Thursday, May 31, 2007

Trial Frenzy

It seems like I was here for months before I finally tried my first case. I had a couple go to the brink of trial, only to be pulled back by a last-minute offer too good to turn down. Then, finally, one trial. A couple months later, another. And now I am preparing to go to trial for the fifth time in seven weeks--my second sex case in the same time period.

Trial is one of those experiences that is simultaneously exhilerating and exhausting. Nothing gets me revved up like a trial. Nothing gives me butterflies or keeps me up at nights like a trial. Trial keeps me in a state of hypervigilance. You have to pay attention to everything that's happening in the courtroom while processing how what is being said affects your case, and thinking about how you're going to respond to what was said, and all the while remembering when to appropriately object, and when not to object even if you properly could because you want the evidence to come in, and, well, you get the picture. Exhilerating and exhausting.

And it really doesn't matter if it's a case you think you can win or one you have no hope of winning. At least not to me. For me to really be prepared for trial, I have to get myself in a place where I believe that I can win. I have to believe that if I do everything I possibly can, as effectively as I can, that I can win the case. It's the only way I feel I can be sure that I give everything I have even in a case that, viewing it from a dispassionate distance, I would realize I have no hope of winning. So, when the case is over, it is just as crushing to lose a case that was a loser all along as it is to lose one that I thought I could win, because I got myself to a place where I thought I could win it, no matter what. Of course, winning a case tends to create a bit of delirium of its own. But win or lose, the overwhelming feeling at the end of a trial is exhaustion.

Unfortunately, there's no time to rest. Because while I was in trial, more new cases have landed on my desk, and, oh yeah, the trial date on that other case is now a few days closer with nothing having been done, and there are 15 messages on my voice mail, and the beat goes on.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why YouTube is the Best Website Ever

Do you remember when you used to go to work or school and someone would tell you about something funny that happened on live TV the day before or you would curse yourself for having missed it? Something, like, say, Miss USA falling on her ass at the Miss Universe pageant? Now, with YouTube, you never have to curse yourself, because you can count on several alert viewers to have posted it for your free repeat-viewing pleasure. Now, please enjoy this present that will hopefully help you make it through your hard Tuesday-after-a-holiday workday:


Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Long, Rambling Return to Blogging

Has it really been over a month since I last posted? I guess it has. In that time, I tried an interminable child sex abuse case that resulted in a split verdict of guilty of one count and not guilty of the other, which, objectively, was a huge victory, but didn't feel that way as I watched the mother of my client dissolve into tears throughout the judge's announcement of his verdict. In the middle of the trial, I went on a little vacation, which was really lovely, but now feels like forever ago, in that I am just as overwhelmed with work and exhausted as I was the day I left. Then, I tried a little misdemeanor minor in possession of alcohol case that I had no hope of winning but almost did on a completely random technicality, but none of that ended up mattering, as my client, who has been an alcoholic since he was probably about 10, was ordered shipped off to the juvenile institution for almost a year, without a single parent or family member there because none of them can be bothered to give a damn. And then, this Monday, I tried a burglary case that actually involved four felony counts because of the two cars stolen and the going back to the house a second time to steal one of them after wrecking out the other one, and the only evidence--literally, the ONLY evidence--against my client was the testimony of a co-defendant who was refusing to name the alleged third person involved (which would categorically not be enough to convict in the State of Texas, but is enough here in blue-state Washington), and the stakes couldn't have been higher after my client turned down the misdemeanor offer from the prosecutor who knew he had a weak case (aren't those always the absolute hardest offers to advise your client about???). And somehow, the star witness accomplice guy managed to perjure himself during the prosecutor's direct exam, and I forced him to admit said perjury during my cross-exam, and then he refused to answer my question as to who the third person he told the police officer he would never name and would take the fall for was, and then the judge granted my motion to strike the lying, withholding witness's testimony in its entirety, leaving the prosecuto with no evidence against my client, forcing him to dismiss with prejudice in the middle of trial. And it was an awesome, thrilling moment of victory, that I felt the need to bask in for the rest of the day, because you so rarely get such awesome, thrilling moments in this job, and then, the next day, I get dragged right back down because I have to try a case that is most likely a complete loser. And throughout all of this, I'm putting out this fire here and that fire there, handling probation violations, and motions, and kids who won't go to school, and kids who keep running away, and pleading out a bunch of other kids, including one whose mother is dead and whose dad is in prison, and he was so horribly sexually abused that he has had to have multiple surgeries to repair the physical injuries from the abuse, but whose legal guardians are so "fed up" with his inability to control his anger that the kid heard the "dad" on the phone with a friend saying he just wished the kid was dead, said "dad" also having told me that he doesn't believe the kid is properly being held accountable, and that I shouldn't even bother to tell him about the consequences of convictions becuase he knows about convictions, being a four-time convicted felon himself. Oh, and yeah, Veronica Mars got cancelled, so that was just the icing on the cake. And that, in a nutshell, is what's been happening the past month.

How's everyone else doing?

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