Dreamed A Meme of Time Gone By

I got stuck doing this meme by Sanchovilla. Here's to hoping his dog's tail doesn't fall off...

The rules are as follows:

1.Go into your archives.

2. Find your 23rd post.

3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).

4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.

My 23rd post only had 5 sentences, so here's the 3rd:

But, if it works, it sure saves everyone a lot of time.

I have to pick 5 people? Maybe I only have to pick 3, since I used the 3rd sentence. Let's try Woman of the Law, Not Guilty (if she's around), and Leslie's Omnibus (if she hasn't done it already). No pressure, of course.


Happy Halloween

I just have one thing to say about Halloween costumes.

Halloween is not a holiday about just dressing mis-matched. If you're wearing striped pants, a paisley shirts, and a houndstooth jacket, you're not dressed as anything, and I'm going to assume it's not a Halloween costume. Nope, you just look dumb.

And another thing, ok, yes, this is two things, but this is one is directed to the women who were taking their kids trick-or-treating in my neighborhood tonight.

I don't know if that was your Halloween costume, or you just won't have time to change before work, but did you ever stop to think that maybe your kid doesn't want to see his mother dressed as a ho?

Eat Me

You Are Thai Food

Trendy yet complex.
People seek you out - though they're not sure why.

(Inspired by E. McPan)

Thanks For Your Support

I lost my trial. It was ok, I knew that was a long shot, but my client and I thought it was worth a trial. I wasn't too upset by the result, I was kind of expecting it, and I thought that we gave it a good shot.

After, I called my mother and told her about the verdict.

"Guilty, mom."
"But did he really do it?"
"Well, maybe. Probably. But that's not the point. I thought there were some good issues-"
"Good then. If he really did it, that's good then, right?"
"Um... I guess it depends on how you look at it."
"So, congratulations! That's good!"

Nah, she doesn't get it.

Sorry, but I'm...


(that's "on trial")

I'll have a lot to catch up on over the weekend.

I'm hoping blogging, reading blogs and emailing will be among them.

Turn Up The Miracle Ear

I made the boyfriend go with me to see In Her Shoes.

Actually, I tricked him into it. Ladies, take note. It was about 6 p.m. on Sunday night. We were sitting around, probably doomed to another night of football. I said, "Hey, want to see a movie?" He said, "Ok." I went to the website and read off a list of movies.

"What's that?"
"I don't know, Bend it like Beckham girl."

"Never heard of it."

"Isn't that just Panic Room on a plane?"
"So, no. Next?"

This went on, alphabetically, until...

"In Her Shoes?"
"Chick flick."
"Does that mean no? It starts at 6:20, we could make it..."
"Can't you see that with some girl friends?"
"I guess. Ok, I'll keep reading."

Finally, I got to...

"Wallace and Grommit?"
"Sounds good! When does it start?"
"Perfect, let's go."

So, we put on our shoes and jumped in the car. We got to the movie theatre and the boyfriend bought 2 tickets for Wallace and Grommit.

We took our tickets and tried to walk into the theatre.

"Sorry," the ticket taker said, "theatre's not empty yet. Come back in 10 minutes."

We hung out in the little food court/arcade area for about 10 minutes, bought some popcorn and soda, and then went back to the ticket taker.

"Sorry," the ticket taker said, "We're not showing that movie tonight."


"You can get your money back in that line over there." She pointed to a long line hanging out in front of the ticket stand.

We walked over to the line and chatted with the people standing around for a few minutes. It turns out that the threatre had booked too many movies for the same time - and Wallace and Grommit was the one to be cut. The people had been standing around for ten minutes - and the ticket booth kept selling tickets for it, even as the manager was giving refunds.

We stood around for a few minutes, and finally, I said, "Well, let's just see In Her Shoes, since we're here."

And ta-da! That's all it took.

The movie was pretty good. Cute, funny.

The only downside was that it attracted the Shirley MacLaine crowd. (Also known as the crowd that stalks APL at the movies.)

Some grandma a few rows behind us kept asking,

"What did she say?"
"Can you hear her?"

Despite everyone in the theatre (yes, that means me and my boyfriend) "Ssssh!"-ing her, it continued.

"It's so cold in here."
"Do they have the heat on at all?"

And, then, obviously not getting the movie at all.
"They're sisters?"
"Is that their mother?"
"Who is that?"

Even in the bathroom, after the movie, I heard her saying, "Were they sisters?"

(And no, for the record, I was not at the movies with Fresh Pepper.)

Good Night, Rosa Parks

I am very sad to learn that Rosa Parks passed away this evening. It had been nearly fifty years since she refused to move to the back of the bus.

I'm sure that over the next few days, we will be hearing many wonderful quotes from Mrs. Parks as we celebrate the many things she did for freedom in our country.

I'll share just one.

"Each person must live their life as a model for others." -Rosa Parks

Never Have I Ever...

Omnibus Driver wants to play "Have you ever..."

(To play, just cut & paste the list to your blog, and bold any of the ones that are true.)
  • smoked a cigarette

  • crashed a friend's car

  • stolen a car

  • been in love

  • been dumped

  • shoplifted (But I once got home and realized I still had a pair of sunglasses that I tried on in the store on top of my head. But we won't count that. It wasn't intentional. But I didn't go back and try to pay for them either. But we'll consider that possession of stolen property.)

