2006 Public Defender Blog Awards

PDs just don't get the acknowledgment they deserve. You can do your part by getting over to PD Stuff and voting in the 2006 Public Defender Blog Awards

(I am in no way lobbying for votes. I haven't even voted yet - but I will. I'm really enjoying reading all of the PD blogs, some of which I hadn't seen before. And I'm still really torn on the Best Blog by a Public Defender Investigator category.)

Whoever you choose, get out there and vote. Polls are open until midnight, Friday, January 5, 2007.

Untitled Follow-Up

Well, it's been almost one year and I am finally ready to follow-up on the Untitled post from last January.

The friend that I was thinking about when I wrote that post is finally pregnant (shout out to modern science), and far enough along that I feel safe writing about it.

The acquaintance whose newborn died has since had a healthy and happy daughter.

And the final commenter is now counting two little blessings.

What a difference a year makes.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from Blonde Justice!

I'm out of here, see you when all this is over!


Friday! Finally! And this is the big one!

Stop me if I've told this one before...

Why did the blonde write "T.G.I.F." on her shoes?

So she could remember...

Toes Go In First.

Ready For Christmas

I have a feeling that this Christmas is going to turn out just fine.

Despite the fact that I never got organized enough to send out Christmas cards, or put up my pink Christmas tree (or any of my pink Christmas decorations, really), or figure out the perfect gift for my mother...

I still think it's all going to be okay.

I mean, there's still time, right? Right?

Beware of Box

I did most of my Christmas shopping online this year, and I decided to ship everything to my parents' house, where I will be for Christmas, rather than packing it in my luggage to bring to my parents' house.

I had everything shipped to my name at my parents' address. In the extra address line, I added, "DO NOT OPEN TIL XMAS!" just in case someone got curious.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my mother is really nosy, and might need a little more of a direct warning.

So I called my mother and told her, "I'm having some things shipped to the house for Christmas. Don't open them."

My mother, as nosy as she is, still tried to get some type of clue.

I could almost hear her mind working.

"Well... umm.... how many boxes are coming? How big are those boxes going to be? Where are they coming from? Maybe you should give me the tracking numbers so I know when to be home..."

Again and again, I just kept telling her, "Just sign for the boxes and don't open them!"

She must've been desperate when she asked, "Does it need refrigeration? Don't you at least want me to put it in the fridge?"

What?! What did she think I bought?

So, in my most serious voice, I said, "Ok, fine... if she starts barking, you can give her a milk-bone. But that's it."

My mother has now called me 3 times to ask if I really shipped a dog to her house, and what kind of dog it is, and where it came from...

Dexter Finale Tonight

I am so excited.

I can't remember being this excited for a TV show in a long time.

Ok, maybe I was this excited for Weeds. Showtime has gotten so good.

California, Florida Suspend Executions

I don't blog much news, legal or otherwise, but I thought this was newsworthy and certainly not being covered in the media much that I've seen.

California, Florida Suspend Executions after an execution by lethal injection in which it took 34 minutes for Angel Nieves Diaz to die.
Executions in Florida normally take no more than about 15 minutes, with the inmate rendered unconscious and motionless within three to five minutes. But Diaz appeared to be moving 24 minutes after the first injection, grimacing, blinking, licking his lips, blowing and appearing to mouth words.

As a result of the chemicals going into Diaz's arms around the elbow, he had an 12-inch chemical burn on his right arm and an 11-inch chemical burn on his left arm, Hamilton said.

That's a civilized nation for you.

The Perfect Gift

Last night I ran into someone who sits near Erin and should know her.

I pulled her aside and said, "Sooo... what do you know about Erin?"

At first she was a little weirded out, she said something like, "Why do you want to know about Erin?" and then, I guess she figured it out and she said, "Oh!"

She thought about it for a minute and said, "Well, I don't really know her that well, she really stays to herself." (This made me feel better for not knowing who she was at all.)

Then she said, "I really only know two things about her. She's Irish and she must love Starbucks."

"Starbucks?" I asked.

"Yeah, I see her leaving here and coming back with a Starbucks cup all the time. She must make a few Starbucks runs a day."

Wow, how perfect is that?

