Thursday, January 14, 2016

So exciting!!!

I have a first-round interview w/ the federal PD office!!! I'm so over the moon that they are even interested in me enough to want to interview me. It would be absolutely incredible if I were to get the position. Even if I don't, being picked for an interview with the feds is SO cool!

Here's hoping!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

More about DWI cases

To the person who wrote me a recent comment that I'm not going to publish, I want to say thank you so much for what you said. It was really touching & lifted my otherwise-rather-glum spirits. Thank you for taking the time to reach out & tell me your thoughts. It meant a lot.

In rather exciting news, a case from Minnesota has been picked up by the United States Supreme Court!!! This is probably the closest I'll ever get to being at SCOTUS, so I'm nerding out about it. It's even a case I've talked about to you all! It's the Bernard case involving whether or not the state can make it a crime to refuse to submit to a dwi test. I've voiced my opinion that I think it's wrong to charge a person with a crime for not consenting to a search. And the law in Minnesota on this topic continues to be a moving target. The court of appeals recently held that the state cannot make it a crime to refuse to provide a blood sample. The Bernard decision had dealt with breath samples--it's ok for the state to charge you with a crime if you refuse a breath sample.

So, presently, here's what we know on this topic:

If you're arrested for a dwi & refuse to provide a breath sample, you can be charged with test refusal.

If you're arrested for a dwi & refuse to provide a blood sample, you can't be charged with test refusal.

If you're arrested for a dwi & refuse to give a urine sample, who the hell knows? The courts haven't decided this yet.

To make the cluster even more fucked, the statute says that if a cop first asks for a blood sample & the person refuses, a urine or breath test must be offered instead and if a cop first asks for a urine sample & the person refuses, a blood or breath test must be offered. So you can refuse some tests but not others & some we don't know if you can refuse & sometimes the cops have to offer you a different test which you may or may not be able to refuse.

So. That's fun. Good luck trying to understand that mess.

The right to refuse the blood test causes the most trouble for drug-dwi cases, when it's not alcohol that's the issue, it's drugs. Unlike alcohol, you can't smell it on someone & it doesn't show up on a portable breath test. And many of the "possibly high" indicators are also "possibly medically related" indicators. I had a dwi case once where the police thought it had been drugs, but turned out the guy had had a seizure. Slow cognition, droopy eyelids, confusion, garbled speech...hard to say what causes that without a tox screen of the blood. And any defense attorney with half a brain would be able to get a case like that either outright dismissed or to win at trial if there's no proof of any drugs in the person's system. In the past if a person refused to give a blood sample, they'd still get charged with a crime for refusing. (The most ridiculous parts of the test refusal statute are that 1. The penalty for refusing is almost always more severe than failing the test, so ACTUALLY DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED is less serious than not giving a sample and 2. Yo can be charged with & convicted of a dwi-test refusal even if you were 100% sober. So combine those two stupid things and you wind up with the possibility that a completely sober person who values their civil liberties & refuses to consent to a sample gets a gross misdemeanor dwi-test refusal charge with the possibility of a year in jail, while an actually intoxicated person driving with a BAC of .15 gets charged with a misdemeanor dwi with the possibility of 90 days in jail. Way to keep our roads safe, legislators!!!!)

The easiest fix to all of this is to just make cops get a warrant for a blood, breath, or urine sample. Then there's no arguments to be had about the test refusal law & what type of tests you can or can't refuse, etc. When I get a case w/ a warrant involved, my immediate reaction is, "well shit" bc most of the time, that will prevent any 4th Amendment arguments about unlawful searches or seizures. All that terrible, horrible, damning evidence that tanks any case we may have gets to all come in. And the thing I challenge the most during pretrial hrgs is warrantless searches (and not to brag, but I win a lot of those, too. Bc I'm a badass.). So, the quickest & easiest way to head off all these issues w/ dwi tests is to just get a damn warrant authorizing the police to collect a blood, breath, or urine sample.

