Saturday, June 18, 2011


Upheaval is like the trend this June, apparently.  There's a bunch of things currently in the middle of upheaving (is that a word?? It is now...) and it's messing with my brain. 

Thing 1: Impending state government shutdown
(Read more about it here)
In a very short nutshell, the state government has till July 1 to pass a budget for the next fiscal year.  As an aside, I never thought I'd use the term "fiscal year" since that has to do w/ math and economics and business and I'm incredibly slightly deficient in those areas.  At any rate, if there's no budget passed, there's no money for government services and the state shuts down.  Meaning every state employee (including this girl!) gets laid off.  At least, in theory.  In reality, there's a court hearing next Thursday to determine what services are "essential" and need to continue to run even if there is a shutdown and PDs are among those.  You know, that whole "constitutionally required" thing...

So, we all got layoff notices (I pointed out to Hat that since I technically was hired w/ the understanding I would be laid off in July of 2009, it made sense I was finally getting my layoff notice!).  And then we all just kind of collectively shrugged our shoulders because it's pretty unlikely the courts and the PDs would shut down.  So, while nothing has been decided yet, almost no one is panicking about it.  It is still a bit freaky when you think about it though. 

Also, I don't think I've ever gotten a layoff notice before.  It's nice to know that my first one really isn't that serious. 

Thing 2: 
The attorney who left last July and whose cases I took over in the Great Felony Dump of 2010 is returning, along w/ a few other attorneys who took leaves of absences last July in order to save other people's jobs (meaning: my job!).  This doesn't appear to be an issue as far as me getting laid off now that she's coming back (except for in the event of a state government shutdown, of course!).  Rather, it appears that there will now be too many attorneys in the county I'm currently working in.  There would be a total of 5 of us in one county.  This attorney isn't coming back to take the felony caseload back--she's actually going to be doing another attorney's caseload.  

So, that means that someone needs to be removed from the county and moved somewhere else.  And it's either me or the other attorney whose caseload is being taken over by Returning Attorney.  My vote is for other attorney. 

Oddly enough, I seriously doubt if you told me I'd want to stay on the felony caseload about a year ago, when I was crying basically every day and hyperventilating in panic, I would have punched you in the face for even suggesting such a thing.  However, after a year of felonies, I kind of have my groove down now.  I've got a great schedule worked out w/ court administration.  I'm available for court hearings M-W and the first and third Friday of the month.  Thursdays and the second and fourth Fridays are my office days/jail visit days.  Arguments about scheduling have pretty much entirely ceased since about last December.  

I got my formula down for how I handle the cases--meet clients at the Rule 8 hearings, schedule office meetings with them to discuss their cases, work on resolutions and/or trial.  I've got great relationships with the prosecuting attorneys and we get like 99.9% of our cases resolved in a way that my clients are satisfied with the outcomes.  And, somehow, I've gotten the reputation of being one of the good public defenders, so I take that as proof that my clients really are satisfied w/ the work I've been doing. 

And, let's not forget, I'm undefeated in felony trials.  I just have one more prosecutor to beat in trial to complete the sweep (which I told him and said I was going to send him a picture of a broom and say "SWEEEEEEP!!!"  He thought that was pretty funny.)

So, despite how unlikely it may have seemed a year ago, I'm actually enjoying working on the felony cases.  They definitely have more interesting search/seizure issues than most of the misdemeanor cases.  And, it is definitely going to be difficult to get fired up about someone's driving after revocation or no insurance ticket after doing felonies.  Not that I wouldn't do my best, but having had people get sent to prison for anywhere from 15 months to the rest of their life, it's hard to see 10 days in jail as a significant amount of jail time.

At any rate, I've got my fingers crossed that I won't get moved out of my county.  It's the closest county to my house, which is also convenient.  It's nice to do things like what I did today, where I left the office at 3:45 to drive to the jail and visit with a client for an hour and then headed home.  The city that courthouse and jail are located in is right in the middle of the distance between my house and my office.  It's like a straight shot to court/jail and then another 15 minutes in the same direction for the office and vice versa.  So, that's really nice, too.  Fingers crossed I will get to stay!!

Thing 3:
Hat called me today slightly nervous because a prosecutor had left him a message saying he was going to be subpoenaed for a trial.  He wanted me to call her back because he didn't know what it would be about or why and I was an attorney so I would be better at talking to her.  So, I called and left her a message telling her who I was and that I was a PD so my husband had wanted me to talk to her because he was kind of freaked out by her call.  She called back and was very nice and polite and explained that Hat wasn't in trouble and explained why she needed him to testify.  And after I talked to her, she said she might end up just subpoenaing both of us to testify.  

We'd be very inconsequential in the overall case, but it's still a little strange to out of the blue be involved in some stranger's court case (and not as their attorney!).  And I saw Hat's initials in the complaint and that was very bizarre.  I read complaints all day long, so it's very weird to have my husband in one of them, even if it was very brief.  So, we'll see what happens with that whole thing.  I told Hat what the prosecutor needed him for and said he would be fine talking to her if she wanted to talk to him more.  Then he wasn't so freaked out.  

All right, that's all the unheaving at the moment.  Time for bed!

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