Thursday, June 30, 2005

defeat

Now that I've had time to think, I'm feeling absolutely, 100% horrid.

I'm not sure I can articulate how this feels. I guess, even though I've
been really anxious and uncertain about the whole thing, I really planned
on this. This was my absolute dream job, and it was perfect. I was ready
to pursue this to the detriment of everything else - like a definitive
paycheck. It was a dire need, it was my favorite population (the kiddos!)
and I was going to have the opportunity to establish a position that was
going to be a model for the rest of the agency, to later become an actual
unit of attorneys doing the same type of advocacy. The attorneys with
whom I consulted were great, and the community was the community that I
wanted to move to - and as far as I was concerned, it was going to be my
last move ever. This was going to be it for me.

What's even worse about this whole thing is that, in theory, this is
actually the best thing for the kids - something I would have tried to do
in the course of my fellowship. These kids deserve better, and the state
is trying to give them that. I should be happy that this is a step in the
right direction for these kids. And I am - it's such a good thing.

But what if one day, you showed up for work, and there wasn't a need for
public defenders anymore? No one was committing any crimes, no one was
indigent, nothing was happening. Then what would you do with your life?
Where would you go next? How would you feel about all that you had
accomplished?

Of course, this is just one little job. there are other jobs. But those
other jobs aren't in those communities, and aren't specific to the
population and the advocacy I wanted to do. And I've worked so hard on
this - this was my baby. It was my little project, a seed in the soil,
that was about to bloom and flourish. I think this proposal really
grabbed some people's attention, and I know that these ideas will see
themselves develop statewide - eventually. I should be pleased with all
of this. But right now, I have nothing.

What are the possibilities? The funding agency, now almost a month late
(I sent in the app on APRIL 1. It's been 3 months. That's about one page
a month that they've been reading my app). Last week they said they were
sending out letters last week, and I should have heard early this week.
It's now 10 pm on Thursday, and I haven't heard anything. If they sent me
the letter and rejected me, then this is of no consequence. If they sent
me the letter and invited me to the second and final round, there's a
possibility I could make some alterations to do the same kind of advocacy
but with a different sub-group of kids. I'm not sure that it will appear
as compelling, however. Third, they could send me a rejection letter NOW
based on this intervening event, since my proposal as it stands is moot.
Fourth, I could scrap this whole thing - the agency, the kids, the
community - and go with the other job that assured me they'd be making me
an offer. The upside is that I will know many people in the community,
and will be working with indigent defendants, and will be working for an
excellent agency, but I otherwise loathe the idea of moving to this
community.

Earlier today, I was smarting from the impact of this news. It was more a
shock than anything else. Right now, I'm just devastated. I feel like my
feet have been knocked from under me. This whole time, I was really
gearing up for this - I was really putting all my mental energy into
wanting this to work. Now what?

I emailed Mr. STF an email along the lines of what I posted earlier today.
He called me. I can count on one hand how many times we've spoken on the
phone since we've not been in the same city. He was really sweet. It was
really nice, actually, that he cared enough to call and talk to me about
it. We discussed this predicament. So this fellowship was Plan A. Plan
B I described above. So he asked, "What about plan C?" Plan C is to move
to the Plan A community and just do contract work until I can get a job
that I want. He said, "Well that's not so bad." Pause. Silence.
"Right? It's not." He did it. And I sort of dismissed it, although the
idea had been in the back of my mind. But now, having spent the past 2
hours lying on my bed with tears of anger and disappointment just
simmering in my eyes, I softened to the idea. It's not that bad. If
everything else falls apart, and I can't bear the idea of anything else,
there is Plan C.

I'm tired. I'm devastated. I feel like my energy has been completely
tapped. The day got exponentially worse for unrelated reasons, and now I
really just want to crawl under a rock and not come out for a few months.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

A high ranking state official saw the overwhelming problems riddling juvenile deliquency services and as such, has taken action that COMPLETELY ELIMINATES MY FELLOWSHIP PROPOSAL. Yup. About 90 minutes ago, I became completely fucking obsolete. It's a good thing for the kiddos, it's a really really bad thing for my proposal.

And, by the way, the funding agency is several weeks late in notifying me as to whether I even made it past the first round at all! I mean, the proposal as it stands now is moot, but I called the agency last week and they assured me they sent out letters last week. Maybe we'll make this one fucking banner day by finding a rejection letter waiting for me. Or maybe an even more ridiculous outcome will be a letter inviting me to the next round. The fellowship is salvageable with some modifications, I think, but I just need everyone to know that I am currently FREAKING THE FUCK OUT.

