Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Dahlia today: Man, I Throw Like a Woman.

November 30, 2004

Today, the prosecution rested and the defense began its case in this dramatic murder trial I've been observing. (I think this case was originally slated to take 1-2 weeks. I also believe we are now in week 4). One of the defendants took the stand. He cried. I felt really bad for him.

The day in court felt like a week. There was so much excitement, from a law dork perspective. A juror issue, the prosecution's last witness, the defense's first two witnesses, the defendant crying, the defendant's family crying, defense motions to dismiss charges, oh, it was like Disneyland except with a Criminal Procedure theme. And lots of empathy. I finally found what drives me to practice criminal defense work - there's a human being we're talking about here, not just a violent crime. Humans have flaws, just as much as they have wonderful qualities. Today, I met the person, not the crime.

One issue that's come up several times is using retention of an attorney as consciousness of guilt (impeaching witnesses on cross examination). Why should that be a permissible inference? I think that the legal system is a giant heap of unknowable rules, and deterring citizens from using attorneys to fully represent their rights doesn't seem to speak well for our legal system. I wouldn't create a will without an attorney. I wouldn't draw up articles of incorporation without an attorney, or start a business without an attorney. Does using TurboTax imply that I'm trying to cheat on my taxes? Despite my discomfort with using that information to impeach witnesses, you can bet that if I ever become an attorney with a real job and a real client, I'll use that tactic.

As for the job update, I received an email regarding a follow-up interview with a capital trial organization. Booyeah. That's crazy. I'm going to do this second interview because it's an amazing organization that does wonderful and amazing work, in a geographic area in which I'm really interested, and I think I'll really enjoy it. I get super excited just thinking about it. But then there's the part of me that misses my kids so, so much. During an incredibly lengthy sidebar today, I flipped through my magic notebook in which I take notes on most legal things that I do. In the beginning of the notebook are my notes from the summer. The names and the faces all came back to me, and I missed them terribly. They make me smile brighter than anyone or anything else in the world. I'll put my juvenile law fellowship proposal/project on the back burner for now, and it will be there when the next wave of rejections roll in. I suppose the one thing worse than being rejected from everywhere would be getting an acceptance letter, and then having to choose whether to accept it or forego it and see what else comes along... juvenile law? criminal law? death penalty work? I feel compelled to go the places that are in the most need of adequate legal representation, but how do I decide that? So few people, I think, desire to do nothing more than represent juvenile delinquents, or abused/neglected kids. And frequently, the ones who do don't do a good job. But death penalty work is the ultimate finality in a system that's consistently failed a client. As for public defender work, adults who are struggling with mental health, addiction, and socio-economic challenges need people who desperately want to be their advocate. Which path will start my career? I sure hope that, like last fall/spring's hiring debacle, this one will include divine intervention that steers me to exactly where I needed and wanted to be (unbeknownst to me). But seriously. Perhaps I should stop being such a crappy interviewee and convince someone to hire me first, eh? Let's go with that.
Luring Pro Bono Lawyers for Death Row's Forgotten

Juvenile Crime Bill Signed By Williams

Push to Change NY's divorce law (NY does not have no-fault divorces).

FAIR v. Rumsfeld

Yesterday, I had received the Third Circuit's opinion in FAIR v. Rumsfeld right when it came out. I was ready to break the story, to be the first blog to post the opinion - but I was at work, and my remote access didn't work. So then. Here it is a day later and I'm posting about it.

A NY Times article indicates that the dissenting judge and an attorney who wrote an amicus brief on behalf of students in favor of the Solomon Amendment expressed the concern that the impact of this decision will be to harm the quality of applicants for military legal positions.

First, excluding a large number of individuals from applying based on irrelevant criteria, like sexual orientation, will limit the number of qualified applicants. The weak reasons for barring homosexuals from the military don't hold up when it comes to legal jobs. Second, the fact that it is a time of war is not a good reason for anything at all. "But we're in a war!" does not mean that schools, and therefore students, should lose federal funding because they do not permit employers who discriminate to recruit on campus. You can't create your own exigency (to borrow from Fourth Amendment jurisprudence). Additionally, most law school policies merely prevent employers from coming to the campus or attending the job fairs. As a public interest-minded law student, I can tell you that I've used not one law school job fair or on-campus interview. I believe I'm wonderfully qualified for the jobs that I want, but it's incumbent upon me to seek them out. I complain about it all the time, but presumably individuals who are interested in JAG work or whatever would be no worse off than I am. So suck it up and deal. For people who are interested in the military - I support you. Good for you. For people who want military recruiters to come to campus - I understand that too. I just don't agree that the Solomon Amendment is the way to do it.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Dude, Where's My Integrity? Dahlia's report on today's Supreme Court oral arguments regarding federalism and medical marijuana.
Mental Illness Sends Many to Foster Care
"Almost one of every four children in Virginia's foster care system is there because parents want the child to have mental health treatment, a report commissioned by the General Assembly states."

