This One Is For You Science Types

Back when I was in law school, I was really really poor. Like, poorer than I am now. Yes, really.

Anyway, one day, it must have been during the winter, I found myself reading a website with tips on how to save money on your energy bill (instead of reading cases like I was supposed to, I'm sure).

One of the tips was that, during the winter, if you take a bath, instead of just draining the tub when you get out, you should leave the water in the tub until it cools down to room temperature. This was followed with some science mumbo jumbo about it giving off the heat into your home, blah blah blah. (Gee, wonder why I couldn't finish that pre-med major?) And, it even said that this will add a "moist heat," as opposed to a "dry heat," so that it would not only heat your home, it could also replace the need for a humidifier. And it also said (yes, it gets even better), that you could even do this when taking a shower, by letting the tub fill when you take a shower, not just baths. Which, I think would be kind of icky.

This led to a lot of debate between the boyfriend and me. No doubt this debate began when he went into the bathroom, found the tub still full, and said, "Is the drain clogged or something?" And I responded, "No, I'm saving money, dammit!"

So, the first set of questions are (1) Has anyone ever heard of this before? (2) Does this sound like it could be real, scientifically or whatnot?

And, I understand that the effectiveness would vary depending on the size of your home, the location of the bathroom (whether it is in the center of the home or not), etc. And I'm not saying that it would be able to heat your entire home, but the point, I think, of the save-money-on-energy article, was that if you're paying to heat that water anyway, why let it go down the drain?

Now for the next part... assuming you believe this whole tub-effecting-the-temperature thing, what about during the summer?

Let's say that it's 90 degrees in my tiny little apartment. And I fill the bathtub (located almost in the center of the tiny apartment) with ice cold water. Maybe even a few pounds of ice. Is that going to cool off the apartment at all?

And, if not, where can I get one of those HUGE blocks of ice that I imagine they used to put in front of fans in the olden days (or, at least, in cartoons they did)?

I believe this calls for a blogpoll and a joke...



Knock Knock
Who's there?
Dwayne.
Dwayne who?
Dwayne the tub, I'm dwoning!

Cheer Up, It Could Be Worse

Sometimes, when I'm having a really really really bad day, the only thing that makes me feel better is browsing through these pictures of mullets.

Update: I also loved this article on "Mullet Hunting." Enjoy!

Oh, the way you held my hand...

The boyfriend and I recently went to a minor league baseball game.

If you've never been to a live baseball game, what the heck is wrong with you?!?! No, what I meant to say, is that if you've never been to a live baseball game, you may not know that each player (or, at least, each batter) has usually selected a song that will play for a few seconds as he comes out to bat.

I've thought before about what my at bat song would be, if I were ever to make it to the majors (just hypothetically, of course). It needs to be something energetic and happy and perhaps even intimidating. Maybe I'd want to update it often, so it's always a new song, but some players have the same song for their entire careers, which is kind of cool for fans because the song really becomes associated with that player. Maybe there's some superstition involved too - if you have a great game using a particular song, you'd probably want to keep that song for a while, and if you hit a slump, it might be time for a change. And the whole song doesn't have to be particularly great, it's ok just to pick a few seconds of the songs intro, if that's what you like. (I'd guess that most ballparks would ban profanity in at bat songs, and force players to either chose a radio edit or a few seconds without profanity.)

(ESPN published this list, last year, of some players and their at bat songs. Although, I think that many of these may be incorrect, or, at least, these song choices were shortlived.)

Anyway, we were at a minor league game, and we noticed that one of the player's at bat songs was

Got my first real six string, Bought it at the five and dime. Played it 'til my fingers bled. Was the summer of '69.

I thought this was a really weird choice of an at bat song. First of all, it's not particularly energetic or intimidating. I guess it's a good summer song, but it's not as if the lyrics make it particularly "inspirational." (Maybe if he had chosen to had it cued to the "Those were the best days of my life" part it would have made more sense?) And, it's Bryan Adams, for crying out loud!

Which led the boyfriend to joke, "Yeah, I heard he wanted to use 'Everything I Do, I Do It For You', but they didn't have the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack."

We also checked the team roster and found that the player with the Bryan Adams song is also the youngest player on the team. Which left us guessing (or, at least, hoping) that maybe his at bat song was picked by his teammates as some sort of prank or initiation.

So, of course, the next question is, what is the funniest at bat song you could come up with, if it were your job to orchestrate a prank? Because I think they could've come up with something even funnier if they really tried...

  • "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls (This might not pass the profanity test, but I'm sure you could find a few clean seconds of it, just enough to let people know where you're going with it.)
  • Anything by the Chipmunks (Or any other cartoon character, for that matter.)
  • "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper
  • Anything by New Kids On The Block (or probably any other "boy band")

    Come on, join in the fun. What are some other funny choices? (Assuming, of course, that it was meant to be a joke.)
  • Registering Sex Offenders

    You know, I've been thinking a little bit about sex offender registration. In the past few weeks, I've noticed that my colleagues and I have picked up a number of sex offenses where the defendants are already registered sex offenders.

    On one hand, it makes life easy. If your client is already a registered sex offender, you don't have to worry about avoiding a disposition that is going to make him have to start registering.

    But, on the other hand, it makes me wonder, "What the heck is the point?" Did it deter the defendant? No. Did it alert the neighbors to keep their kids away from these guys? No. Are there enhanced sentences for repeat offenders? No, not any more than there would be for any other repeat offenders.

    Although, I do question whether or not it could lead to more wrongful arrests. Perhaps if the police have a sex offense to solve in a given neighborhood, they'll go lock up the registered sex offender without much more investigation, leaving the real offender out on the streets. I'm not saying that's what has happened in any of my cases, or, at least, not that I know of yet, I just wonder if that's a possible factor.

