Shark

I did get to watch half of the premiere of Shark the other night too. I missed maybe the first 20-30 minutes.

I had seen a commercial for Shark a few weeks ago, and, basically, here's the premise:
Sebastian Stark reevaluates his life after a wife beater he once defended finally ends up killing her. To atone, he takes a job with the high-profile crime unit of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

Before I even saw the show, I had a problem with the premise. I just don't think that defense attorneys think this way. If a guilty client goes free, I don't feel bad - I think that's the way the system works, and the police and prosecutors should have done their job. Our system is imperfect - innocent people go to prison, guilty people go free. I think defense attorneys (especially one described as "a notorious defense attorney," leading me to believe he's been around the block a few times) know this.

Sure, it would be disturbing to know that the person you represented later killed someone. But I don't think defense attorneys are responsible for every later act of their clients. If I represent a completely innocent person and after his acquittal he goes out and kills someone, either accidentally or purposely - am I somehow responsible for that death? No. Likewise, it's not my Nobel Prize if he wins one either. I only deal with the crime charged, the single accusation - not my client's whole life - good or bad.

So, a defense attorney's client kills someone and the defense attorney "reevaluates" and "atones." Do you think that when my clients go on to do something good with their lives, the prosecutors ever "reevaluate" and "atone?"

Fine. Let's concede that it's just a premise. Then he goes to the DA's office (to atone) and has to try a pop-star accused of murder within 48 hours. He has a staff of little underlings (ala House) who run around doing his work (and being his conscience- ala House).

Part of this trial prep occurs in his home, where he's built a perfect replica of a courtroom - complete with jury feedback, video screens, and anything else you can imagine in your dream Barbie courtroom. That's kind of cool.

Despite all this prep, when the time comes, this "notorious" defense attorney, tells his little prodigy to sit down and, instead, decides not to cross-examine the pop-star accused of murder because she reminds him too much of his daughter.

(Can you imagine a real murder trial where a defendant testified and the prosecutor didn't cross-examine?)

Later, though, he reconsiders and decides to cross-examine her. And, is somehow allowed to.

Here, Shark falls into the trap mentioned in the comments of the previous post - rather than elicit evidence through testimony, the attorney just gets up and testifies.

To paraphrase, "Why is it then, that the LAPD crime lab says with 99% accuracy that the video found in that camera matches the camera you used to make your first music video?"

Umm, did they? Did you reopen the prosecution case to elicit that testimony that you just discovered that morning? Or does the fact that you are saying it make it true? Objection!

But don't worry about that. The defense attorney doesn't object, and, the next thing we know, the little pop-star is confessing and crying on the stand, "I didn't mean to kill him..."

And all the defense attorney can say is "Can we have a recess?" - The surest sign that the case has just been lost.

It's ok. Legal shows don't have to be perfectly realistic. In fact, if they were, they probably wouldn't be worth watching. (Although, I always worry that jurors that watch too much TV are thinking, "Why can't she just get up there and say 'Isn't it true...' and tell us what happened? Why is she doing this whole slow process of asking questions? Is she stupid or something?")

Then there was a whole secondary plot about his wife and his daughter, none of which I cared much about, but I'm sure it was there either because (1) this is the premiere, so they're setting up the characters or (2) people like my mother like that sort of thing.

Overall, though, I think Shark was far better than Injustice, and I may end up watching another episode. If you're interested in seeing the Series Premiere, it seems like you might be able to watch it on the CBS website by following that link.

And, finally, call me blonde, but I didn't get why the show is called Shark when his name is Stark. Maybe it's because there are a lot of lawyer jokes out there about Sharks, or this guy is a "shark in the courtroom" - but then why does his name have to be Stark, which is just so close to Shark?

I kept thinking throughout the episode, "Am I hearing them wrong? Did they just say Stark or Shark? What's his name again? What's the name of this show again?" And then I was thinking "Maybe it's like the Cosby show, where there was nobody on the show named Cosby, since they were the Huxtables, and it was named for one of the actors..." and trying to figure out the names of all the actors.

Why distract me like that (I got it! James Woods! Wait, that doesn't make sense...)? It's not based on a real person, the writers could pick whatever name they wanted, so why not just name him Shark (look at House, they named the main character House) or call the show Stark?

Justice? This is an Injustice!

Oh my goodness... If you're going to make a television shows supposedly based on "law," how freakin' hard is it to hire a real person who graduated from law school, or who has even stepped foot in a courtroom, or who has even watched a television courtroom drama, who can say, "Um, no, this has absolutely no basis in reality."

I'm watching Justice tonight. By the time I got to the opening credits, I wasn't sure I wanted to keep watching.

