Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Is it a full moon? Are the stars in some bizarre alignment? What the
hell is going on today? Confrontations with friends, completely
out-of-the-blue phone call from a public defender office in northern
Georgia, and a verdict in the homicide case I've been watching. I
don't even know how to begin to process all this. I'm practically
leaping out of my skin.

I do my best processing with my hands on my keyboard. I should really
buy a journal - you'd be subjected to much less babbling.

As for the verdict - it was what I had originally predicted, although,
in light of some recent juror misconduct, I had my doubts going in.
Of the five counts against each defendant, they were each convicted of
one. I don't want to betray my defense roots, but I do believe that
the verdict was fair. I didn't go to the verdict because I wanted to
see a conviction - I went because I wanted to see for myself what a
verdict looks and feels like. I know, my "feelings" ramblings are
very non-legal. But, like Blonde Justice, my work isn't about the
cutting edge legal theory, or the concept of law itself - it's about
the individuals who get trapped in it. I think it's absolutely
critical for me to go into these experiences open to absorbing and
sensing the raw emotion of it all. And I think I did. The deceased's
family ran into the courtroom seconds before the verdict was read.
The courtroom was packed. The tension was unbelievable. There were
at least a dozen court officers standing along the bar. At the first
two "not guilty" verdicts, the deceased's wife was visibly upset.
Then the guilty verdict was announced on one of the counts. The
defendant's wife and mother began sobbing violently, although not
loudly. Then the second defendant was convicted on one of the last
counts read. The deceased's wife looked relieved. Then, brief
arguments were heard in regards to bail. The bail was revoked (both
defendants have been out for 5 years) and when they were ordered into
custody, and took off their jackets, and had the cuffs slapped on
their wrists, that's when it all went to hell. The mother passed out,
the wife was just hysterical and bewildered, and the defendants'
family was livid. One of the defendants' family members started
yelling outside the courtroom when it was over.

One of the ADAs that I've done the most work for this semester
recalled a probation revocation hearing he did some years ago. The
defendant's probation was revoked and the family was crying, yelling,
"Are you happy now? Now that you won?" He told me that he never
feels like he has won. There are no winners in the courtroom. I
think he's right. Seeing what I saw today makes me feel that way.

I'm sure it doesn't feel the same in say, drug possession cases.
There's a difference between the 'malum in se' crimes vs. the 'malum

Then I went to the grocery store because gay friend Will offered to
make me dinner. I was going to provide the salad and the wine. The
butternut squash was on sale, which was great because I've been dying
to make this killer recipte for butternut squash and sweet potato
soup. I picked up squash, sweet potatoes, an apple (the recipe calls
for it), plus three yogurts for fun, the trappings for salad, and a
magazine to read at the gym. I reach into my pocketbook at the
register and... my wallet is not there. At all. I can't pay, so I
run to my car. Wallet's not there. My wallet NEVER leaves my purse.
I rush home. Wallet's not there. I've never had my wallet stolen
before, and I know I had it when I got home before I left for the
grocery store. So I called and cancelled all my credit cards. As I
was on the phone with the bank cancelling my card, I found my wallet,
somehow kicked into the dark corner of the laundry room downstairs.

So I had dinner, and calmed down. Drank some red wine. Will's
roommate J joined us, cooking dinner for himself and his girlfriend T,
who happens to be a coworker of Will's. Will brought down a pile of
stocking stuffers he didn't want - combs, CD cases, etc. He went
through each item one by one, and right before he got to the last
item, his phone rang. He left the room to go answer it, and so I
poked at the last item in his pile. It was a talking picture
frame/alarm clock. I thought I would be funny and take it out of the
wrapper, record a message for Will, and then put it back, to trick
Will into playing the message, thinking it had come right out of the
box like that. I recorded the message, and J and I joked about the
picture that came with the frame. I put the frame away, and a few
minutes later T came over, sat down, and said, "Did you see what
Will's godson gave him? He recorded his voice on the alarm clock
frame." I froze. No way. I totally recorded over it, thinking that
Will was trying to give away the stocking stuffers the way he had
given away the rest of them. FUCK. I got totally busted.

Today has just been nutty.

Could I go to Georgia?

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