Monday, July 17, 2006

another battle scar

I cried at work.  Again.  I started crying before I made it out of the courtroom - but the only people who could see me cry were whoever was sitting in the last two rows.  I managed to get that far, at least.  The only thing worse than getting caught crying at work is getting caught crying while trying to HIDE - I crawled under my desk and pulled the chair in so no one could see me and of course, no less than 6 attorneys came by and found me hiding under my desk sobbing.  How embarrassing. 
 
I was so angry at the way the court was humiliating and needling my client, unnecessarily, and without provocation.  The judge then ordered me to do something that I told the judge I could not do.  I objected, and said I couldn't.  The court ordered again.
 
A few hours later, everything was resolved, and things worked out the way they should have.  But that's another one of those things that should be considered a 'victory,'  I guess, because the client got what he wanted in the end - but that sure didn't feel like a victory.  It felt like the court was trying to do everything it could to make my client fail, to obstruct whatever I was trying to accomplish - but all the while making it look like it was my client's fault.  It was so frustrating.
 
Then I had another client this week who was so convinced that what he had to tell the judge was important for the judge to know, that he would not be quiet.  He kept trying to talk to the judge and I kept asking him to stop, don't say anything, otherwise the judge is not going to release you and the prosecutor is definitely going to use it against you.  Ah, no.  My client insisted on talking.  The judge directed my client to speak to me.  Finally, client turned to me, told me exactly what I said not to say to the judge, and I finally said, "My client would like the court to know that he is concerned that xyz will happen as a result of this court's order."  And the judge told him exactly what he thought about that, about 4 times louder than I've ever heard him address anyone, and (ahem) admonished my client so loudly and thoroughly and extensively that I'm pretty sure he'll shut up when I tell him to shut up next time. 
 
Why, defendants, why, do you take the Fifth Amendment protections that I work tirelessly to protect, and throw it away with both hands, and stomp on it?  I told you the judge did not want to hear that.  And you didn't believe me, did you?
 
Oooh!  The highlight of my month was when about two weeks ago, for the very first time, I received this question from a client who just got out of jail on a prior case, with about 40 convictions for drug possession who asked me after I told him that he would not be released or sentenced to community service:
C: "Is it true that you work with them?"  Ah yes.  THE question.
Me: "Who?"  I figured I'd play dumb.  I mean, maybe if I can figure out what my client THINKS we all do, I can do a better job of correcting it.
C: "You know, them?"
Me: [deciding to stop playing games] "You mean, do I work with the DA and the judge to keep you locked up?"
C: "Yeah."
Me: "No, it's not true.  I'm here to defend you, which also means telling you what I think is going to happen.  Now, I can tell you what you want to hear, or I can tell you what I know the judge is going to do.  If I really wanted to see you locked up, if I really wanted to work 'with' them, then I'd be a DA instead, because they make a lot more money and they don't have to sit here in the pens with a bunch of people cursing them out.  And if I really wanted to see you locked up, I wouldn't even really need to talk to you about it beforehand, right?"
 
You know, it would be one thing if I had a curious client who was unfamiliar with the system ask me that question.  I would be ok with answering it.  But it's really disingenuous to ask that question when your rap sheet needs its own forklift. 

9 comments:

Sanchovilla said...

But it's really disingenuous to ask that question when your rap sheet needs its own forklift.

I love this quote and I WILL find a way to use it before the week is out!

Getting caught crying under the desk huh? Yup, thats a tough one.

I know how it feels, but sometimes crying is the right thing to do. Sometimes its okay to let it all hang out there...the frustration, the anger, the helpless and sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. Sometimes crying is all you can do to feel better...

You know...if you're a chick.

We men deal with it the Manly way. We bottle up our feelings and emotions just like our fathers and their fathers before them...way down deep inside us and keep them down there until our bodies just can't handle it anymore. Sometimes we feed those feelings with booze and drugs, and sometimes we just starve them...but we keep em down!

Then we dies prematurely at 41 years of age.

Life sucks sometimes.

Anonymous said...

What's funny is how quick people are to talk about taking the fifth...outside of the courtroom!

Lily Graypure said...

Crying in front of people is the worst. I always become even more upset about losing my composure that I cry harder. . . What a mess. But I agree with sanchovilla, the "forklift" thing was brilliant.

la lawyer said...

We all have those crying moments, even in civil practice. When the partner who made me cry walked into my office without knocking first, I told him I had just heard some bad news about a friend.

I "third" - the forklift comment is a gem!

Anonymous said...

Crying at work has to one of the worst feelings ever. Especially in front of male co-workers. It is hard enough to be taken seriously as a female attorney, without having to deal with an additional emotional stigma.

Audacity said...

I cried at work for the first time about a month ago.. but, it was in the parking lot when I was talking to an admin about a case which was giving me a lot of difficulty. Frustration is a bitch.

Melissa said...

I have cried at work. Sucks. Hard. but it's better than killing people. I mean do you really want to be the "I'm not only a lawyer, I'm also a client" woman.

Sidebar--for the other half said...

I loved the forklift quote as well.

As for crying--you need to get a lock for your door--or put a chair against it!

I was only caught crying by a "superior" attorney once--and I was 7 months pregnant, so I suppose I had a built in excuse;)

Anonymous said...

No, it's the desk. I mean it, it's the damn desks. They are always causing trouble. And whenever there is trouble in the office what else is there? A desk! See the connection?! You got caught in a compromising position under the desk. In a "friends" firm, a co-worker got caught snorting lines of coke on her desk. (Rumor was it wasn't that good of coke, either.) An associate got caught having "misionary sex" on a desk... with one of the senior partner's AKA-registered show dogs! and it was one of the other partner's desks! Then after word got around and everyone started "visiting the scene" and "examining the evidence" people couldn't help but notice the "white stuff" (powdery stuff) under the glass on both of their desks. Yep, you got it, everyone was pretty much busted. What's the common element? Office desks. What do you think of that?