Embarassing But True

Ok, this is the saddest thing. I think that I have seen almost every pathetic episode of My Super Sweet 16. And now... I can barely say it... I am watching this entire marathon of re-edits of My Super Sweet 16 wherein the birthday girls watch their own episodes and comment on them, Mystey Science Theatre style.

Ugh, I can't even believe I admitted that. And I have a ton of work to do to prep for a trial.

But I just want to see if any of them watch it and say, "Man, this is embarassing, I sound like a horrible person." Maybe they can explain themselves.

But they can't.

Medium: A TV Review

Is anyone else watching this show, Medium? I haven't heard anyone else talking about it, so it must not be very popular, but I happened to catch part of an episode two weeks ago, and it was pretty good, so I watched last week's episode, and that was good too, so (and particularly because I don't have anything else to watch on Monday nights), it might make it into my regular television rotation.

Here's the premise: This woman (played by Patricia Arquette), is a "medium," and is, according to this article, based on a real person. I don't know much about what mediums do, and whether or not she fits the definition perfectly, but, for example, she'll sometimes have dreams about what's going to happen to someone. Or she'll shake hands with someone and see how he's going to die. I thought being a medium just meant that dead people talked through you, but apparently either it can mean more or this woman is more than a medium. Maybe she's a medium and clairvoyant, and they just thought that was too long of a title.

Anyway, she sees things that are going to happen, and, if they're bad (and, so far, it only seems to be bad things), she tries to stop them without sounding crazy by saying "I'm a medium." As they say, hilarity ensues.

Only some people know that she's a medium. One of those people is her boss. At the D.A.'s office. I'm not too sure how this all came about (since I've only see one or two episodes) but she works for the D.A.'s office as a medium. They'll send her out to crime scenes and ask her what happened there. I'm not sure how it works from there, either. I'm sure she doesn't testify, "I'm a medium, and this is what I say happened," so I guess they use her insight to find admissable evidence.

Boyfriend and I, watching Medium:
"Being a medium must be a mixed blessing. On one hand, you see what's going to happen to people..."
"And on the other hand, you have to work at the D.A.'s office."

I'll admit that Medium can be a little, how shall we say... cheesey? For example, in one scene, she went to the hospital to visit a woman who had been involved in a fire. The medium explains that going to the hospital is difficult for her, because there are so many dead people trying to get messages though. Which seems a little weird, because, I would think most ghosts who are trying to get a message through would go hang out at home. Why should they wait around at a hospital? Unless they can only stay in the place where they died. But doesn't that mean that going anywhere should be difficult for her, because at some point in history someone died almost everywhere, right? Driving down highways, she should see all the ghosts on the side of the roads from all of the accidents that ever happened. But, ok, suspend a little reality, and let's go back to the cheesey aspect. I can appreciate that it's got to be hard to make ghosts that look "realistic" to everyone, especially on a tv budget. But when she walked down the hospital hallway, and all of these gobliny-looking people were coming out toward her, it was a little hokey.

But I can look past that. Anyway, it's seems like a good show, and so I'll recommend it. It's a mid-season replacement, so I don't know if that means it's less likely to be around next year or not.

Also, I've been thinking, if it gets popular, it could be a good way to make fun of the D.A.s. For example, "Oh, you think that's what happened? Who told you that - your medium?" That'd be at least mildly funny, right? No? Ok, nevermind.

Career Advice Dispensed Here Free

Ambimb emails, and asks about finding a job as a public defender. In particular, is it a good idea to spend two summers at the same PD's office, and perhaps get to work on cases in more depth because you've spent more time there, or is it better to get experience at a different PD's office, because then you've seen the practice differs from place to place? (Ambimb, I hope this is pretty much the question you asked. Gmail isn't working as I write this.)

First, let me say, that in my eyes, a summer or two doing the work you want to do is the most important experience you can have on your resume. And it's important for your own peace of mind, knowing that this is actually what you want to do. Most PD's offices would take someone who has shown a consistent interest in the work over someone who hasn't (but, for example, has better grades or was on Law Review).