However, the police & the state & the courts strongly dislike this option. Dwi cases make up a large chunk of criminal cases. And the state gets a shitload of money on the cases. On a misdemeanor dwi case, you can expect a $300-400 fine, $80-85 in "court costs" (aka your fee for using the court system), a $25 alcohol assessment fee (which goes to the state and not to the place where you get an alcohol assessment done), and a $680 license reinstatement fee. That's a lot of money. And it goes up from there. If your test is high enough, you pay the state $680 and you have to get an ignition interlock device installed in your car, which is a few hundred dollars & get the device read every month, which costs at least $100 each time. So, dwi cases are cash cows.

Yes, yes, I realize that drunk driving is a problem & people get hurt or killed. In law school one of my roommates was t-boned by a drunk driver & almost didn't make it. She ended up in a coma for 3 months & had yrs of rehab & still has ongoing problems from it. So I GET IT.

Still, dwi cases are a bankroll for the state. And if the police were required to get warrants, that would slow them down, although with the availability of telephone warrants now, not that much. And it's inconvenient. A lot of dwi arrests occur after bar close or on the weekends. Judges don't want to get constant 3:00 a.m. phone calls to issue warrants.

The fact that it's inconvenient or slows things down doesn't trump the 4th Amendment. At least, it shouldn't. And the courts have said that in the past. But when it comes to dwi cases, that doesn't seem to matter.

So, the answer to the problems w/ the test refusal cluster is "get a warrant" but since the legislature & courts don't like that solution, we get a giant mess. But now that SCOTUS has the Bernard case, hopefully we'll get some clarity.


Sunday, December 06, 2015

Staying afloat

To start, a message for the people who have been leaving me hateful/hurtful comments lately--1) I have comment moderation turned on, so I have to approve your comments before they actually get posted, so no one will ever see your mean words because I'll never approve them. 2) If you dislike me so much, stop reading my blog. Seems fairly simple to me. 3) I actually don't care whether you approve of me or not, so if it means that much to you to say awful things anonymously via the internet, knock yourself out. Seems extremely petty to me, but you do whatever you need to make yourself feel better. 

Moving on...

As I've expressed on here, I'm struggling with my depression pretty badly lately.  I've had my medication dose increased and I've been doing the stuff to try to help myself through this rut--doing things that make me happy like sewing and painting and drawing, spending time with my friends and family, listening to/watching stand-up comedy, working out and eating well, etc. It's definitely better than when I was last going through a serious bout of depression, during my divorce, when all I did was sleep and work and cry and wake up every morning wishing I had died in my sleep.  So, on the positive note, I have learned from my divorce-induced depression stage how to cope with my depression periods much better and how to take care of myself during these periods. At least that's one positive. 

That being said, I really think I need to make a change and get out of this location I'm currently in. I don't particular enjoy living in rural Minnesota, especially when almost all my friends and family live rather far away from me. I would much prefer to live in the metro area. And I think I need to live in the metro area closer to the people I love in order for my mental health to be stable. I feel like if I can get back to the metro, my mental health situation will be much better. Of course,e I'll deal with depression no matter where I'm living. It's just part of who I am, like my thyroid condition or my hypersomnia.  It's just a part of me. I know that I will have difficult periods in the future. But I also know that certain things can aggravate my depression and make it much harder to cope. And one of the major things right now is that I live so far away from people that I care about and that I live in a location that I don't want to be living in. I don't enjoy living in rural areas. I like the city. I feel happiest in the city. 

I live out here because of my job. I love my job and I love my office and the people I work with. I have a fantastic group of people that I am lucky to not only have as co-workers, but also as my friends. I know that I have been extremely fortunate to have these people in my life. But, the only thing I have out here is work and that's not what I want my entire life to be about. Of course, being a public defender is a huge, important part of my life that I wouldn't want to give up, but it can't be the only thing in my life. And right now, it is. Because everything else is too far away. So, I need to be back in the metro. I need to be closer to my family especially. My poor mental health is affecting my ability to do my job, because I am having a hard time focusing on some days and I have difficulty lately feeling motivated. I don't get the same excitement about stuff the way I typically do when I am not dealing with feeling depressed.

