Trick or Treat (or Abduction?)

Did you see this?

Virginia is trying to keep its registered sex offenders from giving out candy to trick or treaters. The story says that it can require the sex offenders to attend a meeting from dusk until 9 p.m. or it can require the sex offenders to keep their porch lights off and not give out candy.

Maybe I'm not up on the caselaw, but I'm pretty sure that when the Supreme Court reviewed the constitutionality of Megan's Law statutes, it didn't anticipate that offenders wouldn't be allowed to turn their porch light on.

My prediction for Monday's news: Sex offender is coming home from his mandatory meeting, and trips on his porch steps because his light was out, as mandated by the Virginia Department of Corrections. Personal injury lawyers, prepare to hand out your business cards.

I Have a Cell Phone, and I Vote

I believe that Joe Trippi, Howard Dean's former campaign manager, was the first to point out the potential problem of polling this election raised by cell-phone only users.

This story, Cell Phones Slow Down Election Pollsters, adopts the idea as its own.

One interesting point in the article is:
Both surveys found that cell phone-only users tend to be younger, non-white and lower income. They also tend to work part-time or not at all and typically live in more urban areas.

Maybe I'm the anomaly, but I consider myself to be a cell-phone only user. I do have a home phone, but I don't give out the number and, therefore, have no reason to answer it when it rings. I fit the above description in that I'm younger (Younger than whom? Than many Americans, I guess), and I'm of lower income (lower than whom? Um, richer lawyers mostly. And doctors.) I also live in a more urban area (more urban that Boise, that's for sure.) However, I'm also white and I work waaay more than part-time.

And I vote.

It's All About Moi

piggy jpeg
You are Miss Piggy. You are talented and the center of attention. At least you'd like to think you are. You're really just a pig.

"Moi", "Moi" and "Moi!"

"Women Who Run With Frogs And The Frogs Who Better Wise Up Quick"

"To Have and Have More"

If it's expensive, it fits.

Eyes, eyebrows, eyelashes, nose, cheeks, hair, ears, neck, shoulders, arms, elbows, hands, fingers, legs, knees, ankles, feet, toes and so on and so forth.

Singing, Dancing, Directing, Producing, Writing, Starring, and Being Famous.

What Muppet are you?

Celebrity Justice

If you worked in a jurisdiction that sometimes heard celebrity cases, you know what'd be funny?

If the DA thought he was hot shit because he was prosecuting a celebrity, but none of the news stories even mention him.

You know what'd be even funnier?

If, then, that DA lost.

Ok, ok, that was mean, I know. I should delete this. But I won't. I'll chalk it up to blowing off steam.

Loves It

I'm in love with these pumpkins I found at not martha.

Man, are they the greatest pumpkins ever, or what?

Bum Rap

I'm a PD has a new post about representing clients who aren't really eligible for a public defender. Like I'm a PD, I hate that too.

Because she's right. Those people are always jerks. They treat their PDs with disdain (because they're too good for a PD), yet they deny having the funds to hire a private attorney. You can't have it both ways, buddy.

One day, I represented a woman at arraignments who had a very high income. I was representing her for arraignment only, and then she'd have to hire a private attorney. She insisted that she couldn't afford a private attorney. (Yeah right, you make more than me and don't have student loans.) As I often do when a client is being difficult on a particular issue, I decided to table it and asked her a few questions about the incident to prepare my bail app.

She was arrested for possession of a forged instrument. Often, in these cases, the DAs are more interested in the suppliers who are mass producing authentic-looking fake documents, and want to know where our clients bought them. The client was interested in finishing the case and not having to come back (and hire a private attorney). So, I thought that maybe if I got some info I could share with the DA, we could work out at a plea right then. So, I asked the client where she got it, and she said "I bought it from some bum."

Honestly, I was offended. All I could say to her was, "Some bum? Those bums are my clients! I represent those 'bums.' And that's exactly the reason why you need to hire a private attorney!"

Alright, that's enough from me. Go read what I'm a PD has to say on the issue.

Help Me Help You

Dear Tony La Russa,

Won't you please let me go with you the next time you go to pick out a new pair of glasses?

I really think we can do better than this.

Blonde Justice

p.s. Go Cardinals!


I'm totally loving Found Magazine.