    That Firefly Phone

    Have you seen that Firefly phone?

    The concept is that it's a phone with very few buttons, and parents can program the phone with the numbers that they want their kid to be able to call or receive calls from. You know, so the kid isn't using the phone to set up dates with people they chat with on the internet.


    You'll also notice that the phone has speed dial for Mom and Dad. Symbolized by a woman in a dress for Mom and a stick figure for Dad, just like the signs on the restroom doors.

    Does anyone else worry about the kids raised by a single parent? Or two moms? Or two dads? Maybe I'm being too politically correct. Or, maybe it's just much more common here than... wherever they make this firefly thing.

    I hope they come out with a "two dads" and "two moms" version and one with a button just labeled "primary caregiver."

    Prosecutors and Bullies

    For a few days now, I've been waiting to respond to ambimb's post which asks, "Do all defense attorneys think all prosecutors are evil? And if so, why?"

    First, I don't think all prosecutors are evil. There are some good and some bad. Just like I think there are some police officers who truly went into their career to help people, to clean up the streets or whatnot, and I know that there are others who did it for the opportunity to have handcuffs and a gun and some power they couldn't find elsewhere in their life. (Want a good example? Did you read E. Spat's story about her divorce?).

    I think there are some people who go to medical school because they want to help people, there are others who do it to make as much money as possible, and these are the cosmetic surgeons who just keep giving Michael Jackson more and more nosejobs.

    There are some very respectable prosecutors who are in it for the right reasons. There are some who really want to be a fair and reasonable voice for the victims and for the people of their state. There are plenty of good prosecutors who I would be happy sit down with and have a beer (under the condition that we wouldn't discuss work, of course.)

    But, there are others who were, and this is just my theory, probably bullied their whole lives. And they see their job as an opportunity to be the bullies. There are prosecutors who take every case personally, as if they have a vendetta, before they even know the facts. Without even caring what the facts are. And I think they're assholes. It's impossible to work with them, and they're not doing anybody any good.

    So, there's my theory: Prosecutors were the kids who were bullied in school. You can tell it just by looking at some of them. They're practically ready to cry if you mention the words "lunch money." And who were the public defenders? Why, we were the cool kids, of course. You know, we sat in the back of the class, were too smart for our own good, but knew how to schmooze the teachers to get our way, we didn't bully anyone, and we'd stand up for the bullied. After all, that's what we do now. We stand up for those being bullied by a system that they don't understand and really couldn't avoid.

    What percentage of prosecutors do I really think this of? Maybe 75 percent. Is that enough to make a generalization? Sure. And the other 25 percent leave me thinking, "It seems like he's a good guy, but there's got to be something wrong with him if he can work with those people. Maybe he's not as much of a good guy as I think."

    The other thing that ambimb mentions is whether or not someone could do more to help people from inside of the prosecutor's office then they could at a PD's office. I absolutely positively disagree. I discussed it a little bit here, but I really don't think that most prosecutor's offices give their attorneys, especially the newbies, much discretion to try to help people. How do you help people by imposing the "standard offer" day in and day out? And, if you're not willing to impose the standard offer, they'll just take the case away from you. Yeah, that's doing a lot of good. And, I think that there's a big effort made to brainwash the new little prosecutors into believing that all defendants are guilty and all defense attorneys are liars. If you buy into it, you're done helping people. And if you don't, you won't last long. Further, I think there are many prosecutor's offices where you will not get hired if you intend to be ethical and even slightly receptive to the defense. I can't say that this is true at every prosecutor's office, but I certainly think it's true at many.

    Someone commented and basically said, "But they're just doing their job. And, if some defendants are guilty, then isn't it a good thing that they're doing?" I have no problem with prosecutors doing their job. I get that. But (1) you don't have to be an asshole about it and (2) recognize that I'm just doing my job too. And, I think that was the point of this post. I don't think anyone is arguing that prosecutors shouldn't exist, just whether or not they're all a big bunch of jerks, and whether or not they should be characterized that way. And the answer is, "Not all, but many." and "Yes, because enough of them are."

    Lawyer Ads

    I was recently out of town for a couple of nights, and one thing that surprised me, watching my hotel room television in this city, was the lawyer commercials. First, that there were so many. And second, that they all had rhymes!

    I can't remember any of the commercials specifically, but this is generally how they went:

    [Picture of someone tripping on a sidewalk, then in a wheelchair.] "Got hurt on the sidewalk? Call Mike Falk. [Phone number on screen.]"

    [Picture of handcuffs.] "Got caught stealing? Call Jim Freeling."

    [Picture of a car crash.] "Got hurt in a car? Call Tom Farr."

    [Picture of an empty beer mug.] "Got hurt in a bar? Call Tom Farr." (Yes, that was the same guy.)

    [Picture of guy, jumping out a bed, wrapping the sheet around his waist, and a woman in the bed, saying, "It's not what you think!"] "Caught your neighbor in your bed? Call Bob Alfred."

    Ok, I totally made up that last one. But you get the point.

    And, I just keep picturing the career service office at the local law school. Next week's seminar: Discovering what field you can go into, based on your rhyme-ability.

    Man, I feel bad for the law school class valedictorian, Ivan Stanislawski. "I wanted to go into solo practice, but there was just no way for me to make the local mandatory rhyming commercial!"

    In Good Company?

    A report from the of the Secretary-General to Economic and Social Council lists the number of executions by country during 1999-2003 (5 leading countries in bold). While the report states that the number of executions are on the decline, you'll notice that the U.S. is still in the top five.