I think that it's really a good idea to stay at the same PD's office for two summers. Particularly if there's any chance that you want to get hired there after graduation. PD jobs are not that easy to come by, and you'd have a good foot in the door.

But, even if you aren't sure you would stay there after graduation, I still think it's a good idea to stay at the same place because of the experience you'll get. You stated that you'd get to work on cases in more depth and perhaps handle some cases in court. This is not something that you get to do everywhere (and be forewarned: it's a feature that some PD's offices advertise but don't deliver on - you go in thinking you'll be trying cases, and you end up carrying a senior attorney's briefcase all summer). Try to think back, do you remember seeing 2Ls actually handling cases last summer? I only mention this because I've worked in 2 offices, one where the summers really were handling cases, and another where I know they advertised the summer experience as "you'll be able to handle your own misdemeanor caseload" but no one actually did.

And even if you found another PD's office that actually allows 2Ls to practice, I think you might have an advantage in the PD's office that you've already worked in. Summers go by quick, and you can skip the meeting-everyone-and-getting-shown-around part, and get right into it.

I think the depth of experience is more valuable than the opportunity to view the variation in PD's offices. Yes, they'll be different throughout the country, but in my office we often have people transfer in from other cities and they adapt pretty quickly. Sure, they spend a few weeks asking, "Where's the fax machine?" and "Where is this courtroom?" But the more important thing is that they're hired because they can work with our client population and advocate for their client, and that's a skill that you can develop in any jurisdiction, but only with experience.

Finally, I saw in your comments that you were also considering a policy house. I think this could be a good experience, and surely would increase your knowledge of the law. Make sure you ask yourself, would sitting at a desk researching and writing all summer kill me? I know that it would've killed me. I think it would be better (both because it'd be more interesting and because it'd give you more experience) to get your feet wet in an actual courtroom with actual clients. If you end up taking the policy job, my advice would be to eventually take a position where you get experience with clients, either through a clinic or an internship during the semester.

Otherwise, it seems to me like you're leaning toward staying at the same PD's office, and I think it's a great idea. Let us know what you choose and how you enjoy it!

Call for Help

I was walking around my neighborhood today when I saw the strangest thing. There's this little store. I can't figure out what kind of store it is. I've seem them display art before, but I also think that they might braid hair or something. There's no sign, and it's usually completely empty. "Completely" here meaning, no employees, no customers, no furniture, no nothing.

Anyway, in the window today I noticed that there was a sign hand-written on a large piece of paper. It read:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the tragic tsunami disaster. If you need any help, please call Sara at (555)555-5555.

Now, I normally try to keep this blog "geographically anonymous." And, if you happen to live in my 'hood and have walked past this sign, you know now that we live in the same 'hood. But, otherwise, in case you're wondering, I will give this much of a hint - I do not live anywhere near the area hit by the tsunami. Not even remotely. In fact, I think that there is very little chance of any tsunami victims wandering around my 'hood. But, I guess if there was, they would know who to call for help.

Of course, maybe it was just an advert for the business. Because it did cause me to push my face against the glass to see what kind of business was inside. And, as far as I can tell, it was just an empty storefront with one piece of art made out of macaroni and cereal in the front window.

Dog Guys, Revisited

Speaking of dog guys (and girl) being hot...

The Nebraska Supreme Court granted clemency Friday to a dog sentenced to death for causing "minor injury" to a neighbor's pet.

(Story here.)

Aaaw, saving a dog's life? That's hot.

Since I know you're going to ask, my pick for hottest Nebraska Supreme Court justice is Justice Kenneth Stephan. He's got nice eyes, and, apparently he's a dog guy.

And yes, Soupie, you can get a link too.

Put Me In, Coach

Yes, that's right. Pitchers and catchers have reported, and, as they say, there's new grass on the field. And it's time for B*law*ger Baseball '05.