Sunday, November 28, 2004


It's been a month since I interviewed at the job fair with several places. I've received one rejection letter. I've heard nothing from anyone else. There are three places in particular that I'd like to hear from. Two of the places make it very clear that they aren't excited about receiving phone call inquiries. The third place I emailed last week to give updated contact info, per the interviewer's request, because he indicated that he'd try to get me a second round interview before I left town. I've heard nothing.

I just got an email from a 2L friend of mine, who stated that she received a callback with one of the aforementioned places. Now, I know that the hiring is different for summers than it is for attorney positions, but it made me really nervous. My interviewer indicated that he thought I had a strong chance of receiving a second interview, but the decision is ultimately made by the hiring coordinator.

Now I'm working on these essays and thinking, what if this is it? What if this is the only place left for whom I have a chance of working? What if I don't get a job by the time I graduate? Where will I take the bar? How will I pay my bills? If I can't get hired now, how am I ever going to get hired later?

I'm nervous and I can't decide whether I should start contacting these places (despite their disdain at such conduct) or if I should just sit tight a little longer. and rock back and forth muttering to myself for a few more months.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: fucking brilliant.
How do I add a 'links' section to the blogger template such that it appears in the left margin? I'm clueless.

Another weekend.

Having abandoned my quest for the best brunch in the city some time ago, I went to my usual Sunday morning diner to do my usual Sunday morning debriefing. It's a big, greasy plate of heaven that will no doubt appear on my waistline at the most inopportune moment. At the gym yesterday, I discovered that I seem to be down a pound. The only way I could be one pound lighter is if the many pounds of turkey dinners and leftovers I've eaten, in addition to the ridiculously large Italian dinner I had the other night, is actually lurking in my circulatory system somewhere, just waiting to announce themselves on my hips as soon as I return to my daily diet of chicken soup and granola bars, thus creating no incentive for me to eat healthy. I watched "Bridget Jones" yesterday (in addition to "Ever After" and "Le Divorce" - an accidental day of chick flicks) and thought, gee whiz. She is so darned cute when she's chubby. Can I get a Mark Darcy for Christmas?

I'm plugging away at yet another public defender questionnaire. These questions are impossible to answer well. The questions are variations on why I want to be a public defender, or what work or personal experience I've had that's relevant to public defense. I find it very difficult to make the answer sound different from what's already on my cover letter and resume, so it ends up being a vague answer that sounds remarkably similar to the answer to the previous question. Almost everything about being a social worker is relevant to public defender work. Almost every activity in which I've participated is relevant to my leadership and organizational skills. Every legal job I've had is relevant to working with indigent clients. It feels tedious to explain why a lifetime of community service, a degree and brief stint in social work, and an internship in a public defenders office makes public defense work a good fit. The truth is, I have no patience at all for doing a job that's not active, overwhelming, and fascinating. I doubt that I'll ever get a job by admitting that I have no tolerance for doing things that don't interest me.

I found myself wondering about Mr. Maybe this weekend. Wondering if he was back in the area for Thanksgiving, wondering if he'd even call if he were in the area, wondering if we'd ever speak again. Not bitter, or sad, just curious.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

MD governor commutes sentences for two prisoners

Evidence at issue as woman's execution nears
"Her original defense attorney, Ron Mock — who has been suspended three times by the Texas Bar Assn. and is no longer allowed to take court-appointed capital murder cases — interviewed no witnesses before the trial. Ballistics tests key to convicting Newton were conducted by the now-discredited Houston Police Department crime lab. Nitrite traces found on her clothing — which could have come from a gun blast or something as common as garden fertilizer — can now be more precisely tested to determine its source."

Friday, November 26, 2004

I believe the children are our future... teach them well and let them lead the way...

Whitney knew how to preach it. Too bad she's subjecting her children to drug abuse and domestic violence. This article addresses the concern that children are too busy.

Kids need to be kids. Childhood is sacred because it's the time in a growing individual's life for learning and playing, without the onset of anxiety, excessive competition, or adult stress & responsibility. Being a child should afford the luxury of discovering the world and the interrelation of all things. I believe that some structured activities, like scouting, sports, volunteering, and language and music lessons are incredibly helpful for developing young minds. The earlier these skills are introduced, the more they will assist in developing all forms of intelligence. When these activities are piled on, however, for the purpose of getting ahead of others, or getting into college, the reasons why these skills were so important in the first place become lost.

When children lose their unstructured play time, they lose an essential opportunity to learn curiousity, or entertain themselves, or problem-solve. An attorney, walking to court with me earlier this week, was telling me that recently his children and some neighborhood children were playing street hockey. Disputing a goal, one child asked this attorney to make the call, knowing that he officiates and coaches youth hockey. He refused, and instead insisted that the kids discuss why they believed the goal was fair, or why it wasn't a goal, and let them develop their own solution - a penalty shot.

Blonde Justice wrote a great entry about a family in her neighborhood. I aspire to be a mother like that. I really want to afford children the opportunity to be children - to learn how to care for one another; to get dirty and poke at bugs or plants; to learn to take care of animals; to eat dirt and get peas stuck in their noses; to learn how to share, or settle disagreements; to giggle about their crushes and pass notes in class; to learn on their own time what makes them happy, what interests them, who they are, and what they want to be. That's not to say that I'd be totally ok if my teenage son decided that his calling was to play Nintendo for 14 hours a day.

