Saturday, April 15, 2006

Still Here After All

Still Here After All These Days

Sorry, it’s been way too long between posts, but I’ve just been unable to muster the writerly wherewithal to post anything. Work is still work. The bad guys still do terrible things to people, and we do our level best to lock ‘em up for as close to forever as we can. See, if we did not do that, then the parole board would have no one to let out because they’ve “found Jesus! Praise the Lord!” I, of course, was not aware that He was missing. The more fool me, ‘eh?

The end of Senior year is here for number two son, out youngest. The Perfect Local High School Student. Four years of football, two as a varsity starter (offensive line, thanks for asking) 3.5+ GPA (4.0 scale) in AP and college prep courses, no discipline problems, the kid is practically the poster child for what the school administration wants a typical male student to be. It’s been a helluva strain, believe-you-me.

I mean, the other two were anything but models of the modern Senior High School Student and I think we’ve been waiting for the genetics and/or hormones to come roaring to the fore, leaving nothing but smoking ruins in their wake.  But we’re just about five weeks from the last day of classes for Seniors, and just six weeks from graduation, so, we’ve crossed everything that can be crossed and are holding on to our sanity as tight as we can.

Oh, The Things They’ll Do
There is a certain class of defense lawyer that simply thinks the rules are for fools. (I actually had one say that to me, once upon a time) and that if they get 50 miles away from the big city to the south that no one will know those rules and they will be able to bullshit their way to whatever they want. Sigh.

Of course, we have an arraignment court chief judge who is totally clueless about most of the substantive rules (like Miranda only applies to custodial interrogation) and virtually all of the procedural rules. One can make some excuses about substantive rules like Miranda because in most cases they are derived from case law, not statutes or codes and can change without warning. It’s a bit harder to excuse a failure to know about the court rules published by the state supreme court. I mean, they come out in a nice little book from West/Thompson, every year, and changes are prominently displayed in the monthly bar journal as well as on the state court web site.

We had an out of town attorney try to get the chief judge to issue a writ of habeas corpus for his client, who was pending arraignment, on an oral motion. And the dummy was going to grant it! Happily for the chief’s reputation in the building, the clerk of the court is also an attorney and was able to advise him that the writ could only issue on a properly filed complaint. And Mr. Out-of-Towner had not filed such a complaint. Oh, and in the same breath, while he was issuing an illegal writ, he was ordering our office to appear forthwith and arraign the defendant. Aside from the fact that we were still waiting on the police report/request to charge, there’s a tiny little separation of powers thing going on there. Ya think? And the final insult? Mr. Out-of-Towner may have outright lied to the judge about the circumstances of his client’s detention. We don’t know. Why? Because the judge ordered the court reporter to go to lunch (don’t want to incur any comp time) and shut down the Dictaphones. Another attorney was in the courtroom while this was going on and left to call my boss and give him the heads up. So, two of us spent an enjoyable hour drafting a complaint in mandamus against the arraignment court, just in case. We didn’t need it, thank God, because who needs to be in the middle of that kind of firefight between the courts.

Ah, yes. It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.

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