  • been fired

  • been in a fist fight

  • snuck out of your parent's house (snuck in late, though)

  • had feelings for someone who didn't have them back

  • been arrested

  • gone on a blind date

  • lied to a friend (we won't count surprise-party-type-lies or no-your-haircut-looks-great-lies)

  • skipped school (cut class, but never a whole day)

  • seen someone die

  • had a crush on one of your internet friends

  • been to Canada

  • been to Mexico

  • been on a plane

  • purposely set a part of yourself on fire

  • eaten sushi

  • been jet-skiing

  • met someone in person from the internet (just recently)

  • been moshing at a concert

  • taken pain killers

  • loved and missed someone

  • made a snow angel

  • had a tea party (not that I can remember, at least)

  • flown a kite

  • built a sand castle

  • gone puddle jumping (absolutely not in my nature)

  • played dress up (much more 'me')

  • jumped in a pile of leaves

  • gone sledding

  • cheated while playing a game

  • been lonely

  • fallen asleep at work or school

  • used a fake id

  • watched a sun set

  • felt an earthquake

  • touched a snake

  • slept beneath the stars

  • been tickled

  • been robbed

  • been misunderstood

  • petted a reindeer/goat

  • won a contest

  • run a red light/stop sign

  • been suspended from school

  • been in a car accident

  • had braces

  • eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night

  • had deja vu

  • danced in the moonlight

  • liked the way you looked at least at one point in time

  • witnessed a crime

  • questioned your heart

  • been obsessed with post-it notes

  • squished barefoot through the mud (sure beats getting your shoes dirty)

  • been lost

  • been on the opposite side of the country

  • swam in the ocean

  • felt like dying

  • cried yourself to sleep

  • played cops and robbers

  • recently colored with crayons

  • sung karaoke

  • paid for a meal with only coins (Long story. Not a regular thing, I swear!)

  • done something you told yourself you wouldn't

  • made prank phone calls (3rd grade)

  • laughed until some kinda beverage came out of your nose

  • caught a snow flake on your tongue

  • danced in the rain

  • written a letter to Santa Claus

  • been kissed under the mistletoe by your boy/girlfriend

  • watched the sun rise with someone you care about

  • blown bubbles

  • made a bonfire on the beach (didn't make it, but have been to one)

  • crashed a party (but had a party crashed)

  • gone rollerskating

  • had a wish come true

  • worn pearls

  • jumped off a bridge

  • ate dog/cat food (another long story)

  • told a complete stranger that you loved them

  • kissed a mirror

  • sang in the shower

  • had a dream you married someone

  • glued your hand to something

  • got your tongue stuck to something

  • kissed a fish or a frog

  • sat on a roof top

  • screamed at the top of your lungs

  • did a one handed cartwheel

  • talked on the phone for more the 6 hours

  • stayed up all night

  • not taken a shower for a week

  • picked and eaten an apple right off the tree (an orange, though)

  • climbed a tree

  • had a tree house

  • admitted you are scared to watch scary movies alone

  • believed in ghosts

  • had more than 30 pairs of shoes at the same time

  • worn a really ugly outfit to school just to see what others would say

  • gone streaking

  • gone dingdong ditching (Don't even know what that means)

  • pushed into a pool/hottub with all your clothes on

  • been told you're hot by a complete stranger

  • broken a bone

  • been easily amused

  • caught a fish

  • caught a butterfly

  • laughed so hard you cried

  • cried so hard you laughed

  • laughed so hard you pee your pants

  • cheated on a test (high school! I swear it wasn't the bar!)

  • had or do you currently have a Britney Spears CD

  • forgotten someone's name (all the time!)

  • french braided someone's hair

  • been kissed by someone you didn't like

  • gone skinny dipping in a pool /lake

  • been threatened to be kicked out of your house

  • been kicked out of your house

  • Not too bad, huh? And most of the bad ones are very explainable.

    Who's next?

    Any Club That Would Have Me As A Member

    I was looking through this list of the new google features and affiliate websites (google groups, personalized search, etc.). One of them was "Orkut."

    Orkut. Sounds like some kind of Swedish Ikea version of google.

    Apparently, though, it's the google version of friendster.

    I went to the website, just to check it out, and... guess what... they won't have me as a member.

    Not that I really wanted to join. It's not like I ever joined friendster or anything. I've got enough friends right here. I don't even have time to keep in touch with the friends I've already got.

    But just the fact that I'm not even allowed to join kind of annoys me.

    True Life: Dead Broke

    I found myself in the midst of a MTV: True Life marathon yesterday. You know what that means: A Saturday wasted.

    No, seriously, I only watched two episodes.

    One was True Life: I'm Dead Broke.

    (If you don't know what True Life is, it's basically a documentary that follows some 18-24 year old through a few weeks dealing with some aspect of their life. Episode Guide here.)

    Anyway, the "I'm Dead Broke" episode followed three young people, in three different parts of the country (Illinois, Missouri, and California), who are having trouble making ends meet.