    Afghanistan 78
    Belarus 37-52
    China 6,687
    Dem. Rep. Congo 350

    Egypt 59+
    Iran 604+
    Japan 13
    Jordan 52+
    Nigeria 4
    Pakistan 48+
    Saudi Arabia 403+
    Singapore 138
    Sudan 53+
    Taiwan 67
    Tajikistan 35+
    Thailand 43
    Uganda 33
    USA 385
    Uzbekistan 35+
    Viet Nam 128+
    Yemen 144+
    Zimbabwe 3

    Source: Death Penalty Information Center at http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org, citing (Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General to Economic and Social Council, E/2005/3, Session July 29, 2005).

    LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA

    Do you think anyone has ever actually, I mean literally, committed suicide because they had an annoying song stuck in their head? I mean, really annoying?

    And, another thing... sometimes I feel like I get more annoying songs stuck in my head, or I get annoying songs more stuck in my head, when I'm starting to get sick. Like, maybe I have a lower tolerance for them because I already have a headache? Anyone else? Or maybe I'm just crazy...

    Sometimes I think it rubs off from my crazy clients.

    I need a nap.

    Woman to Question Sons in Her Murder Trial

    Wow, this sounds like it will be an interesting trial.

    The California courts really do have all of the fun, don't they?

    "I Can't Please To Wait A Woman"

    So, it turns out that Sunday night is not a good time to call D.A.s, so I'm back, and I'm rewriting my little Weekend Update. But, I can promise you, it was much more interesting the first time around.

    I went to see two movies this weekend: Red Eye and March of the Penguins. So, my weekend update is basically, now, two movie mentions and a few other things.

    First, if you own or operate a Mexican restaurant... Well, any bar or restaurant actually, but especially a Mexican restaurant, you should be required by law to have working bathrooms. If you have a customer who comes in, eats some Mexican food, maybe drinks some margaritas, and then goes to the women's room, and finds that it is "out of order," and then gets her boyfriend to stand guard so that she can go into the men's room, and then she goes to the bathroom in the men's room, and, it turns out, that toilet is broken too, and doesn't flush, well, that's just your problem, isn't it? Not to be too graphic, of course.

    "How can a Mexican restaurant not have a working bathroom? I mean, a Mexican restaurant of all things?"
    "Um, maybe because they wanted it to seem more like Mexico?"

    Moving on to the movies...

    Red Eye. Don't worry, I won't be giving anything away here. I wasn't planning on seeing it, but I saw this little review on Slate, and I figured it was worth checking out. It was your typical thriller, nothing too deep. It was a little scary, but not so scary that you'll have nightmares or anything. And if I could give one piece of advice about seeing this movie?

    If at all possible, try to see it in a packed theater, full of people who are more likely to be boisterous. Maybe teenagers. You know a theater like that? Generally, I'd prefer to be the only person in the theater, but this is one where it will be more fun if everyone around you gasps or screams when something scary happens, or cheers when something happens to the bad guy.

    Oh, and you know who was in it? Colby from Survivor. I can't find it on IMDB, but I'm pretty positive that was him. Also, I'm a much bigger fan of Rachel McAdams now. She kicks ass. Therefore, I've decided that she is also a contender for playing me in the movie or television version of my life.

    And now, March of the Penguins. Yes, I might give some things away here. It's not like it's a plotline with a lot of twists or anything, but if you're the type of person who likes to go into a movie knowing nothing about it, then you'll want to skip about 5 paragraphs ahead.

    I loved this movie. I laughed, I cried. Yes, that's right, I cried. Wanna make something of it? Now, granted, I am the kind of person who cries during telephone company commercials... but I'm willing to bet that I'm not the only person to cry at this movie.

    You know, back when I was a kid, we had to write book reports. One essential part of the book report standard format was a part called "Recommendation," or something like that. You were supposed to say what kind of audience you think would like this book. It was kind of a waste though, because generally, if a kid liked the book, they'd write "Everyone!" and if the didn't like the book, they'd put "No one!" without really putting much thought into why the book did or did not appeal to them personally or who else it might appeal to.

    With that in mind, I'll tell you who I would not recommend The March of The Penguins to. People, like the ones I discussed here, who are trying, unsuccessfully, to have a child, or those that have lost one. Because there is some loss in this movie. It turns out that the penguin life is a pretty tough one. And, I guess it depends on your outlook; Maybe it could be uplifting for people to see that nature is harsh, and many of God's creatures have difficulties getting and keeping little ones. But, on the other hand, if you're just trying to go out to a fun movie and you think it'll be cute just to see the baby penguins, and you're not expecting anything that'll make you cry, I just thought I should warn you that it might.

    The other thing is whether or not you should bring the kiddies. Hopefully, as a parent or caregiver or whatnot, you've got a good sense of whether or not your kid is up for it. Here are some things to keep in mind though: If your kid is going to be happier running up and down the aisle, take him or her to the playground, not the movies. I know, I know, I'm the one who went to a Rated G movie, I have to expect there to be kids around, but parents still have some responsibility to keep their kids in check. Also, think about whether or not your kid could really sit down for an hour long nature show on PBS or Animal Planet or whatever. Because, cute baby penguins not withstanding, it's still a nature show. And, as you may or may not have already noticed, sometimes sad or scary things happen in nature. If you need more proof that this might be a potentially traumatizing movie, read this review by a mother of a 6 year old.

    That said, I loved the movie. Loved it. I'm giving up on the dog, I want a penguin now.