But I did.

And then I regretted it.

Except that it was bloggable.

And I learned some new interesting theories in criminal law.

Here's one little gem I picked up from Justice: If you have some incriminating evidence, don't give it to your criminal defense lawyer, because then they're legally bound to turn it over to the prosecution. Hmmm. Wow. So, all of my clients who I know are guilty... I should be calling the prosecutor to turn them in? I'll have to get to work on that tomorrow morning. Thank you, Justice.

And, second, I learned that if you, as a lawyer, suspect that someone else in the client's family committed the crime, you're just screwed. You can't bring that up in trial because you represent the whole family. (Really? The whole family? How about extended family? 3rd cousins?)

And, third, the family member admitting on the stand, "I know he didn't do it." "How do you know he didn't do it?" "Because I did it!" Oh, c'mon, we've all seen that on L&O plenty of times. Way more times than it has happened in real life.

My mind hasn't seen this kind of UNREALISTIC TELEVISION OVERLOAD since my mother made me watch Kevin Hill.

Justice, call me. I can help.

Why Is It...

That when you just spent, oh, let's say, an hour, typing this stupid motion, and then stupid WordPerfect, which should just be outlawed anyway, stops "responding," and devours everything you've done...

Why is it that it feels a thousand times worse to retype things you've already typed?

I mean, it makes sense that is should feel a little bit worse than the first time through, but it really feels at least a thousand times worse.

Even the things that usually give me a little bit of pleasure, like quoting the prosecutor's motion and filling it with "[sic]" to highlight all of his spelling and grammar mistakes, are about a thousand times less pleasurable when I'm just redoing them.

"It's kind of... a bummer," as Ellen Feiss would say.

Hi-Tech Mocha Warmer Discovered

I'll admit, I kinda sorta want this for my desk.

Although, I kind of doubt it will work that well. I bought my mother a somewhat similar contraption, where you fill the top cup with butter (and garlic, if you'd like) to dip your lobster into... and I didn't think it kept the butter that warm. So, could it really keep a whole grande mocha warm through the morning court session? I'm not so convinced.

Turn It Up

What I want to know is... XM or Sirius?

Let me give you a few factors that might effect your advice:

1. I'm really looking for something for the car, so the actual radio itself doesn't matter as much - I'm going to go with one installed directly into the car. (I think XM has better portable radios than Sirius, but at this point, it's not a factor for me.)

2 I'm mostly in the car for long drives, including an occasional somewhat-long morning commute.

3. I don't really like to listen to most talk radio (I don't listen to Howard Stern, who is on Sirius), but I do like a lot of the NPR shows (which are also on Sirius).

4. Mostly I'll be listening to a lot of music, so a good variety of good music stations would be best.

5. While I am a baseball fan (MLB is on XM), I'm probably not in my car during most of the games anyway (not a lot of 8 am games). And, I'm usually within range to get regular AM broadcasts for my favorite teams.

So, tell me what you think. And feel free to leave comments if you have more info for me.

I had to take down the poll because somehow it turned into "A Piercing for Erica! What should I get pierced? Eyebrow, lip, or other." How strange is that? So far, everyone says eyebrow.

Google For Blondes

Speaking of my mother...

When I was home last weekend, my mother mentioned that she had "looked up" a lawyer I had mentioned in an earlier conversation.

Her exact words were, "I looked up that lawyer you were talking about."

I know that she can't use the internet herself, based on the number of phone calls I receive that begin with, "I need you to find something on the computer internet for me..." (Yes, she sometimes calls it "the computer internet." Or "the world wide web.")

Since she couldn't have meant the internet, I wasn't sure what she meant by "looked up." I thought it was kind of like when I sometimes see a "Closed" sign on a store that reads "Closed, Please Call Again," and I think, "I didn't call, I stopped by. And you were closed." But in the olden days, to call on someone meant to visit, so maybe "look up" had an old-fashioned meaning too.

So, I asked. "When you say you 'looked him up,' what do you mean by that?"

My mother answered quite simply, "I looked him up on google on the internet."

Whoa. We are now entering a whole new world. Google?!?

I decided to throw something new into the mix and see how she handled it.

"You know, mom, if you look someone up on google, you can just say you 'googled him.' You can use it as a verb, most people will know what it means."

She stopped to take this in for a minute. I could just see the wheels turning as she processed that little tidbit.

And, then, all of the sudden, she said, with a totally straight face, "Well, then... I yahoo-ed him too."

Blonde Justice On... Free Stuff

You really can't beat free stuff. And in the last few days, I've come into a lot of it.