    The girl from Missouri I had the least sympathy for. Basically, she said she dropped out of school, and went to another state, so she could work for a year so that she could afford to buy a car so that she could go back to school - under the rationale that she couldn't go to school without a car, because she wouldn't be able to get to an afterschool job. And the reason why she had to go to another state was because there wasn't any work in her hometown, and she didn't want to be a burden on her single mother. So, she was waitressing at some weird restaurant (it looked like lawn furniture indoors, very "homestyle") and kept whining about how she needed money so she could go back to school (free public school, mind you), and some people were letting her stay at their house for free, and they kept showing her smoking, which bugged me because I just thought, "If you're *that* broke, you can give up your very expensive habit." Then, she got fired from her waitressing job for having marijuana at the restaurant one night when she went there to play pool. I'm just saying that if she was that desperate for money, she could go without weed. And I was just suspicious that maybe she left her hometown for other reasons (drug problems? arrests?) and, personally, I don't have a problem with that either, but I thought that if she was going to put herself out there to be in a documentary, she should 'fess up to that too.

    The next girl from California, I related to a little bit more. She was saying that she "hustles" to make ends meet, mostly braiding hair (without a cosmetology license.) I wonder how much it would cost her just to get her a cosmetology license and whether she could make better money working out of some kind of salon or barbershop. She did 'fess up to past arrests involving forgery or credit card fraud, but seemed to to be trying to do her best to make ends meet for her and her boyfriend in a legitimate way (if we ignore the cosmetology license issue). She and her boyfriend were getting kicked out of their apartment because their landlord sold it, and struggling to find a new place with the little bit of money they had. I can respect that, but I certainly don't think that she was as bad off as many young people I meet in my practice.

    And, finally, there was a young man named DeMarlon. This is the one that really made me sad and will probably stay with me the most. He lived in this dilapidated house, without running water, with his family. He was shown pumping water for the house and cooking a meal for his family. He went to work with his father. At night, he was home reading to his younger siblings. Although he graduated from high school, he said, his reading wasn't too good. (How you can graduate from high school and still not read is another issue.) He was forthcoming about the fact that he had been arrested for stealing a car, and then he had done it because he had seen friends who lived that life who had nice cars and new clothes, and he had decided to do the same. Unfortunately, it didn't work out, and he spent two month in jail and was now on probation. He seemed truly contrite about his crime, and his arrest, and very committed to staying home with his family and becoming a hardworker and a person of God. He sets out to walk the 18 miles to his monthly probation appointment and worries about it ahead of time, because he knows how important it is to be at his appointment and to be there on time.

    DeMarlon has decided that he wants to join the armed forces. He feels that it's his only way out of poverty, it'd be one less mouth for his family to feed, and that he'd be able to help support his family. He feels that it's his best shot at bettering himself for the future. I think it's unfortunate that he feels that he has so few choices, but I think that this is a really smart decision that he's made. One of the obstacles standing in DeMarlon's way is the ASVAB and he makes his way to a literacy program and to the library to get review books and take a practice test.

    And here's the public defender point I've been tying to get to. DeMarlon finally learns that he can't even take the ASVAB until he's done with probation in two years. And, I just wanted to ask all of the other criminal defense attorneys out there - don't you think they would have terminated probation for him so that he could go into the military?

    I've never had a client do it, but I've seen other people's clients come into court with a military recruiter. The recruiter goes on the record, stating that whatever military branch is prepared to enlist him but the only thing standing in his way is the probation. And then the judge just terminates the probation favorably. And it makes sense. If the point of probation is supervision, he'll be well supervised in the military. If the point of probation is to keep you out of trouble, he's much more likely to stay out of trouble in the military than he is going to meet his P.O. once a month. Especially now, my understanding is that enlistment is at an all-time low, you'd think they'd find some way to work around these circumstances. Another option would be for the probation to be somehow "transferred" to the military, the same way you can transfer probation from one state to another, with the idea that then the military would be responsible for his supervision, rather than the state.

    (I was also under the impression that if the recruiters wanted you enough they'd work with you to pass the ASVAB, but maybe that's not true either?)

    Poor me, I was so upset about this poor kid. The boyfriend said, "You're not going to try to send him money now, are you?" It crossed my mind. But more importantly, I hope that my clients know they can and should call me when this kind of thing comes up, that I might be able to help.

    I just wonder if the kid never tried to talk to his lawyer, or his P.O. or his recruiter about this. Because, do all the other lawyers out there agree with me, there would probably be a way for him to work around the probation so he could enlist? I know at least one of you is a military veteran and lawyer (and another future lawyer) - do you have anything to add?

    "Give Me Some Good News"

    When I arraign a new client, the first thing I do is get a file. It usually doesn't have too much information - the charges, a very short factual account, my client's rap sheet, whether or not they have any outstanding warrants, and sometimes some other information about my client - home address (if any), occupation (if any), education level (if any) - but only if they volunteered it.

    I take the file, I read through it, and then I go talk to my client, who is held in a pen next to the courtroom.

    When I first step in the pen area, I call out my new client's name. They step up to the bars, and I introduce myself.

    "Hi, my name is Blonde Justice. I'm a lawyer from the public defender's office. I'm going to be your lawyer." (I started saying the word "lawyer" twice in my standard introduction after too many questions about whether I was an intern, or whether you have to finish law school to be a public defender, or whether after a certain number of years as a public defender I get to be a lawyer, or, worse, a prosecutor.)

    And, invariably, immediately, almost all ask, "Am I getting out of here?" Some don't even let me get through my two second introduction, which really annoys me, because as I've said before, I think it's really important for defendants to know their lawyers' names, and how are you going to do that if you don't even listen to me introduce myself? And, further, why are you going to blab to me about your case without knowing that I'm your lawyer? Or, do you just blab to everyone about your case? Oh, wait, I forgot, you do.

