Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Recently I was in superior court. It was a routine sentencing for our client. However, having found our matter moved to another judge I wound up sitting in on allocutions from other random defendants.

While I understand the need for public defenders and I know that technically "everyone" deserves a defense, I was reminded why I could never, ever be a public defender. [It also became quite clear to me why metal detectors are required upon entering the courthouse.]

The public defender in the courtroom facilitated a plea bargain for a defendant. He was accused of raping an 11 year old girl. The crime was recounted in more detail than I was comfortable with. However, what really made me nauseous was when he clarified exactly what anatomy went where. I'll save you the specific words, but this "man" [and I use that word loosly, because "animal" would be more appropriate] was smirking and smiling while he was recounting his crime. F*CKING SMILING!!

It was the first time I witnessed something like that first hand. I knew such things went on in the courts, but seeing it for the first time with my own eyes and ears was entirely different. It was the first time EVER that I was embarrassed and ashamed of my fellow professionals. I know the public defender was only doing his job, and I know if he were not there to do it someone else would be. I know the Constitution guarantees everyone counsel. Thankfully my office refuses such cases, but I was truly sickened. I really wanted to know if that attorney had kids. I wanted to know, seriously, and not in an accusatory or sarcastic way, how he sleeps at night.

I had to share that story, I had to get it off my chest. I wish I had been the judge. MAXIMUM SENTENCE, NO PAROLE. NEXT! A little naive I know, but just the thought of it makes me feel a tad better about the state of the world today.


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