I mean, I know I'm good, but sometimes being good means putting yourself out of work. Look how accurate I was at identifying the needs of the community... I was so accurate that someone else WENT AHEAD AND DID IT FOR ME.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Bar Review's Third Level of Hell: Duty Problems

Never once in law school did it occur to me that a duty was anything other than a legal obligation. Then I heard the Bud Light commercial that changed my life. One "Real Men of Genius" commercial came on while I was listening to the Sox game. It was "Jean Shorts Inventor." Not a particularly amusing one, until the narrator says something along the lines of jean shorts, either at work functions or family BBQs, doing their duty. Then the guy that sings in the background says, "YOU! just said doodie." And it was so unexpected and out of nowhere that I laughed my ass off. That was about two days before bar review started.

Through property, evidence, torts, contracts, the word "duty" appears a lot. But I have to tell you, in 3 years of law school, and after a month of bar review, it was not until today that it became uncontrollably funny. The lecturer referred to "duty issues" and having "duty problems" and at first it started with a childish snicker. By the end of the class, me and my back row cronies were hysterical.

Heh. He said doodie.

Supreme Court rulings

SCOTUSblog is updating:

The Ten Commandments display in KY were unconstitutional; the display in TX was not.

Supreme Court will not hear case regarding whether there is a reporter-source privilege.

Failure to enforce a protective order does not give rise to liability.

Check LII's Supreme Court page for the decisions.

Summer Listening & Reading List

About two years ago, I started asking people for book and music recommendations. I have asked several friends to recommend one book that they think I should read - either because they particularly enjoyed it, or because they think I would enjoy it, or because there is information in it that would be useful to know. I don't read as often as I would like, but I have used these recommendations and am glad. Not only do I enjoy reading books I may otherwise have avoided, but I think it reveals a hidden corner of the person who recommended it.

So, internet world, what would you recommend? I would like to ask you for a book to read, a CD to listen to, or both. There are many of you out there that read this blog who have never quite introduced themselves, and I hope you either leave a comment or shoot an email. I'd really like to hear from you!

And far be it for me to take without giving. Here are a few of my own recommendations for summer reading:

"Love in the Time of Cholera" - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (100 Years of Solitude is my favorite, but if you've never read Marquez before, I think it's hard to start with that one)
"Naked" and "Me Talk Pretty One Day" - David Sedaris
"Prodigal Summer" - Barbara Kingsolver
For the ladies, anything and everything by Jennifer Weiner
For the legal eagles, "The Brethren" by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong is a must-read.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

how to love bar review

1. Go to the morning class instead of the afternoon class on Friday. Spend the afternoon at the beach, sunning yourself. Make 6 flashcards and call it "work." Spend the evening eating tapas and drinking sangria with girlfriends.

2. Get up Saturday morning and have a fabulous workout, followed by 4 hours of work.

3. Having spent the morning doing some earnest work, spend the afternoon kayaking, enjoying the water, the sunshine, and the physical activity.

4. Having worked up an appetite, go grab a sub and ice cream for dinner. Yum.

5. Watch "Waiting to Exhale" because it's one of your all-time favorite chick flicks while you continue to work.

6. Go out drinking around 10:30, alleging you will be in bed by 11:30, and stay past last call.

7. Wake up on Sunday morning, skip the gym, eat a big brunch, and rock your way through contracts.

Passing the bar can only be easy in retrospect. I may have a great tan, but I don't know shit about law.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Results of the poll

Girl who carries her own condoms - prepared, or sleeps around? First impressions. Be honest.

"Prepared" (3)
"Sleeps around"
"First impression is prepared, but I'd look for signs that suggest otherwise"
"sexually liberated" (to which I replied, 'that means slut')
"it depends"
"was this message meant for me?"

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

snapshots of a bar review course

Lecturer:  "The defendant would argue, 'THAT IS NOT MY SEMEN.'"
W, whispering:  "Dirrrrrrrty."
Guy to my left: "If I had a nickel for every time I said that..."

poll

Favorable Dicta is compiling a Top 10 list of things every girl should have, in reaction to MSN's lame top 10 list. What seems to make every list is condoms. MSN has "a condom" as item #10. You can't really buy just one condom though.

