Sunday, September 29, 2013

Trial starts tomorrow

I start a trial tomorrow. I haven't actually tried a case since last October, so I am excited to get back into the courtroom & throw down again. Trials are very stressful but they also can be very exhilarating. It's the ultimate in lawyering. It's my own personal Law & Order episode. It's when I get to be on stage & have the courtroom's attention. And it's when it becomes even more apparent to me that my clients' lives & futures are in my hands.

They always are, of course, but once we get to trial, the client is basically just along for the ride. They want a trial & then it's on me to do the work. The client doesn't make opening & closing statements. The client doesn't cross-examine witnesses. The client doesn't make objections. That's all on me. One error, one oversight, & I could mess up a possible appeal issue or overlook inadmissible evidence. That's all on me. The client is relying on me to fight, and fight hard, to win the case. The client can only sit & watch while I do the work & can only hope & pray I do it right. I cannot imagine how powerless that must make someone feel. It's an enormous responsibility we as defense attorneys are given & I try to always remember that.

I can't even understand how a client feels after a verdict. I am either horribly crushed & sick or I am over-the-moon elated & my feet don't even seem to be on the ground. And it isn't even me who deals w/ the outcome. After a verdict is read in any case, no matter how big or small, no matter win or lose, I go back to the office & get back to work. I go home & eat dinner. I get to watch some tv & cuddle with my cats & go to sleep in my own bed. A verdict will never affect my life other than on an emotional level. But clients face the consequences, good or bad, of a verdict. So if I am that crushed or that elated about a verdict, I can't even imagine what a client must feel.

That's why I do essentially nothing but trial during a trial. My life outside of work comes to a halt & every moment is spent on trial work. Because at the end of the day, at the end of a trial, I always go home. And if my clients don't get to do that, I want to know I did everything I could & put everything I had into that trial, regardless of the verdict. If I don't know that, I would never be able to live with myself.

So, tomorrow I start another courtroom battle. I take on the awesome & overwhelming responsibility of fighting for someone who can't fight for themselves. Tomorrow, I have my client's life & future in my hands.

Let's get ready to rumble.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tough cases

I am currently working on a couple of cases that are pretty much always on my mind. I don't know exactly what to do w/ them & it's stressing me out a bit.

So far, I have never had a client take a case to trial against my advice, although I have had clients take plea offers against my advice. So, clients have put a lot of faith & trust in my recommendation about trials. Which means I need to be able to give a sound recommendation.

Usually, this is fairly easy to assess. In some cases, the evidence against the client is overwhelmingly bad & going to trial would almost certainly result in a conviction. If there is a good plea offer that would be a better outcome for the client, that's an easy assessment.

Other times, the evidence against the client is either inadmissible at trial or really weak & easy to poke holes in & point out flaws. The case is one that we reasonably could win @ trial. Sometimes there is a really, really good offer but sometimes, they're isn't and then it makes sense to go to trial.

The ones that are difficult for me & the ones that are currently on my mind are the ones where it's almost impossible to figure out whether a trial or a plea agreement is a better option. This usually happens when the state has decent, but not rock solid, evidence & we have logical counter-arguments and/or evidence. When the two sides are evenly matched, it's really difficult to make a recommendation to the client about which is the better option.

There is also the concern that maybe my assessment might be tainted by "trial psychosis." This is a common thing we defense attorneys get. As we work a case up for trial & as we are in trial, we become convinced that there is no way that we could lose @ trial. The closer the trial is & the more work we do to prep it for trial, the more certain we are that we are going to win. This happens no matter how awful the evidence is against the client or how unlikely a win really is. Which means my advice, if given during a trial psychosis moment, might not be the most reasoned assessment.

So, I am trying to think out the cases before I hit trial psychosis mode. I want to be able to make a rational assessment of the cases that I am currently mulling over. But they are tough, because both sides have decent arguments.

So, I cannot stop thinking about them. Even when I am not @ work, they are stuck in my head.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

Some things I just can't get used to

One thing I have never really adjusted to about being single is not having someone to talk to about the small things in my day. I used to come home & rehash my day w/ someone, going over the stuff that happened in both of our days. I miss having someone to do that with. It was nice to have someone who remembered the names of the people I dealt with in my work & who knew enough about my work so I didn't have to give a whole background schpiel. It was nice to be able to have someone who cared about the little details of my life that I could talk to & who also talked to me about those things in their day. I miss having someone who genuinely cared about how my day was, every day.

I don't want to impose on people by making them listen to a recitation of my day when I don't know that they want to hear it. Most people already have a partner that they share their daily lives with & don't need or want another. I don't want to be that annoying person who overshares w/ people who don't want to hear my rambling.

