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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Moving on up....

https://www.blogger.com/%3Ca%20href=%22http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/13212225/?claim=v7ccwg4xm46%22%3EFollow%20my%20blog%20with%20Bloglovin%3C/a%3E

....I am moving on up like the Jefferson's in the blogosphere. What I mean by that is I am committing to being more active with gathering readers/commentators/followers/minions.....lol


step one? Joining Bloglovin  if you have a blog, or just enjoy reading blogs, visit the site, sign up, find me and follow me.

Until next time,

well....you know.

Monday, November 10, 2014

How NOT to get arrested--Sex Offender

The first installment of 'how NOT to get arrested' was inspired by a man who handed me his business card the other day. While I applaud his entrepreneurial spirit and his willingness to go out and create a business opportunity since they are not knocking down his door, it is also cause for great concern.

What, prey tell, is this man's business? He is a handy man. His card indicates that there is no job too big or small. Whatever your needs, he can handle them. Electrical issues, plumbing problems, carpentry needs, back killing yard work to be done? Sit down, let your local handyman handle it all for a small fee.

The problem with that is he is a convicted sex offender. It does not matter the circumstances surrounding the underlying charge, the fact of the matter is-if he takes a 'job' that places him near a school, daycare, university, playground, park, children's center or any place frequented by kids, he is going to pick up a new felony.

I understand that job opportunities are tight out there for people WITHOUT a felony conviction, I cannot imagine how hard it is to find steady work, not only as a convicted felon but as a sex offender, but you have to find another way. All it takes is ONE person to be nosey, do some digging, realize who you are and call the police. Now you have another felony conviction and are one step closer to the system trying to throw you in prison for good. All because you are trying to work and support your family.

Are the sex offender registration notification act rules ridiculous? Absolutely. Are they impossible to comply with at all times? Sure. Does the law make it easier to live as a convicted murderer or spouse beater than as a 19 year old that make a stupid decision and decided to date a 16 year old? Yes, but until we get someone in power that is brave enough to say "hey, let's look at how some of these laws are affecting people's lives" it is a fight we are set up to lose. 

So my "How NOT to get arrested" tip for the day? If you are a convicted sex offender, do NOT pass out cards asking people to invite you into their homes. Especially across the street from a church daycare center.




Until next time,

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

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gracepoint

Tonight's episode of Gracepoint was a great example of why people should not just to conclusions when they hear that someone has been convicted of a sex offense.

Please check it out and really listen to Nick Nolte's characters story.

Gracepoint

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The real cost of a 'paid' attorney


I try real hard not to knock private attorney's too badly. I have friends, acquaintances and even mentors who are private attorneys. But every now and again, a "real" attorney in court does something that makes me want to turn to my client and say 'see? THAT's what a "paid" attorney will get you.'

I am sitting in court at a preliminary hearing docket. The judge calls the next case up and it is a case being handled by a private attorney. I sit down to watch because you can almost always learn something from any attorney you get to observe in court.

I hate when I am proven wrong.

The first sign that this hearing was going to go horribly wrong was when the attorney kept referring to his client as 'Defendant' and the COP was calling the defendant by his name.

          RA("real attorney"): So when did you see the Defendant?

          Narc: I didn't see Thomas until I got out of the car and walked closer to the                             group.

         RA: And what did he say to you?

         Narc: Who? Thomas?

         RA: Yes. What did the Defendant say to you?

I wanted to throw a stapler at the back of his head. If someones family takes the time to call you, set an appointment, come into your office, slide into your leather chairs and write you a check with a comma in it, the LEAST you can do, is learn your clients NAME and then use it!

The second sign that this hearing was going to go horribly wrong was when I had to excuse myself before I regurgitated all over the seats. The attorney was setting his client up to get beat to death in the county jail and he either didn't know it. Or he didn't care.

The way that preliminary hearings are set up in our county is meant to help ease the burden of having transport issues all day long due to non-stop drug cases that are pending. One Friday a month everyone hauls on over to the jail and we have hearings in the makeshift courtroom there. Rather than dealing with transport officers who can only transport two people at a time, they can bring up 10 at a time because we never leave the jail. At any given time a person can have their preliminary hearing with at least 9 other people charged with a drug offense sitting there listening to the evidence against them. So why the sick feeling? Well:

          RA: What did you and the Defendant discuss?

          Narc: He said that the drugs weren't his and he didn't know they were there.

          RA: Is that all the two of you discussed?

          Narc (looking nervously at the defense attorney, prosecutor and judge): ummm..