Gimme Your Advice

I am seeking advice on two wholly separate topics:

1. I got a girl in the office Secret Santa who I've never met. And who I may not meet before the exchange. Here's what I know from asking everyone else "What do you know about Erin?" She's a lawyer, she's Irish (or at least partially Irish), she... I don't know anything else. Limit is $30. I was thinking of something universal, like a gift card, but I worried that it kind of detracts from the point of a Secret Santa. (Why not just hand over the cash then?) I also considered a gift card/ small item combo. (Like a Starbucks card and mug?) I'd also like to just be a little more creative with it - as if I have that in me, this time of year. All ideas appreciated.

2. A fellow PD blogger emailed for book suggestions to send to a client. Here's what we know about the client: The client is Caucasian, in his mid-30's, he's interested in drawing and art.

One good habit, now that you're a PD, is to keep an eye on the $1 bin. Every now and then I've picked something up and kept it in my office, and eventually I come up with the perfect client to fit the book or vice versa.

I've found that many clients like books on the justice system or other prisoners (which is why I can't wait until Injustice comes out in paperback!) I just try to be cautious that I'm not going to be encouraging my client's crime by letting them read about it. (Some clients will be inspired by reading about another drug addict's plight, others will just crave drugs more.) My clients have enjoyed All God's Children and Live From Death Row by Mumia Abu-Jamal.

I've had a few African-American clients who have told me they were really inspired by Think Big and other books by Dr. Ben Carson, sometimes available in the $1 bin. I've seen Dr. Carson, and he's an amazing speaker. He's an African-American man who grew up in the inner-city and went on to become a world renowned pediatric neurosurgeon. I think it might be of interest to anyone (I liked it), but so far I personally have only had African-American clients read it.

(There are more books I can think of that are of more interest to African-American clients, such as White Mans Justice, Black Mans Grief and Black Robes, White Justice: Why Our Legal System Doesn't Work for Blacks but I'm trying to stick to the question. But they're out there, in case anyone else is wondering.)

I think fiction is a good idea, it gives the client a bit of an escape from their everyday life. I keep thinking of Harry Potter too (although that one will be harder to find in the $1 bin) because it accounts for the fact that clients can't always read at a high level and the cover art might encourage his artistic side. I also think Grisham books or the DaVinci Code books are pretty popular, and probably easy to find cheap used copies of. I've only read one book by Carl Hiassen, but he's usually pretty easy to find cheap used copies of, and I think his books are easy to read and interesting enough.

So... anyone else? Gift advice? Book advice? Books that I can give both to my Secret Santa and to a client?

Broke My Streak

By the way, I broke my "no plea" streak. I think I took 3 pleas this week - 1 on Tuesday and 2 on Thursday. So, we're back in business. Let the Christmas shopping begin.

Although, none of the pleas were to crimes and no one went to jail. Do you think that still counts?

On another note, I also realized that I went a little over a month without Starbucks, a streak that I finally broke one day last week when a friend bought me Starbucks.

Because, really, who can afford Starbucks when you're not rainmaking with $50 pleas?

The Alcohol Made Me A Racist

First, Kramer goes crazy with the n-word. Then, the gay kid (the gay kid of all people!) on The Real World comes out with the n-word and blames it on an alcohol problem.

Um, alcohol made you a racist?

Here's what I think. I have never ever uttered the n-word. Never once in my little life. And I don't think there's any amount of alcohol in the world that would make it come out of my mouth.

So I don't really get blaming it on alcohol or anger. Because I could come with a million mean things to call someone when I get mad, and the n-word wouldn't be on the list. It's not like there aren't other mean things you can call someone.

(If you want my opinion, Tyree was in the wrong in starting the fight, and in the beginning of the fight, but he was nowhere near as bad as Davis who took it to a whole 'nuther level.)

And one more thing about The Real World? That guy (Alex?) that the girls are fighting over and crying over and everything? He's ugly and kind of too feminine looking and they could all do better. And then Colie brings home probably the only other guy in all of Denver who is a bigger loser. And I had heard that Denver is full of hot, single men.

And, so, that's where I stand on this season of Real World so far. And the n-word.

World AIDS Day

When I started as a PD, I was absolutely shocked at how many of my clients were infected with HIV/AIDS.

I remember one of my first clients who told me he had AIDS. I asked his permission to tell the Judge, and he consented.

When the case was called, I approached the judge and tried to get my client released, pleading, "Please, Judge, he has AIDS." The judge said, "Counselor, many of your clients have AIDS. What's your point? He can get his medicine in jail."

And it's true. Many of my clients have HIV/AIDS. As to whether or not they get their medicine in jail (or, the right medicine) is still open to debate.

Please check some of these AIDS websites today (and feel free to add your own in the links in the comments):