(I found it via someone else's blog, but I can't remember where, so, sorry that I can't give credit where credits due.) But, either way, enjoy!

Must... Blog... About... Ashlee

So, the big news of the morning, for those of you who slept through Saturday Night Live last night, is about Ashlee Simpson.

And, since so many people find my blog by searching for Ashlee Simpson, I thought I'd better post about it. (By the way, if you're just looking for pictures of Ashlee, read this.)

So, as you know from reading this blog, I like Ashlee. I loved her show, I think she's cute (but was cuter when she had blonde hair), and yes, I even think she's talented. I think it's kind of cool how she overcame her sister's shadow and started her own successful music career. (Although, I understand the converse argument that she may've never had access to the people and opportunities that she did without her sister.)

Anyway, Ashlee was the musical guest on SNL last night. I tivo-ed it. And, here's what happened:

For her first song, she performed "Pieces of Me." If I had to guess, upon watching it, I would've guessed it was probably lip sync-ed. Mostly because I'm a little suspicious when a live artist's performance sounds exactly like the album version. I just think that if I were to sing the same song over and over one thousand times, you'd hear the slightest variation in every version. Anyway, so she sang (or "sang") Pieces of Me as her first song.

Later in the episode, it's time for Ashlee's second song. She's on the stage, dancing around as the music starts. But, the song is Pieces of Me. Again. Obviously a mistake. Then the vocals start. Yup, the same vocals from the first song. And Ashlee doesn't even have the mic to her mouth, because she's too busy looking lost. Her band is behind her, still strumming their guitars as if they're playing the same song again. Ashlee walks off the stage, leaving her band there, still playing their instruments.

About a minute into the song, SNL goes to commercial.

And, here's the strangest part... at the very end of the episode, when everyone comes out to say their goodbyes, Ashlee says, "Sorry everyone, my band played the wrong song..." What? Yeah, if by "band," you mean "CD." And how classless is that to blame it on her band? They were out there looking just as foolish as she was.

If you missed it, has the video on their Entertainment page.

I'm going out to let my real talent show, not to just stand there and dance around. Personally, I'd never lip-synch. It's just not me.
- Ashlee Simpson in Lucky Magazine

Of course, this raises questions of whether Ashlee has been lip syncing all along and we were all Milli Vanilli-ed all over again. I don't really think so. Either way, I was pretty fooled by all of the studio shots of her on her show, Ashlee. Besides, if she was faking that, why would she fake making herself sound terrible and messing up so many times?

It may also raise the question of whether or not Jessica Simpson also lip syncs, since they're both managed by their father.

So, what should Ashlee's next move be? She needs to go on Leno or Letterman or Ellen or The View (or whatever show will take her, frankly) as soon as possible. She needs to be really candid about the fact that she was lip syncing and explain why. She needs to come across as sincere and apologetic and not just blame it on her band, SNL, or her "people." Then, right then and there, she needs to stand up and perform her song a cappella. In my mind, that's probably the only way she's going to overcome this.

But, I guess if all else fails, she can just blame it on the rain.

Politics & Friendship

I have this friend. I've known her for a few years. She's really smart, funny, nice, all of those nice qualities you look for in a friend. Most importantly, she's one of those people that gives everybody a chance and tries to see the good in everyone. I think that's a really admirable quality.

We know some people in common. If I were to ever complain about any of those people (even if they were people she didn't particularly like) she would invariably respond, "Well, maybe she..." and try to come up with some explanation for their actions. In fact, there have been times when I thought she gave people too much benefit of the doubt. Times when she's complained that one of her friends was mistreating her when I've wanted to respond, "Well, if she's treating you like crap, why are you still friends with her?"

Anyway, fast forward to today. Well, last month actually. This friend took a job as a prosecutor. Not just any prosecutor, a child prosecutor. (Meaning that she prosecutes kids, not that she is a kid, obviously.)

Now, one way to look at this is that we're lucky to have someone so compassionate as a juvenile prosecutor. Maybe she'll be one of the few to give kids a chance, try to help them and their families with their problems, and try to give kids alternatives rather than jail.

But, having spoken to her a few times now about her training, I don't see it that way. I think that her new employer and her new workplace will change her and that within a few months on the job she won't be the same compassionate person that she used to be. In fact, maybe she'll be more of a "compassionate conservative," if you know what I mean.