    Sometimes, especially for kid clients, I even introduce myself, "Hi, my name is Blonde Justice, I'm a lawyer from the public defender's office. I'm going to be your lawyer. What's my name?" Just to see if they're paying attention. A lot of them say, "You didn't tell me!" Ha! And the rest just respond, "Am I getting out of here?"

    Instead of asking "Am I getting out of here?" a few new clients get creative, and say, "Give me some good news."

    When I first started my job, I only handled misdemeanors, and I would guess that about 75-80% of the time I could give my client the good news that they were definitely going home. The other 20-25% of the time, the client had a warrant or their record was just so bad (and full of prior warrants), that I knew bail would be set. Actually, even if I only suspected bail would be set, I'd rather give my client "the bail speech" than the "you're going home speech" and let them be surprised, and maybe even impressed, when they were released. (Much easier to deal with that than being told you're going home, and getting the opposite surprise.)

    Now that I handle felonies and more serious cases, as you'd guess, the percentage of my clients who get to go home is a little bit lower. I'd guess that, right now, for me, it might be 60/40. (On the other hand, there are some attorneys who handle the most serious cases and pretty much all of their clients have bail set.)

    Often, now, when I get my client's file, the papers make them out to look pretty bad. And I just hope that there is something that's not in the papers that will give me something to work with. Unless my client has something great to say (I always imagine it will be "I know it's not in the papers, but I should have mentioned that I won a Nobel Peace Prize last year," but I would even accept, "Look, I got into a drug program, and here's some documentation and the name of my caseworker,") they're not going anywhere.

    So, finally, this week, I had a revelation and tried a new introduction.

    "Hi, my name is Blonde Justice, I'm a lawyer from the public defender's office. I'm going to be your lawyer. Give me some good news."

    My new client just stood there, looking at me, stunned and confused. (At least I knew he was listening.) And then, finally, he said, "Aren't you supposed to give me the good news?"

    "No, not unless you give me some good news first."

    Yes, I think that may become my new standard introduction to the clients who aren't otherwise going home.

    Not Suitable For Younger Viewers

    Oh my goodness, I just clicked and found that one of the blogs on my blogroll had been replaced with some kind of porn blog. (No graphics, just some mostly innocuous text and links.)

    Go ahead, I dare you to go looking for it.

    When the heck did that happen?

    Alright, I guess I finally have to update my blogroll this weekend.

    Make That 33 Years...

    Have you seen this story on ESPN?

    I don't know what I'd do in that situation. I know I just told AmbImb that most things are your client's call, but I don't know about this situation... I might have to request a psych exam, just to make sure my client is making the request sanely.

    This story also doesn't say how old the man is. Maybe if he's pretty old, he figured 30 or 33 years doesn't make a difference, it'll mean life for him anyway.

    I think that on the next case, the defense attorney should say, "I know we worked out a deal for 30 years, but my client just informed me that his favorite player is Michael Jordan. Can he have 23 years instead?"

    Or, better yet, my next patronizing a prostitute plea...

    "60 days judge? My client says he'd prefer if you'd give him a 69!"
    "...day sentence."

    Ha! I crack myself up with my immature humor. (I learned it from the guys in my office though, I swear!)

    (Update: This story states that the man is 27-years-old. And that in Oklahoma you must do 85% of your time before being eligible for parole. So, we're talking about the difference between 25.5 years - if you don't include jail time while he waited for trial, he'd be 52 when he becomes eligible for parole versus 28.05 years and he'd be 55 when he's eligible for parole. In other words, the 3 year difference is not imaginary, it'll cost him about 30 months.)

    On Being Ogled

    Fine, every other blogger wants to talk about being leered at and checked out?


    Here's my story.

    This morning, I went to the jail to visit a client. After my visit, I was headed out, when a group of inmates were being walked by. A corrections officer asked me to step to side and let the men pass.

    And all 8 men had something to say:

    "Man, I wish you was my lawyer."
    "Damn, you hot."
    "Where can I get a public defender that fine?"
    "You so fine, I'd wait for you."
    "Girl, you look good."
    "Whoo baby!"
    "Can you be my lawyer?"
    "Baby, want to come back to my cell?"

    Top that. Who else has ever been propositioned eight times in a minute? And invited back to someone's cell?

    Yeah, you know you can't top that.

    What Not to Wear

    Dude, I am so wearing a kimono to court tomorrow.

    Amazing Race Moment of Zen

    After dinner, I turned on my computer and checked my email, blogged, read other blogs, and read the news while I watched Amazing Race.

    With just ten minutes left to the episode, I turned off my computer, turned off the light, and laid down to watch the end of the race.

    Just seconds later, I heard the following:

    One of the Nascar kids: "Lake Ponchertrain."
    Another Nascar kid: "Wow, it's really big."

    Nascar widow, very knowingly, "It's one of the five great lakes."

    All Nascar kids: "Oh."

    I had the lights on and my computer on and loading up before I even had a chance to rewind to make sure I heard it right.

    And two things make it worse: (1) I think this is the same family from the Washington, D.C./Maryland quote from last week; and (2) Somewhere in heaven, their father is looking down on them and saying...

