Mom Claims Attorneys Screwed Up Big Time

     BOISE (CN) – After failing to show up in court but charging for it, a law firm let a man be sentenced to 2½ to 5 years in prison without pointing out that his so-called prior offenses had been committed by someone else with the same name, the man and his mother claim in court.
     Adrienne Esposito and her son Joseph sued the Sallaz & Gatewood law firm, in Ada County Court.
     Adrienne Esposito hired the law firm in December 2010 to represent her son, who was in Ada County Jail on criminal charges not specified in the complaint. She says she paid a $3,000 retainer, but no one showed up to her son’s pre-trial conference on March 7, 2011.
     Sallaz & Greenwood billed her for the “court appearance” anyway, she says in the complaint.
     Next, she says, her son into a plea agreement on the advice of Sallaz & Greenwood. At his May 16, 2011 sentencing hearing, she says, the state’s pre-sentencing report included “crimes and conduct” of a different Joseph Esposito.
     But Sallaz & Greenwood did not bring that to the court’s attention, despite her own efforts to do so, which got her booted from the courtroom, the mom says.
     “Adrienne’s efforts to make the court aware of the fact that crimes and conduct of a different Joseph Esposito were being entered into evidence for the sentencing of her son Joseph were futile, and she was ultimately ejected from the courtroom by the Marshal at the direction of the court,” she says in the complaint.
     She claims her son was sentenced to 2½ years fixed and 2½ years indeterminate, “based in large part on the crimes and conduct of the wrong Joseph Esposito.”
     The Espositos seek damages for legal malpractice and breach of contract, and costs.
     They are represented by Brian Coffey, of Boise.

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