I'll give you an example. We're required to turn over any notes made during any conversations with our witnesses or written statements by our witnesses before a witness begins to testify. For this reason, many attorneys avoid taking notes when speaking to a witness or take notes that are vague at best. Other attorneys take accurate notes and turn them over - what's the harm if your witness isn't going to change his story?

Recently I asked this friend how her training was going, and what she was learning about. She told me that they were learning about getting victim's statements. But, she said, it's very hard because we're not allowed to take any notes.

Well, I told her, you could take notes, you'd just have to turn them over. And, I said, if you're goal is really to fairly prosecute the right person, you would. So, for example, let's take a fairly common scenario that a kid is walking home one night when two other kids come up to him. One starts hitting him and takes his gold chain, the other acts as a look out. You ask him which was which and he says "The kid in the red hat was the one hitting me, the one in the blue hat didn't." Let's say you don't write it down. The only way that benefits you is if the kid changes his story on the stand. Then you could say to yourself, "Gee, I'm glad I didn't write this down, at least now I'll get a conviction on one of the kids." On the other hand, if you did write it, all you're preventing is the wrongful conviction of a kid (they don't call it a conviction, actually, they call it an 'adjudication,' but whatever).

She responded by saying that she was glad that they were training her to be ethical by training them that they would have to turn over anything they write and that they couldn't destroy or conceal any of their notes.

For the past few weeks I've been feeling really conflicted about the whole issue. I had lunch with her the other day and felt like I should avoid talking about my job or her job because it could just create a conflict. And, trust me, it's very hard for me to avoid talking about my job. I also wondered if she would get in trouble if any of her kiddie prosecutor colleagues saw her eating lunch with a defense attorney.

So, what's my point? First, I guess I wonder how much you change your job and how much your job changes you. If I really believed the argument that it's a good thing to have a compassionate friend as a juvenile prosecutor, then I think that, by the same argument, all of my liberal friends would be better off working for the Bush administration or the DAs office or big tobacco - on the premise that they could do more good by making changes from the inside. And, if that's true, then why should I be a public defender? Who needs another liberal public defender? Would I do more good for society as a prosecutor? And would I still be a liberal after a few weeks, months or years in a DAs office? Or would I just be a frustrated and miserable liberal?

Second, is there anything I can do to prevent her from changing? Aside from the intial conversations I discussed above, I haven't really pushed the issue much further. I mean, this is her job. It's not like I expect her to quit or change their entire office policy or be insubordinate because of my views. And I guess I'd rather just keep my mouth shut than ruin our friendship by calling her out on all of this.

And I'm not going to end our friendship just because she likes to lock little kids up in prison (where they learn about worse crimes and then someday they're released to become my clients...). Honestly, is her job morally worse than what my friends at big firms are doing, except that my friends at big firms don't really talk about what they do because it's boring even to them?

Hmmm... I guess at this point I'm just rambling about this. I guess I thought writing about it might help me somehow sort something out, but it doesn't seem to be. So, what about my readers? Any thoughts?

Thanks for Noticing

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to direct your attention to the banner at the top of my page. It's new.

See, it used to say
"Did you ever stop to think that maybe there’s more to life than being really, really, really, really ridiculously good looking? I mean, maybe we should do something more meaningful with our lives . . . like helping people."
-Derek Zoolander.

I really liked that quote. Zoolander is a funny movie, and I thought the quote was appropriate for this blog.

Recently though, I changed it to the quote from Jon Stewart's America (the book). Because I thought that quote was funny too. And it accurately portrays just how overworked we PDs are. And because I appreciate the fact that Jon Stewart appreciates that.

So, how recently did I change it? Well, I searched my gmail account (don't you love being able to search your emails?) and found that I got an email saying "Love the new Jon Stewart quote" back on September 29th.

It's ok if you just noticed it though. It's more important that you care enough to notice. Maybe you've been busy for the past month or so. Maybe you just weren't around. Maybe you were kicked out of the blawgosphere, who knows.

On that note, I am also in need of a haircut. When I get one, be sure I get my compliments promptly.

The Thinks I Think

Santa Claus has a first name. (Santa, of course.) But does Mrs. Claus even have a first name?

