Now that I’ve emerged from my cave, I’m afraid that people who met me while I was in there are a bit shocked at what kind of a bear I really am. I seemed more panda-like back then, eating bamboo and leaving the nice people alone. Look at me, I’m so cute. Look, the panda is pregnant. Look, the panda is having twins! Look, the panda is staying home to raise her twins! She joined a playgroup! A multiples group! Look! Panda is um. . . what the. . what the fuck is happening to the Panda? Holy shit. That’s no panda! That’s a grizzly. RUN!! RUN!!!
I am scaring my new friends.
Those who knew me before my long winter of rest – the girls upstate (New York, not Dannemora or Green Correctional), my husband, my best friend, they knew I’d have to come out eventually – they knew it long before I did. There are these people that prosecutors and some lay people (read: non-lawyers) call “True Believers” And true believers, dear 9 readers, are scary. Because they believe, truly, that everyone deserves not just a defense, but a kick ass defense. They believe that even when people do really bad things, someone needs to stand between them and the government. They believe in the Constitution and the Rule of Law.
Back in the olden days, when I was a baby lawyer and prosecutor, I didn’t understand this phenomenon. I thought defense lawyers just did this cause it was their job, you know, like brick laying or working at Wendy’s. They didn’t really BELIEVE the stuff they said. They only said it cause they have to.
I will admit, sometimes you do an internal eye roll at some of the stuff your clients tell you, but the stuff I say, the stuff I write – I BELIEVE. Because if I don’t, no one else will. And if I do, others will too.
I believe in the law, I believe in my position within it, I believe in the right of every person accused of even the most heinous crime to have the most able defense available to them. I am a true believer.
And true believers are grizzlies.Share on Facebook
I have a bunch of friends, non-lawyers, who read this blog. I like that. I feel that its good for those women I know as moms to also know this side of me; those people I knew in high school to know how I turned out; and relatives to realize the kind of DNA we got going on. There is a part of this blog that has, since the loss of my anonymity, gone educational. I know I have an obligation to help people understand the role of lawyers, but more importantly, have them grasp the oft misunderstood role of criminal defense lawyers. I have an obligation to be true to who I am in every post I write, and an obligation to try to uplift and inspire – kind of in a ‘pay it forward’ sort of way.
I am happy to say, that while I may not have educated or always been true, I have inspired at least one friend to try her hand at the blogging biz. Blogging is good for a lot of reasons. It’s good for some in the business generation sense. For others, its about getting credibility. And, for people like Kelly (and me, for that matter), its about finding her voice and refining her writing style. It’s also just cathartic.
Read Kelly’s blog. She’s not a lawyer. She doesn’t write about the law, but she has some experience with it as a single mom with a not so stellar ex-husband. She writes about chick things, like not wanting to be a stay at home mom and her father friending her on facebook. She’s new at this, but little ole’ me thinks she might have some potential. Who knows, maybe I’ll get her to go to law school.Share on Facebook
Here is my public service announcement for the day, Norm Pattis on why talking to the police is never a good idea.
A while back, on SoloSez, someone asked the question – would you consent to a DNA test to exclude you as the perpetrator of a brutal murder? I said no. I also said I wouldn’t let my clients take one (normally, of course, there are exceptions to every rule) and I also don’t like it when people talk to the police before they talk to me. I was stunned that there were people who hold themselves out as being on my side of the aisle (bride’s side, of course) who felt otherwise about the DNA issue. There was one who misunderstood Arizona v. Youngblood in a variety of ways, there were others who said that if you agree to give a sample the cops will know you didn’t do it since, well, why would you give a sample if you knew you did it? [That NEVER happens. I mean, clients never say “sure cop, go look in my car” knowing full well it is loaded with (insert name of illicit substance here) and thinking “If I tell the cop he can look, he won’t look, because what sort of d-bag is going to tell a cop to look in the car knowing its loaded with (insert name of illicit substance here)? ] And still others who suggested that it just might make your clients life easier to give a sample since he would be harrassed/stalked/targeted by the police if he didn’t. I don’t agree that reasonable minds could differ, at least I wasn’t convinced by any of the arguments on the thread. I say, make ’em work for it. I have highly coveted DNA (except for the deficiency in height) and I certainly don’t want the government putting it into a database or selling it to the NIH.
But, all of those attorneys, save one, said they would not let their clients talk to the police. No. NO. And HELL NO were the answers given on that question. And now, Mr. Pattis has given a full explanation on why it is never, ever a good idea to do it.
I can’t take credit for this great Public Service Announcement, but I can pass it on.Share on Facebook
My last numbers indicate that there are 57 people on SoloSez who market themselves as criminal defense attorneys. Eighteen of those are women. According to google math, that is approximately 31% which doesn’t seem too horrible. However none of those women lives near me or works near me so I am still going to have to put on my cup and play with the boys until I find my forever someone.
In the meantime, I invite you to check out a book that I happened across during my quest to find female criminal defense attorney bloggers: Emotional Trials – Moral Dilemmas of Women Criminal Defense Attorneys. If a person, in this day and age, asked me if I felt I was betraying my gender by representing men accused of sex crimes I think I might throat punch them. We all get the question “how can you defend those people” and there are some great answers to that question, from “I have no soul” (courtesy of Carol from Public Defender Revolution) to various discussions about the constitution, rule of law, etc. Those come at you from a, I guess you could call it a gender-neutral perspective, everyone wonders how you can defend someone accused of rape, or murder or whatever. Or, do people really think “oh, you are a guy, you totally GET rape so its easy for you to defend someone accused of that”.
Originally, I was dead set against reading this book, but now I think I might. I’m curious to see what feminists think of what it is we do.
In the introduction to her book the author states that there are loads of female criminal defense lawyers (it looks like most of the ones she interviews are public defenders) because criminal defense is viewed as the lowest form of courtroom work. Actually, she said that a particular sociologist ‘established’ that, which to me means its a fact. Not in the my fact versus your fact and the jury is a trier of fact sort of way, but in the sciency sort of way where they’ve done their due diligence and they know its true.
So I have to stop, once again, and ask: Really? The lowest form of courtroom work? OK, so we’ve all heard of James Sokolove, but who is more famous and more revered? Johnny Cochran? James Sokolove. Johnny Cochran (RIP) would outrhyme and out try James Sokolov and his lousy ads any day of the week. No one wants to grow up to be James Sokolove or Ronni Deutche. Give me a break. Lowest form of courtroom work? Puh-lease!
Ok, but back to the book. I’ll read it and give you, my now 9 readers, a thumbs up or down. But I will tell you this much, I don’t have a moral dilemma. I am not suffering. I don’t hold my head in my hands and fight back the tears over my failure to hold up my feminist views. I don’t lose sleep at night because I choose (hopefully someday again) to represent people accused of horrible things and I certainly feel that I do my gender a favor by playing this game with the boys.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go get that cup.Share on Facebook