    Ok, now let's talk about The 40 Year Old Virgin, which I did not see this weekend. A few weeks ago, when I first saw ads for this movie, I thought I'd really want to see it. But, unfortunately, it happens sometimes that when I seen a lot of commercials for a movie, I feel like I've pretty much already seen the whole movie, so why would I want to go to the theater and pay to see it again? So, I didn't go see that, and unless some of you comment that it kicked ass, I probably won't see it until it comes out on DVD.

    But, I will say this. The other day, my local news channel had this guy on TV, and he was a real live 40 year old virgin. Yup. For real. By choice, at least according to him. And he wasn't bad looking, so that could be true. Although, it could also be true that he tried it once or twice and couldn't, you know, get it going, so therefore he ended up staying a virgin. Who knows. And, truthfully, if you're holding out for marriage, fine, but... um... usually those people get married pretty young, don't they? I mean, 40? And what woman is going to want that responsibility? And now that he's "famous" and made the morning news circuit? If a woman did date him, when she introduces him to her friends they'll all say, "Hey, I know you, aren't you that 40 year old virgin?" That wouldn't be fun either.

    And then the news lady asked him, "Well, aren't you worried that when the time comes you won't know how to, since, you know, you haven't practiced?" And he said, "I can't please to wait a woman. I mean, I can't wait to please a woman." Yeah, you want to talk about a little overeager? This guy can't even get the words out of his mouth. And, now I'll move on from this subject, just in case someday my mother finds my blog.

    But the other thing was that they played a bunch of clips from the movie on the morning news, so, like I said, I felt like maybe I had seen all of the funny parts. If you saw it, though, and want to try to convince me otherwise, go ahead.

    Oh, and because I went to see two movies this weekend, guess what I got to see two times! The trailer for Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. Yes, I knew the words the second time around. So, I've added that and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to my "Looking Forward To" list on the right side.

    Oh, and I also caught an episode of Weeds this weekend too, and that was pretty funny, so I think it's season-pass-worthy. Check that out if you have Showtime.

    Overall, though, it was good weekend. It was a good stay-at-home-and-get-things-done kind of weekend, and you need those sometimes. Of course, I would have accomplished more if I didn't take the time to try to rewrite this post, but it's almost done now.

    So how was everyone else's weekend?

    Send Error Report? Don't Send?

    SEND ERROR REPORT? SEND ERROR REPORT?

    ARE YOU SERIOUS?

    WHY, do you think maybe if I send it, it will send back that huge blog update I just wrote, all about my weekend, which included movie reviews, and all sorts of other good stuff, and for all you know maybe it contained the secret to life, that Blogger obviously can't recover even though there is some sort of worthless link in the corner that says "Recover Post?"

    NO? I didn't think so.

    Take your error report and shove it.

    Stupid computer. I'll be back after I blow off some steam. I wonder if I have any D.A.s that I need to call back. Now would be a good time.

    5 Questions

    Following up on this earlier interview topic, here's 5 Questions for Legally Blonde:

    (Anyone else should feel free to answer them in my comments, or own their own blog, if you're so inclined, but I wrote them with Legally Blonde in mind, so they might not all apply.)

    1. Why law school? Do you know what you want to do after?

    2. Speaking of school, the first day of school will soon be upon us. Well, actually, just you. ("Ha, ha!" as Nelson Muntz would say.) Any thoughts on that all-important first day of school outfit?

    3. Magazine subscriptions: How many do you have? Which ones are the best? Others that you want to subscribe to? And then, once you get them, do you have a certain order that you read them in, or anything like that?

    4. What's your hidden talent?

    5. Do you have a favorite drinking game? Or does it just not require a game?

    Polling The Jury

    This story about polling the jury, reminds us just how important it can be.

    The closest I ever got was after a conviction, we went through the jury, "Guilty," "Guilty," "Guilty," finally we came to a woman who had smiled at me throughout the trial.

    Not only had she smiled at me through the trial, she nodded along with the things I said, and shook her head at the D.A., ever since voir dire. I have no idea why he didn't use a peremptory on her, because I thought that if there was any shot at winning that case it was her.

    She just looked at me, paused, looked away, looked back at me sympathetically, looked at my client, and then, finally, at least 30 seconds later, said "guilty."

    So close. Yet so far.

    (link via Alaskablawg)

    "Big Dogs Running! Big Dogs Running!"

    I finally watched the two episodes of The Law Firm that have been sitting on my Tivo for a few weeks now, and I actually really liked the show. I was pleasantly suprised.

    I liked the fact that the lawyers/contestants weren't judged by whether they won or lost, but by their actual performance. Sometimes, as a lawyer, you're simply handed an unwinable case, and you just have to do your best to come up with a strategy and play it out the best that you can.

    I think that the lawyers have a lot to learn, but that should come naturally with many of the mistakes they're making. It only takes one truly uncontrollable witness before you realize that you have to prep your witnesses. Again and again and again. Plus a few more times for the potentially crazy witnesses. The lawyers that said, "We went out to meet our client at his home, because that's where he is the most comfortable, so that's what he'll be like on the stand," met a very rude awakening.

    And the most important thing that I think all of these attorneys need to learn -and will learn- is to have a theory of the case. Preferably the same theory as their co-counsel. Without that, you're lost.

    On the other hand, cursing at a judge? You'd think that'd be something you'd learn not to do before you graduate law school.

    Overall, I thought the public defenders and criminal lawyers kicked ass. Would you expect anything less? I was particularly impressed with Chris, who may have been the only one who knew when and how to make an obejection.

    So, when's the next episode? Uh oh, it looks like maybe it's cancelled... Or, at least, on "hiatus."

    That reminds me, I still never found out who was the mystery boss on My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss...