This prompts something that I've been meaning to inquire about but have heretofore been too reserved to ask. What do you think about women who carry condoms? I have twice had condoms in my purse when I hooked up with a guy, and twice he was surprised, and both times he didn't have any. Or so he said. (This was the same guy both times, several months apart). It seems like there's something that catches guys off guard when a girl has condoms in her purse. Well, hell, I knew we were going to hook up, and we did, and lo and behold, I was prepared. Like a Boy Scout. I don't take them out of my purse, because you never know when someone will need one (I have on several occasions provided them to friends). One problem, though, is that I think they've, ahem, aroused some suspicion at security points. I was at the Supreme Court the day that Blakely was argued, and right before that historical oral argument, I had to show the guard my condoms. He was embarrassed. I was amused.

Why is it that guys are put off by this? I suppose guys draw an inference that if a girl is carrying condoms, then she must sleep around. I would like to present to you Defense Exhibit A: WomanoftheLaw carries condoms and gets almost no sex. So there you go. I defy social myth. Condoms do not cause women to sleep with lots of random anonymous men.

And seriously. If I hadn't been carrying condoms, then Mr. STF - you would have been stuck with those miserable condoms that you had stashed away long ago that prevented anything fun from happening for you. Shouldn't you be thankful for my preparedness?

Monday, June 20, 2005

file under: things that no one tells you about law school

Studying for the bar will absolutely be the worst way to spend two months. Not because you're frantically studying, or because even after graduation you end up in the same library with the same people as you did the three years before, not because it's hot as balls and nothing's air conditioned properly. it sucks because there's about 30 hours of work to do a day, you do nothing more than show up for the BarBri class, and then spend the rest of the time brooding and watching trashy television because you can't bring yourself to waste time doing something FUN, because you know you're supposed to be studying. Everyone hates life, including those people in law school who were never once in a bad mood.

AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHH.

Friday, June 17, 2005

bad Republicans.

Jeb Bush requests investigation into Schiavo 911 call. Bush hates Michael Schiavo - Bush will not let him win. Can you imagine if something happened to your mother, spouse, sibling, and you made the decision that they wanted, and you had local, state, and federal governments ALL introducing laws and creating havoc about it? And then your governor requests an investigation by the AG even after it's all over? KNOCK IT OFF ALREADY. GO fix starvation, poverty, the eighteen different wars we're fighting, SOMETHING. There is no 'living will' epidemic.

And while we're at it, Republican politicians, if we're interfering with marriage, and we're thinking a Constitional amendment defining marriage is in order, then I insist you include a ban on Celebrity Marriages as well. Please use your Schiavo intervention skills to stop this marriage ASAP. Katie Holmes, what are you thinking?!?!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Michael Jackson acquitted.


Today's Supreme Court decisions

Wilkinson v. Austin is a prisoner's rights case regarding whether the procedure (or lack thereof) for assignments to Supermax prisons violates the Due Process Clause.

Conditions at OSP are more restrictive than any other form of incarceration in Ohio, including conditions on its death row or in its administrative control units. The latter are themselves a highly restrictive form of solitary confinement. See Austin I, supra, 724—725, and n. 5 (citing Ohio Admin. Code §5120—9—13 (2001) (rescinded 2004)). In the OSP almost every aspect of an inmate’s life is controlled and monitored. Inmates must remain in their cells, which measure 7 by 14 feet, for 23 hours per day. A light remains on in the cell at all times, though it is sometimes dimmed, and an inmate who attempts to shield the light to sleep is subject to further discipline. During the one hour per day that an inmate may leave his cell, access is limited to one of two indoor recreation cells.

Incarceration at OSP is synonymous with extreme isolation. In contrast to any other Ohio prison, including any segregation unit, OSP cells have solid metal doors with metal strips along their sides and bottoms which prevent conversation or communication with other inmates. All meals are taken alone in the inmate’s cell instead of in a common eating area. Opportunities for visitation are rare and in all events are conducted through glass walls. It is fair to say OSP inmates are deprived of almost any environmental or sensory stimuli and of almost all human contact.

Aside from the severity of the conditions, placement at OSP is for an indefinite period of time, limited only by an inmate’s sentence. For an inmate serving a life sentence, there is no indication how long he may be incarcerated at OSP once assigned there. Austin I, supra, at 740. Inmates otherwise eligible for parole lose their eligibility while incarcerated at OSP. 189 F. Supp. 2d, at 728.


The never-ending Miller-El v. Dretke case, granting habeas relief on a Batson claim. Texas sucks.

