Thursday, July 28, 2005
If you read today's A & C, there is a story about Mark McGoldrick a Public Defender at the Alameda County Public Defender in Oakland, California. He has a show called THE GOLDEN HAMMER (Don't judge him by the photo...this guy is a genius) which I won't be able to catch but if you're in the bay area, this weekend is the final showing. That Skelly, he's always on top of a lot of good PD related stuff.
Just got a call from my attorney on what has turned into our trial of the century. Jury went out yesterday and they just came back with the verdict this morning. Guilty. Give me a fuckin break.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
The truth is, I’ve been kind of stressed out a bit…not stressed like some of my fellow blogging friends, preparing to take the bar exam in their respective states but stressed with the sheer number of cases and needy clients I’m handling. That and my love life is a confusing mess…something I’ll be able to better explain when I get a better grip on it myself.
Is it understandable? Absolutely. Is it realistic to expect a Public Defender to be available to every single client every minute of the day? Obviously not.
I’ve never been to jail (well, maybe a Mexican jail after a wild night of dancing and drinking in Tijuana, MX…but if it’s in another country it doesn’t really count if you’re only detained. Right?) but if (knock on wood) I was ever to be arrested for anything (for the record, I’m not planning on it) I’m sure I would think my case was the most important thing in the world too.
Our clients have nothing better to do than think about being in jail, what put them in there, and what’s going to get them out. All they have to think about is their case and maybe loved ones they miss.
I had meetings with three clients this week (I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday) who are up on multiple serious charges (attempted murder, a sexual assault, and a molest to name a few). Each one of them had a list of at least 15 people they felt would be their key to freedom if we could only find them and talk to them. Some of these wits are homeless, some are in jail, some are law-abiding citizens and there are even a couple of ex-convicts, one of whom happened to be released a few days ago after 15 years in the state pen.
I take the names of all these possible witnesses and depending on my availability and resources and either immediately track down and interview each person, or narrow down the list to the most important “must do “ interviews and leave the rest for later in the case. As it stands now I need to complete approximately 27-35 witness interviews in the next three weeks…on three cases alone. This is not counting all the other active cases I’m currently assigned to.
I’m not writing this to complain. I’m writing this just emphasize that this is one of the reasons I love my job. I get to talk to all these pieces in a giant puzzle, try and put them in some sort of order, and present whatever I’m able to put together in a logical format that could be understood by an attorney and Mr. and Mrs. Joe Blow juror that will be deciding my clients fate.
All that being said…I’m stressed.
Sometimes I don’t sleep more than a couple of hours a night. Sometimes I have nightmares that seem to go on for weeks. Sometimes after talking to clients or witnesses all day, I just want to go home to someone that can listen to me bitch and complain and understand how I’m feeling…which is of course going into my love life situation which I still can’t even begin to explain.
I think that’s one of the reasons I like posting here. I like getting things out when I need to and having people respond if they feel like it. Is it a little narcissistic to want people to read my rants and stories about my work and occasional personal tidbits? Maybe. I don’t know. Does it really matter?
Ugh. I guess you could say this is all just my usual rambling, but thanks for reading me to the end. I do my best to be as comprehensible as possible but sometimes I'm just off. This afternoon, I'm kind of on edge waiting for the verdict on a case I put a lot of work into. The jury went out this afternoon and unlike some cases I've seen lately, the verdict could go either way.
Monday, July 25, 2005
I hope everyone had a great weekend. For those of you that took the bar, good luck. If I had an address to send you a couple bottles of wine for a congrats and good luck, I would.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
I don’t know how many of you reading this are attorneys, although I do know that a lot of you are law students with a good idea of what you want to do in your career (Good luck to everyone by the way!). I of course, am not an attorney, but I have a message that goes out to any future/current defense attorneys that work in or aspire to rake in the bucks in private practice….
DON’T FUCK YOUR CLIENTS!!!
Now, when I say, DON’T FUCK YOUR CLIENTS, I’m not talking about sex (although the implications of that are obvious)…let me explain:
I was contacted by one of the attorneys in my office to interview a client in jail this week. I didn’t know anything about the case, so I requested a copy of his file, which I received right away.
The charges are very simple…The People of the State of California are charging our client with Penal Code 288. Yes, I understand that child molesters are a despicable bunch of people…blah blah blah….I’ve heard it all before. The thing is, I’m not really too concerned with what people think about a guy like this (Innocent until proven guilty gawd damnit!). I’m more concerned about how his case came to our office.