Because if not, I think that's sexist. Mrs. Claus needs to come out and form her own identity and be her own woman. And she should start by getting a first name.

More Job Search Advice

In response to yesterday's post, a reader asks:

Any hints for how to seek out and interview for aforementioned jobs?

I've got a few. First, mention to everyone that you talk to what you're looking for. (Whether that be something specific like "A job at the PD's office" or "Any internship I can get.") You'll be surprised who knows someone - in the end, it might be your mechanic that's married to the PD's hiring attorney.

Second, I found that (at my law school at least), the clinic staff was more helpful than the career services staff. A lot of the clinic professors had been in the field more recently and still had great connections. I sought out a clinic or two that fit my interests and tried to make good connections with the professors. They were great resources. Right now I actually work in the same office that my clinic professor used to work in. The same is also true for adjuncts who are in a practice field that interests you or new professors who were recently in practice.

Oh, wait, just as an aside - Take classes that interest you or that are relevant to your field. Do not take classes because they're on the bar. You're going to do better in classes that interest you, you'll be more likely to make potential job connections, and most importantly, it probably won't help you on the bar anyway. I took every class that could be relevant to criminal law, and I didn't touch any classes that weren't. (Tax? Trusts and Estates? No thanks.) I passed the bar just fine, and you can too.

Back to clinics - I think a clinic is a great thing if you can find one that fits your interest. My advice to pre-law readers out there (especially those that want to do something other than the big firm gig) is to check out a law schools' clinics - make sure they have a good clinic that interests you. How could you impress a potential job more than to say - yes, I've already done this work, I already know that I enjoy it, I've already worked with real clients just like yours, and I've already been meticulously trained and supervised in this field?

Finally, I know it can be a little intimidating, but don't be afraid to just introduce yourself to someone and volunteer yourself. For example, get your local law newspaper (or local to where you want to practice), local continuing legal education brochures, and local bar association schedules of seminars. If you look, you're sure to find LOTS of classes and seminars, many of which will be free or cheap for law students. Find one (or a few) that interest you, and afterwards, introduce yourself to the professor, tell him or her that you're interested in getting into the field and ask if they would (1) give you any advice; or (2) let you come to their office to talk to them; or (3) let you follow them around for a day; or (4) have you as an intern. Most practitions would love some free or cheap labor (I know I would), and most are pretty flattered that a law student is interested in their work. I knew a few people in law school who found their dream jobs by going to continuing legal education classes or symposiums.

If you have the time, you could also consider setting up a speaker to come to your school. You could go to career services and say "Hey, I'm interested in the work this attorney does, if I get her to agree to come to the law school to talk about what they do and how they got there, could you set up the rest?" I think (or at least I hope) that part of the reason that most career services offices are so clueless about the non-firm jobs is because they just don't get what students are interested in. That would be one way to show them.

That's just a few ideas off the top of my head - I hope that helps!

Loving My Job - Advice for Job Seekers

Ok, first on the agenda, let's clear the air. I don't like bickering blogs, so I'm not going to have one. Everyone's friends again, and we're over it. (And, if you're not, go do it on your own blogs.) Good? Good. Moving on...

A few days ago, a question was posed on Will Work for Favorable Dicta (a blawg I love to read) regarding job happiness, how you got there, and how you're loving it.

I think anyone who's read this blog knows that I'm pretty much a public defender in a very big city and I love my job terribly. I like being in court a lot, I love a trial, I love the stress and the ups and downs. If you weren't bipolar when you started in my office, you will be within a few months. I say this not to sell you on being a public defender (I truly believe that it's one of those things that's either in your soul or it's not), but by way of explaining how I found my perfect job.

Back in college, I had no idea that I wanted to be a lawyer. It had never crossed my mind. I got an internship in a PD's office for college credits, mostly because I thought it'd be kind of fun. Within a week or two of being there, I just knew "This is what I need to be when I grow up." I lived, ate, and breathed the cases I worked on, I followed the PDs around as much as they'd let me, I brought files home, I just couldn't get enough of it. I loved how when you get a case, it starts out looking like one thing. You start investigating it and the more you dig, the more you find that there's a whole 'nuther story under there.

