Tuesday, May 30, 2006

vacation reflections

I am still unsettled.  It took me days into the vacation to relax, and even at that, my vacation was more about searching for quiet and stillness.  When sharing a beach house with other young adults, sometimes that can be a struggle.

Spending time around couples who are young, fun, in love, and leading the life I thought I wanted to be leading right now is difficult.  Seeing them together is uplifting and inspiring.  I admire them for the relationships they've cultivated.  And then when I go to bed by myself, I am emotionally tired and very much alone.

I finally realized that I still feel powerless over my own life.  I have accomplished the things that I want to accomplish, for now, as far as concrete goals go.  I went to a palm reader for fun a few weeks back and left in shock.  You had everything all planned out, she said.  You've always had life planned out.  First this, then that.  But now, the things that you planned aren't working out.  One commenter in the last post wasn't so far off.  I do want to get married, get a house, get pets.  Have kids.  That's what I had planned to be working on right now.  But right now, it's not even on the radar, and I'm at a loss as to what to do now.

I think that I've convinced myself that I'm in the right location because I have the job I want, I work with people I like, I am around close friends who are also single and are in similar positions.  Being away from my new home for a while has made me realize that I don't have much interest in going back.  If I'm going to be lonely, I might as well be lonely in a quieter and more peaceful place.  I want to have a backyard and an old pickup truck and a quiet neighborhood.  I want to be near the people I know and love, but I'm not sure I can stay where I am.  I miss seeing trees and the ocean - the actual ocean, not just a commercial harbor - I miss swimming in green lakes ringed with pine trees, where fish will nibble your toes.  I miss burying my toes in the cool green grass and the wet dirt underneath it.  I miss setting up my lawn chair and grill and making drinks and drinking beers in the sunshine.  Living in a city has its attributes, no doubt, but the things that this particular city has to offer are mostly things I do not value deeply. 
Maybe it's time for me to move my life in a direction that feels less lonely.  Or maybe, at this stage in life, that's not really how things go.

A friend asked me how I ended up where I am now.  I thought I had the answer. 

Thursday, May 25, 2006

the real world sucks.

And I don't mean the MTV show.  I mean the real world.  Lowercase t, lowercase r, lowercase w. 
I left work at a reasonable hour and I took tomorrow off.  I have the whole night to myself.  What to do?  Hmmm.  I did a little window shopping, came home and ate dinner, made a batch of hummus [really disappointing, I have never found a good recipe], had a beer, checked the blogs, and now here it is.  7:30 pm.  I'm watching the first episode of Friends and guess what?  Aniston TOTALLY got a nose job somewhere along the way. 
So what am I supposed to do the rest of the night?  I could clear out the laundry room.  That's a task and a half.  I could finish unpacking my room and prep it for this weekend's painting.  I could watch TV all night, again. 
I'm bored, and lonely.  I get up in the morning, go to the gym, go to work, come home, make dinner, watch TV, go to bed.  Every once in a while, some weekend plans turn up.  I mostly feel like I'm going through the motions, the routine, but I have no purpose.  This is not as much fun as my mid-twenties were supposed to be.
How am I supposed to occupy my time for the next, oh, 30 years?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

locked down

1,000 Incarcerated Per Week 04-05

From the article:
"The jail population is increasingly unconvicted," Beck said. "Judges are perhaps more reluctant to release people pretrial."
The report by the Justice Department agency found that 62 percent of people in jails have not been convicted, meaning many of them are awaiting trial.
The racial makeup of inmates changed little in recent years, Beck said. In the 25-29 age group, an estimated 11.9 percent of black men were in prison or jails, compared with 3.9 percent of Hispanic males and 1.7 percent of white males.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

false confession

The New York Times has an article on an inmate who is being freed after DNA tests concluded that he falsely confessed to the crime.
It is interesting to note that all courts denied the defendant's applications for DNA testing.  The reasoning was that the defendant knew too much about the details of the crime to be innocent.  Even though the DA opposed the testing, the DA then ran the tests on their own and discovered that indeed, the defendant was not the killer.
How could someone who knew so much be innocent?  Mr. Warney says that the cops fed him the information as they interrogated him.  I can't believe anyone is surprised.  Mr. Warney knew all the details because the cops gave it to him.  That's what convicted him, and that's what kept him behind bars, wrongfully, for years.  And that's why the courts continuously denied Mr. Warney's application for relief.  And if the DA hadn't had some change of heart (or a confession by another person) then Mr. Warney would continue to be a wrongfully convicted killer.  Mr Warney was expected to die in jail because of his fragile health.  Thank goodness something happened before the legal system killed him.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

