Why post? Why write? How to keep it up? How to stay relevant? How to write about things that are interesting to people who look at a specific type of blog and don't necessarily want to see someone pontificating on the rest of society's issues, even though those issues are of great interest to you and you think you have something to write about? How to keep writing about what seems like a more and more narrow subject even though it's so full of interesting things on a day to day basis?
And most importantly, how to pick it up again after dropping it for so long without feeling like a fool, or artificial, or like you have nothing more important to say?
I started writing this blog more than a decade ago. It was new, I was a a lot younger, I really loved doing it. I wrote for a while, I got some nice feedback, I did it some more, and as much fun as it was, it became hard to keep it up.
So much has changed in the decade since I started writing this blog, and in the nearly 6 years or so since I last wrote for it. I had someone keep up the activity for me for a while, an earnest and hard-working public defender from San Bernardino. He wrote a bunch, I intended to collaborate with him and make the blog more vibrant, but I just simply dropped the ball, and the blog faded away. In that time, the word "blog" has changed meaning dramatically. So many webpages that were once "blogs" are now legitimate news sites. Some of them get millions of hits per day and are read religiously by people - including myself.
I guess I spent so much time away from PD Dude that it became natural to not write on it anymore. And I guess I haven't missed it that much, but I have missed it. I sometimes see so many things happen and want to comment, and feel I don't have a forum.....
So, for now, I'm back. I have a few things to talk about, and I'm going to talk about them.
Furthermore, I so frequently got good questions from people, I'm going to try and answer them more as well. So feel free to ask a question or two, and I'll do my best to answer them here.
But, for my one tidbit today, and the thing that's really changed the most since I last posted nearly 6 years ago, I want to go back to something I wrote about years ago. I noted on this blog more than 7 years ago that ex-Public Defenders tend to make really bad judges - or at least some of them do. But so much has changed in that time.
Arnold, when he was governor, appointed a bunch of Public Defenders to the bench. For years the tradition had been that only District Attorneys were appointed to the bench. It started with George Dukemeijian, continued with Pete Wilson (both law and order Republicans), and ironically got even worse with Democrat Gray Davis (the ultimate law and order panderer). Arnold got better, and appointed several Public Defender's to the bench. But now with Jerry Brown, he's been appointing huge numbers of PD's to the bench, and it's really starting to make a difference. It's slow, I know it, the number of old-school law and order DA's is still high, and the appellate courts are still filled with them, constantly writing "harmless error," to affirm any conviction. But the Supreme Court is slowly changing, and I think that the lower courts will change as well. They are becoming more human, they are becoming more diverse, like our state. And there is a greater degree of empathy on the bench - both with victims and defendants.
It's not all better, mind you. The deck is so incredibly stacked against us PDs it's incredible. But we have made some strides, and while it's not even, society is changing too. They are less in favor of the death penalty, less in favor of 3 strikes, less in favor of putting drug users away, they have passed 2 proposition 36's (one for drugs one for 3 strikes). I never thought it would happen when I started this blog, but the tide of anger and antipathy is slowly turning. California has become a better place, and I'm so happy to be here to see it.
Anyways, I'll write back again soon with more comments on some of the things I've started to discuss above. Perhaps there is hope for society!