Parents are forcing children to continue to play sports, resulting in a painful,
long-term health concerns for the child (like tendonitis, bursitis, etc)? I was investigating less than that as a child protection worker.

I like the idea that some communities are scheduling nights that are completely void of scheduled activities, particularly since families with more than one child in even just one activity will never have a schedule that permits a free night. However, it disturbs me to think that some parents must rely on the school to force them to give their children some down time.I think that overscheduling children for the purpose of making them better assets instills, far too early, the idea that 'status' is paramount to success and happiness. I see who these kids grow up to be - many people in my law school class seem to have developed in this manner - and now they're working in corporate legal jobs that don't interest them, but they're doing it because they're accustomed to the lifestyle. I respect that they have made their decision - but there are a handful that are so incredibly unhappy in law school and with their future career, that I can't understand why this lifestyle is a good choice.

Part of the reason I enjoy working with kids is because when I interact with them, I never fail to learn something. I learn something about them, or they force me to learn something about myself, or we teach each other something about how we view the world. Their youthful inquisitiveness is innocent, inadvertent, and profound.
It makes me uncomfortable to think of children shouldering the concerns of adults, lacking the mischievious innocence of youth. It would be like "Children of the Corn." Unfortunately, I've seen children taking care of their parents and siblings; I've seen children behind bars; I've seen children who live in multi-million dollar homes and go to expensive schools and have the best of everything but are never allowed to get dirty. They're shoving something up their nose, but it ain't berries.
Blue Hawaii - When Liberal States Get Tough on Crime

Matthew Shepard's killers deny that it was a hate crime. Interesting article sheds light on the fact that this was about robbing for a meth habit.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

This article - Child Detention Centers Criticized in New Jersey - highlights issues that deeply trouble me.

Federal aid for college students slashed. This is also troubling to me, as I absolutely would not have been able to attend any college at all without financial aid - and as it was, I had no choice but to attend the college I did because it was all I could afford paying for myself.

Bush in Colombia, promises more aid. Of course, the greatest part of providing this aid means that he's either providing money to the rebels or to the country's guerilla army, both of whom are deemed terrorist organizations according to the article. If Bush gives them money, then, has he committed a federal crime?

Bench Pressed: When the Judge's Hands are Tied. An excellent Slate article.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Today, I learned about guns.

Most of today's testimony in the trial that I'm observing was the ballistician's testimony. I learned fun terminology like "cylinder flare" and know what a 'full metal jacket' means. I know where gunpowder residue shows up after a gun's been fired, and I know how a round of ammunition works. It took more than half the day just to near the end of his direct testimony, and I'm looking forward to learning more about it tomorrow. I am very much looking forward to seeing the cross-examination of the ballistician by both defense attorneys.

I am now working on a brief and it needs to be done tonight. Screwed, I am.

UPDATE: At first I felt sympathy for this defendant, but now, I feel myself wishing (with lots and lots of guilt attached) that our legal system didn't permit people to go into court without attorneys. I had written a long entry here about one of the issues, and I'm sure all of you would have been incredulous, but unfortunately, it seems like I shouldn't be divulging all that info. But it's really, really absurd. Clearly a good use of my time at 10:30 on a Monday night.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Dahlia sounds pissed.

A springtini and a smooch

Yesterday was a tough day. My car failed inspection, and the garage couldn't fix it. So I brought it to another garage, but they couldn't get it fixed in time for me to get it back to the first garage for a sticker. So I'm still uninspected and out $400. The greatest part was hearing the second garage tell me everything that my car SHOULD have failed inspection for, but didn't.

All week, I've been looking forward to hanging out in a dark lounge, drinking expensive cocktails, and chillin' with my peoples. Trying to coordinate this yesterday proved to be difficult. My efforts to go out in particular parts of the city were thwarted by some sort of event at one of the nearby colleges. Despite my disappointment, the night went well. It was wonderful to sip my 'springtini' and talk to other females. I was in the midst of a conversation with the other female in my party about how unfriendly this city is, and started to feel items hitting my feet. I looked down and the cocktail menu and salt shaker were on the floor. The female next to me turned and apologized for the other members of her party, who apparently were clearing the table. She struck up a conversation and I very much enjoyed speaking with her. It seemed as though the members of her party kept trying to distract her from speaking to me. That annoyed me. I just finished discussing how people in this city just stick to themselves when they go out, never speaking to anyone else - and here is a new friend that's an exception to that observation, and her friends were trying to prevent her from speaking to me further. Why is that necessary?

We chatted on and off for a while. She's interested in going to law school, but has some reservations about going back to school full time, the cost of law school, and seemed to keep referring to her boyfriend, with whom she indicated she thought she would settle. They're currently living together, and she figured that it wouldn't be appropriate to stick him with the responsibility of supporting both of them. She was a really dynamic individual, and it was wonderful fun to talk to her. When she was leaving, she gave me a big hug and kissed my cheek, repeatedly. Wouldn't pull away. She was super cute, so I think that the males in my party were disappointed when all clothing remained on. Dirty bastards.

