All’s fair in war and war.

Posted: May 5th, 2010 by .

It was about this time last year that I ventured back out into the world.  I started doing document review, figured I’d apply for jobs and if something stuck, great.  I was actively engaged in Afghan affairs, attending all of the conferences and seminars I could while still getting in a 40 hour work week.  I applied to OPDAT, the UN, and even a few NGO’s that did rule of law in Afghanistan.  I didn’t get a single reply from any of them, even the NGO’s doing defense work said they wanted someone who did more development work, less actual you know, law stuff.  OK, fine.  I kept looking, rented an office, started a little non-profit called Afghan Health Alliance and picked up clients here and there.

In the year that I’ve been out and about, I’ve had to defend my religion countless times.  “Doesn’t it preach hate?”  No, it doesn’t.  “Doesn’t it say that women have to be confined to the home?”  No, it doesn’t.  “Doesn’t it say all non-believers should die.”  Well, all people will die, but it doesn’t say it the way you mean it. 

My father is currently in Afghanistan.  He’s a professor at the medical university and works with the ministry of higher education.  I’ve seen my father cry twice.  Once, when he found out his father had died (strange Afghan customs of not telling people bad news until years later) and then again when he came back from Afghanistan the first time and told us about the people and their suffering.  The Afghan people struggled with the soviets, the Taliban, and now themselves.  The Taliban blame the west for all of the misery in Afghanistan; America created the jihad by allowing the Soviets to come in.  They used the Afghan people for their own purposes to destroy the Soviet Union.  The West destroyed Afghanistan for their own selfish motives.  The Taliban feel justified in their war against the criminal West and will use any means necessary to wage it.

This sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The point of this post is not Afghanistan or the Taliban, although I could go on about that for days.  The point is that Scott Greenfield has, probably for years now, been posting his “But for Video” series.  This morning he posted one, courtesy of Radley Balko that made me feel like someone had whacked me in the head.  My boys and I watch videos on my iphone, so this morning when I had it out Yacob said “whatcha doing mommy” and I told him, “don’t look at it baby, don’t look.”   The video was as bad, or worse, than any I’ve seen from Afghanistan. You wouldn’t be able to tell that it came from a country that teaches the rest of the world about the Rule of Law, helps people draft constitutions, and is the torch bearer of democracy.

Muslims have been brought to task for not protesting against terrorism.  It’s not a given, according to some, that muslims as a general rule dislike terrorism. 

Note to 12 readers: I think terrorism is bad.  I think the Taliban are evil.   I don’t defend their actions because that would just be stupid and silly and well, I wouldn’t know where to begin.  I comprehend their arguments in an intellectual sense, but I don’t agree and I don’t see how their strong arm tactics will get them what they want.

I imagine that there are police officers who think that the tactic taken in the video above was spot on, picture perfect, as Mr. Greenfield calls it.  There are officers who will say that the man is a criminal, he deserves it.  They will come to the defense of any police oficer who uses force and is driven by rage and testosterone.  Because, after all, this is war and they will use any means to wage it.

But, there must be others out there who disagree, who do not think this is the way officers should conduct themselves, that its shameful and wrong.  Why are they not marching in the streets, shouting from the rooftops?  Here’s what I don’t understand.  I have to answer for over 1 billion muslims.  I have to explain why what the Afghans, the Taliban and Al Queda do is wrong.  Why are police officers exempt from having to distance themselves from the actions of their brothers and sisters in blue?  Why do I have to affirmatively state that I hate terrorism, but they don’t have to say that they hate abuse of power?  Clearly, we can’t assume either.

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Posted in: Afghanistan, Police Brutality   |   3 Comments

I always feel like somebody’s watching me

Posted: May 3rd, 2010 by .

I haven’t had a sitemeter or any sort of analyzer on this site until this week, when my friend Jamison Koehler recommended that I find out who is reading and where they are coming from.  I resisted, but as we all know, resistance is futile.  Now, I almost wish I didn’t know.

Today, for example, someone from uscourts.gov has spent over 25 minutes on this blog.  What are they looking for?  What are they reading?  Am I going to get a subpoena in the mail about something I’ve said in the past?

 A person in Alexandria, VA seemingly has this site open all day and night (who are you, why are you blogstalking me?).  I feel like I need to go back and re-read everything, check to make sure I’ve not admitted doing anything illegal or offended dear old friends.  It was better before I knew.

As an Afghan-American, I also wonder how many folks at the NSA or FBI or CIA are required to keep tabs on this.  Not too many, I hope, because although I am not a huge fan of the MAN, I am even less of an admirer of terrorists, seeing as how they have royally screwed up my motherland and are working at hampering all of my civil liberties here in my adopted country as well. 

