. So Jordan you'd be my juror and just answer as if you are someone on a jury okay.
Gerard Gully: So all right. So one of the instructions the judge is going to give you in this case is what reasonable, that is.
Gerard Gully: And he's going to tell you that reasonable doubt is not proof beyond all possible. That it's just reasonable. So I want to ask you, do you know the difference between reasonable and possible.
Jordan Ugalde: I not do not. I'm not sure.
Gerard Gully: Well so, let's explore that then. So do you know who takes out the garbage at your house?
Jordan Ugalde: Yes, I do. I take the garbage out to the trash can.
Gerard Gully: And who takes it from the trashcan?
Jordan Ugalde: The garbage collector.
Gerard Gully: Yet, do you know who that person is?
Jordan Ugalde: No, no.
Gerard Gully: All right, so what, if I were to tell you that last week, when your garbage got taken out, your garbage person was Robert Downey Jr. because he's
Gerard Gully: becoming a method actor and he's going to do a role where he's a garbage man. So now he has been acting like a garbage man for the last four months. So my first question is, is it possible that Robert Downey Jr. was your garbage man? Is that physically possible?
Jordan Ugalde: It is possible. It is possible.
Gerard Gully: But do you think it's reasonable?
Jordan Ugalde: I don't think that's reasonable.
Gerard Gully: Right, and so that's an example of a question
Gerard Gully: I'm doing.
Gerard Gully: I would do that, to try to get them to understand the difference between reasonable doubt and possible doubt.
Jordan Ugalde: Interesting.
Gerard Gully: I had one guy tell me he thought it was reasonable that Robert Downey Jr. was his garbage. And he was a 19 year old college kid with no
Gerard Gully: career history or work experience and I kicked.
Gerard Gully: off the jury.
Tyler T Hamer: That's fair. That's understandable and the only actor, I think that would might be garbage man is Christian Bale.
Tyler T Hamer: Like, he goes so hard.
Jordan Ugalde: Daniel Day-Lewis. He's a great actor. I do love his movies.
Jordan Ugalde: Actually yeah, along those lines, so what is the best what is the best law movie? And why is it 'My Cousin Vinny'.
Gerard Gully: So it's 'My Cousin Vinny' because it's accurate while still being funny. Like and un-ironically, that is the correct answer.
Gerard Gully: 'My Cousin Vinny' manages to be a humorous take on the legal system, while getting criminal procedure more correct than any other film you're going to see, which is weird because you wouldn't expect a Joe Pesci movie it'd be like spot on, but it is.
Gerard Gully: They nail all the parts of a trial. They have voir dire. They have expert witnesses. I have been in multiple trial advocacy classes now where they have shown clips from that movie. That's how good it was.
Tyler T Hamer: Wow, that's amazing, really.
Gerard Gully: It's so good if you haven't seen 'My Cousin Vinny,' stop watching this podcast and go watch it right now. just.
Tyler T Hamer: And then resume watching the podcast after it.
Tyler T Hamer: So are there other obviously, 'My Cousin Vinny' is you know number one,' but is there any other, like I just recently watched the Chicago Seven, is that accurate? Is there other accurate movies?
Gerard Gully: 'Legally Blonde' is pretty good.
Jordan Ugalde: Really, really?
Gerard Gully: My evidence slash criminal law professor Laurie Levenson, she was actually one of the consultants for that movie to help make it.
Tyler T Hamer: That's really cool
Gerard Gully: Because they filmed a lot of it at UCLA and she's a professor there.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah, I wouldn't have guessed that.
Tyler T Hamer: I wouldn't have guessed that either.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah so, it goes 'My Cousin Vinny', 'Legally Blonde', and yeah, everything else?
Gerard Gully: Everything else. Yeah I'm trying to think what other ones are really good. Lionel Huts from 'The Simpsons' He's pretty good. He's that terrible lawyer from like the first few seasons of that show. I know a lot of law stuff is just really inaccurate.
Tyler T Hamer: What about 'Law and Order?'
Gerard Gully: Like 'Law and Order' does like some parts really accurate and then they'll just do like radical deviations where they're doing.
Gerard Gully: Like it's a crapshoot. If you're watching 'Law and Order,' you might get an episode where you're like yeah that was a pretty reasonable trial and then you'll have some
Gerard Gully: where they're like, I still remember the craziest where they held like a separate secret trial
Gerard Gully: outside the presence of the defendant and his lawyer, because he was like a mob boss. And they were holding a secret trial in the judge's chambers. And I'm like this is the most blatantly unconstitutional thing I've ever seen.