    "Damn, I left her in charge of teaching the kids geography?"

    Great Headline

    I love the headline for this story on Yahoo! news.

    NJ to Require Recording of Interrogations

    Very interesting. According to this article from The Star Ledger, new rules adopted by the New Jersey Supreme Court will require recording of interrogations - either audio or videotaping - from the Miranda reading forward.

    I think this is great. We know that so many of our clients' confessions come after hours and hours of interrogation, then the videocamera is finally turned on, and all the jury sees is our client blurt out, "Yes, I did it!" Maybe if the jury saw how that confession was reached, they would be more skeptical of it's veracity.

    The article states that there will be sanctions for failure to comply with the new rule. Courts can choose to preclude any confession where the entire interrogation was not recorded, or can caution jurors about the reliability of such confessions.

    It may be interesting to those outside the criminal defense sector to learn that many of the wrongful convictions that have been overturned involved a confession by the defendant. For a number of reasons, people sometimes confess to crimes they are not guilty of. Videotaping those confessions in their entirety can help identify and prevent those situations.

    Finally, the article mentions that the new rule will be phased in, first requiring recording of interrogations in homicide cases by January 2006, then in felonies where the defendant faces more than 5 years in prison by January 2007, and then (presumably, although it is not mentioned in the article) eventually to all interrogations.

    I'll be most interested in hearing whether this will come as a mixed blessing for public defenders in that area. Perhaps it will lead to damning recorded confessions in more cases, or limit the defenses available at trial because a defendant already chose their defense before speaking to a lawyer. I would expect that it would lead to New Jersey public defender's wishing more clients knew -and understand- that they had the right to remain silent. Will the absence of a videotape hold a new inference for a jury to draw against a defendant?

    Only time (and hopefully some NJ public defender bloggers) will tell.

    Happy Birthday, Libra

    I don't keep in touch with my best friend from high school and most of college.

    "Not keeping in touch" isn't really an accurate description. She just decided that she was never speaking to me again.

    She thought that I didn't keep a secret that I should have. But I know that I did. In the end, she believed a boy more than she believed me.

    Today is her birthday. Whereever she is. (Her name is just too common to reveal anything worthwhile on google., I tried.)

    So, maybe every year on October 17th, I'll miss her. Wonder if I could have done more to persuade her to believe me. Or forgive me. Or something. Wonder what would happen if I called her now. My guess is that her phone number just wouldn't work (if I could even remember it - I bet I can). Wonder if she's married, or has kids, or moved far away, or did something amazing with her life. I probably would've heard about it through hometown gossip. Wonder if I really am better off without a friend who chose to believe some guy she knew for a few months over me, her best friend for years. Wonder if she thinks of me on my birthday (I bet she does, she has an amazing memory and probably can't forget it if she tried to).

    Wonder if she ever thinks about picking up the phone and calling me, but then just decides it would be too hard, or it's just been too many years. Or maybe she tried, and my old phone number doesn't work either.

    There's no real point to the post. I guess if there were, it would just be that if there might be someone out there wondering about you, it might be worth it to pick up the phone and give it a try. You really don't have much to lose.

    The TV Guide Demographic

    My mother is very upset about the new TV Guide.

    "It's too big. It keeps falling off the arm of the armchair. And it's just not the same... I don't know where anything is. Why did they have to go and change it on me?"

    "It's fine. You'll get used to it."

    "But, there's too many stories. I looked all through it, and I can't even find the part when they tell you what's going to be on tv. How am I supposed to find out what's on?"

    "Mom, there's a guide on the Tivo. Just push guide, you can scroll through and see everything that's on."

    "Really? Really? Wow, I can't believe this. I never knew about this. Why didn't you tell me about this?"

    "Well, I just didn't know how to break it to you that you and dad are the only two people alive who still use the TV guide."

    October Winner

    I might have to make this a monthly feature.

    October's winner for best defense I had never heard before:

    Yeah, I had crack in my pocket. And a crack pipe. But those were my brother's pants.

    Eh. I guess we could argue "unknowing" possession. But I feel like maybe there would be some presumption that he should check the pockets of the pants he was wearing for crack. (Kind of like if you're driving a car, it's assumed you checked all of the compartments.) And, I feel like it'd be one thing if it was a tiny bag of crack... but a pipe too? You'd have to feel that.

    So, no, I wasn't buying it.

    Also, I feel like it'd be tough to sell this defense considering this client had been convicted of drug possession five times in the past year alone.

    Although, maybe that could be the defense. "Your honor, had my client known he had crack and a pipe in his pocket, surely he would have smoked it. But, instead, he didn't know... because those were his brother's pants."

    Nah, I didn't think so either.

    (See the September champ here.)

    Strange Dream

    I had the strangest scary dream last night... I was late for my first day of high school. I didn't have a schedule, I hadn't taken a shower yet, I didn't know how I was going to get there...

    I loved high school, but I really hate being late for things or not knowing what's going on.

    That awful feeling of being late and lost, not enough time to do what you need to do, not even sure what you should be doing? It can only mean one thing...

    I'm panicking about trial prep.

    You're Not A Real Judge?

    Hey, did you hear...

    Harriet Miers was asked whether she had ever studied Constitutional theory.

    "No," she responded, "But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

    (I would love to give credit where credit is due for that joke, but my boyfriend can't remember where he heard it.)

