If the defendant feels he needs to speak with an assistant city attorney concerning his court appearance, he should consider the following:
- The assistant city attorney is the prosecuting attorney for the City of Norman. He does not represent the defendant and cannot give the defendant legal advice or advise him how to plead. For this type of assistance the defendant must contact a private attorney.
- The assistant city attorney does not determine the defendant's guilt or innocence; this is a function of the judge. However, he may be able to recommend a sentence based on the facts of the defendant's case and his prior record. The assistant city attorney will have a comprehensive record of the defendant's offense history.
- Deferred Sentences - A deferred sentence may only be recommended in cases where the defendant has no prior offenses on his record. If a deferred sentence is recommended by the assistant city attorney and granted by the judge, the defendant will still have to pay fees and court costs.
- The assistant city attorney cannot give time to pay on the fine, fee or the costs, only the judge can grant this extension. The defendant needs to be prepared to pay any fines, fees and costs he may be assessed at the time he appears in court. Also, the assistant city attorney cannot give the defendant a continuance on his court date. A continuance can only be granted by the court clerk.
The majority of all questions can be addressed on the defendant's court date. To meet with the assistant city attorney, the defendant should come to the Municipal Court at 3:00 p.m. on his scheduled court date and inform the bailiff inside the courtroom that he would like to speak with the assistant city attorney.
If the defendant must contact the assistant city attorney by telephone he should follow these instructions. Only call the city attorney's office during the week his case is set for court. It is not known prior to that time which attorney will be assigned to a particular defendant's case and the defendant must speak to the attorney handling his case. When the defendant calls he should inform the secretary of his court date. If the defendant has not set a court date, he will be instructed to do so before assistance may be given. If the assistant city attorney is busy the defendant may be asked to leave a number and his call will be returned as soon as possible. However, due to the volume of calls made, if the defendant is called and not available he will not be called again. It will be the defendant's responsibility to make contact again.
It is the desire of the city attorney and his staff to serve the public interest and be of assistance to the defendant. However, the law and court procedures must be followed. There are only certain things that may be done and under very specific conditions. Following the above guidelines will better allow the city attorney and his staff to assist the defendant.