          RA: Didn't the defendant tell you he wanted to talk to you about working off his                   case?

         Narc (still confused as to why the DEFENSE ATTORNEY is asking this                               question) umm...when I initially arrived he said he did not know drugs                           were present.

         RA: Right, but at some point, didn't he tell you that he wanted to help set some                    people up?

         Narc: Do you want me to answer that?

         RA: Yes sir. Didn't the Defendant tell you he wanted--

        DA: OBJECTION judge, relevance?

        Judge (who looks at the RA): Do you want him to answer that question again?

        RA: Yes your Honor.

NO lie, the judge pulled one of these:



I should take this time to point out that EVERY one of the other 9 people sitting on the side wall with orange jumpsuits on are in jail on drug charges because someone working with the narcotics division set them up. And they are paying attention.

I had to get up and walk out. I felt sick, for that attorney, for his client and for the person at the jail that would have to clean up the blood.

And THAT my friends, is the real cost of a 'paid' attorney.

Until next time,

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


Monday, November 3, 2014

Confused gif's

I received the call at 8:30 a.m.

"Ms. PD I just got off the bus. I am on my way to court now."

I told him to come straight to my office and we would go before the judge together.

He arrived by 8:47 a.m. and we were in court before 9. Unfortunately, the prosecutor was not. We sat, we waited. We sat, we conversed. We sat, I stewed.

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Months earlier I had a motion to suppress hearing (I promise to one day finish that blog rant) which was granted. I told my client he did not need to come to court for the upcoming docket (which was last week) because...well...the state has no case if the state has no evidence!

Well she says she would like my client to actually come to court before she dismisses the case.


I bring to the courts attention that my client HAS come to court and the prosecutor must be thinking of the co-defendant. Not only has the co-defendant NEVER come to court, but he has never contacted his attorney.

*crickets*

So after several awkward moments the judge looks at the prosecutor and says 'do you still want him to have to come to court?' To which she replied, 'yes.'


She's...kidding right? WRONG. The judge turns to me and says 'Ms. PD, have your client here Monday.

I walk out of the courtroom a toxic mixture of confused and angry. I say toxic because the level of angry is quickly out weighing the level of confused. I can slowly feel myself wanting to do some damage as I storm out of the courtroom.



Fast-forward to this morning and my client is present. He had to ride a Greyhound bus through 3 states to get here but he made it. The entire situation, which you would think would have cooled off over the weekend, just got my blood boiling again this morning.

At 9:47 the prosecutor finally decides to grace us with her presence. I let the judge know that she is here and then I take my seat back in the courtroom. A few minutes later one of the senior attorneys in my office motions for me to come into chambers. I enter and when I do, the prosecutor is on her phone and the judge is looking intently at something on his computer. I will admit that for a brief moment I had a scary thought.

"Oh isht, did they find something to hold my client on?! Is THAT why she wanted him here? Oh God please don't tell me I convinced my client to come back only to be arrested."

Alas (yes, alas), there was nothing new on my client. The case being dismissed went something like this:

Judge: 'what about Ms. PD's case is it for dismissal'

(while on the phone, never looking up) DA: yes



I just stood there. 

Really?

That's all we're going to do?

I made my client borrow money from friends and family, pay for a Greyhound bus ticket, catch a cab and then turn right back around and go back to his home state and he isn't even going to be addressed by the people that compelled his appearance?


On a positive note, my client is happy that his case is finally behind him. He was very grateful for the fact that this case ended without him becoming a convicted felon. He appreciates that fact that he had an attorney, a PUBLIC DEFENDER no less, that actually cared enough about him and his case to look for issues, fight the good fight and be angry at the court system on his behalf. He does not EVER have to step foot in this state again, I can still say I won my motion to suppress AND I had enough self-control to leave before knocking anyone upside the back of their head.

Sigh...it's only Monday.

Until next time,

Be blessed, be careful, never consent and never confess.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The mind of a child

Imagine a young man, when he was born his mother held him lovingly as she looked down on her new bundle of joy. In that one little being she imagined all he would bring to the world and all that he could be. When he turned six he was in an accident. Her little bundle of joy was hit by a car and the accident left him in a coma for months. When he woke up, he was not the same.

He would never be the same again.

The body of that six year old continued to mature, his voice deepened as it should, hair grew where it belonged and he sprouted up over his elders. But the mind of that grown man? It stayed six years old.