I've emailed the people that I knew were interested, but if you didn't get anything or if you didn't let me know yet that you're interested, just email me or leave a comment (make sure it somehow leads me to your email address.)

It's free, it's just for fun (and bragging rights, of course), there's no salary cap, steroids are not banned, and we'll be using yahoo rotisserie style. The league is open to everyone (blawger or not), but I'll give preference to blawgers if we somehow get up toward the max number of teams - so if you're a blawger, please let me know in your comment.

I think it'd be really fun if all of the blawgers I regularly read got involved, so act now! Operators are standing by!

Things I Wish My Clients Knew (Part 2)

(Yes, Part 1 was a long time ago. But that doesn't mean that this can't be a continuing series.)

I wish my clients knew that saying "it's not my m.o." is not a defense.

Sometimes a client with a long rapsheet will tell you, "Look at my rap sheet, that's not my m.o." We all know that drug possession and shoplifting go hand in hand. I mean, think about it, if I can't afford my $3-a-day Starbucks habit, where's my client getting the money for his $50-a-day drug habit? But, for example, a client who is constantly arrested for drug possession will be arrested for shoplifting. The client will eventually say, "But check my rap sheet. Yeah, I got a drug problem, but I don't shoplift. That's not my m.o." Oh, why didn't you say so? I'll tell them to just let you go.

Just because you've never been arrested for this particular charge before, it doesn't mean you can never be charged with it ever. There's a first time for everything. Add to that the fact that you've already been convicted of a number of crimes (thereby stigmatizing you as a criminal, even if it's not "that type of criminal"), and you can see that "it's not my m.o." isn't very convincing.

Further, I'm sorry to throw this in there, but... you don't really have the definition of m.o. figured out. Generally an "m.o." is much more detailed than "you've been charged with that crime before." It's more of a signature or a very distinctive way of committing the crime that may be used to identify you later. So, for example, "robbing banks" isn't an m.o. It's just a crime. Robbing banks while wearing a cheerleader uniform and Nixon mask might be an m.o. Even something like robbing banks on the 15th of the month right before closing time might be an m.o. An m.o. can later be used to identify a criminal. So, if you're arrested robbing a bank wearing the cheerleader uniform and Nixon mask, it's a bad thing if the police figure out your m.o. because they'll tie all of the other cheerleader/Nixon robberies to you. What you need to know here, though, is that m.o. does not mean preferred crime or crime you've been caught doing most often.

Finally, I just wish my clients knew... that going to the judge and saying, "But, Your Honor, my client would like the court to know that he does not steal cars, he only shoplifts," is NOT going to help at all.

The definition of modus operandi (or "m.o.") can be found here on law.com.

Race Roadblock

I have an EMERGENCY REQUEST: Does anyone have the season finale of The Amazing Race that you can send me? My cable was out. How much does that suck? Please email me, I still don't even know who won! (Don't tell me, I'm determined to find a tape from someone!)

Speaking of TV, I'm pretty sure that's David Duchovny doing the voice over in the Pedigree Dentastix commercial. (Watch the Westminster dog show tonight, I'm sure the commercial will be played.) So, that's where his big X-Files fame led him, huh?

It's ok, dog guys can be hot. I'm just saying.

Oh, and one more thing - Jonathan and Victoria from Amazing Race are going to be on Dr. Phil tonight. That should be interesting. One commercial shows Dr. Phil saying to Jonathan, "Are you a jerk?" Yeah, give it to him, Dr. Phil!

Please ask around, see if anyone has that Amazing Race! Thanks!

Updates

I finally have a little time to write, but now I can't figure out what I should write about.

Should I try to catch up on the past week or so? The Grammys, Lynne Stewart, etc.? Should I try to explain what I've been doing that's been keeping me so busy?

Or, should I just act like nothing happened and keep blogging? That sounds easier. Although, I hope to get around to writing about Lynne Stewart eventually maybe.

I also want to go read everyone else's blogs. I've missed that.