Other people commented about their hours. "Regular" hours at a government job versus crazy hours at a big firm. I work crazy hours. But it's because I love it and I want to do a good job and if I'm not working, I'm thinking about work anyway. (Ever notice how lawyers have blogs about the law, while people in other professions just have regular old blogs?)

I don't think I could've settled for a job that I didn't love. And I was lucky to find a job I couldn't live without. (The only question after law school was, I know what I'm going to do, where should I do it?) But I think the best way to find that is by doing and by trying. There are a lot of jobs that look good from afar, but if you gave it a try for a few days you'd know it wasn't right. On the other hand, you might get lucky and find your perfect fit.

My best advice is do as many internships as you can. No one turns away free or cheap labor. Try out everything for a few weeks. I think that's the only way to find a perfect fit.


Time to open some reader mail.

Anonymous, from, well, somewhere, writes...

You are sick!
You obviously don't have children.
Maybe you need to go to church.
Not everything is about sex. Twisted...

Thanks for your questions, Anonymous.

First, am I sick? Nah, I think "sick" is a strong word. Are my perceptions of everyday events distorted by the work that I do? Most likely. And I think that most peoples' are. Whether you're a teacher, a lawyer, or a Purdue chicken factory worker. I see incest and sex crimes every day, so maybe I think it's less of a sensitive topic. But if you don't think it happens, you're fooling yourself.

Second, do I have children? Nope.

Third, do I go to church? Yes, I do. I don't blog about it much because I like to write about what I would like to read about and, frankly, I think that religious blogs are boring. I'm not saying religion is bad or that religious blogs are bad, I'm just saying they don't interest me just like a blog about power tools wouldn't interest me. However, I do attend church regularly, I volunteer and give to charities, and, perhaps most importantly, I feel that the work that I do is God's work. I believe that working as a public defender is something that is supported by the Bible in that I help the poor and that I seek justice for those that are most often overlooked.

Fourth, you note that not everything is about sex. I agree. In fact, I think that most women would agree.

Finally, twisted? Yes, I thought the commercial was.

Thanks again for your questions. And if you have any more questions, please send them anonymously to my comments box. I'll be sure to answer them when I'm not too busy doing God's work.

Editor's Note: I realize that this comment may have really been in response to the previous comment, which read
The commercial freaked me out a little too. The only think I can think of is that he saw his wife in his daughter, or one of those "man, she's really grown up quick" realizations. Although, if he started porking her, that would all fly out the window (and wouldn't hold up in court, I'm sure). Your Honor, I know I was in my daughter's room...but honest...I thought I was boinking my wife.
That might actually make more sense. But, far be it from me to ignore a reader's comments...

And, if you got here late, and you're wondering where all of this is coming from, it all started with this post.

Survey Says?

I think Family Feud is a great game show. Growing up, we watched Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune most nights. My father and I would shout out most of the answers during Jeopardy. My mother would complain, "Let's change the channel. I don't even understand what they're asking about." During Wheel of Fortune, my father and I shouted out the answers while the contestants were still buying vowels. My mother would complain, "Stop it. You never let me guess."

But Family Feud isn't like that. It's truly a game for everyone. When my grandmother was alive, I'd watch the Family Feud with her and we'd laugh every time the host, Richard Dawson, kissed one of the female contestants (weren't those kisses just a little too intimate from a game show host?) Actually, when I was a kid, I asked my father what happened to Richard Dawson when he stopped hosting the show, and he told me "He got a disease from kissing all of those ladies."

But, the point is, anyone, young or old, smart or... not so smart, can "Name an animal you might see in a zoo." In fact, it might be to a contestant's advantage to be not so smart. On Family Feud, the ability to think like an average American is an attribute.

But the way I figure it, unless you have a very small family you're going to start a family feud just by picking your team for the Family Feud. I've thought before about who would I chose to be on my Family Feud team. Me, my boyfriend, my father, and my father's two sisters maybe? But that leaves out my mother's whole family. They wouldn't do as well (not by a long shot), but they'd be a lot more likely to express their displeasure and not being chosen.

As the representative of the family, you also have to come up with interesting introductions for your family. For example, "This is my very handy father, George, My very talented Aunt Linda, My beautiful Aunt Lydia, and my loving husband Joey." I can see that causing yet another feud ("Oh, sure, she's beautiful and I'm just 'talented?'")