C & C took good care of me and permitted me to crash in their spare room, saving me the cab fare and concern about picking up my car the next morning. I'm totally in love with their 6-month old puppy, a German shepherd now the size of a small elephant. And it was really, really nice to pass out on a bed instead of my wooden-slat contraption at my own apartment. In the comfort of the spare room, I ended up having a long conversation that further demonstrated how little it I really know about some of the people that I've known for a very long time. It was a really good night, with springtinis, smooches from a stranger, wonderful conversation, and some really nasty free drink for which I had to give up my email address.

This morning, my recuperation is complete after the traditional debriefing/hangover cure brunch, and now I think I might try to do some work. That, or watch cable TV all day.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Who needs HBO when you have a courtroom?

I've been observing a murder trial this week. I've spent most of my days in court, which means that I don't have time to accomplish any of my actual assignments, and I've had to work late and bring work home. Considering that I've had nothing to do all semester, this is a significant change.

The murder trial is fascinating. I'm just observing the trial - I have had no part in the case whatsoever, and I've missed a few parts (like the openings, and a witness or two). What I've gleaned so far is this: The defendants are from a large, well-established Italian family and live in the Italian neighborhood of the town. The part of the courtroom in which I sit is occupied by their family members. There are many of them, and it's a very Italian family. On the other side of the courtroom is the victim's family. They don't live in the city, but out in the 'burbs. They appear to be a very working-class family, also close-knit. What began as a spat or misunderstanding turned into a murder. The defendants assert self-defense. There are many civilian witnesses, in addition to the witnesses who were involved in the incident. The attorneys all have different styles, the jury is fascinating to watch, and the families are entities unto their own. I cannot pull myself away from this trial, which is why it's going to be impossible for me to finish my brief due Wednesday without eliminating sleep. I would love to give every sordid detail, but this is not the place to do so. Today, one witness was about to get up and describe how he saw the victim get shot and killed, and right as the prosecutor was doing his direct examination leading up to that part of the story, a guy walks into the courtroom with three little girls, dressed neatly and behaving nicely behind him, and what I presume to be their mother behind them with a stroller. There weren't enough seats left, so they retreated. But I was horrified. If I had to guess, I would say that they were related to the defendant's family, although I didn't see any flickers of recognition on anyone's faces. But to think that those three little angels dressed in their Sunday best were about to listen to that testimony? Sweet Lord. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Honey, could you grab something out of the freezer for dinner?

Deathbed confession of woman who killed her husband and hid the body for years in a freezer in storage.
Yick. Wow. And no one missed him? The article indicates it was self-defense, domestic violence.

Keeping the streets safe.

A woman broke into her ex-boyfriend's apartment, ransacked it and dumped the ashes of his cremated brother onto his bedroom floor, police said.

"Dodge was charged with abusing a corpse under RSA 644:7 which says a person is guilty of a misdemeanor if he unlawfully removes, conceals or destroys a corpse or any part thereof."

"Before sentencing can occur, the case may require some delving into the legislative history to decide the definition of a corpse, said McLaughlin, forcing the court to consider whether, by definition, dumping someone's ashes is even a crime.

He said there may also be the question of intent.

"If you spread someone's ashes over the ground at Greeley Park in Nashua, that may be considered a respectful thing to do. But if you throw them at someone in the park, you're committing an act of disrespect. Whether the Legislature, in its wisdom, wants to criminalize something like that remains to be seen," McLaughlin said."

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The highlight of my semester came last night, when I realized for the first time that American Chopper takes place in Orange County, NEW YORK; not Orange County, CA. Dude, that's TOTALLY within roadtripping distance.

I called a friend to divulge this good news, and unbeknownst to me, he loves the show as well and is up for the trip. Now I just have to make sure that 1. they will let us take a REAL tour and 2. Vinnie isn't married.

Dating News Flash

It's Wednesday night. And alas, no date scheduled for the weekend.

I know how surprised you are. Shutup.

Nevertheless, I am very much looking forward to hangin' wit my peoples, fo' real.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Onion Preaches Truth Again

My horoscope:
Libra: (Sept. 23—Oct. 23)
There is little you can do to halt your downward spiral of lassitude and inaction, but you don't really care.

Dream Date

On my commute home, I got stuck on the train behind the train that broke down. I was able to read a local magazine from cover to cover, which caught me up on all of the wonderful social opportunities in which I've refused to participate, preferring my sweatpants, brie and crackers, and "Joan of Arcadia" to abject disappointment.

But somehow, I've managed to stay in a good mood since yesterday, and started thinking about hitting up the nightlife again this weekend. I thought back to a few weeks ago, when I was interviewing far away from here, and I went to a lounge/bar for ridiculously expensive drinks that come in small but sexy glasses. I had 2 or 3 of them, and since I've consumed only beer and wine for the past 3 years, 2 or 3 fancy martinis really got me wrecked. It was lots of unexpected fun, especially since I was the third wheel on the end of a birthday date. Snapping back to the bitter cold of my lonely commute, I decided that it would be really nice to go on a date myself this weekend. On my walk from the train to my house, an old, disheveled, impaired man leered, "Hey doll" at me. I smiled and kept walking. If by Saturday evening things aren't looking up, though, I'll be sure to stop and talk to him.