One day this young man climbs into the car of a 'friend' who takes him to the country, gets him high and then leaves him. The young man walks until he gets to a service station and he asks for a ride. The young woman he asks for a ride says 'no.'

The young man asks if he can use her phone. The young woman says 'no.' What the young man does next lands him in jail.

"Well, that's where he needs to be!" you say?

In jail, a six year old can't prevent a grown man from taking his clothing, his sheets or his food.

In jail, a six year old won't know how to stop someone smuggling in drugs from shoving it into his property, or even his hands when the threat of a cell search looms.

In jail, a six year old will not survive, and if he does, he will not return home the same.

When people ask 'how can you represent those people?' I think of that young man, the one with the body of an adult and the mind of a child. I think of what he can't do, what he won't do, what he couldn't possibly survive.



How can I not represent him?

Until next time, 

Be blessed, be careful, never consent and never confess

~LT 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The least of these

She wobbles into my office on the arm of her much healthier and burly friend. I pull out a seat for her and sit across from the woman who has been charged with a host of drug offenses.

At the end of our meeting I am thankful that the prosecutor on her case is one that will at least listen to me without me resorting to cursing and name calling to get her attention. I explain, with my client permission, my clients situation and why the offer the prosecutor made needs to be tweaked before my client can accept it. My client wants to settle her case, for a host of reasons, all her own, and that is her right. But I can't stand next to her allowing her to enter into an agreement I know she can't uphold.

Luckily, the prosecutor agreed to do what I was asking of her so I called my client to relay the good news. After discussing with my client what the next step in her case was going to be, she also shared some good news with me. Her son has made it on to a sports team. She is so proud of him and he is so happy. But then she found out something that broke her heart.

The sports team has an optional warm-up/training suit that all of the guys on the team will be getting. All of the guys, except one. Her son. The thing that broke her heart wasn't that he wasn't getting the suit, it was the fact that he didn't come home and ask. She feels as if she has done such a poor job as a mother that her son knows not to even come home and ask for anything. They can barely afford the bare minimum. Because the state has granted her an amount of child support (that she is not collecting) that the SAME state deems is more than enough for two people to live, she gets less than $60 in food stamps to feed herself and her growing, sport-playing, teenage son. They are barely making it from day to day. Her son, old enough to realize this, did not want to burden his mother with a request for something that was not a necessity.

I made suggestions, talk to the coach, speak with the principal, request help from the PTA, but truthfully, what I wanted to do was ask her how much the suit cost so I could write a check to the school. I was raised, at home and in church, that you feed, give drink and clothe the less fortunate if you are in a position to do so. I know her son isn't going to school naked but I can also imagine the negative feelings, and possibly negative comments, he is going to have to deal with when the team walks into a venue and he looks like the water boy, not a member of the team. Those feelings will bleed over into his attitude, how he responds to people and, ultimately, authority. Too many bad experiences with a teacher and he is labeled a trouble-maker in school. A label that is hard to shake once it has been placed on you. It won't take long for him to not want to go to school because everyone there expects the worst from him, so he will find some friends he can skip school with. Those same 'friends' will give him something to do in order to occupy his time during the school day. It may be stealing, it may be drinking, it may be getting high.

It may be all three.

He will, inevitably, come into contact with law enforcement. He will either run and get another charge placed on him for resisting arrest or trying to elude a police officer. Or he will cooperate with his arrest and willingly walk into his first felony.

I know what you are saying-you got ALL of that from a kid you have never seen not getting a training suit? I grew up with guys who are now convicted felons because they got tired of wearing K-mart tennis shoes to school. Yes, I got all of that from a kid not getting a training suit.

Despite my christian conviction and my personal moral compass saying 'buy her son the suit', the state bar forbids it. For some reason, I'm sure you could guess a few, the state bar does not permit assisting your client in anyway beyond covering the expense of filing fees in their court case. Thanks, I believe, to the actions of those who have taken advantage of their position and the power they feel comes with it, attorneys who really just want to help their clients in their time of need, cannot do so. I worked with an attorney that broke the rules and would pay his clients electricity bill, rent or grocery bill, state bar rules be damned. But he did not have the discernment to see when he was being taken advantage of. It got to the point where clients would be waiting outside of the office for him to get off work so they could ask for some money. He always relented.

I understand it can be a slippery slope. I know it could possibly get out of hand. But if I want to buy all of my clients' sons a training suit in order to prevent them from becoming future felons, I think I should be allowed.



I still haven't decided what I'm going to do.

Until next time,

Be blessed, be careful, never consent and never confess