Getting out of rural Minnesota is a necessity at this point. All I want to do is be a public defender and also be closer to my friends and family. I don't want to have it be either work or the rest of my life. I want the areas of my life to be in harmony together. 

In the meantime, I am working on trying to keep my head above water and not give in to the sadness and hopelessness that comes with depression. I am trying to make it through each day. 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

I can't settle

I've been trying out online dating again, because apparently I like to torture myself. Dating is miserable & I hate it. Online dating is especially miserable. I have gone on a few dates & I'm pretty much over it now.

One date told me I should be more of a girly-girl. I'm pretty happy with the level of "girly" that I am, thanks. I like to look good, paint my nails & do my makeup & my hair, I like cute clothing, & I own a fair amount of pink items. I also have a sailor mouth, love a good dirty joke, & can't resist a perfect opportunity for a "that's what she said." I am a sassmouth with opinions & I'm brash & I am smarter, sharper, & wittier than most guys. If it freaks them out, too damn bad. I am who I am & I'm not going to be more girly just to appease some insecure dude's ego.

Quite a few guys talked to me online but never actually asked to meet in person. I don't ask men out first. It's my litmus test for their personality. I'm a very strong personality when my initial shyness wears off. If a guy can't get it together enough to ask me out first, he's quite likely going to be a pushover. I need & want someone who can match me in having a strong personality. I've dated guys who aren't a match in that sense & I end up dominating the entire relationship & lose interest in him. So, I never ask men out first.

Another date went decently enough, but there was zero chemistry between us. He was nice & funny & attractive enough, buy I wasn't attracted to him physically or mentally. No spark, no draw, no chemistry. I can't date someone I have no chemistry with. It just feels dull somehow.

In both my relationship w/ YKW & Guy, there was immediate, intense chemistry, and both parties felt it. It was intoxicating to be with them, it made me giddy to have any interaction with them, & I felt dizzy with emotion. I need to have that in a relationship. Of course, that's not enough to sustain a relationship, it takes more than just chemistry to make it work, but I do need that to start a relationship.

People tell me it's extremely rare to have that w/ someone. I know this. I also know that I've been incredibly lucky to have had it twice in my life. But I also know that having experienced it means that I can't settle for anything less. I can't grow into liking someone. I can't develop it after we've been dating for awhile. If I meet someone & the spark isn't there, I'm not dating them. Period. End of story. It's there or it's not.

People tell me I am being unrealistic, that I shouldn't rule someone or just because there's no immediate spark. But I've dated guys in the past that I didn't have a spark with & it's just...flat. Having experienced that spark, anything less feels like listening to a symphony w/ ear plugs in, like touching something with gloves on. It's diluted, dulled, blunted, less enjoyable & less satisfying. Sure, I might still be able to hear the symphony to some extent or get the general feeling of something w/ yr gloves on. But it's significantly diminished. And it's a poor substitute.

I don't want a diminished substitute relationship. I don't want to settle for anything less than the full richness, the full experience. I know this is rare to find it, especially for a third time. And I realize I'll likely be alone because I won't take anything less. But I'd rather that than settle.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hello Darkness, my old friend

My depression is in full-swing currently. It's misery every day lately. It's not just bc of Guy, although the breakup did initiate this period of depression. It's everything. I realized yesterday that if I could start over at 18, I would redo every major decision I've ever made in my life. I would choose differently every single time. That realization has made me feel even more depressed, bc it means my entire adult life has been a waste. I wouldn't go to law school. I wouldn't be a lawyer. I wouldn't date or marry YKW. I wouldn't date Guy, either in college or this time around. I wouldn't have moved out to the sticks. I wouldn't have taken a job out in the sticks. Literally every single major decision I've made, I would redo it by not doing it at all. Everything I thought would happen, everything I wanted my life to be, it hasn't worked out bc all the decisions I've made were wrong.

