Tuesday, February 27, 2007

it's one of several things.

1.  I've watched too much american idol, I'm burnt out.
2.  I've watched too much karaoke.
3.  or, American Idol is just not very good or entertaining this season and is just "really good karaoke" as Simon said.

Monday, February 26, 2007

on being a public defender: take trial advocacy

I had a DA object to my objection today.

I made an objection, the judge overruled my objection, and the DA objected to my objection. Didn't oppose my objection. Objected to it. And then refused to accept the judge's "Overruled" (in response to my objection) as an answer. The judge continued to tell the DA to stop, but the DA just REALLY wanted to keep going with his 'objection.' Finally the judge said sternly, "MR. JONES. I ruled in your favor. Stop while you're ahead."

object away

I had a DA object to my objection today.  Didn't oppose my objection.  Objected to it.
I made an objection, the judge overruled my objection, and the DA objected to my objection, and then continued to try to explain why.  The judge continued to tell the DA to stop every few words, and the DA just REALLY wanted to keep going.  Finally the judge said sternly, "MR. JONES.  I ruled in your favor.  Stop while you're ahead."

Saturday, February 24, 2007


I want to be in a relationship.  I want to be married.  I want to start having babies.
but I'm not.  and I'm pissed.  and insecure.  and wondering, why not?

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Behold the end of an era.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

race against the clock

This week the Supreme Court decided Wallace v. Kato, in which the Court determined that the statute of limitations for a federal 1983 civil rights claim for false imprisonment / false arrest starts at the time one is detained in that criminal proceeding.
Let's flesh out the logistics of this.  Now, being a defense attorney, my attention always begins at the initial detention of my clients, not when the cops say they are 'under arrest.'  Here's a common hypo.  My client is walking down the street with two people.  The police approach, ask them questions, and keep them there until an eyewitness drives by, unbeknownst to my clients, while they are pressed up against the wall.  Then the police ask them to come down to the precinct with them.  They go.  That takes an hour.  After 12 hours of 'conversation' the police then place my client and two others under arrest.  Another 36 hours or so later, my client meets me and sees a judge who sets bail in the amount of $500,000.
My client, not having half a mill kicking around, stays in jail for motions, hearings, discovery, and finally, trial.  The DA isn't ready for trial 3 times in a row, I am not ready for trial once, the judge isn't ready for trial the next two dates because there aren't enough jury panels available or because he's on vacation or whatever.  Assuming this is indeed a 'speedy' trial, the soonest that I begin voir dire will be at least a year from the day I met my client.
My client is convicted based on one eyewitness.  My client is sentenced to, oh, let's be nice and say 8 years.
Over the course of appeals, it turns out the DA never turned over all that stuff that is constitutionally required to be turned over to the defense but almost never is.  Let's say, oh, the fact that someone else's DNA was recovered from the scene.  The intermediate state appeal took  8 months and was denied.  The final state appeal took another year and hallelujah, his conviction is overturned.  I'll eliminate any federal appeals time here for the purposes of brevity, which no doubt would have tacked on another decade or so.
So.  When does the statute of limitations start to run?  The analysis that makes the most sense to me, for a false imprisonment case, is to start running the statute of limitations from the date of the decision rendering the imprisonment false .
The Supreme Court does not agree and even expressly rejects that rationale.  The Court in this case clearly lays out that the suit starts running at the END of the alleged false imprisonment.  That makes sense - how can you sue for false imprisonment while being falsely imprisoned?  The false imprisonment ends, essentially, as soon as a client makes his first appearance, arraignment, bail hearing, etc.  As soon as a judge sets bail, the false imprisonment is over.  In my hypothetical, my client was 'falsely imprisoned' for 48 hours.  As soon as he saw the judge who slapped him with $500k bail, he had two years from that date to sue for false imprisonment.
The absurdity of this rule is that many clients won't even be CONVICTED by that point.  And if they are convicted, either rightfully or wrongfully, their appeals process will not be finished.  JUST IMAGINE how many civil suits, with a significantly lower burden of proof, will be outright dismissed on summary judgment motions based on a conviction alone in the trial court!
And furthermore, after my client has been in for 3 years, half of it pre-trial, half of it post-trial, the only thing he gets to sue for is that first 48 hours.  (Further detention must be remedied through a malicious prosecution suit, virtually impossible to win, I would guess, considering there are still DAs in the world).

Monday, February 12, 2007

this. this is why I cry at night. or drink.

I have a client who is being charged with drug possession and resisting arrest.  This is a pretty common 'bullshit' fact pattern, where a client is stopped for no reason, searched, then arrested for contraband, and then charged with resisting.  These cases are a dime a dozen. 
This case in particular haunts me becaue my client can't take a plea.  Even if he could, it's crystal clear to me that this officer is lying.  Lying, lying, lying.  My client is innocent, the cop made it all up, and how in the world am I going to convince a jury of that?

Monday, February 05, 2007

stabbing heartache

I hate that it matters to me, every day, whether you look at me or greet me.  I hate that I hold my breath for you to give me a nod, or a wink, or to walk by and hold my hand a second too long.  I hate that you know how much it matters to me.
I never realized how much you watched me, or how well you read me.  I wish that I didn't need you so much.  I wish I didn't know the way you look directly into my eyes and see everything.  I wish I didn't know how it felt to be the focus of your eyes and your questions.  I was surprised to find out how much you knew about me just by watching, since I had never revealed it, verbally or otherwise.  I wish I didn't see it in your eyes, how much I amuse you.  I wish I didn't know how well you could tell what I was thinking or feeling, more than anyone else has ever been able to.  I wish I didn't know that you feel about me the same way I feel about you.  I wish you didn't challenge me and excite me and make me laugh and laugh at me when I'm being funny or just unintentionally absurd.  I wish I didn't know how deeply you care for me.  I wish you hadn't been able to look at me and tell me, right at the moment that I thought I was staying strong and trying to be indifferent and standing firm, that I was fragile.  And you were right.
I wish that this connection was something I'd had with someone, anyone else.  I wish this didn't make me more lonely.  I wish I hadn't allowed myself that one hard, sobbing, lengthy cry.
More than all that, I wish you weren't with someone else.