Jordan Ugalde: That's fair. That's fair.
Jordan Ugalde: Have you ever seen 'Better Call Saul.'
Gerard Gully: No, I haven't. I haven't even seen 'Breaking Bad,' so I know I'm like bad at watching TV shows.
Jordan Ugalde: OK oK, then nevermind. I've heard good things about the legal part of it, but like, I'm not, I am not a lawyer, I am not a lawyer. I cannot provide legal advice.
Tyler T Hamer: And I would never turn to myself or legal advice so nevermind on 'Better Call Saul.'
Tyler T Hamer: I'd turn to you for TV advice. I'd say 'Better Call Saul' was a good TV show.
Gerard Gully: Do you need to have seen 'Breaking Bad' to appreciate it?
Jordan Ugalde: No.
Tyler T Hamer: Hot take. I personally don't like 'Breaking Bad' because I don't like awkward moments, and I can't stand the awkward moments in 'Breaking Bad,' but I very much like 'Better Call Saul.'
Jordan Ugalde: Like, the, you're, there are somethings that are our nods to 'Breaking Bad' where if you've seen the show,
Jordan Ugalde: you'll have a deeper appreciation, but by no means do you need to have watched it before. Like when there are characters present in both shows, so I'll be like, 'Oh, I know that guy.'
Jordan Ugalde: But you don't need to have know that guy to still appreciate the show.
Jordan Ugalde: But I highly recommend it. I don't know what kind of shows you watch. But I'd recommend it.
Gerard Gully: If people will take away nothing from this episode, other than go watch 'Better Call Saul,' that's good to know.
Jordan Ugalde: Number one takeaway.
Tyler T Hamer: More important than any other legal advice.
Jordan Ugalde: Which, what you're saying right now, everything you've said in this podcast constitutes legal advice, correct?
Gerard Gully: Oh yeah that's good to mention. Nothing I've said is legal advice. I'm not a representative of my law firm. I'm speaking here in the capacity, just as myself, and as no one else. My views are all my own and I'm not your lawyer.
Gerard Gully: Nor will I ever be your lawyer.
Tyler T Hamer: Are you are you committed to being a prosecutor? Do you ever think you would switch sides?
Gerard Gully: I can't see it, like, unless something, like I don't know how much you guys follow California politics, unless my elected district attorney was replaced by some like crazy person who, I think, is going to just do a terrible job, I would want to keep working here.
Gerard Gully: I might become a judge someday. Like I might run for that, because that's you know, a reasonable progression, but I don't really want to go do like private defense work that badly. No.
Tyler T Hamer: So then okay, so if you're always on this, you know being a lawyer and you're on the prosecution side, do people ever like come to you then for like recommendations for like if you can't be their lawyer, like looking for someone else to be their lawyer?
Gerard Gully: So, in a misdemeanor arraignments, most people are out of custody so the prosecutors just talk to them directly. We do this before they have attorneys. Will just go talk to them and make them an offer on their case.
Gerard Gully: And I have part of the little speech, we give to them and we talked to them as, 'Hey, I'm not your attorney. If you want one, you can have one for free. It's a public defender.'
Gerard Gully: 'You're also allowed to just talk to me about the case and if you want to plead guilty, now we can wrap it up today. It's like up to you, no pressure sort of situation.' So I talk to, like, defendants all the time at the arraignment stage to plea bargain.
Gerard Gully: There are a few that I tell them to go get an attorney.
Gerard Gully: Because like they'll start asking me like questions and I'll be like, 'That question would be like advice. Like, I can tell you how the system works, but I can't give you advice so go get a lawyer.'
Gerard Gully: There been a couple where like I wouldn't even talk to someone. Like I had one dude where it was, believe it or not a misdemeanor, but he was taking like creeper pics of his niece who was like 10 years old. And so very serious misdemeanor that was.
Gerard Gully: Like that guy, I just went up to him and I'm like, 'Dude, you need to go get an attorney like right now. I'm not even gonna like talk you. Go get a lawyer. This is some serious stuff you're in right now.'
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah, damn.
Tyler T Hamer: Yeah I was, like, I'm surprised that's a misdemeanor.
Gerard Gully: Because she had her clothing on, but they were very creepy photographs.
Tyler T Hamer: Yeah, oof.
Jordan Ugalde: Ugh, okay.