According to "He's Just Not That Into You," which I devoured at Border's yesterday, I cannot accept a date for the weekend after Wednesday. Additionally, women should let men pursue them and not vice versa, because that is a sign of a guy's true interest. I don't disagree that these are major indications of interest/disinterest. However, the 'sitting on my ass waiting for Mr. Wonderful to ask me out' hasn't proven to be fruitful, and now we're imposing time limits? For the love of Christ, when you combine both of those requirements, I haven't been on a real date since high school. I'd be interested in hearing from any male readers out there as to whether these guidelines are accurate indications.

Baltimore man gets death penalty for killing girl

Monday, November 15, 2004

Supreme Court decision in Smith v. Texas.

Home crap home.

My interview went incredibly well. The room had 6 very accomplished, powerful legal minds, and they were a great group of interviewers. I think we clicked. It was hands down the best interview I’ve ever done. I was full of jittery energy when I left, so I retreated to Borders, changed in the handicapped stall a la Clark Kent, and then proceeded to rock out in the CD section to Juvenile, “Slow Motion” and “Back that Thang Up.” I chewed off all my fingernails and decided that I will call them tomorrow and withdraw my application.

As much as I loved the interview, the job itself will not be a good fit. It’s mostly policy, research, and education. For me, it would be nice to be affiliated with the organization, and I’m sure that I’d learn so much and make a lot of connections. But, as I conceded in my interview, as much as I think that policy work is important, I get my energy from working with clients, and that’s what I intend for my career to be.

I feel a little guilty about calling them tomorrow to withdraw, since I’m going to stick them with a $400 travel bill.

I briefly reconsidered my decision a moment ago, when I was turned down for a fellowship with the Georgia Capital Defender. My first rejection. But I still don’t think that I should allow my application to remain under consideration with this particular fellowship. There are people who are truly jazzed to do policy and education with their law degree, and those are the people who would benefit from the program and be a benefit to the agency. I’d be dead weight. My mother, bless her soul, almost had a heart attack. She’d prefer that I be employed in a job I don’t like than be unemployed. She may have a point. However, I am far too arrogant and far too driven to concede defeat at this point.

Womanofthelaw’s Vital Statistics for November 15, 2004:
Number of applications sent: Who knows. 15-ish?
Number of interviews: 7
Number of rejections: 1
Number of inevitable additional rejections: 2 more are certain.
Number of Gabriel Garcia Marquez books read to date: 2
Number of Marquez’s books in my possession left to read: 2
Conversations my roommate had about me, not realizing I could hear his every word: 1 [i'm still stewing over this one]

The Life of a Jet Setter

I'm here for a grand total of 20 hours, just long enough to fly in, sleep on a real bed, interview, kill some time, and fly out. I don't think I'm particularly well suited to this type of traveling. I walked around for about 2 hours this morning, and now I have an hour to lounge here until checkout, then another hour or so to kill before my interview, then 2 hours to kill after my interview. I think I may just go to the airport right after my interview and try to catch an earlier flight, but if I can't, then I'm stuck in the airport for hours. At least I have a book to read.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Wait a minute. Cheney's alive and ODB is dead? that's not a typo?

This Fish has an article in the NY Times regarding love and blogging. She discusses what it's like to KNOW what the object of affection is doing all the time, instead of merely wondering. I fell into (and have almost, but not quite crawled out of) that trap with Friendster, as that is how Mr. Maybe tracked me down and introduced himself to me. Despite my better judgment, I can't help but see who else he's contacting and getting to know in the same way he did with me. Reading Friendster profiles of the others, I too convinced myself that they were more attractive, more fun, and more interesting than I. What hurts most, I think, is how that revises history. It makes me think that when I did know him, I wasn't who he thought I was, he wasn't who I thought he was, and whatever we were, it wasn't real and it wasn't a really good thing. I actually tried to send him a text message last night on my way home from a party, because I heard on the radio that ODB died yesterday, and thought of him and his "free ODB" shirt. When I tried to send the message, I realized that he was no longer in my phone.

The party last night certainly defied my expectations. Whenever I attend a gathering of old friends, especially a gathering including these crazy characters, there's no telling what antics will have to be endured. I ended up enjoying myself much more than I had expected, and being in the company of these individuals got my mind whirring again. It had me thinking the entire way home, about many different things. All I'll say here is that it's interesting to reconnect to people you've known for years and realize that the type of people that you want to meet and hang out with have been around all along.

One friend mentioned to me that I'm so vague in my weblog, he thinks he's expected to know, for instance, where I'm living and what I'm doing right now. I didn't realize that I had done such a good job at being anonymous that even my own friends couldn't track me down. I suppose I could be less vigilant about revealing my geography. I'm just afraid that it makes it too easy for people with whom I associate professionally to identify me.

I have an interview tomorrow. I should go prepare.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Winter makes me angry.