Bradshaw v. Stumpf is a Sixth Amendment case that I'm not familiar with but caught my attention. It appears as though there was some dispute as to whether the defendant was fully aware of what exactly he pled to. Additionally, the prosecution proceeded against the defendants (capital case) on potentially inconsistent theories.

The Supreme Court reiterated Batson again in Johnson v. California, overturning a state Supreme Court decision because it placed an inappropriate burden on the defendant.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

thinking

I thought that after I saw you last time, I'd stop thinking about you so often. I thought I'd remember how much I don't feel connected to you, how sometimes you made me feel uncomfortable. I thought I'd stop wondering what made you the only guy that's not a distant second to a good DVD on a Friday night. I thought that we don't know each other well enough, that we can't ever be involved, that the way I think about you is crazy and irrational, and that it's clearly not meant to be. I thought I'd stop thinking about where I'm going next in relation to whether I'll ever see you again. I thought I'd stop thinking about you in the course of my conversations. I thought I'd stop wanting to talk to you, to tell you about my day or my plans or this really neat article I read. I thought I'd stop wanting to hear your voice, hear about your day, your family, your friends, your plans. I thought that I would stop falling asleep every night thinking about how perfect it felt to be curled up with you, listening to your breathing, feeling the way you take your place in the world even while you sleep. I thought that I'd stop wishing that it had been you that called instead.

I was wrong.

Friday, June 10, 2005

lazy heat

Baltimore Sun: Special report on inmate health care

I walked out of my bar review class yesterday after the first hour.

I received a phone call last night from someone that I wasn't expecting. I should call him back.

My debit card stopped working. The machine spit it out at me in disgust and flashed a threatening message. I have about 38 cents on me until I manage to get to a bank to get a new card to access my checking account, also worth about 38 cents.

The air conditioning at my gym broke a week ago. Today, they posted a notice assuring us that they will know more about a possible temporary solution by the middle of next week. I'm sorry. What? I just paid waaaaay too much for my summer membership, I'm sweating like a bitch as soon as I walk in here, and now you're telling me that you will have information about a possible TEMPORARY solution ONE WEEK from now? On the upside, I never have to wait for any of the equipment, since there's only 3 of us in the gym at any given time now.

I may spend the weekend swimming instead of reviewing equitable servitudes.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

BarBri hallucinations

I've had some very vivid and of course, completely odd dreams the past few nights. This is a good indication, because it seems that when I'm particularly distracted or otherwise occupied by anxiety, I 'stop' dreaming.

My recollection of my dream last night began at a law review buffet. One of my friends on law review invited me to the buffet, despite the absence of any nexus between myself, law review, and the occasion for which the buffet was set up. In line at the buffet, my roommate got in a raging argument with a dark-haired couple, who were standing in line incorrectly (you know? when people think they're standing in line, but aren't, and then all of a sudden you're cut by idiots who just can't stand in a straight line?). The argument was about simple liability and complex liability. As far as I can tell, neither of these are actual legal standards, but this demonstrates the hazards of studying (yes! actually studying!) for the bar in the evening. Roommate was clearly right in my dream, and clearly the dark-haired girl was stupid, but it made me feel better about my chances for passing the bar.

Next, I was in a bedroom that presumably was mine, and was making my bed with someone I don't, in real life, know particularly well. I remember the sheets were yellow. There were other people who I didn't know in the room. Suddenly I was shot in the chest and collapsed on the bed. Someone called 911, but the emergency vehicles weren't showing up, so I was just lying on the bed gasping and bleeding profusely. I kept very calmly and firmly assuring people in the room, "Don't worry! I will be fine, I promise." Secretly, I was terrified that since the ambulance seemed to be taking its sweet time, I was going to die. I started coughing up blood, and said, "See? That's supposed to happen. That's a good sign" while again, thinking, I'm gonna die. Then I regretted spitting blood on the comforter. That will never come out in the wash, I think to myself, and it's so impolite since that wasn't really my bed. What feels like 20 minutes passes, me gasping and oozing blood, and still no emergency response vehicles. I reach for the phone to call 911 again. My friend is really upset and wants to call them, but I calmly and confidently assure her that I'm fine and I should be the one to call and see where they are. I really didn't want anyone else to think that I was in bad condition, although I knew I was. So I 'call' 911 again except the phone is actually one of those generic condiment bottles, and as I'm calling 911 I'm actually pouring gravy into my ear. Regardless, it works as a telecommunication device and the operator, who can see my location based on my call, assures me that the response vehicles are at my door. They got lost on the massive amounts of land on the property, apparently. As I'm looking through the screen door, I see a line of cars pulling up and I'm relieved.