falling off the wagon

After weeks of struggling to maintain my dignity, and somewhat succeeding, I had what I thought was a moment of strength and I emailed The Ouster. It was just small talk - i heard a song by his favorite group, which I hadn't heard before, and was totally caught off guard by it. I wrote the email, made small talk about music and other things, and sent it with a sense of finality. Now I'll know, I thought. He won't respond, and no more strings.

Except he responded.

And then I responded. ("WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT EMAIL HIM BACK" this same friend told me. I told her that she and I both knew I was going to ignore her very wise advice.)

And then he emailed back and asked me if I wanted to get together this Saturday.

Of course, I really want to see him again. I also still have very strong reservations about embarking on date #3 that looks a lot like dates #1 and #2. That is, a date that looks like drunkenly making out at the bar and / or getting booted after he's decided he's had his fun. I won't be able to see him this weekend because I already had something [really lame] to do and couldn't break plans. Not that I would for him anyway. So when I emailed him back, I let him know that this weekend was bad but asked him about next weekend. He hasn't bothered to respond. Now I have to wait.

I also caved and met up with Tenacious D last night. It was immediately disappointing and mostly a mistake. He's a good person, but still hasn't actually taken me out on a date despite all my pleading, and when I try to talk to him about why it's disappointing that he hasn't so much as asked me out in the past two months, he tells me it's because I'm always busy and out with other people. I don't like being told that it's my fault, but I can see that he must feel that he's giving me space that he wishes he didn't have to give me. Last night was awkward and I couldn't even stand to kiss him because I realized that it was really and truly done.

I was doing so well for a while there! 3 or 4 whole weeks... then, crash! kapow! Back to the same bad habits.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Monday, May 01, 2006


on being a public defender: to plead or not to plead?

It's not an uncommon dilemma.  Nonetheless, it haunts and perplexes your typical public defender.  What should you advise your client to do?  Take the plea or not?
I have two cases that are troubling me.  In one case I have been actively pursuing an alternate sentence.  My client has been in on bail for two months.  It is his first offense.  At first, the district attorney's 'offer' was a guilty plea and 6 months jail.  Then it was a guilty plea and 8 months jail.  It is clear from the nature of the charge that my client needs rehab.  I tussled with the DA over whether it should be residential and finally the DA and the court agreed (for logistical reasons) that an intensive outpatient program would be fine.  So my office has been working to get some community resources together to help my client get his life back on track - with employment, housing, treatment, and continued support.  Once this program is in place, my client can plead guilty and get out of jail, with the agreed sentence being whatever program is put together.  This case has taken a lot of time and energy, and I was well on my way to resolving this case when an attorney asked me harshly, "Why are you giving him a criminal conviction on a first arrest?" 
I don't know if I have a good answer.  I had asked the DA to consider an alternate disposition to try to avoid giving my client a criminal record, but my request was flatly refused.  That was back when we were looking at months in jail.  Suddenly I wonder if I'm wrong, and I've been working the case in the wrong direction the whole time.  Maybe he should go to trial instead - even if convicted after trial, the sentence would either be a similar drug program or jail time that my client would probably have already completed by that point.  But it would certainly mean that he wouldn't be getting out for another few months, at least.  And the facts / evidence pretty much points to "conviction."
My other case is also a first arrest.  If she agrees to pay restitution, she will avoid a conviction.  It's a good deal.  My client insists that she didn't do anything, and is angry that she was even arrested in the first place.  She believes that this is a vengeance issue, but after I did some investigation and advised her that she doesn't really have a good defense, and that the District Attorney seems to have a pretty solid case, she said "If that's what I have to do then I'll do it."  Should I tell her to just pay the money and be done with it?  Pay it, get no conviction, move on with your life?  If she really didn't do anything and this was just vengeance, then this won't be the end of the issues, I can imagine.  I just don't know what to tell her.