Fantasy Living

I have this town, well, city really, that I imagine I'll move to.  Maybe everyone does this.  But when things get stressful, I like to load up Trulia Real Estate Search and search for the house I'm going to live in, when I move.

Maybe it's like when you go on vacation, and of course you think "I could move here."  It's kind of come to be an ideal, maybe even a fantasy.  If I moved there, things would be perfect, and my life would be better and I could own an ice cream maker.  (My current tiny apartment is much too small for me to reasonably purchase an ice cream maker, which will take up a substantial amount of my kitchen storage only to be used a few times a year.)  And a fancy cake stand with a glass lid.

So, of course, the house has to be pretty perfect, to fit this fantasy lifestyle and all of the kitchen gadgets and accessories that come with it.  Which is why, I was super excited when I found a house with an indoor pool.  Yup, an indoor pool.  Indoors.  I can just imagine pool parties in the middle of the winter.  Swimming laps during a thunderstorm.  And, seriously, even the worst day in the world has to seem pretty good when you can come home, no matter the weather, and take a quick swim.  Right?  Right.

And while I can plan my pool parties ignoring the fact that I don't know anyone in town to invite to my pool parties, I can also avoid googling "cost of maintaining indoor heated pool."  Which I imagine might be great, both financially and environmentally.  But we're not there yet.  I'm still in the excited-about-swimming phase.

I was so excited, I even emailed it to my friend who is on my plan with me.  I don't know whether I'm her enabler, or she's mine, but the plan is that we can both move to this city, and that makes it even more fantastic.  And if she moves there too, I have someone to invite to my pool parties, of course.

Anyway... bad news in fantasy world.  My house with the indoor pool is gone from the real estate search. It doesn't appear to be sold because the home information says "Last sold August 2005."  But it could be in the process of being sold.  Or, maybe the homeowners decided to hold onto the house a little longer, maybe paint it pink, so it could be ready and available for me when I'm ready to move. 

Here comes the part where you can call me crazy... I emailed the realtor.  Luckily, because I had emailed it to my friend, I still had the agency info.  I just inquired whether it sold or whether it is off the market.  Maybe I'll get some more information.  Does emailing the realtor on a house I have no intention to move to right away qualify me as delusional?   Probably.

But keep your fingers posted for me and my indoor pool.  Hey, a girl's gotta dream, right?

PD Revolution

Thank you, Sancho, for introducing me to this fantastic (new?) public defender blog:

Public Defender Revolution.

So good.

Hypothetical No More

Somewhere shortly after, "How do you defend someone if you know that he's guilty?" the conversation with curious friends and strangers sometimes proceeds to, "What if you defended someone, and he got off, and then he killed someone or something?  Wouldn't you feel responsible?"

Well, there's no more need to hypothesize.  It has happened to me, to a small extent at least, and now I can tell you how I feel.

First, the background.  I represented this client a few years ago.  I represented him on something where he wasn't really facing jail time.  It was more like a probation or parole hearing - if we lost, the terms of his parole would have been stricter, and if we won, the terms would have been more lenient.

The client had a very bad criminal record.  If I remember correctly, there was some kind of sex assault on his record, and there was also a homicide of some sort.  I don't remember if it was murder or manslaughter or whatnot that he had pleaded guilty to, but I remember that the homicide was related to the death of a witness in the original sex assault case.

Personally, this client was always nice to me - he was always a respectful, kind client.  And he was always accompanied by his girlfriend.  She was very pretty and nice, and just seemed to have it more "together" than he did.  If I relayed an instruction or a court date to her, I knew the message would get through or that my client would show up.

Throughout the case, I wondered if she knew how bad his criminal past was.  But, finally we had the hearing, and she sat in the audience through the whole thing as my client's whole criminal history was reviewed in great detail.  We won, and at the end, when we walked out, she thanked me profusely and was very appreciatively, and didn't seem the least bit shocked or confused at what she had heard. 

I heard recently from a former colleague that the client's girlfriend had been found dead, and that my former client had been arrested for her murder.  I haven't heard any update whether he has taken any guilty plea or whether he is going to trial.  I would guess, that, given his record, there probably isn't any plea offer on the table, but I don't know for sure. Now, obviously, he's presumed innocent, and I don't know whether he actually he killed her or not.  But, at this point, it's the closest I've ever come to the hypothetical, "represented someone . . . then they killed someone..."

So, how do I feel?  I feel sad.  The client's girlfriend seemed like a nice person.  I don't like it when people die, especially nice people.  I feel disturbed.  I guess even though I have represented a few people who have previously been convicted of murder or manslaughter (including this client), I still imagine that it takes a different kind of person to be able to kill someone, and that somehow I could recognize such a person.  That seems silly, I knew he had previously been convicted to killing someone (I never asked him whether he did it, or whether he felt that he had been falsely convicted, or anything like that), so it would be a fair assumption that he was capable of killing someone - but I guess that's just a false assumption that most people have - that if we met a murderer, we would know.  That every murderer would look like Charles Manson with a forehead tattoo or something.

Do I feel responsible?  Nah, not really.  It's hard to say whether I'd feel differently if my case had been responsible for him being released from jail, and that, but for my defense, he would have been in jail or prison and unable to kill his girlfriend.  But that wasn't the situation here.  (And I don't think the stricter restrictions he would have faced if we had lost the hearing would have made any difference either.)

I feel curious about how much she knew about his record, what explanations he gave her, and why she made the decision to stay with him even knowing about his record.  Obviously, she could have been killed by him even if he had no record, but it seems like she took more of a risk knowing his record.  She was a pretty girl, I'm sure she could have had a nice boyfriend without such a past, so who knows what went into her decision to date him.  Maybe she was blinded by love.

How fitting for a Valentine's Day post.  Have a good holiday, everyone.