My life feels useless right now. I feel like my entire existence is pointless presently. Objectively, I know it's not true. I can remove myself enough from the emotional wreck that I am to look at things objectively & realize that objectively, there are things I do that matter & people who care about me. But logically knowing that & feeling that are two separate things. I do not feel like that, no matter how much I may objectively be able to know that. And it's the feeling that's killing me.

I've read somewhere that depression feels like drowning but seeing everyone else breathe. But that's not been my experience. For me, it's like slowly have your air supply cut off, rather than the abrupt suffocation of drowning. It's like being in a room where the air is slowly running out, a little bit at a time, so that it takes awhile for the suffocation to occur. So that you have time to really feel it creeping up on you, really feel it leeching away your ability to keep going. It's not a fast thing, but a painstakingly slow & drawn out thing. And as it happens, you know it's happening & it feels like there's nothing that can be done about it. So you either resign yourself to your fate of slow suffocation or, in some cases, you speed up the process & end things. That's not my option, but I certainly struggle with the first option, simply resigning myself to my fate, accepting that things will never get any better, believing that it will always feel like this. It's hard not to, bc that's what the slow suffocation does--it chips away at your strength, a little at a time. If it were drowning, you'd fight furiously to save yourself. But when it's slow & insidious, it's harder to fight. It's already gotten a hold of you by the time you realize it and it's already stolen away pieces of your strength.

So that's where I am at right now. Struggling against the slow suffocation that is my depression. Feeling like it's hopeless, feeling like my efforts will be pointless. Feeling like I am resigned to my fate. It's a bleak place bc it feels like it will never change. Even if I can objectively tell myself that it eventually will. It's the feeling that's hard to overcome.

Friday, November 27, 2015

All aboard the struggle bus

Hey guys, guess what? I bet you'll be totally surprised when I say this, but I'm not at all happy lately. Shocker, eh? Oh, right, no, not at all. That's basically my usual state.

I try really hard to not feel this way. I really do. But I always seem to end up back here for some reason. Like my life is destined to be a horrible suck-fest no matter how hard I try. I hate it. I hate that I can't get out of this.

Lately, it's pretty much my entire life that's dragging me down. I hate wear I live right now so much. I thought I could handle it but it's been way harder than I ever imagined it would be. I'm miserable here. Miserable. I am not exaggerating when I say that I feel like living here is slowly killing me. I love my job, but even that isn't enough anymore to keep me going. If I don't get out of here soon, I'm going to lose it. I'll just be a sad, pathetic shell of myself.

I'm doing everything I can to change things but nothing is working so far. I don't know what I'll do but I know I can't do this much longer.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Unpopular opinion

Recently Adele came out with a new single, "Hello," and the world collectively lost its mind. Everyone was singing its praises & expounding on how it left them in tears. I loved her first 2 albums. 19 & 21 were my "sing at the top of my lungs & bawl" albums when I was heartbroken about the divorce. She captured my feelings so eloquently. I haven't been able to listen to either album since then bc it brings back such powerful feelings for me. Which made me sad bc I loved them so much, even before the divorce. I loved her sound since the moment I heard "Rollin in the Deep." It was so unique & interesting & THAT VOICE!!

So I was happy to hear that 25 was coming out, bc then I could have a new Adele album to love that wasn't soaked in memories & emotion. But, I didn't want to listen to "Hello" right away. I was worried it would make me think of Guy & then that breakup would ruin this album for me. So I purposely didn't rush to listen to it. But one morning I heard it on the radio & decided to not change the station. Her voice was flawless, of course, & the song was beautiful, as expected. But I hated it. I hated it bc the lyrics enraged me as I listened to it.

"Hello" is the most selfish, inconsiderate, self-absorbed song I've heard. And that's why I hate it.

At first, it's ok, the selfishness is not immediately apparent:

"Hello, it's me
I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time's supposed to heal ya
But I ain't done much healing.

Hello, can you hear me?
I'm in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free
I've forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet.

