My supervisor, bless his heart, is adamant about not letting me take on cases right now that aren't easily resolved - for instance, cases that are pled or dismissed at the first appearance. I appreciate this; however, starting in January, I will officially be on the schedule like a real attorney, instead of 1/3 of an attorney like I am now, and I anticipate that this will result in a lot of fumbling on my part. So yesterday I begged him to let me take a few cases in the afternoon, cases that won't all be resolved by the first appearance but maybe by the second day in court, and he relented.
One case turned out to be a classic case of alleged domestic assault. The complaining witness showed up to court on behalf of her husband, who was my client. She spoke with me directly and told me that she did not want to go forward with the charges and that she advised the District Attorney's office as such. Up until she spoke to me, I had been working under the assumption that a certain plea offer would be made, if any offer were being made, and if not, then it would progress as cases do when they aren't resolved in the first two appearances. Once she stated that she had no intention of going forward, I knew that the DA would not be able to pursue the case. Thus, as far as I'm concerned, any plea would be a bad plea. I explained to the complaining witness how the legal process works and what the DA needs, generally and from her in particular, in order to go forward. She stated to me that she was not going to do any of those things.
I was talking about my day with my roommate, and explaining generally that I had a case that will end up falling short of the legal burden necessary to go forward, and how this excites my legal mind. I didn't feel bad, or dirty - as a matter of fact, I felt like I was doing competent work. And of course I still believe that this case is progressing as it should. But I stopped when I realized that my roommate was grimacing slightly, and I realized it was one of those, "How do you defend those people?" moments.