Hey, I Live in Springfield Too!

Me, as a Simpsons character:

My shirt symbolizes Blonde Power!

(You can make your own at www.simpsonsmovie.com)

And, here's me, spending my Friday night hanging out at Moe's:


Hope you're having a good weekend too!

Jailhouse Quotes

While "tomorrow" is something you hear a lot as a defense lawyer, something that is always fresh are your clients' jail house quotes.

To me, they never get old. When I hear a client say something that starts with, "You know, it's like we say in the big house..." I tune my ears in good, because I know it's going to be something good.

You know, kind of like Paris Hilton's quote from her little jail experience:
"I went with the motto, 'Don't serve the time, let the time serve you.'"

You got that right, sistah. We can be cellies anytime.

The Sun Will Come Out... Tomorrow.

You get to the point where you hear the same B.S. over and over. And it just starts to sound like B.S.

One thing that the judges care about is whether your client has a job, what the job is, and how long he's held it. Holding a decent job for a long time is a good sign that (a) you're reliable, and you won't skip court, (b) you've got a good reason not to skip town and (c) you might have someone else relying on you financially. Not holding a job means, in the judge's eyes, you've got nothing better to do with your time besides get in trouble, so you might as well stay in jail.

The salary isn't a major issue. Even if you have a regular gig sweeping the church after BINGO once a week, it might mean something to the judge. Maybe your boss at the church would be willing to say, "He's a good guy." And that would mean something to the judge too.

So, I routinely ask every client if they have a job, any job. If they say no, I ask what my client what he does with his days. If you don't work because you're taking care of your elderly grandmother or your handicapped child, saving your family the cost of a home health attendant, that means something to the judge. If you fill your days selling crack on the corner, well, let's not mention that. (And, yes, there are clients that say, "I sell crack. What do you think I'm here for?")

But what I can't get over is why EVERY client who doesn't have a job tells me that he has a job interview "TOMORROW." That, and a drug program. EVERY client is starting rehab "TOMORROW." Yeah, and "tomorrow" might be the day I get up early and start running before work. Let's hold our breath.

I think I might have believed it when I was a newbie. I think that maybe for my first five, ten clients, I thought, "I have to get my client out... he's got that job interview and rehab appointment tomorrow." Now I'm just like, "Let me guess... tomorrow?"

But I still repeat it to the judge. I put on a good show about how my client needs to get home for his important job interview tomorrow, or his appointment for rehab intake, or the medicaid appointment so he can afford rehab. Even though I know the judge has probably heard it as many times as I have. Because my client wants to hear me say it.

You know, it's like when I was in high school, I was in a play. I think the play ran maybe 3 nights. And on the third night, before the curtain opened, the director (who was also the drama teacher and one of my favorite English teachers) said, "I know this is the third time you're going through this. But for the audience, it's the first. So give them as good of a show as you did the first night."

And I thought that was a good point.

Although, for my clients, it's probably not their first time seeing the show that is called court, it is usually their first time seeing this actress on stage.

So the show goes on.

Did You Pledge? Every Morning.

Thinking about that corn scene in Big reminded me of this little bit of dialog, when Josh (Tom Hanks), now a grown-up, goes for a job interview:
Interviewer: Where did you go to school?
Josh: It was called George Washington.
Interviewer: Oh G.W. My brother-in-law got his doctorate there. Did you pledge?
Josh: Yes. Every morning.

What's funny is that, as a 10 year old watching that movie (over and over again), I certainly didn't get it. I think I knew there was some sort of misunderstanding going on, but I didn't really get what it was. It wasn't until I saw it again years later that I heard that line and said, "Oh! G.W.! Pledge! I get it."

I guess because the movie wasn't primarily made for 10 year old kids. (Too much romance! Boring!)

Which reminds me of how I didn't get that Dirty Dancing had an abortion theme either.

Gosh, I wonder how many other movies I completely didn't get.

Corn, Baby, Corn

Driving in the car tonight, I noticed that the girl in the car next to me was eating corn on the cob. A little weird, right? Because it's not exactly a food I would think would be easy to eat while driving. A sandwich, maybe. A slice of pizza? Sure. Some cookies or something? Great. But, corn on the cob? It's not what comes to mind.

Anyway, it gets weirder. She was holding the corn cob vertically while eating it. Who does that? It made me think that she had maybe never seen corn on the cob before and was trying to figure it out - like that scene in Big, when Tom Hanks is eating those little baby ears of corn.

I thought maybe she was just trying to get the few very top kernels or something. But, no, traffic was bad, I sat next to her for a while, and that's how she kept eating.

I wonder if it was even cooked corn.

If it helps at all in your upcoming analysis, she appeared to have maybe been Asian (I'll admit, I was staring at the corn more than her face) and the car had Canadian license plates. So, is this maybe an Asian thing? A Canadian thing? An Asian-Canadian thing? Or is she just a freak?