The charges against our client were filed with our local court in late December 2004 and he was arrested in early January of this year. He is a poor Mexican immigrant, (he came here legally for any of you “any immigration should be restricted pricks” reading this). His brother’s family, not knowing any better mortgaged his small house, his wife and sisters sold all of their cars and everyone started working two jobs. Why? They wanted to be able to come up with a retainer to pay for a private attorney of course!
His family understood that he would be eligible for a public defender but all of their friends said, “Don’t get a public defender…If you do, you might as well bring blanket and a pillow to court that you can take to prison.”
His family scraped together about $15,000.00 to retain Mr. Super Private Defender (MR. SPD). MR. SPD was fantastic at first, meeting with the family every day, visiting the client in jail everyday, holding his hand and explaining everything…it was a perfect match! Well, a perfect match until early May of this year when they did the Preliminary Hearing.
MR. SPD explained to my client’s family that they needed to pony up an additional $10,000.00 if they wanted him to continue representing their father/brother/husband. The retainer only covered MR. SPD until the Prelim and he needed additional funding for future hearings and even more if our client chose to go to trial.
I’m holding the Prelim transcript in my hand. It is 24 pages long (including cover pages). MR. SPD is responsible for about 5 pages worth of testimony. MR. SPD did not request ANY investigation into the allegations and had not done ANY work on the case other than meeting with the client in jail and having his family come to his office for “meetings.” How do I know this? I have a copy of his file notes and billing.
There are no notes on anything that MR. SPD did. I’ve talked to MR. SPD several times to try and find out if he had PLANNED any investigation or had any interview notes with the family and he first said that he may have lost them, then he said they should be in the file he gave us, then he said WE must have lost them. MR. SPD and I both know the truth. He didn’t do jack fucking shit. He spent $15,000.00 hard earned dollars meeting with our client 7 times in jail and talking to his family and meeting with them in his office.
I met with our client yesterday and did about a 1 ½-2-hour interview with him in the county jail. He is depressed and scared. I don't blame him. I told him to give me the rundown of the events on the day of the incident (DOI) and also a everything leading up to the DOI.
I have a meeting set-up to do an interview with the victim and victim’s mother tomorrow morning (they agreed to meet with me after one phone call..they said other than in court, they had never been contacted by defense counsel or anyone representing themselves as working in the defense of our client). I have a list of 6 potential witnesses that I will hopefully be able to find before the end of the day is out. I’m moving on this because we have a trial scheduled for the first week of September and we just got this case assigned to us this week.
What motivates a guy like MR. SPD? MR. SPD continues to double park in our county parking lot (I’m guessing he double parks so he doesn’t get his BMW scratched by any people driving beaters), and he comes to court in his fancy suit and is probably fucking over more clients even as I type this.
Our client’s family had almost nothing before they hired MR. SPD, but at least they were surviving. Now, they struggle to get bus and train fare together to make it to the courthouse for our client’s next hearing and they are convinced they are going to lose their father/husband/brother.
Please don’t fuck your clients. It's lunch time, I'm gonna go heat up my Lean Cuisine and cool off.
FYI - I’ve quit trying to avoid cursing on my blog. I just need to fuckin curse, what can I say?
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
The Prince did respond this morning with the following:
Please, what do you want from me so that you will beleive
me, let us be serious i need your help.
If you need my International passport i will send it to you. Please,let me know your plan towards this assistant i need from you. I am hoping to hear from you.I am happy you knew Ghana very well, i came from Ashanti Region, you can ask about my father he is well known all over Africa.
The truth is, it's Nigerian Scammers such as this Prince Mensah that ruin it for all the real Princes and Princesses that are in dire need of our assistance. It's a damn shame. One bad apple ruining it for apples everywhere...or however that saying goes.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
The reason for this unexpected news? Let me explain...
