I know I am not the most read blog around, so not having everyone listed isn’t breaking their hearts, but there are so many blogs that I read and I feel the need to give props to, so my darling husband is going to help me and it will really, honestly and truly be updated. If I haven’t included you, please drop me a line and I’ll be sure to do so.Share on Facebook
Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot that I’m fond of, but I gotta hand it to WaWa’s and Royal Farms. Today, I actually made a U-Turn and went about 4 miles out of my way to go to Royal Farms. I got gas, a great cup of coffee, and got to use a very clean restroom without having to ask for a key. So, here’s my plug for Royal Farms in Carroll County.
Yesterday, I had to drive to Dorchester (eastern shore) and stopped at my first WaWa’s. In my language, we say “wawa” when we think something is excellent “WaWa!” to WaWa’s. I got a cup of coffee and hashbrowns for under 2.00. Sweet.Share on Facebook
But here’s the rest of the story anyway. . .. .
The Chief clerk told us we could wait in the lawyer’s lounge where the argument would be piped in. Hey, that was good enough for us. Then, the other clerk, the one who actually handles the briefs and whatnot – told us to wait a second and she went to find out if there were seats for us. She came back and said to check with the man at the desk at 9:50 (arguments start promptly at 10. Actually, admissions start at 10:00, and then arguments start right after). So, at 9:50, we went out to ask and were told to wait by the door. We were then escorted inside the courtroom! We sat in the back and I was like a little kid (well, I am sort of like a little kid in size so I couldn’t see over all the big people because its not theatre seating). The Chief Clerk called out “Oyez Oyez” and the entire room of 150 people went silent. Then they came out. It was like, I dunno what it was like. It was like being in the supreme court. That’s what it was like!
So, admissions started. A bunch of people got admitted and it turns out that if you have a supreme court bar card, you don’t have to wait in line. You get to go in the super secret side entrance and you get to sit in front of the bar. The well of the court is very small – intimate.
The case we came for was argued first. The State presented its argument and got 45 seconds of it out before Sandra Day O’Connor asked her a question that would set the theme for the State’s entire argument. Scalia was on her side and was helping her along (suprise) and Thomas sat mum. Ginsberg seemed confused as to why they shouldn’t defer to the trial court’s ruling.
Then our side argued. And, I have to say, I might be biased, but it was stellar. And, I do believe that it was the argument that turned things around. The decision in this case came down two weeks after the argument and its my understanding that its rare for the Court to dismiss the writ as improvidently granted BEFORE argument. But, I think the Court realized this wasn’t the case it originally thought it was and it became very clear that this case should not be the one to change, modify, or narrow any Constitutional right to counsel. Oh, the best question came from Justice Roberts who asked “Well, if the statement is suppressed, Mr. Blake can’t be prosecuted, can he?” To which Scalia replied “Well, he can be prosecuted federally, can’t he”. Blake’s lawyer simply said that that shouldn’t be a consideration for the Court, but it concerned us anyway. What if they decided against Blake simply because they wanted to see him prosecuted.
Two weeks later the news came that the case was dismissed. Overjoyed? Yes. Disappointed that there was no decision? Yes and no. Yes, because hey, wouldn’t that have been cool. No because we all know that the Court is not likely to keep its “liberal” right to counsel interpretation in effect for much longer. I say “liberal” with more than a great deal of sarcasm. Sometimes, my heart cries out for New York, where I hardly ever had to quote from the Supreme Court because well, we are New York. I particularly miss practice in my small jurisdiction, where no one went to jail for half a blunt. Where you actually needed probable cause for a search warrant. Where they didn’t give out wiretaps orders like candy. But, if I’d stayed there, who knows how long it would have been before I’d see the inside of the Supreme Court.Share on Facebook
Yesterday, I got up at 4:00 am, filled with the excitement a Christian child probably feels on Christmas. I tiptoed around the house, trying to decide what to wear. Well, I’ll be standing outside in line for several hours, so I want something warm. I’ll be walking to the train station, so I’ll want something comfortable. It’s my first time going to the this sort of thing, so I want something halfway decent. Finally, I decided on a gray pair of pants and a pink sweater, put on my lucky pink argyle socks, and walked up to the train station where I met a colleague, whose eyes were also shining with excitment. Despite the very early hour, we were both giddy, chatting a million miles a minute during the one hour trip to D.C. What would it be like? We heard the well of the courthouse was pretty intimate, how close would they be? Who would ask the most questions? Would Thomas finally say something?