The other thing I miss is having someone who can take care of me. Not in a pay-my-bills, kept-woman sort of way. In an emotional sense. I am a pretty strong, independent, self-sufficient person, but there are times when I get tired of always being strong. Sometimes, I want to fall apart & not be strong. Sometimes I wish I had someone to let me curl up next to them & have them hold me so I could have a break from being strong all the time. When I was really stressed or sad or just couldn't deal w/ things anymore, Hat used to hold me like I was a little kid till I felt better. Sometimes he would sing me a song to cheer me up bc he was a good singer. It was very comforting to have someone who could take care of me when I was tired of being strong all the time.

As strong as I may be, it's a strength out of necessity, not one that I necessarily wanted to have. And sometimes, I just want a guy to be there to take care of me, as silly & unpfeminist as that may be. I don't need someone to take care of me, but I do want it. Singing me songs would be optional, of course. But I could sure go for someone to hold me when I need to take a break from keeping it all together.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I take it back, I take it back!

Remember how I am always saying I am never going to date anyone ever again and I am never going to be in a relationship ever again?

I take it all back!!

I need a boyfriend specifically so I don't have to carry 37 lb boxes of cat litter up all the stairs to my apt. It's brutal! And heavy! And totally a boy job that I shouldn't have to do bc I am a girl!

(And yes, for the record, I am pulling the dainty lady/damsel in distress card. I am selectively girly when it benefits me!)

Serious, look at how awful this is!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Drugs are bad. Drug laws are worse.

A Duluth shop owner and two employees are on trial for 50+ felony charges alleging that they sold "synthetic drugs," in violation of federal laws. He is also facing a number of state charges for the same reason. 

He isn't alleged to have been pushing heroin on innocent schoolchildren at the park or anything so dastardly as that.  He's alleged to have sold products that are used to get high but that aren't what people normally think of when they hear "drugs." 

These so called "synthetic drugs" go by a variety of different names. Plant food, bath salts, K2, spice, etc. They are often packaged and sold as a product w/ a legitimate use, for example, plant food or bath salts. Some are sold as potpourri. Almost always, the packaging will have a label somewhere on it that clearly states: Not For Human Consumption.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I like to document these days

Today is one of those days where I can say that I am really, truly happy. I am much more acutely aware of these days when I have them than I ever was before, which is of course due to the fact that I was once, not that long ago, worried I would never be able to be really, truly happy ever again. So, when I have days where I feel like everything is fantastic & I am brimming w/ happiness & good feelings, I want to document it. That way, if I ever go through another dark period (I sincerely hope not) and feel like I can't be happy again, I can know that that isn't true.

The really great thing is that nothing huge happened today. I didn't win the lottery, I didn't get a promotion, I didn't meet the love of my life, I didn't have anything remarkable happen. I just went to a Twins game w/ my friends & coworkers & had a really fun time. It's ridiculously cheesy, but I am incredibly grateful that something as simple as a Twins game w/ my friends is enough for me to feel really, really happy.

It's so incredible to know that I am actually ok again. And now I know w/o a doubt that I can get through anything. I was convinced I couldn't survive the divorce, that it was too much & that I would never recover from it. But I found that I am stronger & more resilient than I ever imagined. And I can be happy again.

I am happy again.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Finally something @ work wasn't like pulling teeth

I had an interesting thing occur @ work on Friday. I have a client who has a probation violation hearing coming up, so I requested the chronos from the state. Chronos are the probation records & should have all contacts btwn the probation officer & the defendant, any intermediate sanctions that were imposed, the defendant's progress, etc.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


It's been awhile since I have talked about the cats. I can't be a crazy cat lady if I don't talk about them, right? So cat post today. You're welcome.

I recently found out that Hubert has asthma. I didn't even know that was a thing for cats, but apparently it is. I discovered this bc about 3 weeks ago, Hubert started making this choking, gagging noise. At first I thought it might be a hairball but nothing came up & he kept doing it. I thought he might have eaten something he shouldn't & that it was stuck so I took him to the vet.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Change is the only constant

I found out on Friday that CB got a PD position in the cities & she will be starting there on October 9th. This also means she will be moving out of the apt across the hallway from me. Right now, it's just the 2 of us in the building (there are only 2 apts) so it's been pretty cool bc we have the whole building to ourselves. But she isn't going to be there much longer & I have no idea who will be moving in across the way. I'm pretty disappointed about the whole thing bc I was really on the fence about moving to this location & knowing that I would have someone I know there w/ me tipped the scales. But now I will be by myself in a town I don't know w/o people I know close by. So that sucks. I am happy for CB but very sad, too.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Why I always sound like a sourpuss

It occurs to me that I have been quite complainy lately in my posts. I suppose there are a couple of reasons for that. The first is that this has always been my outlet of sorts, the place where I go dump everything that I am thinking/feeling to get it out of my system. That way, it isn't still kicking around in my head. I tend to be someone who mulls things over & can't stop thinking about things (I'll bet that's not at all a news flash), so just getting my thoughts out of my head helps me to stop that cycle of dwelling on things.