But here's the biggest problem with Family Feud - the grand prize just isn't all that grand. Tune in and you'll see a family jumping around at the prospect of Twenty Thousand Dollars. Twenty Thousand Dollars? Split between 5 people? No wonder all of the families on the show are from California - your winnings wouldn't even cover airfare and a hotel. What a ripoff.

I wonder if it'd be possible to make more money on 100 Mexicanos Dijeron. Maybe with a favorable exchange rate?

On Professional Responsibility

I've been at a Professional Responsibility seminar the past 2 days. Overall, I don't think the seminar was too relevant for the public defender (I mean, seriously, there's little chance of me mingling my clients' trust accounts.) But there are a few points I'd like to make.

First, they said we should call our clients back within 24 hours. I wonder if this includes clients' girlfriends, wives, and baby mommas. And, also, is that 24 business hours? Because it is very rarely necessary that I call my clients on the weekends. One of the speakers also suggested bringing your messages home and calling your clients in the evening - under the theory that they'll keep the conversations short when you're impeding on their private time (as opposed to calling them at their office?). One, I'm not taking the chance that my client has caller ID, I'm not calling any accused criminal from my home. Two, private time? My clients don't have private time. They live in the projects where the police can knock on their door and search their homes at any time. Private time? Ha.

Second, and this was the only topic where they used a criminal law example, they talked about preventing your client from perjuring themselves. The example, as always, was, "You know your client is going to make up some 'I didn't do it' story, do you let him testify?" The teaching point was that you should have discussed your clients' story with him so many times that you know what's true. First, I'm not a machine, I'll never know for sure whether a client is lying or not. I've had doubts about a client's story when it's turned out to be true, I've believed a client's story that's turned out to be crap. Further, though, I wish I had the luxury to speak to my clients at greater length before trial, but I just don't.

Then I noticed that when they teach this hypothetical, they never put it in terms of "You're a prosecutor, and you know your cop is lying..." they always ask about criminal defendants.

And, then I had big moment of revelation: That's why the D.A.s don't talk to their cops before the trial. Because they don't want to know if they're going to lie. That way they can always stay within the Rules of Professional Conduct. And that's why the prosecutor gets away with letting her cop "testi-lie," and yet it's always the criminal defendant used in the perjury hypothetical. Am I right, or am I right?

I'm sure there was more I wanted to say about this seminar. If I think of it, I'll have to add it later... I've got baseball to watch right now.

Job Opportunity

I found this via inter alia. And it definitely looks like a good job opportunity. Although, I don't really fit any of the descriptions of what they're looking for.

And, in my opinion, there are very few jobs worth moving to Boston for.

Incest Insurance?

Has anyone else seen this commercial?

A dad comes home, carrying the dry cleaning. Among the dry cleaning, he notices a sexy strappy red dress. He turns to his wife, and holds it up and seems to imagine what his wife looks like in this dress. She doesn't seem to notice, but he looks pleased.

His teenage daughter comes down the stairs, grabs the dress from him, and says, "Thanks dad." Dad looks surprised (and possibly a little embarassed) to realize that it's his daughter's (not his wife's) dress.

Later, we see the dad going up the stairs, and his daughter coming down the stairs, this time in a softball uniform. As she passes him, she says something like, "See you later, dad."

After she passes, he turns around to look at her again. And checks her out.

The voice over somehow incorporates State Farm Insurance into all of this.

Whatever. I'm just saying, that dad totally checked his daughter out. I'm totally icked out by that. If you have State Farm, call and cancel. And, you know that if it was my client looking at his daughter like that, he'd be arrested for something.

If you saw something other than incest in this commercial, let me know. But I saw incest ablooming.

Christmas List

Men, (and I know I have male readers), may I suggest something nice you can purchase for the woman in your life on your next gift giving occasion?

What you need to do is get the Victoria's Secret Christmas 2004 catalog. (Oh, c'mon, don't act like you don't get it delivered to your home.) Turn to page 30. Yeah, that one.

Here's a photo. Not that it really matters what it looks like, it's just going to be under a t-shirt, right?