    The title of this post is a particularly funny quote from the first episode of The Law Firm. Maybe you had to see it...

    Interview Time

    For those who haven't been following along, I volunteered over at Leslie's Omnibus to be "interviewed" - or to answer 5 questions at least.

    If you'd like to play along, here's how it works:
    Leave me a comment saying “Interview me, please.” I will respond by asking you five questions here on my blog (ideally, not the same questions you see here.) You update your blog with the answers to the questions. In that same post, you will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else. When others comment, asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

    Here we go...

    Dax is a two-pillow sleeper. How many pillow do you prefer, what kind (feather, down, foam, fiberfill, buckwheat...) and why? This has changed a lot over the past few years. Right now, I have one of those memory foam pillows that I love. But I feel like it's not high enough, so I sometimes put another thin, flat pillow under it. I also keep a lot of other pillows on the bed, but they're just for when I sit in bed watching The Amazing Race reruns on GSN and blogging, like right now, and then I throw them all on the floor when it's time for bed.

    But, actually, I think that for the past few weeks, I've been waking up with a little bit of a stiff neck, so it might be time to look into a new pillow set-up.

    Who was your favorite relative as a child? Definitely my gram - my mother's mother. I was the favorite grandchild and she'd always bring me a little gift (my favorite was those boxes of Barnum's Animal Crackers because after they were gone, I'd pretend the box, which had a string handle, was a purse.)

    When I think about it now, we had such different lives: she probably went as far as the 8th grade, she got married when she was about 16, and had lots and lots of kids. But then again, we have a lot in common: we both care a lot about family, and she taught me that you should really do things that you can be proud of. Gram died in 1999, before I even knew I was going to law school (more on that below).

    Sometimes I think about it, and I wonder what she, or even her parents, would think of me - they were farm people and I don't know if they'd be wowed or worried that their granddaughter turned into a lawyer.

    How and when did you decide you wanted to become an attorney? A public defender? It was the summer before my senior year of college, so, also the summer of 1999. (That was actually a pretty big year for me.) I needed a few more credits toward my politics minor, and I thought I'd try to do an internship, just because it'd be more fun than sitting in a classroom. I sent out resumes to a million different places, including some PACs, some political candidates, and one to a public defender's office. The PD's intern program was for college students to be "intern investigators" and they had a great training program and then turned us loose to investiate cases. I applied to it because I thought it'd be fun, and I guess I thought that maybe I'd want to be an investigator. (I had no real plan on what I was going to do after I graduated.)

    I think that I heard from the Public Defender's office first, and just kind of gave up on the rest of the applications. I still had a lot of paperwork to do to make sure I could get credits from my college, and I had to find housing near the PD's office, and I was just in a hurry to get something going.

    All of the other interns at the PD's office were applying to law school, and had already taken their LSATs and were always talking about things like law school rankings, and I think I felt kind of cool that I wasn't a loser like them. During the internship, though, I just started to think that what the attorneys did was cool, so I started to think about going to law school. So, I took the LSAT really quick and started applying to law schools, not really knowing much about what the whole law school thing was about (but, on the other hand, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I got out!).

    So, my decision to be an attorney and to be a public defender were one and the same. I went to law school ONLY to be a public defender, and was pretty disappointed to find out that you have to take all of these other pointless classes. Contracts? Can't we just skip to the part about contract killings? Property? You mean I can't just focus on "Stolen Property"?

    I also was really interested in the death penalty, and thought I'd eventually want to do capital defense. I haven't completely ruled it out, but as of right now, it interests me a lot less. Right now, the part of my job that I love the most of is the rotation of my cases. The fact that I get a new case, I devote myself to it for a few months to a year, and then it's gone and done. I mentioned last week that I handled about 700 cases in the past year, and I think that keeps it exciting and interesting. The capital lawyers that I know handled one, maybe two cases in the year. I know it sounds crazy, but I think I'd get frustrated and bored. But maybe someday I'll be ready to settle down and devote myself to one case like that.

    If you had $5,000 and 24 hours to spend it all -- and you had to spend it all, how would you do it? I'd actually do a lot of damage with this - I very rarely treat myself to things I want (I'm "frugal"), and even when I need something, I never have enough time to shop. So, let's assume I have the day off, and go for it. First, I'm running straight to a big department store, and the first thing I'm buying is fancy expensive nice sheets. Some fancy new pots and pans from Williams-Sonoma. I'd get a few new suits and nice shoes. Ok, that's enough for me. Then it's time for gifts for everyone - my parents, my boyfriend, my friends. Did I spend it all yet? If not, I'd be tired from shopping, and I'd use whatever is left over on a big spa day for my mother and me.

    If you could turn a favorite book into a movie, which book would it be, and how would you cast it? This is, by far, the hardest question. First, my favorite book of all time, A Prayer for Owen Meany, was already made into a movie. And a bad one, at that. (Simon Birch is very loosely based on Owen Meany - too loosely, which made it crappy).

    So, I was thinking about The Time Traveler's Wife, because I just read it and it was good, but I have such a hard time picturing characters I read in books. When I read, it just doesn't work that way.

    Clare, the title character, has red curly hair, and she's all different ages throughout the book. I guess we could use any actress and dye or perm their hair if we have to... For some reason, I'm thinking maybe Mary-Louise Parker for the adult Clare? Because she's sort of smart, and hip yet could play vulnerable. And I think Robert Downey, Jr. might make a good Henry. Something about his physical build, and the ability to play someone funny, who doesn't realize it's funny, with almost a physical sort-of comedy. Hmmm... I wonder if they've ever done a movie together...