Yes, we were going to the Supreme Court to hear the case of Maryland vs. Blake. When we got to the court at 6:45 am, the line was already around the block. Holy crap! Who knew that this issue would be this popular? Colleague and I stood in line, still hopeful. We’d heard that on Monday they’d given out 95 tickets, but that was unusual. We counted and found that we were number 110 in line – a class of criminal justice students from a Maryland High School stood 20 deep in front of us. Finally, they gave out the tickets to the lucky 75. I tried my luck with the police officer when he was handing them out, “hi, umm. . . our firm is arguing one of the cases and we were wondering. . . ” “Sorry, can’t help you. We are giving out 75 tickets, but that’s not even a gurantee that everyone will get in who has a ticket.” So I slid back to being number 110. I called the boss and told him what the situation was and he apologized, but said to meet him at the super secret if you are admitted to the Supreme Court Bar entrance on Maryland Avenue. We went. We waited. We were losing hope by the minute. At 8:50, our firm showed up. We walked inside. We kept walking inside. Eventually, we were all the way inside!! We went into the Lawyer’s Lounge, where the General, dressed in formal morning coat, instructed the attorneys on protocol. Do not address the Justices as “Judge”, the chief justice is “Mr. Chief Justice.” If you forget the name of the justice, “Your honor” is fine. When the red light goes on, SIT DOWN.
Ooopps, time to go to work. Will write more later.Share on Facebook
We moved to Baltimore one year ago this weeekend. That weekend, October 31, 2004, it was 85 degrees out. Today, it is 45 and raining. Not much different from where we left. I guess we got screwed, eh?
Today, I get sworn into the Federal District Court for my new home city. Cool, huh?
I’ve got to get a sirius radio because once Howard Stern leaves, I’ll have no way of getting the news.Share on Facebook
I went to the jail today to see a few clients, all of them in federal custody. The news I had to give was not good – for any of them.
Client one – I have over one thousand pages of discovery. None of it directly implicates you. But, that is the beauty of a conspiracy charge, isn’t it.
Client two – hello, the partner sent me here to tell you that the government has said no to your offer to plead in exchange for a sentence of five years. In addition, your other state case is going to be indicted federally, and the government has indicated, informally, that they are widening the investigation. And no, I really know nothing else about your case.
Client three – Hi. Good to see you again too. I’ve been wracking my brain to think of a defense, especially after that suppression decision. If you can think of one, we’ll discuss a jury trial. If you want me to say 10 years is not a long time, I will. Yes, I’ve seen Scarface and yes, I’ll look into whether you’ve got a meritorious argument for appeal.
I got to the jail at 4:00, and left at 8:30. I hadn’t eaten since 5:30 a.m., but somehow managed to maintain my senses and some measure of brain functioning. So much for a fun filled Friday evening. And now, I can’t sleep. It’s 1:20 am and even though I haven’t left the office before 9:30 pm for well over three weeks and every bone, nerve, joint and tendon in my body is yelling out for sleep! sleep! rest! Here I am. Blogging. Thinking about work. ARGH!
I did end up reading the NACDL article and, truth be told, it contains only one paragraph about public defenders. And really, that paragraph is an aside, sort of like dicta (but, really, not very favorable dicta)
I will not judge the public defender’s right to be angry about that particular paragraph, though, because, well, he ain’t talking about me so that’s probably why it doesn’t make me angry. Anyway, anyone who has kept up with this blog knows of my efforts to join this fair city’s PD office. And, you know, they keep sending me letters asking me to interview with different divisions. HA! As far as I’m concerned, its their loss.
I now have nothing more to say.Share on Facebook
This is a holy month for us Muslims, towel heads, whatever you want to call us. It’s the month of Ramadan, which most people only think of as a time when we muslims starve ourselves from dawn until dusk. I guess you could think of it that way, but its more than that, its a time for inner reflection, of giving up the sensual (meaning senses) world during daylight hours and just trying to be one with god. It’s a time to do good deeds, to not pick fights, and if someone tries to pick a fight with you, you should respond “I am fasting”.
So, that’s why I changed some language in my last post. I think that it may have come off as harsh, and that’s not what I intended. I guess since I don’t have much self-righteous-ness in me (except when it come to the government/prosecutors/bad judges, etc), I find it offensive when people make assumptions about me, my work, who am I, or why I do this job. The point of the post was to say hey, aren’t we all just fighting an uphill battle, the same battle?
Anyway, that’s not how we are viewed by some public defenders. I guess if someone says public defenders are bad lawyers, then its okay for public defenders to say private attorneys are all money hungry. But, its not like that for me. It’s never been like that for anyone I’ve worked with. And, I think that if public defenders have attitudes about private attorneys, then they can’t really blame private attorneys for having the same sort of negative attitude about them.
At the end of the day, I say, in the immortal words of Rodney King “why can’t we all just get along?” And peace be with all of you.Share on Facebook