Women, here's how to get your man to buy one of these for you. Start off casually flipping through the catalog. Say a few things like "Honey, I need new winter clothes." Then say something like "If I pick out some nice underthings from Victoria's Secret for myself, would you buy them for me?" There you have it, that's a binding contract, ask any lawyer.

And, let's be honest, 10 million dollars really isn't too much to spend on a nice bra, now is it?

p.s. What really freaks me out is the way all V.S. models are de-nippled.

Of Note On The Net

Every blawger is talking about the shirts on Here's my favorite.

Also, I added a link, but forgot to mention that All Deliberate Speed is back. And better than ever. Recent entries include a post on the Republican Party's reaction to Kerry's debate mention of Lynn Cheney, this post answering law students' questions on law, racism, and the death penalty, and, best of all, this entry, which includes a mention of his "favorite PD." Either I was wrong when I said that they they make blawgers quit after their 30th birthday, or he was somehow granted a pardon. Either way, welcome back.

What Keeps Me Going

In the past few days, I've complained a bit here. But, that's not really about my clients, it's about their friends.

Blogging about it did help me pick up some good advice, though. I think I'm going to need to steal this idea off of I respectfully dissent: a Do Not Call list. From now on, anyone who fills up my voice mail with stupidity is going on the Do Not Call list. Or a "P.I.T.A." list. Maybe it would even make me feel better to have a written list, like Santa, so I can know who's been naughty or nice.

With all of these annoying ladies calling me, what keeps me going? (Besides blogging about it?) My clients, who appreciate me. In the past week, I had 2 clients stop me to give me a heartfelt thank you. And, strangely enough, both of them called me an "angel." That's what keeps me fighting for the underdog.

Girlfriends (Again)

Ok, I lied. I'm not done venting about my clients' families.

I have this one client who was on parole when he got arrested. Twice. (Also, he had stopped reporting to parole, so he was wanted by parole even before he was rearrested). So, he's getting his parole revoked. That's the way parole works. You get a chance to get released early, on the condition that you stay out of trouble. If you get rearrested, your parole is revoked and you go back in to finish your time. My client understands this. He's going to fight the new arrest, because it will give him something to do while he's in jail and because it's always better to keep your criminal record to a minimum, but win or lose on the new case, he's staying in prison. My client understands this too.

But his girlfriend doesn't. No matter how many times I explain it. She calls every morning and leaves a message telling me something that I should do in her boyfriend's case so I can get him "RORed." I've told her a hundred times that even if he were RORed on my case, Parole is making him finish out his sentence. Anyway, she leaves these messages with these ridiculous ideas.

The other day it was "Hi, this is Miss Girlfriend, Mr. Client's Girlfriend. I'm calling to make sure you put in a motion to throw out the 911 tapes. I think there's a deadline and I think it already passed, so make sure you got the motion in on time. Because I talked to my friend who had a case, and he would've beat his case if his lawyer had put in a motion to throw out the 911 tapes, but his lawyer didn't do it, so I wanted to make sure you did it in my boyfriend's case. Because he needs to get RORed. Because I'm going to be having my baby soon..." These messages fill up my voice mail every day.

Then I have to call her back and explain that because her boyfriend sold drugs to an undercover police officer, there was no 911 tape. The police were already out there on the street corner, and they didn't need to call 911.

We go through at least one issue like this every day. I feel like I'm teaching criminal law and criminal procedure one excruciating issue at a time.

And she always calls early in the morning. I get to the office early so I can have a little "me" time before court. I check my e-mail, write on my blog, get my files ready for court, check the news, and get changed into my suit. That's my time to get ready for the day, not my time to teach criminal procedure for dummies.

Just for the record, if I were to teach criminal procedure (which would be fun), I would like to: (1) get paid for it and (2) hold the class sometime after 8 a.m.

Ok, now I'm done venting. For the time being.

Girlfriends, Wives and Baby Mommas

In general, I like my clients. They're a nice bunch, pretty respectful, and they usually have a good sense of humor.

But you know who I can't stand? My clients' wives, girlfriends, and baby mommas. Often they're annoying because they're clueless about what's going on in their man's case.