I have recently had a great opportunity presented to me that will allow me to travel the world and live like a king. I recently received a letter from a Prince in Ghana that could open up doors for me that I never though possible. I will post it and my responses for you to review and if you choose to take part in this and share in the possible wealth...well then...the more, the merrier I always say. Just read the following to understand what my future holds:
ATTN:SIR URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL
SIR,FIRST,I MUST SOLICIT YOUR STRICTEST CONFIDENCE IN THIS TRANSACTION AND I PRAY MY DECISION TO CONTACT YOU WILL BE GIVEN A GENUINE APPROVAL CONSIDERINGTHE FACT THAT WE HAVE NOT KNOWN EACH OTHER BEFORE.I AM PRINCE MENSAH OPOKU, A GHANAIAN AND THE FIRST SON OF THE SECOND WIFEOF LATE KING NANA OPOKU ,HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS OF THE ASHANTI KINGDOMOF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA. OUR TRADITION PROHIBITS THE CHILDREN OF THE SECOUND WIFE TO INHERIT THEESTATE OF THEIR FATHER,BASED ON THIS FACT,MY FATHER BEFORE HIS DEATH, DEPOSITED A LARGE AMOUNT OF GOLD,WHICH USED TO BE PART OF THE HOMAGEPAID TO HIM BY THE MINING COMPANIES OPERATING IN HIS TRADITIONAL LANDS,WITHA BANK THROUGH A SECURITY COMPANY, AS AN INSURANCE FOR MY FUTURE.PRESENTLY,MY PARENTS ARE DEAD AND I AM STILL IN SCHOOL WHICH I DECIDEDTO CONTACT YOU IMMEDIATELY TO HELP ME CARRY OUT THIS TREASURE THAT ISLYING IN THE VAULT OF THE BANK TO YOUR COUNTRY, UNDER YOUR CARE AND SUPERVISSIONFOR FURTHER INVESTMENT PURPOSES,AFTER AN ONWARD SALE.SIR,THEREFORE,ALL THAT IS NEEDED OF YOU IS JUST YOUR COOPERATION,HONESTY,ANDWILLINGNESS TO COME DOWN TO GHANA WHEREFORE,WE SHALL ALL GO TO THE BANKTO CLAIM THIS TREASURE THAT HAS ACCUMULATED SOME DEMURRAGE CHARGES.EVERYLEGAL DOCUMENTS COVERING THE SAFE KEEPING OF THIS GOLD SHALL BE SENTTO YOU ON REQUEST.SIR,I HOPE YOU TREAT THIS MESSAGE WITH THE HIGHEST URGENCY IT DESERVEAND CONSIDER IT FAVORABLY,AFTER WHICH I WILL BE WELL PLEASE, TO FURNISHYOU WITH ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION YOU MAY REQUIRE FROM ME.
PLEASE, ENDEAVOR TO INCLUDE YOUR PRIVATE FAX AND PHONE NUMBERS WHEN REPLYING,TO ENABLE ME REACH YOU FASTER.YOU CAN ALSO CONTACT ME WITH THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS OR CALL ME ON THIS PHONE LINE....LOOKING FORWARD TO ESTABLISHING A PROSPEROUS BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITHYOU AT LARGE.
I ANTICIPATE YOUR MAXIMUM UNDERSTANDING AND COOPERATION.
THANKS,REGARDS,PRINCE MENSAH OPOKU.
Is this for real?
My telephone/fax is
(***) 683-**** I'm not sure what this is all about but email me with more info. I like money and I want to make more of it. I would really be interested in taking a money shower...is that possible?
He responded with:
Please, beleive me what i am telling you is truth but only truth. At the moment my life is in danger, the villagers that killed my father also want me dead so that they will inherit all the properties.I have all the legal documents that covering the safekeeping of this Gold which will be send to you onrequest for your verification and perusal.The Gold was deposited in security company's bank herein Ghana for safe keeping by my late father.At the moment i have ran to city for my safety, what ineeded from you now is to come down to Ghana and movethis Gold to your country whereby i will go with you.The quantity of the is 180lios Alluvai gold dust andbar 22karat.Sir, your help is highly needed to safe my life andthis Gold.Please,dont entertain any atom of fear since all the documents is intact with me. I am looking forward to hear from you.
Amazing isn't it? This dude is on the run from people ready to kill him yet he finds the time to contact me. ME! I will help him...The best way I know how. This was my last email to him and I'm eagerly awaiting a response...fairwell dear readers...it's been a great ride!
This is so fucking cool! It is utterly amazing to be communicating with an actual prince! Maybe you have some pics you can send me? Are things as serious as they sound? Do they allow you to wear a crown or any fancy jewelry?
I digress...I have been to Ghana once where I fished for bonefish on the Volta and took in the sights and sounds of Accra....but that was a lifetime ago...well not really a lifetime, more like three years ago.