I woke up this morning to about 2 inches of snow. Aww, isn't that cute? NO. Because every time it snows, my car doors freeze shut, the locks freeze, and my car won't move so much as an inch without snow tires. Additionally, it seemed to pick up a new habit last week, which involves the car refusing to steer when it's cold out. Per my internet diagnosis, it seems as though it might be a valve in the steering rack that is sticking shut. Now, that doesn't sound cheap, does it? The most frustrating part of all of this is that I was supposed to be on my way home to get my car inspected, since it's a month overdue. But I can't even get into my car, and even if I could, it certainly wouldn't be safe for me to drive it if there's snow on the ground. I'm pretty much stuck at home for the day. And I'm really, really pissed.

As far as yesterday's exam - well, the 45 minutes it took to help some of my fellow test takers fill in the name and address bubblesheet indicates that the curve will help. I didn't have a watch, so I didn't realize that it only took me an hour to finish the test until after I left the testing room. So, I could be an idiot, I suppose, and have accidentally skipped most of the exam, or perhaps I just got every answer wrong. But, I couldn't quite bring myself to care. It pained me to write in the code of the state for which I'm currently slated to sit. I had a powerful urge to put in "Maryland" but they don't even require the MPRE, so sending my scores there is useless anyway.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

MPRE - induced ramblings

Having today off, I decided it would be as good a time as any to try and comport my ethics to those of, um, whoever creates this evil test. I woke up a little later than usual, but was still at the gym early, came home and had a healthy breakfast, and proceeded to the coffeeshop to settle in. I figured I had this down. After taking my first practice test, in which I answered 31 of 50 questions correctly, I realized I was doomed to fail. I panicked. Then ate a late lunch. Then took another practice test, this time scoring 39 of 50 correctly. Panicked. Called a friend who assured me that was sufficient to receive a score of over 100 (I just need an 85 to get into the states that I need to get into). On a brighter note, Maryland doesn't require it. So there's that.

What have I learned from studying for this? Well, I learned that my fellow attorneys don't have to rat me out to the bar if I solicit hookers, possess marijuana, or drive under the influence. Even if I'm charged and convicted, I'll be a-ok. However, if I fudge my tax form or deposit my own money in my client's account, I will be disbarred and will go directly to lawyer hell when I die. That's the deepest level of hell, I think. I've also learned that no one knows what to do if you, as a criminal defense lawyer, have reason to suspect (or even know) that your client is going to lie on the stand. Every lawyer I've asked has answered me differently (I have to say, though, that I did enjoy hearing all the responses from actual practitioners, and will be sure to use each technique), and even the study guide has two different answers. Why? I think it has a lot to do with the fact that people get squeamish when confronted with the realities of our legal system. No one wants to hear that truth has no place in the courtroom. I am still convinced, however, that Justice would make a great tattoo.

I was feeling cute (albeit unethical) this morning, as indicated by the fact that I wore something other than sweatpants, and it's not even a workday! The first thing I did when I arrived to study - I dripped coffee down the front of my newly rediscovered shirt. I have a coffee curse. I thought it was limited to the coffee shop across the street from my law school. The lid doesn't seal on the cup, so it drips large amounts on one's shirt, unbeknownst to this adorably unethical law student. My coffee cup issues led to my invention of the 'coffee diaper.' The coffee diaper consists of an unsightly wad of napkins wrapped around the area where the lid meets the cup. The coffeeshop across the from the law school requires an inordinate amount of napkins. I had become far too cozy with lids that seal, because I haven't used the coffee diaper in months. I have huge coffee stains in inappropriate locations now. I, nevertheless, refused to change my shirt or retreat from public view.

After cheerfully succumbing to an utter lack of standardized-testable ethics, I went shopping for number 2 pencils and a new hip-hop CD. 25 year old white girl wearing a J. Crew coat, a coffee-stained Gap shirt, and Old Navy jeans marched right into the CD store and pondered the advantages of Nelly's "Sweat" vs. "Suit." The very hip multi-racial teenager behind the counter, responding to my comment that Nelly's "Suit" was recommended to me for my new workout CD, advised me that the CD would be best appropriate for making out with my man. Given the lack of man, I put it back on the shelf. She then led me to Twista, who I have to say, is pretty catchy. But Ja Rule has a new one, and Mase has a new CD and is allegedly sober. Any hints? I'm trying to pick between Mase, Twista, and Nelly's "Suit" (despite the advice from the much-cooler-than-me girl). I heart you, Kanye West, but I've had you for almost a year. I never buy CDs, but I have a gift certificate, and my adorable clients made fun of me incessantly for never listening to anything more than what's on the radio.

Colombia's army chief claims advances against rebels
I'd write more about why I care, but I think I'm going to bed now. We'll chat later.

Ignorance: Does it equal bliss or the downfall of a country now in ill-repute with the rest of the civilized world?

This article on Slate, entitled "Loyal to a Fault," demonstrates that 1. Bush wants people who are going to tell him what he wants to hear (think back to the reasons for invading Afghanistan AND Iraq) and 2. Gonzales is one person who will do just that.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


The Supreme Court wrestles with Canada and drug dogs.
Baltimore Sun: Sentence reduced for abused woman
Washington Post: Judge Frees Woman in Death of Horrible Man

High Achievers Leaving Schools Behind: an article on the effects of "No Child Left Behind"

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

In the news today.