My client will come to me and say "Yeah, I messed up. And the cops have this evidence or that evidence. How can I get out of this?" We'll talk about it, see if we can take the case to trial, or if we might win the case on some other grounds, or if we can work out some sort of plea that won't mess up their life too much. I'm patient and I'll spend as much time as needed talking to my client and going over the options to make sure they understand everything.

Then my client's girlfriend or wife (or sometimes both) will call me and say "I just want to know what's going on with his case." I have over 100 clients. I spend a lot of time with each client discussing "what's going on with his case." But if I'm going to do the same thing again with every client's girlfriend, wife, or baby momma, I'm just not going to have time left to be a lawyer and do lawyer things like go to court or write motions.

Other times the women are annoying because they're in denial that their man could ever do any wrong. It's far worse when the wife or girlfriend displays her utter denial of her man's activities, and tries to blame me. That one goes like this - client and I discuss all of his options ad infinitum and he decides he's going to plead guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia, for example. Girlfriend calls me later and says "You're making him cop out to paraphernalia? He didn't have no crack pipe. He don't even smoke." I have to bite back my tongue to keep from responding, "Interesting. Because the first thing he told me was that he wanted a drug program for his crack problem." But a lot of these women really seem to think that I put the crack pipe in their man's mouth.

Alright, I just had to vent for a minute there. Back to the funny stuff soon.

Magic Chair

One of my clients (a 40-something self-titled "unsuccessful career criminal") called me from jail last week. This is his story:

Everyone in jail goes to church. Religious or not, church is the only way to see other inmates aside from the few that live in your area of the jail. You see the same 30 people all week long, every meal, every rec hour, and church is your only chance to see a friend or relative who is being held on the other side of the jail.

Because everyone goes to church, it's also the ideal marketplace for contraband: Drugs, weapons, cigarettes and cash.

The guards know this and search everyone as they come out of church.

My client, who has been through the system a "few" times, is in a pod full of kids (teenagers and early 20s) who have never done time before and are crying for their mommies.

So, this week, they're coming out of the church, and the guard lines up all of the guys from my client's pod. The guard tells them that he's going to give them a few seconds of amnesty. He tells them "I'm going to turn around. If you've got any contraband - drugs, weapons, cigarettes or money - I want you to go to the back of the line and drop it there. Then I'm going to have each of you sit in this chair that can detect contraband. If you have anything, the chairs going to find it, and you'll be re-arrested for possession of contraband. So, go drop it now."

"Miss Justice," my client tells me, "these kids will believe anything."

So, he and another older guy go to the back of the line and clean up. They stuff their jumpsuits with drugs, cigarettes and money.

The chair, it turns out, is nothing more than a metal detector.

When he's done telling this story, I ask my client, "You're not calling me to represent you at a possession of contraband hearing, are you?"

"No," he says, "I just thought you'd like to hear a funny story."

Doing Time

Sometimes my clients ask me if I've ever done time. I don't think they seriously wonder, I think they're really asking whether I can be sympathetic.

It'll happen like this: Client will be contemplating a plea to some jail time. Thinking about it aloud, he'll say something like, "I don't know, its rough, that's a lot of time." I'll say something like, "Well, I just want you to know that it could be worse after trial." Then, he'll say something like, "Miss Justice, you ever done time?"

And, just once, I'd like to say (with a straight face), "2 to 4 in State."

Ha! That'd be funny.


Anyone out there know where I can find and compare salaries of public defenders from different cities or states? Just curious... thanks!

Incredibly Random

Last night I had an amazingly random thought. I decided that if I were ever to set up shop as a private lawyer, I think a good name for the office would be "Pretty Pleas."

No? Ok, nevermind.

Law offices are named after their partners (for example "Smith and Smith"), not creative names like "Innocence Inc." or "Acquittals R Us" (or "Pretty Pleas.") I learned in professional responsibility that this is because we don't want the names our offices to convey a false "promise" of a particular outcome.

But then think about this: There are doctors' offices with names like "Springfield Wellness" or "Neighborhood Health Center." But no one says that they had some false expectation when they come out of there with an incurable disease. No one says "Hey, they promised me wellness."

Pedro's Daddy

Not law related, not in the least bit, but this story is too funny to ignore: Pedro Finally Learns the Truth. Well, I guess I could make the argument that it's law related. Family Law? Paternity? Custody?

Nah, nevermind, it's just funny.