Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Life in the Trenches

Hurrah to the Los Angeles Times and their weeklong series (currently on part three; part one can be found here) following a public defender doing real, honest public defending. Ramiro Cisneros is described as "a man with his heart in the clouds of idealism and his thoughts down in the daily rough-and-tumble." This is why I love writers--they can come up with a description like that. I can't think of a better description of myself or so many other of the public defenders I know. So far, it has been an excellent read. I'm planning to post more about it later, but this week, I'm doing the work of three lawyers, and blogging time is obviously limited.

(Thanks to Anita Witness for the heads up.)


Blogger dtarrell said...

I read the piece today and it sounds like PD work is pretty much the same everywhere, with a few small differences. Today's story has a woman picking a suspect out from a crowd and "knowing" he was the perpetrator. However, as DNA exonerations illustrate, identifications are often wrong. However, it's difficult to overcome the "that's him at the defense table" identification in court. As Prof. Whitebread says, that's usually when the jury starts rocking in their chairs, convinced of guilt. I'm not saying it can't be overcome, with proper voir dire techniques and cross, only that it's tough. The problem I have as a p.d. is that voir dire isn't usually available as the prosecutors typically charge under a city ordinance carrying up to 6 months and thus considered petty and not deserving of a jury trial. Thus, I'm stuck with the ex-pros, cynical judge who does crossword puzzles during trial, before he rocks in his chair and finds my client guilty.

9/07/2006 8:58 AM  

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