    And, on only a slightly more serious note, am I the only one who gets really annoyed when I hear reporters refer to her as "Judge Miers?" She's never been the judge of anything, where the heck would you get that title from? Being nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court gives you the temporary title of Judge?

    If you still have 'em, send her your Con Law notes.

    AR Moment of Zen

    And here it is, your Amazing Race: Family Edition moment of zen:

    "Who wants to pull more than three GIs?"

    What? Pull them where? Up a mountain?

    Or are we talking about something gastrointestinal?


    The runner up quotes:
    (I was going to make this a blogpoll, and let you choose the winner, but I'm feeling too lazy.)

    "Read it slow, so we can understand it."
    "Mom, it's a video."

    "I gotta fart... Hello, Earth's gravity!"

    Newsflash: UC lies to Suspect

    If I had a dime for everytime I heard

    "Yeah, but I asked him if he was a cop, and he said no!"

    I could retire. And be a pro bono dog walker.

    But actually, tonight, that prostitution story got me thinking about undercover officers. How far can they (and should they) go to make an arrest?

    My impression, after reading both the affidavit of probable cause and this news story, is that the officers' interaction with the accused prostitutes was limited to masturbation to avoid the risks associated with bodily fluid transmission.

    So, for example, there's an accusation in the affidavit that the defendant leaned forward as though she was going to perform oral sex on the undercover. The UC stopped her, asking "How much is this going to cost me?" He denied having that amount of money (I think it was $60), and instead only got the "handy handy" for $20. But what if she had then said, "Okay, $20 for a blowjob." Would he have accepted? Would she have been suspicious if he didn't?

    Sometimes my clients come up with "tests" to see whether or not another individual is an undercover. Here's how this test works: My client asks the suspected UC, "You're not a cop, are you?" If the answer is "No," then they can be confident that the actor is not a cop. Amazing, isn't it?

    Except that my client is behind bars telling me this story. So, that test failed because it was based on the assumption that an undercover officer either wouldn't or couldn't lie.

    I have heard (although not personally or from any of my clients), that prostitutes will sometimes ask a potential customer for a kiss on the lips before making the deal, based on the assumption that an officer wouldn't do that. And I'm not sure if a UC would do it - it might venture into that exchange-of-bodily-fluids-and-risking-herpes-or-worse territory. So, that might be a valid test. I have also heard that a prostitute might ask a potential john to "Whip out your business and show it to me right here before we make a deal" (presumably this takes place on an otherwise deserted street, not on a busy block). I think this may also be a valid test because I wouldn't think an UC would show their stuff - but apparently in Snohomish County they would.

    On one hand, I don't think "Well, he kissed me first!" would be a great defense to a prostitution charge. I guess it might help to negate that any later agreement to perform a sex act was based solely on money (and not on the love she felt in his kiss). And while "He violated police procedure" might help to prove that the officer made other mistakes (identity?) or is lying if he denies the kiss, I don't know if it would be enough to overcome any facts that the defendant offered sex for money.

    On the other hand, maybe the fact that I've never yet had a client say "he kissed me first" might mean that prostitutes smart enough to engage that tactic aren't getting arrested.

    And, finally, could this approach be used to avoid being arrested by an undercover for other types of crimes?

    I can see it now:

    "Hey man, could I cop some dope?"

    "Well, before I discuss that with you, I'd like to see you inject yourself with this needle of free sample heroin."

    Career Planning

    Me: Hey, did you see about that movie In Her Shoes? I think she quits her job as a lawyer to become a dog walker.

    The Boyfriend: No.

    Me: No what? No, you didn't see the thing about the movie or...

    The Boyfriend: No.

    Me: Or, no, she doesn't quit her job...

    The Boyfriend: No. Just no. No.

    I guess sometimes no means no. And other times "no" means "No, we are not going to see that chick flick, and no, you are not quitting your job, and no, you are not going to be a dog walker." And probably also, "No, don't blog about this."

    Can't Take My Home

    A fan (yes, it seems that I have at least one fan - I'm not sure if he wanted his name posted or not, so I'll leave it to him to take credit in the comments if he wants it), sent me this news story out of Boulder City, Nevada.

    It seems that the city attorney is attempting to use civil forfeiture to take the home of a 55-year-old woman who pleaded no contest to possessing six marijuana plants, a misdemeanor.

    This is pretty amazing. The district attorney couldn't prove anything beyond the misdemeanor marijuana possession, but the city attorney is making this woman out to be a big time dealer in order to take her home.

    According to the article:
    Some civil forfeiture laws limit government confiscations to property purchased with criminal proceeds. But Nevada law allows authorities to also seize property merely used in the commission of a suspected crime.

    My jurisdiction allows for similar forfeiture. Mostly we see car forfeiture in DWI cases. Occasionally, there is cash forfeiture in other types of cases (drug sales, identity theft, forgery, etc.)

    I've never seen a home forfeiture in any kind of case. Granted, however, very few of my clients own homes. One issue I see from time to time is clients at risk of losing their public housing - and that doesn't even require that the crime was committed in that housing. But it is mostly just a threat, I think that out of the over one thousand cases I've handled, only one has had any later problems with HUD.

    As far as cars, most of my clients are able to get their cars back after they pay some hefty fines and/or agree to complete a driver safety course. I'd like to know how much the state is making in this system.