I checked out where referrals come from, Mark Bennett, Scott Greenfield, Jamison give me a bunch.  Twitter apparently is a go-to place for people to get to me as well.  But then you see the google searches that get people here.  I wrote a sort of harsh post about Barbri and that comes up fequently when you search BarBri and Maryland.  I don’t think that’s what law students are looking for when they run that google search.  But then again, people looking for “how to cover up track marks” probably didn’t want to read about self-injection with ovarian hyperstimulating hormones.  I imagine they thought I was a different kind of kindred spirit.  Just yesterday, someone was looking for a navy blue suit.  Alas, they found notguilty instead.

To say that I’m not flattered that people read this would be a lie.  But I think I might turn sitemeter off.  I have lost my anonymity, but I liked it better when you all still had yours.

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Posted in: Not Gulity No Way   |   3 Comments

It’s about them

Posted: May 2nd, 2010 by .

I’ve been in my cocoon for quite some time.  It was warm and cozy.  Sometimes I’d turn on the television and there would be some bad thing on there and I would turn it off – out bad world, out!  My kids only needed Barney and Elmo, fuzzy blankets and the smell of lavendar.  No mean and nasty stuff for them.  Only goodness and light, gentleness and harmony.

Today, I drove to Baltimore to meet a client’s family.  As I drove up, I saw the kids on the front porch and I remembered why this shit nearly killed me last time around.  It’s the kids.  It’s always the kids.  They love their daddy.  They ask how long before he’s home:  “can you make sure he doesn’t get more than five years, maybe less?” asks the 9 year old.  The two year old toddles along, falls, and then gets back up again.  My heart feels like its going to tear open, its heartache, so deep and so real you think its your daddy inside, the man you love looking at 15 years.  If only there was more distance between me and them, maybe it would be easier.  Maybe I could learn not to care so much?

But how can you not care when she says “he’s a good daddy, he just needs to stay out of the hood.”  “When he gets out, I’m gonna make sure he gets a job.”  The little babes need Barney and Elmo, fuzzy blankets and the smell of lavendar.  Instead they get to write letters to their daddy in jail, mom gets to write an affidavit to the judge saying that he’s a good man who’s made bad choices, and brother and sister say he always made sure they stayed out of trouble while he was getting himself into it.

But the kids.  They get you every time. 

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Posted in: Criminal Defense   |   One Comment

In deference to Old Yeller.

Posted: April 29th, 2010 by .

Scott Greenfield was on twitter today and he accused me of being a pussy.  He asked if there was anything that moved me enough to yell.

Because he yells.  And Terry Kindlon yelled.  And lots of other lawyers yell. 

I don’t yell.  Not here.  And, since this is my blog where I can write what I want how I want, I don’t have to.  I am told to remain true to my voice and to who I am.  I intend to do that each and every time I put my fingers on this keyboard.

But, out of respect to Mr. Greenfield, who reminds me of my dear mentor, Mr. Kindlon, I will answer the questions he posted to me on twitter today as loudly as I can.

Greenfield:  How do you feel about your listserv pals?
Me:  Some of them make me sick.  I mean, I feel queasy in my stomach, my head spins.  I cannot believe these people get hired.  People pay them money.  They have no shame.  They don’t hide their lack of commitment, or their lack of understanding, their lack of empathy.  They put it out there for the whole world to see and then others come to their defense.  Go you!  Rah rah for your poor lawyering.  Rah rah for your warped legal analysis.  That’s how I feel about some of the folks on the listserv.  Those people are not my pals, by the way.

Greenfield:  What do you think of PD apologists?
Me:  I am pretty sure my last post makes this clear – they are wusses and liars.  They have a job where they get to fight the MAN every day of their lives.  That is some pretty cool shit.  The fact that you have lots of cases doesn’t mean you get to be a party to anyone going to jail because you don’t have time.  Mr. or Ms. PD.  Put it on the record.  You are not ready.  Set up your IAC claim for the appeal.  Do it.  Suck it up and do it.

Greenfield:  How many defendants should go to prison for them?
Me:  None.  Zero.  Zilch.  But they do.  And they will continue to do so until we can figure out a way to make it stop.

Maybe this isn’t yell-y enough for Mr. Greenfield.  He might want me to come up with a name for the brand of lawyer I am talking about here, but I’ll leave that to him.  I’m a girl with girl feelings and girl thoughts.  I’m not relegated to only having one emotion, anger, like men are.  I feel sad, sometimes hopeless, disappointed, disbelieving.  So, there you have it.  This is the not guilty version of yelling.  Enjoy it, because there’s probably not going to be much more.

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Posted in: Criminal Defense, Public Defenders   |   15 Comments