Ashcroft resigns
The best question I received in an interview two weeks ago: "If you were going to a criminal law related Halloween party, what is the scariest thing you would dress as, and why?" I said Ashcroft.

Pharmacists refuse to give out birth control pill (One even refused to hand the woman her prescription back, and refused to refer her to another pharmacy.)

Death penalty review sought
In a case being closely watched by both sides in the death penalty debate, the
Maryland attorney general is asking the state's highest court to erase an Anne
Arundel County ruling that would force prosecutors to say whether they intend to seek the death penalty when they bring an indictment.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Sunday, November 07, 2004


I really can't shake the blues. Today, it was so beautiful outside that I decided I should bring my work outside for the afternoon. That didn't work out - I couldn't find parking and ended up in a parking garage that charges $7 per half hour. This made me very unhappy. I decided I was going to get my gourmet cafe mocha and sit outside anyway, damnit. So I did. Still feeling really down in the dumps, and still generally unhappy, I finished my drink and slinked back to my car. As I was walking to the garage, a middle-aged African American man said to me, "Don't look down. Look up." I looked at him and smiled. He winked back and I kept walking. I wanted to stop and turn around, and hug him. I wanted to say, "Thank you for noticing me. Thank you for caring. Thank you for not being cold and indifferent." But I couldn't bring myself to turn around and say it, and instead I cried. All the way back to my car and back home. Then I cried two more times when I thought about it.

On a rather emotionless note, I forgot to include this link last week: New juries must weigh sentence in capital case

Back to MPRE studying. I just realized that I have a lot to learn before Friday morning.

Treading water.

Last night, I reluctantly dolled up and went attended a swanky wine and cheese gathering at my friend's house. I figured that I would know most of the people there, and figured that I wouldn't have much to say to them, and wanted to avoid the acquaintance that I [thought I] hit it off with a while back but who never called. The party was very nice, and after uncomfortably dodging said former acquaintance for a while, we ended up chatting nicely throughout the evening. Met a few other very nice people, drank wonderful wine, munched on very fancy appetizers, and was doing ok. The calm evening came to a screeching halt when I inadvertently outed a friend of mine to his coworker. Completely, unintentionally kicked his ass out of the closet. Having nothing further to say to anyone present, and figuring I had done enough damage for the night, I left. I was the first person to leave.

I was cornered several times by a friend asking what was wrong, was I tired? Bored from enduring an MPRE review all day? None of the above. Just bored and wholly uninspired. I'm not growing as a person, I'm not being challenged, I'm not really meeting too many new people, or having too many new experiences. That's not necessarily a reason to be frustrated. What frustrates me is that I have things I want to accomplish in the course of my life, and nothing I am doing right now is bringing me any closer to accomplishing them. I want to be a public defender, I want to work with youth, I want to have an apartment with my own furniture in it, I want to see places I've never seen before, I want to meet new people interested in similar things, I want to meet guy who is really into me, who knows my favorite foods/shows/books/stories and can use that knowledge appropriately, who tells me I'm beautiful and means it, and who is doing something that inspires him. I wake up every morning, go to work, work alone all day, go home, see the same one or two friends every single day, then go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. So, for parties like last night, I do a cost-benefit analysis. Is it worth turning off "Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion" to get out of my sweatpants, do my hair, apply accessories, coordinate an outfit, and put on a lot of mascara and makeup, to later have to come home and remove all of these items? Is the social event worth the energy? And last night, I was breaking even. Throughout the night I was having an enjoyable enough time that I didn't feel compelled to leave, having applied so much makeup, but didn't feel particularly compelled to stay, either. After my social faux pas, that tipped the scales in favor of a hasty departure.

My response to this has been to just stop trying, which is acceptable to me at this point. I've read several books in the past few weeks and have completely fallen in love with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I'll always have the sweet reliability of paperback fiction.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

I'm ready to go.

I received a wonderful voicemail from my former 1L crush last night. This morning, I woke up to a voicemail from him and my bestest friend and roommate from the law school semiformal. sigh. The semiformal is always such wonderful, silly, drunken debauchery. I missed it. I miss them.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

It's only been one day, and here we are...

already Yahoo news is giving me the following headlines from hell:
Bush pledges to make changes to the tax code
"Contending Americans have embraced his conservative agenda, President Bush pledged Thursday to aggressively pursue major changes in Social Security, the tax code and medical malpractice awards, working with Democrats if they are receptive and leaving them behind if they're not. "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it," Bush said a day after a decisive victory that made him the first president in 68 years to win re-election and gain seats in both the House and Senate."
"He took congratulatory calls from world leaders from Russia, Poland, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Italy before flying to Camp David for four days of rest after the grueling campaign."
"He is expected to ask Congress early next year for up to $75 billion for Iraq, Afghanistan and operations against terrorism...The president was unapologetic about the unpopularity of his decisions in many world capitals, such as his commitment to spread democracy in the Middle East. "