    Anyway, read the article, feel free to get infuriated, and I'll keep an eye out for any follow-up on the story.

    Cops Get The "Handy-Handy"

    I saw a link to this at NDC.

    It seems that the vice cops in Snohomish County, Washington wanted to make sure that the suspected prostitutes at a massage parlor were not only offering their services, but following up on that offer three times.

    The prosecutor knows this and even includes it in an affidavit of probable cause. Great, taxpayer money is going to pay for officers' handjobs. While they're on the clock. I'd be real proud if I was that officer's wife.

    I've had one case where the prostitute told me that she actually did the deed before the cop busted her. I know it's good stuff, but there's not a whole lot you can do with it. If I call the prosecutor and say, "Do you know the officer actually got a blowjob from my client?" That would be an admission, wouldn't it?

    But, I'm pretty sure it's something that Internal Affairs would be interested in.

    For a minute there, I thought NDC was seriously dropping out of law school. And with the um... graphicness of that Affidavit of Probable Cause, I guess I could see why.

    UPDATE: Skelly also has some thoughts on whether vice cops should actually engage in sex acts with those that they are investigating. (In a word, no.) I agree with Windypundit that the arrest then seems "ungentlemanly." On that note, how about going with a "He told me he loved me!" defense? Yeah, that would be good.

    Lego Me

    Here's what I would look like as a Lego:

    I've got my magic wand and my palm pilot, I'm ready to do justice!

    Inspired by frm.
    Click here to make a lego of you.

    Geography Lesson, Amazing Race Style

    Choice quote from last night's amazing race:

    (The NASCAR-Widow-and-her-kids family)
    "Where's Washington D.C.?"
    "What state is it in?"
    Mom (looking at map): "We're going to Maryland!"

    I'm pretty sure that mom said something geographically clueless last week too, but I can't remember it exactly. (I think it was something like, "Pennsylvania? Is that a state?")

    Hope You Weren't Hungry

    I walk past a "Middle Eastern" restaurant most days. I've eaten there a few times, and from those few visits I know that the owners are Jordanian and, presumably Muslim. (I didn't ask, so I can only assume, but they had indications that some dishes were "halal," so I made the guess.)

    Anyway, I walked past the restaurant again this morning. It was obviously open - I know this because the neon "OPEN" light was lit, there were a few people inside, and the door was propped open. But there was a sign in the window that read:

    In observance of Ramadan, we will not serve food or drink until sundown.
    1/2 Price Specials after sundown.

    What I want to know is, if you're a restaurant, and you're not serving food... why be open? I mean, why couldn't they just open at sundown? It seems like a perfect day to take off.

    Seriously, I'm not trying to be judgmental or anything. If anyone has a good explanation, I'd like to hear it. But, in my mind, there's no need to go to work and open up the restaurant if you're not going to serve food or drink.

    Earplugs Recommended

    I know this woman. And she has the most annoying voice.

    I'm not being mean. Really, I'm not. It's just a fact.

    If I were to say, "She makes Fran Drescher sound like a lullabye," that might be mean. But all I'm saying is that her voice is really really annoying. More annoying than Fran Drescher. And that's just a statement of fact.

    It'd be really mean to say that her voice is worse than fingernails on a chalkboard and a car alarm, combined. So, I won't say that.

    One of my friends summed it up when she said, "It always suprises me when she says something not dumb. I mean, usually, someone with that kind of voice, you expect even the content of their statements to be annoying and dumb. But with her, it's just that her voice is that bad."

    So, imagine my surpise when I got an email stating that this woman - this woman of all people - will be performing a spoken word / poetry reading this weekend.

    All I can hope is that maybe she recognizes her vocal tone and built it into her reading somehow. Maybe she wrote a poem about a cat being run over by a car. Because a poem about love or flowers or the sunset, just wouldn't be the same as read by her.

    I'm sort of interested in seeing it... just to find out.

    Fantasy Baseball Recap

    So, Fantasy Baseball season is over. I want to thank everyone for playing, I hope that you had fun, and congratulate Habeas my Corpus, who took first place with quite a lead.

    I thought about posting the final standings, with links to each manager's blog, but in some cases I don't really remember who is who. If you want to leave a comment, I can try to do that. (Or, if you're too embarassed by your final ranking, I understand that too.)

    I came in 5th place. Not too bad considering I was ranked last for a while. Also, you know, it'd be rude for the host not to let one of her guests win. Yeah, that's it.

    I was also playing in another league, where for the first time in 3 years I did not finish first. Instead I finished 4th. It was also my first season playing in two leagues, which was a little confusing at times.

    But, now, I'm afraid I won't have enough to do with my mornings. Usually checking my email and my fantasy baseball line-up was the first thing I did when I got to work. Maybe I'll actually have to start calling my clients back. (Just kidding! I call them back, I just don't always call their lawyers back.)

    So, again, thank you to everyone who played, I hope you had fun, and let's plan on doing it again next year! (Except, next year, I get to win!)

    My Clients' Other Lawyers

    Some of my clients have other lawyers. Maybe they have an immigration lawyer. Maybe they've got some kind of custody or child support issue, and they've got a lawyer for that. Maybe they're getting evicted or they're suing the police or they have a workers' compensation case and they have another lawyer for that.