One more thing... she had a really really huge GPS screen on her windshield. Freakishly big. It was like, HDTV or something. And I just had to wonder, is that because she drove really far?

One of My Most Rambling Random Posts Ever

I was just wondering, do you remember what you did after your high school graduation? (I mean that night "after," not ever since "after.")

My school had some stupid rule that, in order to walk in graduation, you had to go to this all night anti-drinking after graduation party. And I know what you're thinking, how could they enforce that, since you had already graduated? They said they wouldn't release your diploma or your transcripts unless you went and stayed. Anyway, I'm concerned now because I don't really remember it at all. I just remember not liking it too much.

Maybe somebody spiked the punch. Don't look at me.

And I also remember that it was on a boat. And the only reason for that was probably so that we couldn't leave early. You'd have to be a really good swimmer. They probably just saved money on putting armed guards outside.

And, I could be wrong, but I think it was a relatively new thing, back then, that they were making grads go to these lame all-night parties. This was about 10 years ago. So I don't know if, before that, there was all sorts of after-graduation craziness going on. Drunk driving accidents or something. Probably not in my town. Cow tipping, maybe. I don't know.

When my little cousin graduated from high school, I bought him goldschlager. The gold flakes make it look kind of celebratory. And it seemed more appropriate for a guy that champagne, which can kind of seem girly. (Don't tell that to all the rap guys drinking Cristal.) Not that I advocate buying liquor for minors. You don't know, maybe he was 21. Some people take a long time to get through high school.

A few months ago, I went to my college roommate's bachelorette party. Her little sister, who was like my little sister all through college, said to me, "I remember when you used to buy me alcohol." I said, "I did?" (Don't worry, you can keep reading, the statute of limitations has passed.)

And she said, "Yeah, and you always told me, 'Some day, you can buy alcohol for someone else, just like someone else bought it for me.'"

And I knew she was right, because that's totally something I would say.

So, I had to ask, "Well, did you?" And she assured me that she did, complete with the pay-it-forward message I had given to her. See, it's just like I have my own little Haley Joel Osment thing going on.

And what good have you done for society lately?

I Like Cold Beverage, Yeah

It's summer, you're looking for something good to keep you hydrated. Here's what I've got.

I found a really awesome bottled iced tea, it's called Sweet Leaf Tea and it's delish. I particularly love the mint & honey flavor. And I want to try the diet, it's made with Splenda so I might like that although I don't like most diet drinks. So, look around for that. Also, they have a "where to find" section on their website, but I bought mine someplace not listed on the website, so you might find it somewhere unexpected.

Also, I went to a bar on Saturday afternoon and ordered my favorite summer beer, Hoegaarden. The bar owner told me that Budweiser had acquired Hoegaarden and Stella Artois a while back (for U.S. imports and distribution only, I assume), and he'd had problems with his deliveries ever since. I'm disappointed by this. It's summer. This is what I order during the summer. I guess I'll have to stick to fruity Lambics this summer. And that Sweet Leaf Tea.

Let's see... what else have I been drinking? My new favorite Starbucks drink for summer is an iced caramel macchiato. It is full of sugary caramel syrup, so I'm not getting it too often. And I get the nonfat. That makes me feel like it's a little healthier. And I checked the Starbucks website, which does have the nutrition information if you poke around enough, and the iced caramel macchiato does have 90 less calories than the mocha frappuccino, last summer's favorite. Even though, really, who am I fooling?

The other night I stopped at a juice shop in my neighborhood and got a really good smoothie that was just fruit and ice. (No sugar added.) Mine was mostly pineapple, with a few other fruits I guess. It was really delicious and awesome for summer. If that place was more accessible to my daily commute, I would easily replace my iced caramel macchiato with something healthier.

What else? Wine. First, I have a new favorite cheap white wine for summer. Who knows, maybe it will be for the whole year. It's the Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling, from Washington. I can find it for about $8 in the wine store, and it's on a lot of wine lists, so it's a good cheap white wine standby. I don't review wine, but it's a good, light, easy to drink white wine. (By the way, did you hear the digg boys are now sponsored by Wine Library? I was cracking up listening to them try to review wine a few weeks ago.)

And I had never tried a Cotes Du Rhone before, but a few weeks back I tried one on the recommendation of a really good waiter, and I loved it. It was by Laboure Roi, and I will definitely buy some of that to have at home if I can find it.

So, that's what I'm drinking. I was so inspired by that smoothie the other night that it might be time to break out the blender and start smoothie season in my own home. What have you been drinking?

Sinking More Ships

In response to yesterday's post, Windypundit (always one to ask the thought provoking questions), asks:
You never ever know what slight little off-hand remark could leave someone you thought was your friend running to call a reporter.

Or to post a blog entry.

