Silver Lining of Funny

My job hasn't been filled with funny stories lately, mostly sad.

But there was one sad story that had a tiny funny silver lining.

My client, who had been out on bail, had to show up to court, and I knew that it was extremely likely that the judge was going to revoke his bail and lock him up. (My client had, unfortunately, broken one of the conditions of his release on bail.) I advised my client that it would be best to come prepared - bring proof of his work history, bring family members that could vouch for his community ties, so that I could argue for his continued release or a new bail, and, in case that didn't work, he should not bring any weapons or drugs because he would be searched during the jail admission process.

My client called me every day leading up to the court date, asking whether he would get locked up (answer: most likely) and what he could do about it. Again and again, I give my client the same speech. I told him it would be impossible to bring too much information: bring proof of every medical issue you have, bring proof of every job you've ever had, bring every upstanding citizen that can vouch for you. I tell him to come early, so I can go over the documents and meet the family before court starts.

So, the day finally comes. I get to court early. I sit around waiting for my client until the judge shows up. Then I go wait in the hallway, so I can grab my client as he walks in. He didn't bring any of the documents we talked about. And he's got family coming, but they aren't there yet. This always amazes me: You can put the time and energy into calling me 27 times but you couldn't even dig up one old paystub or get your job to write a little letter that says "Client works here"?

The judge was on the bench, his mouth foaming at the proposition of locking my client up and throwing away the key. And, while I had hoped my client would give me at least a little something to work with, I had nothing.

But then, we were saved by the bell! The fire alarm went off and the building was evacuated, buying us a few minutes before the inevitable.

Out on the sidewalk, my client's family showed up and we got a few minutes to talk. My client had three brothers, and they all showed up. Fantastic. I took a minute to meet each one, get their name, their age, their address, and ask them where they worked.

The first one, the oldest, was a realtor with his own business, and owned his own home where he had lived for about ten years. Great.

The second one was an administrator in a dentist's office and going to school to be a dental hygienist at night. Good.

The third one told me that he has owned his own business for 8 years and he has served on, and been the president, of the city's small business owner's association. Without blinking, I asked the obvious question, "Great! What kind of business?"

"We provide entertainment for events. Adult entertainment. Strippers." Why did I have to ask?

So, of course, I had to make the bail application, "... and the third brother, Your Honor, also in the audience, is a (mumble, mumble, don't ask me) small business owner."

Would it be wrong for me to say "Thank God the judge was too busy setting bail on my client to ask what kind of small business the brother owned?"


  1. Perhaps you got lucky and the Judge recognized him?

  2. I had a sentencing last week where my client's family lived in a little town a couple of hours away - they called the day before for directions so I thought everything was set. At about 90 minutes before court, client's mama called to say they hadn't left you, didn't know the directions & wanted me to meet them at the edge of town to drive them to the courthouse. You can guess that I did not do that - they showed up late to court & barged in talking among themselves as the judge was already in the middle of sentencing! In spite of all of their efforts to undercut my arguments, the judge gave him huge break in sentencing.