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Monday, May 14, 2012

Law and Order

A little boy is born and all seems well.  He has ten fingers and ten toes, his screeching is so loud that it is clear his lungs are just fine.  He reacts well to being placed on his mothers warm chest and he squeezes his eyes in pain when he is placed under the light of the little bassinet that the nurses use to clean him up.

As he grows it is apparent that something is not quite....right about him.  He barely makes it past the eighth grade and then he just stops going to school, spending his days at his mothers side.

As a man he is on fifteen different medications, ADD, nerves, back pain, leg pain, headaches, stomach problems, und so weiter.  Although he does drink, even when he is stone cold sober he sounds like Boomhower from King of the Hill

One morning this man is startled awake by the loud ring of the telephone.  He can barely make out his mothers muffled voice in the other room.  Footsteps.  She is in his doorway and she needs him to take her to the hospital.  He hops up, throws on the jeans he peeled off the night before and takes her to the hospital seven miles away.  He decides that he wants to take a shower since he didn't the night before; he is starting to offend himself, surely he will offend his newborn baby niece.

As he approaches a yellow light he slows but then changes his mind and goes but it is too late, he runs the red light.  Two seconds after he realizes he has run the red light he sees the police car.  The officer hears the slurs of Boomhower and the disconnected thoughts of the thirty-three year old ADD man with an eighth grade education and immediately thinks "DRUNK DRIVER."  But the man blows 000's on the breath machine.  The officer figures he will just charge him with driving under the influence of something and takes him in.  His urine is never tested, his blood is never drawn, he is adamant that he was not drunk.  More important, he never had the opportunity to take his medication so he was not under the influence of anything.

The prosecutor doesn't care.  No evidence? So what? The cop arrested him so he must be guilty.  Time to go to trial.

Soon after I started practicing law I stopped watching Law & Order.  I stopped watching because they get it ALL wrong.  Every time I watched the show, any of the shows, I would sit there and shake my head "it's all wrong, they are all wrong!"

But there is one thing they did get right, the prosecutor is not supposed to go forward unless and until they believe that the police have the "right man."  I have watched episodes where the district attorney will tell the detectives "get me more."  I have sat and watched as the prosecutor yells at the police that if they don't get something that will stick they are going to have to let the perp go.  Never once does the D.A. say "hey, if you guys arrest them, I'll find a way to persecute them or corner them into taking a plea."

Alas, they did get one thing right.  They are supposed to be "seekers of justice."  The prosecutors are not supposed to say 'how high' each time an alleged victim yells jump.  The district attorney is not supposed to bow and bend at the beck and call of the police department, however that is exactly how the prosecutors in my state react.

Trial tomorrow.

I wish I was a school teacher.


UPDATE: Case dismissed.  The prosecutor saw that I was not going to back down or try to force my client into taking a plea.  He saw that I was ready and HUNGRY for a trial.  He asked for a continuance and the judge politely declined after hearing a brief synopsis of the facts. ;-)

Until next time,

Be blessed, be careful, don't confess and don't consent.