Saturday morning, in a parking lot near my home, there was a little neighborhood flea market. I scored free basil from someone who had apparently grown too much of it. (And, no, it wasn't "free with purchase," because that's not really free.)

On my way home from the free basil expedition, I picked up a little abandoned wicker basket from the ground. I have plans to do something really cute and Eastery with it next spring.

Saturday night, a friend had concert tickets she couldn't use. I got to see an excellent concert for free. (No, I can't tell you who, because then you'll google it to see what town he, she or they were in, and you'd have me all figured out. Unless I'm really writing this about a few Saturdays ago, in which case I would have tricked you. But I'm not, it was this past Saturday, 2 days ago, so I'd better not say more.)

Sunday morning, I drove past a sign for a yard sale. I pulled over, and there were 2 big signs on the lawn. One read "Everything Free" and the other read "All Free." I took a new spatula and a pretty blue little... gravy thing, I guess. Or tiny pitcher. Or something.

Who the heck just fills their lawn with free stuff? Those people, I guess.

It's too bad I don't know anyone who would want a bunch of free Cabbage Patch Kids, because there was a whole trash bag full of them. Just think, those things used to be so valuable. And, I thought this was cute, the first Cabbage Patch Kid I pulled out of the bag was naked, and a little girl who had written her name ("KELLY") on the kid's backside. And, what was funny about it is, I get it, because those kids come with a signature on their bum, which kind of makes you think "Wait, I'm supposed to write my name on the kid's butt?"

Then, Sunday afternoon, I saw my mother, who must think that I'm incapable of food shopping and preparation (and she's probably right), so she gave me bags of food, most of which was already prepared. It doesn't get much better than that. Today I packed a lunch of free food, including an afternoon snack of free food, and tonight I came home from work and enjoyed some delicious home-cooked food, all without cooking. (Although I did have to microwave a little bit. But that's not really cooking. And stir. But that's not cooking either.)

Sunday afternoon, I almost got a free only-slightly-used car, because I came across one in a parking lot with the keys stuck in the door, but I decided to follow the advice I always give to my clients - "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is."

I also thought about doing a god deed - taking the key, opening the door, and dropping the key under the floor mat or something, but, call me paranoid, I thought the car owner might come along and see me reaching in his car and have me arrested. And, even if that didn't happen, he might be pissed to be locked out of his car... and then get the police to fingerprint the door and then have me arrested. Or maybe he wanted his car stolen, for insurance or something. I guess I also followed the other advice I give my clients, "Sometimes you have to just mind your own business if you want to stay out of trouble."

And then, tonight, I was out for a walk when I came across a whole shoebox of abandoned CDs. That's right, abandoned. (At least, that's the legal conclusion I drew.) I decided that since the CD cases were a little bit sticky and some of the cases were actually empty, and, judging by the accompanying pile of trash, the whole thing appeared to have been thrown out by someone who recently was either a dump-er or dump-ee, that it didn't fit the "good to be true" category. I didn't want to crouch there in the dark too long, digging through the CDs (because that seemed like a Law & Order opening scene waiting to happen), but I did grab a free Billie Holiday CD.

Really, what's better than free stuff?

And The Disability Is...? Nudity!

Got to love a good prosecutor-got-arrested story. And this one is particularly, um, intriguing.

Naked Prosecutor Caught On Camera

My favorite part is when his lawyer blames it on a car accident last year.

Blauvelt's lawyer, Michael Gmoser, said in a statement Tuesday that his client was seriously injured in a 2005 car accident, suffers from mental illness and is on medication for seizures.

"Scott Blauvelt is an American with a disability," he said.

Oh puh-lease. Do you think this prosecutor would buy that kind of story if it was presented by someone else's defense attorney? Let's hope so.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I will color this blog pink for the entire month of October! Ok, but seriously, I have added a pink ribbon to the sidebar (right under Bijou), which should link to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

It's stupid but I have to mention one thing that really bothers me, though. And, I already know that it's stupid. But, it really bothers me when people say they "support" breast cancer (or any type of cancer, or any type of illness, or anything obviously negative). If you support breast cancer, you like it, you want it to do well. You're out there on the sidelines shouting, "Gooo Breast Cancer! Attack those normal cells!" Obviously, they mean that they support breast cancer research, or breast cancer patients or survivors, or whatever, but then just say that. That annoys me.

Anyway, because I oppose breast cancer, and I hope you do too, I've added the pink ribbon. Please take a minute to check out the link, or make a donation, or support someone who is involved in one of the many breast cancer fundraisers that are taking place this month. Thanks.

Fetch!

Hey, look! On the right! Bijou has a ball to play with now. (Just click on the word "more.")

And you thought I just spent the whole week shopping for a Treo.