Thursday, April 15, 2004

An anecdote.

No greater meaning here, just a typical day on the job. I represented a client who was charged with violating his probation for coke sales by a variety of sundry actions: being convicted of misdemeanor petty theft, not reporting to probation, not making any real attempts to get a job, using pot. Nothing that big, but enough, considering a prior probation violation where the Judge reinstated probation, for the Judge to announce he wasn't going to reinstate probation again.

Interestingly, while I didn't represent him on his case when he was originally fighting it (that lawyer has been subsequently transferred), I actually stood in for that lawyer for sentencing, where I handed him his terms and conditions of probation and warned him he faced 5 years if he violated, even for something as small as not reporting to probation. How did I remember? Well, I write it down on the file at the time, that's how.

So how does my client react to the news that the Judge won't reinstate probation, but indicates a 3 year prison sentence (instead of the 4 or 5 he could've imposed)? Angrily, of course. He constantly accused "us all" (including me) of trying to send him to the joint for no reason. He got angry at me for not working for him, and said that I just wanted him to go away for nothing. He was loud, surly, complaining to everyone in the area who would listen (few had a choice about whether to listen, they couldn't ignore him). In the end, of course, he took the 3 years rather than have a hearing and face 5 years. But not before accusing me of all sorts of complicity with the cops, DA, courts and a sundry list of other groups trying to send young black men to the joint for no reason at all. Finally, exasperated at one point, I asked the nearby bailiff for her keys so I could release him right now and let him go home, where he obviously deserved to be. Of course, she didn't give them to me. So I asked the client whether I should kick her ass and take them from her?

I don't think he appreciated the humor.

Just another day in the life. Not every case is a romantic murder case.

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