In other news (how's that for a segue?), I saw a photo of a girl licking her own elbow. And, I thought, hey, what's the big deal, anyone can lick their own elbow, right? And then I tried it. And it turns out that, no, I cannot lick my own elbow. And neither can you, I bet. Go ahead, try it. I'll wait.

And, finally, spring training is getting started, which means that I will have to get seriously working on our blawger fantasy baseball league. Stay tuned for details.

Hasta Luego

Don't delete me off your blogrolls yet.

I just wanted to check in, and apologize for the infrequency of my updates. I've been very busy the past few days. Hopefully, it will all be over early next week, and I will resume our normal programming.

Thanks for hanging in there.

Worst Clients?

That's easy. Stalkers.

See, here's the thing. I don't know whether most of my clients "did it." And it's not really that important to me. Sometimes clients come out and tell me, sometimes I have a hunch. But, with stalkers, you always know.

How do you know? Because they stalk you. And, here, by stalk, I mean "call you or write to you endlessly."

So, for example, in court you're assigned a client who is accused of stalking his ex-girlfriend. Ex-girlfriend says he called, oh, I don't know, twenty or thirty times in a few hour period, then showed up at her job. She got scared and called the police. You interview the client, he's released, and you give him your card.

If this client calls you once or twice every few weeks to check in and ask how his case is going, I'd bet he didn't "do it." How do I know? Compare it to this...

After the case, you head back to your office. Maybe you stop for lunch or run an errand. If you get back to your office and have 5 or 10 or 20 messages from this accused stalker, you can bet that he "did it." Double your bet if the messages are a little strange or in any way project what might happen if you don't call back.

On a more serious note, I really think that stalking is a sign of mental illness. It might be a sign of obsessive compulsive disorder or something. I mean, anyone in their "right mind," would call, leave a message, maybe they call back in a few hours if it's really important. They're missing that thing in their head that should tell them, "I just called a few minutes ago, I can't call again."

And, what makes it worse, is that a stalker case is hard to try. Any ex-girlfriend worth her salt kept recordings of some of the stranger messages or kept her phone bill which showed hundreds of incoming phone calls. Your best hope is that a jury can relate to, "Hey, he was a jilted lover. He went a little past the norm. It's not a crime." But you're not going to be able to prove that he didn't make the calls.

On the other hand, most jurors can relate to how annoyed, and even scared, the complainant must have been. Heck, we live in a society where people fully supported laws against telemarketers. So we all agree even a few phone calls can be a nuisance. Then, she's a single girl, and here's this guy who already knows so much about her life (her schedule, her voice mail password, where she hid the spare key).

They're hard cases. But moreover, they're difficult clients.

When they tell me, "But I never called her!" It's hard not to say, "How can you expect me to believe that when you've filled my voice mailbox with messages? When you've called me 20 times in an hour?"

It's got to be some kind of O.C.D. Like, instead of washing their hands over and over, they dial the phone over and over.

What's so sweet about it?

I recently updated my "Watching" list (down and on your right), which is where I mention the shows on my mind and on my Tivo.

Anyway, I wanted to specifically mention My Super Sweet 16 on MTV. It's a fun one to watch. Basically, the concept is a lot like those shows where you watch people planning their weddings, except without all of the sappy wedding stuff and with a lot of more teenage temper tantrums and girls (ok, fine, "brats" is a more appropriate word) arguing with their moms.

In the first episode I watched, two rich girls are planning their party, and they come up with a list of artists they'd like their daddies to book. No Doubt, Beyonce, The Rolling Stones, Christina Aguilera, and more. In the end, they end up with Unwritten Law (sorry, never heard of 'em), and the party turns into a mosh pit.

In an upcoming episode, a girl flies to Paris to find the perfect dress for her party. She's then seen on a cell phone in front of a closed Versace store crying, "Mommmmmmy! Versace is clooosed!" As if Mommy is going to be able to wake Gianni himself from the dead to make him come open the store. I think this is the same girl that gets carried into her party on a... I don't know what you call it... Cleopatra bed thing.

Ha! If that's not good tv, I don't know what is.