Tyler T Hamer: So I guess, like okay, so I guess like along those lines, I mean like, what's like the worst and best experiences you've had through out being a prosecutor?
Gerard Gully: So I mean like, I think the best experiences really are the ones where you are like, 'Hey, this guy's innocent. Let's go drop the charges,' because that feels good.
Gerard Gully: It feels like you cry something that if you know if you didn't catch this. This guy was gonna be in a world of problem.
Gerard Gully: That's a fun and then you just have funny experiences too. Especially in misdemeanors, like some of the crimes like, they're, the trials lead to very funny moments where because defendants will often take the stand and testify, even though sometimes they really shouldn't.
Gerard Gully: And they'll say really funny stuff. Like one of my favorite moment in trial that I had was, a dude, he had three counts on three different days of exposing himself in public to different people.
Gerard Gully: And he was in his car each time
Gerard Gully: doing the deed
Gerard Gully: And he takes the stand and his Defense just like radically gets weirder and weirder.
Gerard Gully: Like first he's like, 'That could have been anyone in my car. Basically he's like, I lent my car out to a lot of people,' and he just starts to listing people off.
Gerard Gully: And as he goes through the list. The last guy on the list, he's like and then the last guy I only know him is Tiger. That's it.
Gerard Gully: Like all right, so in closing, my closing argument of course, that's the one I'm going to refer to is like, 'Yeah you know, maybe it
Gerard Gully: could have been Tiger, the enigmatic man know only as Tiger,
Gerard Gully: was driving this guy's car.'
Jordan Ugalde: So was he found guilty?
Gerard Gully: Oh yeah. Very quickly.
Gerard Gully: That was also the closing argument, where I quoted that song 'Wasn't Me' by Shaggy.
Gerard Gully: And I like I did like a Weird Al Yankovic parody where I took like the general meter of the song and then replaced it with facts from our case.
Gerard Gully: Because his whole Defense was, 'Wasn't me,' and even said it on the sand, when I was like, 'So you're just saying like straight up, it wasn't you in your car?' He's like, 'Yeah wasn't me.'
Gerard Gully: As soon as he said that, I was like I got a reference that song now.
Tyler T Hamer: That's amazing. That's the greatest closing argument ever heard.
Jordan Ugalde: So that's been like, Your reference to 'Wasn't Me' has been documented and now is a part of offical government records?
Gerard Gully: It is. It's in the recording with the court system.
Jordan Ugalde: That's beautiful.
Tyler T Hamer: That's beautiful. So like were do you actually like singing it when you did it or like?
Gerard Gully: So I wasn't singing it, but I was saying it to like the beat kind of the song.
Gerard Gully: One juror was nodding his head along with it.
Tyler T Hamer: That's amazing.
Jordan Ugalde: So beyond even entertaining in that moment,
Jordan Ugalde: does is providing that level of entertainment to endear yourself with the to jurors, does that help you in your court cases?
Gerard Gully: Think it's true. I think that. Look jury duty is boring, right? It has the reputation of being the worst thing ever so
Gerard Gully: if you can make it entertaining for the jurors, they'll at least listen to you.
Gerard Gully: Right, like look, I still have to present evidence, obviously, but at the end of the day, if nobody's listening to my evidence, because I'm boring, then I'm not really doing my job very effectively.
Gerard Gully: If I can present my evidence in a like an entertaining enjoyable way, then the jury is more likely to hear the evidence and remember it.
Gerard Gully: Because, ultimately right, I wasn't just singing 'Wasn't Me' for the fun of it. It was to point out how ridiculous his defense was. Because my argument is,
Gerard Gully: what he's saying is unreasonable. Your standard is reasonable doubt. His whole story is completely unreasonable. That he loans his car out to people he doesn't even know who he's learning his car out to.
Gerard Gully: And like and also three times they've been, that person has been caught masturbating in his car yet he keeps loaning the car out to him.
Gerard Gully: Jordan, how many times, would you load your car to Tyler? And does that answer change if, after the first time, the police tell you someone was caught masturbating?
Jordan Ugalde: I'm sorry Tyler,
Jordan Ugalde: if that happened once,
Jordan Ugalde: Never again, never again. I would rather you not masturbate my car.
Tyler T Hamer: I just don't have a response.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah fair enough, fair point.
Tyler T Hamer: So like has there ever been, obviously, that is an amazing closing argument. Has there ever been like a time where like the defense has had like a really incredible closing argument or like a hilarious like comeback? I don't know like.
