Friday, August 2, 2013

This is America Mother Fucker

Attorney: So let's go back to when you said he licked your vagina.
Six year old: (clutches teddy)
Attorney: Do you remember talking to the officer about this?
Six year old: Yes.
Attorney: Do you remember telling him that the man only did it once?
Six year old: No.
Prosecutor: Objection! What is the point of any of this!
Judge: Yeah!  Sustained!
Attorney: No.  That's not a basis for an objection.  (return focus to child) So when you looked down and saw the man licking your vagina, did he have a beard?

One of the things you don't generally know anything about as a normal person is what it feels like to be hated by everyone in a room.  Everyone.  Including people that you know well and get along with.  Just hate.  Like, if those people could, they'd beat you about the face with a bat.

So when you become a defense attorney, you of course think, oh man, I'm going to defend some really bad people.  How can I come to grips with that?

Defending human beings against a faceless state and obnoxious laws takes nothing.  Defending them from people who claim to have been victimized- harder, but you get over it.

What you never think about, at least not accurately, is what it will be like to have everyone hate you.  It's not just being the despised defense attorney.  The slimy defense attorney.  Whatever.  You can shrug that off.  That's just ignorant bullshit from people who have no idea how many crimes they commit a week, and how bad the police are at detecting crime, and how lousy the system is at figuring out who is guilty and the appropriate punishment.

You don't know what it is like to attack a child, a child you pretty much accept has been horribly raped, and force them to tell you about all the blood- and as you do it, to have everyone in the room want to kill you.  Judge, bailiff, clerk.  The people that usually are pretty capable of shrugging off the weirdness of what we do.  Just hating you.  And because of the hate, the rulings start to get pretty stupid.

And you want to be all, "Hey now, this is my job remember?  You think if the crime is bad enough the accused should just roll over and die?  Not in America mother fucker.  Not today."

And you do think that.  And you just ignore it.  But once you go back to your office (because you had three more hearings after that) you sit in your chair and your brain just kind of screams and writhes for a few seconds.  And you're ok.

But when that's all of your cases, or you have so many that it seems like all of them.. you have to start to live in all that hate.  Really dumb judges sometimes just can't seem to let go.  You can't get a bailiff to joke with you anymore.

It is exhausting.  And no one but your comrades in your office can even begin to understand and offer any kind of solace.

But hey now, you know who else feels that?  Your client.  And being able to share the experience of being violently hated by everyone with somebody else is actually not a bad way to bond.

Meh.  This is America mother fucker.  You want to take the freedom of an American, you better believe you'll have to wade through an ocean of shit, piss and blood.  We'll see to that.


  1. Well said. It's difficult to understand just why everyone is entitled to a solid defense, no matter what they're accused of and no matter the depravity of their character. Most people don't get it and never will get it. Others don't want to.

    As to judges, I always held a judge in fairly high reverence until Main Lady and I had to sit next to a judge one memorable New Year's Eve. The man was (charitably) of average intelligence or maybe a little below average. His level of ignorance was inversely proportional to his level of arrogance - and he was truly one of the most arrogant men I've ever met.

    You're doing good. Hang right in there.

    1. Thanks. Sorry to vent, but some days it helps. I also wonder if the reason so many people don't understand why we do this is because most of us are so burned out or trying to hold it together we rarely explain it. Add to that the lack of classes in our schools on civics and government, and you have a population that blinks dumbfounded at the very concept of a criminal justice system.