I don't understand. Why can't you discuss cases with friends? Or on your blog? (Well, you can't to preserve your own anonymity, but what about other lawyers?) I see lawyers talking to the press all the time.

I had assumed the limit was client confidentiality, but you folks are talking about concealing things like motions or even the names of your clients. I thought that stuff was all part of the public record. Why can't you discuss non-privileged matters?

No, I think the difference here is between a lawyer doing it (and considering the strategy involved) and an intern doing it. If I, as an attorney, want to make a statement to the press, I first weigh exactly what I could/would say, and all of the possible consequences of each possible statement, rather than saying something off the cuff. But it would be absolutely unacceptable for my intern to make a statement to the press (either directly or indirectly) - they have no idea of what the consequences involved might be.

I hesitated from putting this in the original post... but we had an intern 2 summers ago who posted about a very high profile case on his blog. He didn't say the name of the client, but it was a high profile enough case that saying, "a guy who killed the kids at a day care center" for example, was enough for anyone in the city to know what he was talking about. He also blogged things like, "now the client is pretending to be crazy..." It was a total fuck-up by that intern. And a fuck-up by the attorney if she never had a conversation about confidentiality with her intern.

The point is, there are times you reveal things, there are times you don't. But that's for the lawyer (not the intern) to decide.

Now, as far as telling your friends about a case, I think you could say, "Yes, I'm working on the Stephanie Smith case." (It is kind of public record. Although, really, who the intern is isn't public record. But you're a PD intern, she's a PD client, it's ok.) But when your friends say, "Oooh, what did she do?" you're left to decide whether you can tell them what the police say she did (public record - even though you may believe it's false) or what she tells me she did (privileged).

In the alternative, if you don't say her name, you can probably say, "I'm working on a case where the client is charged with having marijuana, but she says the cops planted it on her..." (Again, being careful of the "high profile" exception if saying just that would allow anyone to put the name of the client with the facts you just told them.)

And finally, the biggest reason why you don't talk about things even though they are public record and you "can," is because you don't want to smear your client by making things more public than they are. Maybe the Stephanie Smith arrest was real low profile - a tiny bit of marijuana in her pocket, and the judge is going to dismiss it, and no one will ever know unless they do a search of the courthouse records. You tell your friend, who tells her friend, who tells Stephanie's mom or Stephanie's boss. Maybe you didn't break any rules, but you did a real disservice to your client - why? If it was just because you want to gossip a little, it wasn't worth it.

Sinking Ships

An anonymous commenter left a really good question:

I was wondering if I might ask you a serious question, that isn't at all meant to be accusatory or anything. How do you decide when something is OK to blog about, and not a breach of client confidentiality? I am working for a public defender's office this summer (I'll be a 3L in the Fall), and I'm wondering how much I am permitted to tell my friends what I'm doing. Can I safely say in generalities what the issue is on a brief I just submitted, such as a Terry stop where the officer was looking for drugs? Do I have to just say a Terry stop? Can I only say a motion to suppress?

This is something that I consider a lot. I think that it's ok to speak in generalities. I don't see any problem talking about "a Terry stop where the officer was looking for drugs." I think what you want to avoid speaking about a case in a way that would make the defendant or the case recognizable. (I.e. "These kids got stopped on Main Street on Friday night..." might be crossing the line.) If you're unsure, then don't say it.

I think your purpose in sharing it with your friend is also important. It's important for colleagues to discuss cases to get advice from one another. It's also important for lawyers to sometimes discuss their cases with non-lawyers, for example, to get a sense of how a jury might react to the case. But, to me, there's a big difference between saying to your social worker friend, "I'm helping out with this case that involves child abuse and molestation. I'm supposed to help him find treatment. Do you know any organizations that do counseling for that kind of situation?" and saying to even the same friend, "Eeew, we have this client who was having sex with his 7-year-old step-daughter... how gross is that?" Not necessarily because you're sharing more details (in fact, it might be okay to share those details with the social work friend if it would be helpful in finding the necessary treatment), but because of the way you're talking about it.

On that note, and slightly off-topic from your original question, you might sometimes hear PDs talk bad about their clients. You might hear, "This guy is a jerk," or "I hate this client." I won't say that they're burnt out, but different lawyers have different ways of dealing with their difficult clients. (And some clients really are jerks.) But nothing bothers me more than hearing an intern speak that way, even amongst themselves. Maybe it's hypocritical, in the way that I can say something bad about my mother but you'd better never dare talk about my mother. But if you don't like the clients, find a more productive way to address it or leave. And you just shouldn't get that sick of our clients in a summer.

And, finally, if you get to work on a case that has even the slightest bit of media coverage, you should keep a very tight lip. You never ever know what slight little off-hand remark could leave someone you thought was your friend running to call a reporter. And you never know what very general comment about the case could make it recognizable to someone who read about it in the paper.