The next part of the dream, I leave the house with my mother. I'm still shot and bleeding, and really starting to wonder if I'm going to die. We're walking to her car so she can take me to the hospital, and we're arguing the whole time. She was blaming this situation on me and I was not going to back down on this argument. As we're walking to her car, which in my dream is a large old blue Chevy utility van, I see two young men, who clearly look like punks, walking towards us. I know that they are going to rob us without hurting us, but I'm sure that we can get into the car in time, avoid the whole situation, and get on our way to the hospital. I turned around and saw an older man signal to the two younger men by popping his collar (eew?) and so the young men suddenly change their mind. I suddenly know that my mom and I are in trouble and we rush to get into the van, me on the passenger side and my mom in the driver's side, but as we're climbing in, the youths pull out two knives. One of them hops in the backseat and the other is holding a knife to my mom's neck. I know that they want our money, and I sense that there's a chance that they won't hurt us but since that other man signaled something to them, their motives have changed and maybe they will actually hurt us now. In my head I start pleading with them because I know they won't let us drive to the hospital, and I know that I'm going to die, and if they are trying to rob us and I end up dying because I can't get to the hospital, they are going to be in so much more trouble, and they would have no way of knowing that, and I didn't want them to get into that much trouble. I was debating whether I wanted to tell them about their potential criminal liability, when suddenly I awoke. I never did get medical attention for the gunshot wound but hell, it couldn't have been that fatal since I'd been bebopping around with it for a good hour or so in my dream.
Death row inmates raise scholarship money for future police officer

Monday, June 06, 2005

Baltimore Sun on a Maryland death penalty appeal that is re-examining the use of racial disparities as a legal argument, which the Supreme Court has already deemed irrelevant.

Apparently, not all of Boston is ready for Queer Eye. Yes, apparently letting a gay man in a pink shirt throw the first pitch makes all the other teams laugh at you because it is uncool and not manly, and thus, we should not let gay men in pink shirts throw out the first pitch. We don't want people to think we are not cool or manly. Ah, Boston. You like your gay people as much as you like your minorities.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

News today

Innocent but never free - an article about how two men had such different experiences after being exonerated

Not so star struck - an analysis of what it means to be a celebrity in Boston

Home alone, but entertained: As Americans seek out solitary amusements, a sense of common identity may be lost.

brooding

I'm feeling a little lost right now. I'm barely studying for the bar, because I'm so consumed by the fact that I have no idea where I'm going on August 1st. I have not hear from either of the two potential job opportunities I had, and now I'm starting to get worried. What if the agency who said "We will be making you an offer" totally forgot about me? What if the funding app for my other project goes nowhere? Why is it June and I have yet to hear from either of them? When should I start getting worried?

I've been looking at job listings. I can't go back to being a social worker, because the state in which I was a social worker doesn't require licensing, and the state that I'd be looking to go to does require licensing. Career services has wisely advised not to look for jobs while studying for the bar - just concentrate on the bar. It is difficult to forget about jobs when I'm actively waiting for two of them.

I've all but removed myself from socializing, and can't motivate to do much of anything. I've stopped answering or returning calls. I fear that I could be on the brink of disaster. I'm afraid that I may have pursued my ideal jobs too passionately. It's possible that I dashed full-steam ahead through the woods only to find myself running right up to the edge of a cliff. I had confidently plowed ahead with my public defender job seeking, and even when things started sputtering, I didn't back down. No one else knows how terrified I am that maybe I ran the wrong way. Did I take the wrong bar? Was I wrong to stop the job search after that one assurance of a job offer? Does it matter that my other project proposal is going to be the framework for a new division of attorneys in the next few years, if I can't even get the funding to be the one to start it?

I don't have the energy to socialize or enjoy the weather, because all my energy has been spent fretting, job searching, and trying just to keep myself on track.

So I sit on the lawn, eyes closed, baking in the sun, turning over and over again in my head what my potential plans could be come August 1st.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

From Baltimore, more prisoners rights news:

federal judge rejects inmate's transfer request
Judge grants hearing in verdict against two officers

The Washington Post is all about "Deep Throat" today. I was wondering how long it would take to start discussions about how he was wrong to do what he did. But I wonder how things would have been different, how much less the public would have known or cared, if things happened differently.