    Wow, that was kind of tough, but fun. Who's up for being interviewed next?

    Homicide Line Up

    This is a must-read.

    Update on Last Week's Inspiration

    Hey, remember the woman who was "interviewing lawyers" for her husband? I just got a call from the private attorney she retained! Hooray - One less case for me!

    And, it just goes to show, you don't have to try to act like a crappy lawyer just to scare people off... some people just spontaneously do the right thing and hire a private lawyer when they can afford one.

    Following up on the earlier question, is $5K a fair cost? I still don't know. This was definitely the client's first arrest, and it was a misdemeanor assault which will almost definitely be made a non-criminal offer pretty quickly (that I don't think the client is likely to take) and, in my experience, is likely to eventually be dismissed after the complainant doesn't cooperate.

    I guess if that's the going rate around here, then so be it. But I think that I handled about 700 cases in the past year. I realize that a P.D.'s office is very different in a lot of ways (e.g. We can cover our overhead in massive bulk and we often stand on a case only one time and it counts toward our caseload), but that still seems like A LOT of money. Almost enough to tempt me into private practice... Nah!

    Fall Fantasy Season

    As you know, fantasy baseball season is in full effect. I've been meaning to post the league standing here, but honestly, I was waiting until I was doing a little better in the standings. As of right now, I think I'm in sixth place, but I'm hoping to move up soon. (On that note, anyone have a good trade they want to offer me?)

    Not too long ago, someone from the Blawgers Fantasy Baseball League emailed me to ask, "So, are you going to do a Fantasy Football League too?"

    The short answer is, "no." The long answer is because I don't know a thing about football, and I have absolutely no interest in finding out. And, I feel like the announcers shout too much. Even if you turn the volume low, they're always using a shouting tone of voice, and that bothers me. If my boyfriend dares to watch football with me in the room, I'm always shouting back at the television, "STOP SHOUTING AT ME! I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TO YOU." And then I shout at my boyfriend (I have to shout, because otherwise he can't hear me over the shouting football announcers), "CAN YOU TURN THAT DOWN?!?! THEY'RE SHOUTING TOO MUCH!!!" See, in baseball, the announcers use nice soothing voices. Gosh, how I dread football season.

    Anyway, if not football, what should we do as fantsay baseball season wraps up? I'd like to suggest the Fantasy Fashion League.

    I'm not a label hound at all, but I think it might be fun. More fun than football, that's for sure. Unfortunately, I don't think there are any free providers (yet). (For this site, before August 15th and the registration fee is $18, and after August 15, the registration fee is $24.)

    Anyone else interested in giving it a try?

    Deja Vu Dad

    The other night, I was walking home from work, and it was about a million degrees, and I was sweating, and my shoes were killing me, and as I was limped home I was just MISERABLE.

    I was at that point in miserableness where I was pretty much whimpering with every limping step I took, when I saw a familiar figure two blocks ahead, headed right toward me.

    "Is that my father?" I thought. Well, it sure looked like him, but I was just too far to tell. And, what, with the million degree heat making the air all wavy, maybe it was just a mirage or something.... But he was headed right toward me. And carrying a big bag of fast food.

    As he got a little closer, he shifted the extra-large fast food cup under one arm, so that his hand was free to wave to me, in case I didn't see him. A big obvious wave, like, "Yoo Hoo, over here!"

    That's when I realized, "What the hell would my father be doing here?" He doesn't really live close enough to just drop by. My first thought was, "But it's a good surprise. Especially with a big cold drink." My second thought was, "Oh god, something so serious has happened that he couldn't tell me over the phone... please don't let it be something horrible..."

    I waved back, he waved, and I thought, "Alright. He's waving, that's good. And he's got an appetite, and figures I will too, so that's good." Although, the truth is, I think my father could think about food in any situation. Maybe even more so in a time of tragedy.

    Finally, my father and I were just across the street from each other, waiting for the traffic to slow so that we could cross to meet each other, when I thought, "Hey wait, I don't think that's my father."

    I crossed to the corner where the man was standing and he looked and me, kind of confused and said, "Oh." And I knew it was weird - I know he saw me wave back to him - and he must've been waving to someone behind me. I didn't want to turn around and look behind me. I was glad I had called my boyfriend and he said he'd come meet me - What if this was some sort of weird elaborate mugging scheme where try to look like your relative... (gee, could I be just a little paranoid?) I didn't really know what to say.

    "I thought you were someone I knew..." I said. Actually, I was thinking of saying "I thought you were my father" but I thought that was just too weird. Especially, it occurred to me, because maybe this guy was somehow trying to hit on me. That'd be weird, but I guess it would be possible. And then it'd be kind of mean to say, "I thought you were my father," to this old guy.

    "Me too," he said, "I thought you were my daughter. You look just like her!"

    "Oh. Weird," I said, "Because, actually, I thought you looked like my dad."

    "I told her I'd go out to pick up some food. I thought maybe she came down to help me carry it. I think she's even wearing the same thing..."

    "I couldn't figure out what my father would be doing around here."

    "I'm just visiting. I hope you meet her. She lives on that street (pointing about 2 blocks from my apartment), so maybe you'll see each other sometime. If you see a girl that looks just like you, you can tell her that you met her father..."

    "Yeah, that'd be weird. Ok, well, take care..."

    "Yeah, you too. Nice to meet you..."

    And that was it. How strange is that? I felt like I had some weird time-traveling experience or something. Or caught my father leading a double life. It was so weird.

    A few seconds later, my boyfriend met up with me on the street corner. I pointed to the man, who was now headed down the block, and asked my boyfriend, "Who does that look like?" He named a guy that we knew from the neighborhood.

