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Location: California, United States
Expertise: keeping my head up when things look so bad
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|Passed the bar here in my state. Yay! |
In other news, I was browsing through some other pd's blogs today and realized that some pd's are having to take down their sites because people (mucky-mucks, I am guessing) are discovering their work and getting nervous. I didn't get a chance to read the sites that were taken down, so who knows what they were saying, but I can't imagine that they were much different from mine, which, nine times out of ten, runs along these lines:
In my opinion, the above-listed things are simple facts of my working life, and I can't see what's wrong with reporting them. I try not to name names, or say things that will allow crazy, bored people to deduce who I might be talking about, but something about having to take down a perfectly good pd-blog really chaps my hide. We are so few, why should we be forced to shut up?
- everyone else is ignorant
- i am humbled by my lack of legal knowledge/trial skill
- today i subjected myself to public humiliation
- today i subjected someone else to public humiliation (and enjoyed it)
- i am shocked by the sheltered stupidity of people who should know better
- i am shocked by my own sheltered stupidity
- i cannot understand my role in society
- cops/judges/prosecutors make me angry
- i feel guilty for judging cops/judges/prosecutors
- i feel more justifiably angry than guilty about my attitude re: c/j/p
- i believe the system could afford to show people a lot more respect at every stage of their case and incarceration/"rehabilitation"
- i hope i'm not an idealistic fool
Boooo. Booooooo on that. Kudos to everyone who posted stuff that was so true that it made people nervous, though! That's squarely within the best of the pd traditions.
I hope to keep posting what I see, and I hope that I post a whole lotta sh*t that makes the enforcers want to shut me down!
|Clients are still ridiculously amusing/frustrating/endearing/wretched/inspiring/strange.|
Prosecutors still rub me the wrong way.
A client called the office and said he absolutely couldn't make it to court because he was in Maine. When advised that a rearrest warrant would be issued if he didn't get to court in twenty minutes, the line went dead. Twenty minutes later, he arrived, breathless, in court. When asked how he had traveled hundreds of miles in so short a time, he said--serious as a heart attack: "I took a helicopter." Only a PD's client could walk in and tell his lawyer a fib like that with a straight face.
Another client, unarmed but crazy-ish, went into a bank and robbed it by passing a note that said something like, "Gimme some money or I'll shoot." The teller gave him the cash, and our silly client walked out the door believing he had pulled it off, scott free. He might have had a much better chance at getting away with it, if he hadn't written the robbery demand on the back of his probation appointment card: complete with his name, his probation officer's name, the contact number, and his DOC number. We get all the good cases....
A prosecutor came in my office the other day and expressed shock at the fact that I was pulling cases from Lexis and reading caselaw. "What are you doing that for?," demanded the grumpy old prosecutor, "No one here follows the law anyway!" He snickered knowingly and went on embarrassing himself. "You know, if we followed all the rules, the system would come to a grinding halt!" He stood there in my doorway, as if he was waiting for me to fold up my books and just go home.
"I have a lot to learn," I replied vaguely, wishing he would get the eff out of my office.
With a patronizing snort, he squinted his eyes at me and proceeded to insult me. "You know...the two people in the room who never know the rules are judges and defense attorneys." He paused and stared me down. I waited for him to say that he was just joking, or to admit that his effing prosecutors were the ones who didn't know ass from subsection. He didn't back down, of course, so I sat there, staring back into his wrinkled, belligerent face until he wandered out of my office looking for someone else to browbeat with the myths that make his career worthwhile...Only a prosecutor could trespass into the new PD's office to intimidate her with his shocking commitment to ignoring the law at the expense of our "guilty-as-soon-as-they-walk-in-the-door" clients.
Some things just don't change...
|I am in a new city, with a chance to get started with the local public defender--if I pass the bar. I get results in about a month or so, but in the mean time, I've been able to shadow folks in the office. |
It is very strange to feel like I've come home...to the criminal courthouse. Weird to feel comfortable...in the tank. Odd to sense nostalgia about standing at the podium in court...next to a guy in shackles.
Ahh, the PD's life!
|June 20, 2007: Talk of the Nation talks to the author of "Defending the Damned: Inside the Cook County Public Defender's Office," Kevin Davis. |
Comments by listeners to the program on "Blog of the Nation:"