Wal-Mart opens store near Mexico pyramids

Laura Bush to get new puppy for birthday

Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. I can't believe that having 51% of the country voting for you (let's be honest, that's not up too many percentage points from the last election he 'won') signals that the country is behind you. For either Kerry or Bush, a 51/49 victory doesn't imply anything more than the fact that it is clear that neither candidate represents its constituents well. For either of them, they're alienating half the country. It's like a game of "Would You Rather" - "Would you rather have wheels for legs or sneeze confetti?" "Would you rather have sex with Cindy Crawford with no arms or legs, or Rush Limbaugh?" Please.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Election: Pro and Con

Pro: Dallas elects Latina lesbian as sheriff (but she'd best not dare ask to get married.)

Con: The Onion says it best, with headlines such as, "God Puts His Tool Back in Office" and "MoveOn Curls Up In Corner"

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Voting update

I managed to cast my vote just fine. I did run into some familiar faces, and some familiar names, while returning to my hometown to vote. That's a brief tale for another time.

Right now, Bush is looking like he's got the lead on this. Looking at the color coded map, it's odd to think that Bush has only a slight lead - because most of the country is colored red. Just a few blue spots for Dem victories - and yet it remains so close. (Then there are all those state governor and U.S. Senate elections that seem to be swaying in favor of Republicans - let us not overlook the fact that the man just elected to the Senate by South Carolina to replace a Democrat is the same man who doesn't think that unmarried pregnant women should be schoolteachers, and is in favor of a national sales tax.) I hope I hope I hope this is like a Red Sox game that goes REALLY late and then Ortiz suddenly hits a walk-off homerun. Kerry needs a walk-off home run. The only good thing that can come from a Bush victory is Hillary Clinton's victory in 2008. I've got your back, girlfriend.

Voting Debacle.

I woke up this morning with a raging head cold (AGAIN!?!?) and I am now high as a kite on Sudafed.

Currently, my car is not registered or inspected. Last Thursday, I was sitting in a hotel room far away, in someone else's suit, trying to figure out how I was going to let American Airlines know that not only had I still not received my luggage, but that they had dropped off someone else's luggage, which was impossible to rectify because they only give you an automated number of a computer voice telling you where your luggage is, and my cell phone was about to die, because the charger was in my luggage.

At that time, I received a phone call in regards to a problem with my car registration from many states away. I did not take the call for the aforementioned reasons. Well, yesterday I called, and found out that I have an outstanding parking ticket. So they won't mail my registration. I assured them that I had taken care of the ticket. Turns out, I paid the $65 out of state ticket, but I had an in-state parking ticket (only $20) outstanding. Rats. The woman at City Hall gets all worried and frantic, advising me that my tags had expired and I need to be there because I'm now driving illegally. I tell her that I cannot get there, because I am out of state.

Today, I decided to leave work early (after just taking two days off, and having to take off 4 more days in the next two weeks) so I could head back home, vote, take care of the ticket, register and inspect my car. But oh! City Hall is closed because it is Election Day. And my mechanic said that he cannot inspect my car without a legal registration. He was very adamant as well that I should hope I don't get pulled over, because I'm driving illegally.

Now this starts to ring a bell - and from my legal research here at the DA's office, I know that if I were to get pulled over for driving an unregistered car, the least of my problems would be the fact that they would impound my car. Then I started freaking out - I had left work early, I couldn't do ANYTHING about my car, and I had no way to get home to vote. Do I drive home, risking arrest and the loss of my car, just to vote in my swing state? Or do I stay home for the afternoon, doing nothing but stew over the fact that I did not cast a vote in the election in my swing state because I paid the wrong parking ticket and I hate the people at City Hall?

Luckily, a dear friend of mine is heading up there this afternoon to vote and has kindly agreed to allow me to go with him.


Next entry: What problems arise from trying to cast my vote. (I'm looking forward to seeing what else could possibly go wrong. Stay tuned.)

Vote Someone Else for President.

Dahlia's HILARIOUS article on how to File Your Own Election Lawsuit.

Monday, November 01, 2004

What the hell am I supposed to do now?

I am 2 hours into my first night back at home, sans baseball, and I don't have a blessed thing to do. I've finished three books in the past two weeks. I have no more. I don't want to write these thank-you letters from last week's interviews. The laundry's in the washing machine. I refuse to put any more energy into this city - it's given me nothing on prior energy investments. So. What to do next? Any suggestions for books? Hobbies to pick up?

He's Just Not That Into You

This book, apparently, has unleashed a revolution. I've heard it referenced twice this week. Born from a Sex and the City episode, it turned into "The Rules" for the 2004 single woman. One friend described it as a "tough love" book for women - if he doesn't call, it's not because he's been working late, or is always busy or tired. He's just not that into you. If he doesn't make plans for the weekend by Wednesday, it's not because he's not a 'planner.' He's just not that into you.

I can imagine that there are men out there who think this is ridiculously simple, and are appalled that it took a book to communicate these things. To you men, I say - perhaps you were just getting too much credit all along.