    If my client knows their name (and you'd be surprised how many times my clients don't know the name of a person they hired), and I have my client's permission to tell their other lawyer about the criminal case, I'll usually give the lawyer a call. Not necessarily to exchange information (unless the two matters are somehow related), but usually just to set up a line of communication.

    I usually just want to leave a message that says, "Hi, my name is Blonde Justice from the public defender's office, I'm calling to let you know that I represent your client, Mr. Client, in a criminal matter. I'd appreciate it if you could keep me up-to-date if there's anything that I need to know about your case, and I'll do the same." And I leave my phone number.

    If the cases are related (for example, the other attorney is suing the police for brutality arising from the same arrest that led to my case), we might need to coordinate more. If it's more tangential than that (my clients' immigration attorney, for example), I'd probably call again before my client takes any plea, and I'd expect a phone call before my client went into any sort of immigration hearing where he'd be asked about my case or if any sort of deportation action was taken.

    Other than that, I might never hear from the other attorney again. And I may have no reason to call again. I'm busy, and I expect that other attorneys are too.

    And that's why it absolutely amazes me that one of my client's other lawyers, the one handling her eviction, leaves me ten messages a day. As does every other member of his staff. I'M BUSY! NOTHING HAS HAPPENED SINCE YOU CALLED ME TEN MINUTES AGO! LEAVE ME ALONE!

    And it's hard, because it is an attorney. And his secretary. And his paralegal.

    If it were a client, it'd be easier for me to say, "Look, I've got a hundred clients. I'll take whatever time you need to help you with whatever you need. But I just can't speak to you ten times a day. I promise I'll call you if I have any news in your case. I promise that I'm working on (whatever I'm working on). But I won't have time to work on that if you're calling ten times a day."

    But this is a lawyer. And he's completely stupid. He constantly amazes me with his stupidity. Sometimes I just listen to his messages and then just sit back and think, "Wow, they let people like that be lawyers," and it amazes me.

    Why am I so amazed? Well, our mutual client is in jail. Like it or not, there she will sit until either (a) she pays bail or (b) she has a trial and wins. There's no get-out-of-jail offer on the table, and the trial is set for this month. All I can do at this point is prepare for trial. And, it stinks that she's in jail, and there's really no nice way to say this, but that's what happens when you get arrested for the same thing four times in a month, have very little community ties, and can't afford bail.

    So, first, this lawyer called and left me messages a few times a day asking if I know where my client is. I called and left one message in response, stating the name of the jail where she is held. I also explained when the trial date is, and that, because she is unlikely to come up with bail money, she will be in jail at least until the trial date.

    The messages continued, repeatedly stating, "Hi, This is Mr. Lawyer, Miss Client's housing court lawyer. I was just calling to see if you were able to get Miss Client out of jail yet. Could you please call me back and let me know if she's out of jail yet?"

    I sit there, listening to these messages, and screaming at my phone, "WHAT? ARE YOU TELLING ME SHE DIDN'T GET THE FILE I SNUCK TO HER?" No, I shouldn't even joke like that. But how else would I get her out of jail?

    I did not call back. I really saw no reason to repeat myself. One day, though, I made the mistake of answering the phone and it was this lawyer calling. He asked again if I had gotten Miss Client out of jail yet. And I said, no, because the trial date that I already told you about hasn't come yet, and Miss Client hasn't been able to make bail.

    And then he asked me, "But, can't you pay her bail?"

    Whoa. Really? You're really really a lawyer? I am not kidding you, after that phone call, I called the state bar and confirmed that this man is, indeed a lawyer. And the number he is calling me from is, in fact, his law office. And I'm the one who is compared to a "real" lawyer? Unbelievable.

    So, I regained my composure eventually, and responded, "No, I'm not allowed to pay bail for any of my clients. I'm happy to call my client's families and encourage them to pay the bail, but, unfortunately, Miss Client either doesn't have anyone she wants contacted, or she doesn't want to tell me who they are."

    And the lawyer stated, "But, this has to be unconstitutional or something. They can't really hold someone without a trial, can they?"

    Hmmm... well, I'm pretty sure that it's right there in the Constitution. But, absolutely without sarcasm, and giving this lawyer all of the benefit of the doubt I could muster up, I said, "I really don't think I could convince any judge that the bail is excessive in this case."

    Hint, hint, "bail... excessive." Excessive bail? Is this ringing a bell at all?

    And, honest to goodness, he responded, "Yeah, but they can't just hold someone without a trial. Isn't she presumed innocent?"

    Alright, alright, I'll cut the sarcasm. The truth is, I don't know crap about housing law. And if my client had a housing issue and I called a housing attorney outraged at what I perceived to be an unfair situation, I might come across sounding naive or downright stupid.

    But housing law isn't in the Constitution! Housing law isn't on every bar exam in the country! They don't make, I don't know, half the TV shows during prime time about housing law! If they did, maybe I'd know some of the basics. Take some time off from calling me and watch an episode of Law & Order, for crying out loud! Or the nightly news!

    It's funny, because for a while, I had thought about calling back and saying, "Look, it's obvious from your last twenty messages that you're very concerned about Miss Client. You're certainly welcome to take Miss Client's criminal case if you think that would be easier than trying to coordinate..." But, now I realize that would be a huge disservice to my client.

    So, my clients' other lawyers may have now replaced my clients' girlfriends, wives, and baby mommas as my biggest annoyance.