    "Uh... But don't you think he looks like my father?" I asked.

    "Nah, I don't see it."

    I guess it would've been even weirder if the guy had just disappeared though. Yeah, that would've really been a story to tell.

    Hump Day Inspiration

    Another work story? Could it be? 2 days in a row? Amazing. And you thought this blog was just about reality tv...

    As I think I've mentioned here before, the two kinds of clients that annoy me most are: 1. Clients that can could afford private counsel (but somehow got away with being assigned a pubic defender); and 2. Clients with an overly-involved wife, girlfriend, or baby momma (or any combination thereof.)

    Today I had two messages among my many voicemails that stood out as exactly those kinds of clients.

    One of the messages was from a woman, calling on behalf of her husband (yes, that counts as category #2), because she's "interviewing" potential lawyers to hire, but as she said in the voice mail, "I want to interview you to see if you'll be as good as a real lawyer." (And, there we go, that sounds like category #1.) We have a double winner. Um, yeah, ok, you're on the top of my list to call. I'll get right on that.

    Second message was from a man, who, I had already figured out from his file, is a white, middle age, upper-middle-class client who has been assigned to me in a non-traditional way. (Meaning that my office took the case for a reason other than "He's-poor-and-can't-afford-a-lawyer" and now I'm stuck dealing with him.) He asks me to call him back because he has a few questions about his case and he would like to know what is going to happen on the next court date, and he would like to know how likely it is that the case will get dismissed on the next court date, and how many times he will have to come back to court for this case, and why haven't they dismissed it yet since obviously the complainant doesn't want to go forward... finally, thankfully, my voice mail cuts him off. Here's a hint, if my voice mail has to cut you off, you probably won't end up very high on my list of people to call back.

    Next message...

    Oh, guess who it is again... the white man (who can afford a lawyer). This time, he starts off by leaving the date of his arrest, the date of his arraignment, his docket number (which, for some reason, EVERY client calls a "document number." As in, Hey, I've never heard of a "docket" or a "docket number," so therefore, my lawyer must be just saying it wrong, so I'll change it to what must be right and call it a "document number" and maybe she'll pick up on it and start pronouncing it right), the arrest number, the name of the complainant, his next court date, his home phone number, his cell phone number, his work number... As if the reason that I haven't called him back yet was because I didn't have enough numbers to go by.

    And here's the thing about clients who leave multiple messages: I don't like them. Now, see, I recognize the conflict. Most of the time, I'm amazed at how much my clients don't seem phased by being arrested. They don't know their lawyer's name, they don't know their next court date, they get rearrested and it doesn't occur to them that they should call their lawyer, it's time for trial and it doesn't occur to them that they should maybe try to get in touch with their lawyer. With most of my clients, I wish they'd call me. Like Lammers, I wish they'd show up for a meeting or do something, anything, to show me that they care about their case. But then there are a few who check in way too much. And, I can't blame them. Hell, if I were arrested, I'd be worried. I'd probably call my lawyer ten times a day. So, fine, ok, I shouldn't be too offended by a second message...

    But do you want the reason why I haven't called you back yet? It's because I'm listening to your second message. And the third. And, if you figure that I had about 3 minutes per client allocated to returning phone calls... then you just blew your 3 minutes with your 3 messages.

    Oh wait, there's one more.

    In messages three and four, Mr. White Guy Client wants to know if maybe there's some way his case has been dismissed (um, what, since your last message?), if he should call the D.A. (the answer is always NO!), if there's someone he should call to tell them it was all a mistake (um, I guess that would be me, so consider it done), how many times he'll have to come back to court for this case (probably a lot), what are the chances that this case will be dismissed on the next court date (slim to none), and why they haven't dismissed his case yet (um, seriously, do you mean since the beginning of the message?).

    And that's another thing. Clients seem to have this bizarre idea, and I have no idea where they get it, that cases just spontaneously get dismissed for no reason whatsoever. Like, "Eh, we thought about it, and nah, we shouldn't bother this guy anymore..." And then they always tell you this as if it's fact. "Oh, that case? Oh, that one is getting dismissed." Really, why? "Oh, it was just a possession." Oh, and, what, they legalized possession now so they're dismissing all of the cases? Good to know. Thanks for filling me in, since the legislature didn't bother to.

    But back to the story. Generally clients like this and messages like this drive me crazy. And, as much as I think "I'm never calling you back, jerk!" I generally call all of my clients back pretty quickly. Especially the annoying ones, because I just want to get it over with.

    But, today, I was just too busy. And I didn't get to call them back until about 7 p.m. By then, I was just exhausted and I just wanted to return their calls so I wouldn't have to deal with them in the morning.

    First I called back Mr. White Client. I tried my best to explain the whole process. What has happened so far in court, what will happen on the next court date, ways that the case is likely to be disposed of, when and how the case could get dismissed, what I would be doing with his case between now and the next court date, and what he should do between now and the next court date. And, I guess maybe it was because I had some time to cool off before I called him back, but I was an unusually sweet version of myself.

    And you want to know what he said to me?

    He said, "Miss Justice, I don't know what to say to you. You have done so much to help me and reassure me. I was so afraid when I got arrested, and everyone from your office was so kind to me. I've been thinking about it... and I don't know how you do it. I was thinking that if I had called my friends or my family, no one could have helped me out as much as you did, and you have already put so much time into my case, and you don't even know me. I served this country in Vietnam. And I'm happy to know that I did it for wonderful young people like you. I'm not a born again Christian or anything, but I go to church. And ever since I got arrested, I've been saying a prayer for you. I hope this case will be over soon, and I hope I'll never end up in this situation again, but if I am, then I'm glad that there are lawyers like you."