If you're in doubt, you should talk about it with the intern supervisor or the attorney(s) you're assisting. Hopefully they'll see it as a good opportunity to discuss practical ethics with you.

Thanks for the question. I hope you love your internship, and feel free to come back with any more questions you come up with!

Weekend Edition

I had a good weekend.

My trial got delayed, so I didn't have to worry about that, and I had plenty of time to relax.

Let's see, what did I do?

Saturday, I took out my bike for the first time this summer, and rode to the bar.

You know, there's something about riding a bike to the bar that makes me feel like an alcoholic who has had her license taken away. I wanted to walk into the bar saying, "No, my license is still valid, it was just a nice day for a bike ride. I swear." Besides that, there's no parking over by the bar, and it's not really far enough to drive, but a little too far for a walk on a really hot day.

Anyway, I went to the bar because I wanted a beer and a really good burger. (I originally posted this saying "I wanted a beer and a really good beer." You can tell where my mind was.) So, I wanted a burger. And this bar has 1/3 lb. angus burgers. But by the time I got there, I ended up ordering a salad. Something about biking can do that to you, I guess. It was a delicious salad that included angel hair pasta on top of the lettuce. My lunch date thought that was weird, but it was yummy. And it had crunchy things, maybe they were toasted little pita strips or something. It was good.

And then, this guy who is almost sort of a little famous, at least locally maybe, sat down at the next table. And I smiled and said "Hi!" before I really realized who he was. Then I kept thinking, as I ate my salad, whether I should maybe say something about what he was famous for. But I didn't.

I did drink a beer with my salad. I forget what kind it was. (More on the beer situation in a later post.) Anyway, the beer was like $4, and it was the size of at least 3 beers. And I'm cheap date. I'm buzzed after 1 beer. So, when I went out to my bike, I actually thought to myself, "I hope I'm not too drunk to ride my bike home." But I was ok.

What else? I got my nails done. Get this. I go to the nail place pretty much every 2 weeks. Sometimes every 3rd week. Same nail place. Always on Saturday, and usually around the same time in the morning, but I don't really keep track of it. (I don't make an appointment, I just show up, but I like it better earlier when it is less crowded.) I'm probably in there for a half-hour at the most each time. And they always have the "lite music" station playing.

How is it, then, that every single time I go there, the same crappy song, "Someone Left The Cake Out in the Rain," plays while I'm in there? (Yes, I goggled it, and I now know that the name of the song is "MacArthur Park," but, really, if you've ever heard the song, you know that line, and not necessarily the title.) Googling it, I also learned from wikipedia that the lyrics were "symbolic and sexual." I don't get the sexual symbolism of leaving the cake out in the rain (go ahead and try to explain that in the comments), and I really don't listen much past, "and it took so long to make it, and I'll never have that recipe again!" Geeze lady, quit whining! Go bake another freakin' cake and shut up about it!

I know. It's because it took so long to make it, and you don't have the recipe. Make another cake. Buy some Duncan Hines. Go to a bakery. Empower yourself to take some control over your own life, you know? I thought the 1970s were the decade for feminism. You're a disappointment.

But what I really want to know is, what crazy DJ works every Saturday morning and really think it is necessary to play that song every weekend? Or, could it really be coincidentally, every 2nd or 3rd weekend when I'm there? I know you're just a "lite music" DJ, but really, there must be something else you can play. It's a 7 minute song, so I guess that maybe it gives the DJ enough time to run out and get her coffee? Or work on her 7 minute abs? I spent my nail salon time this weekend trying to figure out any other possible excuse.

What else did I do? I went to brunch, I went to see a friend's baby. I went grocery shopping. I ate deliciously fudgey rich brownies with melty chocolate chips. It was a fun weekend. I hope I'll remember it when Monday morning rolls around.

I Dream of...

I guess yesterday's anxiety had an effect on my sleep last night.

I kept having these weird dreams, and then waking up, and then falling back asleep, and then having more weird dreams...

Two stand out in my mind.

First, I had a dream that I showed up for my trial scheduled for Monday (the one causing all this anxiety), and I couldn't find my client. I looked all around and found him at a bar. (For some reason, I feel like this bar was actually in the courthouse.) He was completely wrecked. Note to self: Remind client that is unacceptable to show up for trial hungover, buzzed, drunk, or completely wrecked.

Second, I had a dream that I bought 3 bags of crap during the woot-off. Yes, completely geeky. The weird thing was, I completely believed it. I didn't really think about it, until this morning, I was in my office, and I saw a UPS-type package. And I thought, "Gee, I wonder how quickly my BOCs will get to me." And then I thought, "Wait, I did buy three, didn't I?" And I actually had to go to my computer and check. And, nope, I didn't get to see any BOC's during this week's woot-off.

Now I'm dreaming of a good night's sleep before I return to trial prep tomorrow.