There's such a difference between us
And a million miles."

Aww that seems so heartbreakingly sweet. So far, so good, pretty, sad, everything you want from Adele. Then, the chorus comes & it's all over:

"Hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry
For everything that I've done
But when I call you never
Seem to be home."

Oh. I see. You broke my heart & now, years later, you want to come back & tell me how sorry you are & talk about how great things were when we were together. Sorry you've got buyer's remorse now, but what makes you think I want to hear from you after all these years?

"Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry
For breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly
Doesn't tear you apart anymore."

Seriously??? First off, you're only interested in apologizing if I'm still all broken up about the shit you pulled on me years ago? How about you apologize because you want to be a decent person? Second off, you expect me to still be a mess over you after all these years? You legit think you are that fantastic that someone is going to be torn up about you after you crapped on their heart & after yrs have passed? You really think you're that special?

The song goes on with similar lyrics & the entire time I am just turned off & disgusted by it. It's such a dick song, couched in Adele's soaring vocals & heartfelt tone so you don't realize how much of a bitch it makes her seem. And it works--people LOVE this song. They cry over it. I'm pretty much the only person who hasn't fallen in love with this song. Because as long as the lyrics are sung with emotion & the music matches that, people don't care what the song is really about.

Don't believe me? Many yrs ago, Blues Traveler wrote a song exactly about this concept. It's called "Hook." It's a great song, full of emotion, and people didn't realize he was singing about how everyone is suckers. And he pulls no punches, starting the song by telling you exactly what the deal is:

"It doesn't matter what I say
As long as I sing with inflection.
That makes you feel I'll convey
Some inner truth or vast reflection
But I've said nothing so far
And I can keep it up for as long as it takes
And it don't matter who you are
If I'm doing my job then it's your resolve that breaks."

Later in the song he even says:

"There is something amiss
I am being insincere
In fact I don't mean any of this
Still my confession draws you near."

But that song blew up & I challenge you not to get some emotional response to it, even knowing it's about how you a giant sucker.

So, in sum, "Hello" sucks & it's a dick song & no one realizes it bc it's hidden in the music.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Moving forward

Well, I had my first post-breakup date today. We met for coffee (I had hot chocolate) at 11:00 this morning. It went pretty well overall, although there weren't any sparks flying. He was nice & friendly & we had a good conversation. I wasn't super impressed with his clothing choice, since he showed up in a track jacket, running pants, & a baseball hat. I mean, we were just going for coffee so I didn't expect a suit or anything but he looked like he'd just rolled out of bed. And when he'd take his hat off, it looked like he either hadn't showed at all that day or he had showered & then put his hat on while his hair was still wet. So, his effort into his appearance was marginal at best. But he was nice & there wasn't any weird awkward silences. There wasn't any real chemistry there, though.

I might be spoiled bc with both Guy & YKW, there was this intense physical & mental attraction to the other person, where I found the attraction I had for both of them to be almost intoxicating. I was starry-eyed around both of those two, so I want that again. I want to be with someone who I'm intensely attracted to, both mentally & physically. This guy today wasn't unattractive, despite his terrible clothing selection. He was decently attractive. But there wasn't any spark, no chemistry, no intense attraction. Just like talking to a friend.

I don't know...is it typical not to have that intense draw to the other person? Do people just like the other person a lot & find them decently attractive & think it's good? Did I just manage to get extremely lucky to have found not one but two relationships w/ someone who I'm overwhelmingly drawn to & he, to me? Maybe it's not the norm to feel that way? Maybe I shouldn't be so concerned w/ that since neither of those relationships worked out. Maybe I should be more focused on finding someone who is stable, rather than finding someone I'm drawn to so intensely? And since I'm getting older, not younger, maybe I can't expect to have that sort of attraction with another person? I don't know.

The point is I made it through my first date and that's a big deal. I wish I could say that it meant that I was over Guy, but I'm not. But I am getting out there & trying & that's a step in the right direction.