    Wow. I bet you were expecting something bad, weren't you? Yeah, I kind of was too.

    And I just said, "Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it." And we got off the phone. And, feeling refreshed from that, I took a deep breath and called my other client's wife. The one who was "interviewing" lawyers.

    All the while thinking, "Guess what. I already have a job, I don't need to go on interviews."

    In the past few months, I've made a rule against dealing with my clients' families, and deal only directly with my client unless my client specifically asks me to do otherwise. I feel like it cuts down on the number of times I have to repeat the same story for everyone in the family (if my client asks me to speak to his family, I ask him to name one family member who will be my liaison and to direct everyone else to direct their questions through him or her), and it just cuts down on a lot of the baby mama drama ("Your his wife? I just spoke to his wife yesterday. Oh, well, she said she was his wife.") which I just can't deal with.

    But this client has asked me to deal directly with his wife, because her English is better than his. So, I called her back.

    And, I did the same thing. (Sometimes, I really wish I had a recording.) I explained the case, and what would happen next, and what to expect in the next few weeks. I tried my hardest to explain it in a simple, yet informative, sympathetic manner that I would want someone to use with my mother if something ever happened to me. And I kept reminding myself of the kind client's words in the last phone call.

    When she said, "Well, people said a real lawyer would be better," I told her that my belief is that if someone can afford to hire a lawyer they should - it helps starving lawyers pay their rent, and it leaves valuable resources (that's me!) for those who need it most. I told her that there are very good private lawyers and not-as-good private lawyers, just like there are very good public defenders and not-as-good public defenders. I told her that the advantage of a private lawyer is that they may have a smaller caseload, but that I'd do my best to give her husband's case all of the attention it required. And, of course, I threw in that I'm a "real" lawyer who graduated from a "real" law school and passed the very same "real" bar as private attorneys. I just work for a different kind of law firm.

    It's hard, because sometimes when a client mentions hiring a private lawyer, I almost feel like I should do my best to blow them off. I mean, maybe if they see that I don't care that much, or I'm not so great, they'll go hire a private lawyer. And I do believe that if you can afford to hire a private attorney, you should. But, on the other hand, I can't bring myself to feed into peoples' negative perception of public defenders. Well, except for a few select clients - they can think whatever they want of me, as long as it works and I can get rid of them.

    She told me that the lawyers she had spoken to had quoted her prices up to $5K, (For a misdemeanor assualt! Private lawyers, is this what you're really getting?) and while she certainly couldn't afford that, she still wanted to know if "you get what you pay for."

    We talked more about the case. How she had heard through the grapevine that the complainant doesn't want to go forward, but understood that this kind of gossip isn't always reliable. And she wanted to know how it was that her husband was arrested when he was just defending himself. Why hadn't the police listened to both of their stories and then decided who to arrest? She felt that because her husband didn't speak English as well, his story was ignored. He has injuries, too, and the police didn't even care about that.

    She said something that I hear so often, especially from immigrant or first-generation Americans: She had expected a lot more from the justice system. She said that she thought the system was run by smart people - lawyers and judges who knew the laws, but was disappointed to find that the police had so much power to make a decision based on so little information. And she's right about that.

    I told her that I agreed with her. And I told her that I hoped she would spread the word. That the next time she's called for jury duty, she'll come out and speak her mind. That she should tell everyone she knows that the police aren't always right, and that just because someone is arrested it doesn't mean they did something wrong. That her husband will speak up and tell people that he was arrested (hopefully, after the case is over) so that his friends will think, "Wow, he is such an upstanding citizen. If he can get arrested, anyone can," and remember that the next time they come in for jury duty.

    We talked for a while, then I told her that she should let me know before the next court date whether she had hired a private attorney so I could prepare a copy of the paperwork.

    And she said, "Miss Justice, I'll keep looking. But, so far, you're the only one who has really taken the time to listen to me and explain everything to me. I think that you may be the best lawyer for my husband's case. I'll keep looking, but in the meantime, I'll do what you said and spread the word about the police. And I'll spread the word that the public defenders are really good too."

    It was a good way to end the day.

    Dress to Impress

    You want stories about work? Here's one...

    Last week, it was about a hundred degrees. Or more. And, as always, I went to court in a suit, and my client (who was not charged with prostitution) came to court in something that was sort of like a sports bra and a little skirt.

    The judge told her that she was inappropriately dressed and that he had no choice but to adjourn the case to a day when she could return to court dressed more appropriately.

    I jumped in (it is my job, after all), and tried to explain to the judge that it was very hot out and that it was difficult to dress appropriately for the weather outside and court at the same time... (as if we, the lawyers and the judge, don't do it every day, all summer long)...

    Finally, the judge just went on with the case anyway, ignoring the fashion faux pas. And, in the end, he had to adjourned the case anyway, because that's sort of the name of the game in criminal cases, unfortunately.

    Later, my father and I were exchaning, "It was sooo hot..." stories. I told him that it was so hot that I managed to get a fairly conservative judge to allow my client to appear in only a sports bra and a short skirt.

    "Don't get me wrong," I said, "I'm all for appropriate dress in court. I didn't want to look at her belly either, but it's just hard for people when it's a hundred degrees..."

    "I don't really agree," my father told me. "I don't think the court should keep people from wearing what they what to wear."

    "Really?" I asked.

    "No, of course not. I mean, let's say someone is charged with wife beating. How's a jury going to know he's a wife beater if he can't wear his wife beater to court? If he's forced to disguise that from the jury?"

    Um, yeah, thanks dad.