Gerard Gully: There was a case that I was sure I hadn't the bag. I thought the Defense was terrible, but he ended up hanging the jury on me. And it case got dismissed as a result, because it hung ten to two in favor of not guilty.
Gerard Gully: It was, he was charged with peeking in a window. So he's in like this little alley by an apartment looking in the window, while this girl was showering, like you know, adult adult young adult was showering
Gerard Gully: and her mother sees the guy and like chases him off. And at trial, his defense was, 'No, he was in the alleyway shooing away raccoons.'
Gerard Gully: 'Not peaking in the window,' and I was like, 'That's the dumbest defense I have ever heard,' and the dude like in closing, he's got pictures of raccoons from the apartment complex. He's like, 'Look there's raccoons at the complex.' It was taken with like a 1990s polaroid camera because the raccoons have like red
Gerard Gully: glowing eyes. I'm like this is
Gerard Gully: unbelievable right now.
Gerard Gully: The defense attorney was like this old dude who did like eviction in LA. So he didn't even know what he was doing and Christ.
Tyler T Hamer: That's amazing.
Gerard Gully: And he just fucking wins. I don't even know.
Jordan Ugalde: Those evil raccons.
Gerard Gully: The judge lost it on him because he got, the defendant took the stand to explain this right and the defense attorney gives him pictures of the raccoon.
Gerard Gully: And he asks the defendant, Now are these the raccoons you saw on that night?' Like he's asked him to identify the raccoons and the judges just interrupts. He's like, 'No, we're not doing this. We're not having him identify raccoons.'
Tyler T Hamer: That's so amazing.
Jordan Ugalde: Oh man. And that hung the trial. That hung the jury.
Gerard Gully: Yeah, he destroyed me and my colleagues have like, given me crap for that ever since.
Gerard Gully: The put raccoon pictures up in my office. Just,
Gerard Gully: I didn't take him down. My office is full of pictures of raccoons now.
Tyler T Hamer: That's amazing.
Jordan Ugalde: Oh man. The life of a district attorney sounds like a fucking joy.
Gerard Gully: It's a great job, and I would not trade it. If I if you're going into law and you're listening to this, like really consider being a prosecutor. It's an amazing job. It's a great feeling.
Jordan Ugalde: And actually speaking before even going to law school, for anybody who's even considering entering legal profession, what would you what would you recommend to them?
Gerard Gully: So you can major in anything you want to go into law, but you should major in something that you'll do well in because your grades, your GPA will matter for law school.
Gerard Gully: doing the LSAT that will matter for law school.
Gerard Gully: The LSAT is a logic exam so it's like the SAT in that it's a standardized test, but it's all just logic stuff. So as part of it are logic puzzles. Part of its like read this argument and figure out the flaw with it. And it's all multiple choice.
Gerard Gully: How well you do on that, combined with your GPA, decides what law school you get into and what scholarship you get. That's pretty much all. The like I like. It's not like undergrad where they care about your life story that much. It's really just those two metrics.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah and what would you encourage to people to get inspired to be lawyers, especially a public defender or district attorney?
Gerard Gully: I think there's just, you got to want to do trials to do that kind of law. And to know if you want to do trials,
Gerard Gully: if your college or high school has a mock trial program, you should check that out. Do some mock trials. Most colleges have it. See if trial advocacy is something you want to do because it's not for everyone, right. You know people, a lot of people don't like public speaking.
Gerard Gully: Or if there's that 'Seinfeld' bit that the number one fear in America is public speaking.
Gerard Gully: Number two is death.
Gerard Gully: At a funeral, more people would rather be the guy in the casket than the guy giving the eulogy, right.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah, that's fair.
Tyler T Hamer: Ah, that's so dark.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah, okay. Well, I think it's about time that we let you go. Thank you very much for joining us, Gerard.
Tyler T Hamer: It's been great. I feel like I've, I've you know, this makes me contemplate if I want to be a lawyer.
Jordan Ugalde: You didn't spend enough time in school?
Tyler T Hamer: Well, it's another episode
Jordan Ugalde: Another episode. Another episode.
Gerard Gully: Thank you guys, for having me. It's been a blast love sharing the legal profession with everyone.
Jordan Ugalde: Yeah for sure, and hope to catch you around sometime in the future.
Tyler T Hamer: Yeah for sure.
Gerard Gully: We'll see you guys later.
Jordan Ugalde: See you later. Bye.
Tyler T Hamer: Bye.