If what you say is true I will do what I can.
Tell me, do the sparrows still suffer from the plight of the red death in Tamale?
Your brother in arms,
Friday, July 15, 2005
|Your Blogging Type is Unique and Avant Garde|
You're impulsive, and you'll often post the first thing that pops in your head.
Completely uncensored, you blog tends to shock... even though that's not your intent.
You tend to change your blog often, experimenting with new designs and content.
I picked this up over at Peekaboo's place this morning. I guess it pretty accurate...well, at least the unusual and impulsive part.
I'm hoping Skelly over at A & C will comment on this but apparently, if you live in Washington State, it is NOT a crime to have sex with farm animals...unless you have sex with small farm animals in which case you might get charged with animal cruelty. I'm guess there are lot's of horses wishing they were chickens in Washington.
Ok...sorry for the infrequent posts. To recap my week and offer a limted explanation as to why I have been gone, please accept the following numbered explanations/statements:
1. I'm over the Male PMS.
2. I'm in love with an unavailable woman.
3. A really good friend of my family died unexpectedly the night before yesterday.
4. I'm working on some in-depth background on a client's family for a Romero motion to be filed by one of our attorneys....and it's proving to be REALLY REALLY time consuming.
5. Item #2 is just killin me and seem to take up most of my free time.
More later...I SWEAR!
Monday, July 11, 2005
With all the bad news coming from London and Iraq (and every other country it seems), it sometimes makes what I work on and do seem extremely trivial...I feel a little guilty I guess, guilty and confused.
I'm going to go out on a bit of a limb here, but here goes...Ladies and gents...I believe I am suffering from male PMS. Of course, I have NO idea what it's like to have PMS but it's the only way to describe how I've been feeling lately. It just feels like the last 4 or 5 days I seem to get emotional about work and even the news I read about or see on television, even more than usual. I don't feel sick or anything but the littlest thing seems to really set me off. Anyway, I don't want to sound like a whiney little punk. I just felt the need to share. I'm as confused as the rest of you. Actually, I'm regretting even writing about but I don't delete what I write (except to correct grammar/spelling) so I'm stuck with it.
If anyone is interested, I came across a short and not very developed article on mitigation work on criminal/death penalty cases. The story is from the San Jose Mercury News and can be found HERE. It's interesting although I think it they could have gone a lot further with it than they did....they really just scratched the surface. That and maybe I didn't read it closely enough but I couldn't figure out if they were talking about a Private Investigator or a Mitigation Specialist.
Ok, I gotta go. I just dropped my morning banana onto the floor and I feel the need to cry.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Thursday, July 07, 2005
I'm going to post the pictures I took that we used as evidence when I get home tonight, you'll have a better idea of what I'm about to explain.
Our client was pulled over for DWM (Driving While Mexican) although the cop said he pulled him over for a long 3 foot crack in his front windshield that "obstructed his field of vision." After he was pulled over, it turned out that our client had more than just a crack in the window, he was also driving with a suspended license. All in all, a very common Misdemeanor case.
The investigation request I received was to locate the vehicle (which was towed on the date of the incident, this was also the last time our client EVER saw his vehicle again) and take photographs of the windshield, which I did. Since the date it was towed, the tow company had put a lien on the vehicle and sold it to another individual so I hunted it down and found it parked on the street where I took the photographs.
What did I find? Exactly what the client says I would find. A crack in the window about 2-3 inches long in the upper right hand corner of the windshield (on the passenger side). Other than this crack, there was NO 3 foot long crack in the field of the drivers vision. The 3 inch crack was almost invisible and certainly not visible unless you were either IN the vehicle or standing right in front of the windshield. The Super Cop (parked in a gas station parking lot) saw our client drive by at 25 mph, and was amazingly able to see this a 3 foot crack in the middle of the windshield that magically disappeared when I took the photos a few months later. No, the window hadn't been changed and I just saw the vehicle condition report prepared by the tow company and they did not mark a 3 foot crack in the front windshield although they DID see a little 3 inch crack in the upper corner of the passenger side of the vehicle. Neat huh?
For you people out there that are thinking, "Who cares? This is petty bullshit, why waste the courts time?" The point is that Cops shouldn't be able to pull you over just because they dislike the color of your skin or the music you are playing from your car. They need a reason. A legal reason. Oh and more importantly...they should NEVER LIE!
I'll remember this cock sucking cop for a long time and his name is going in my computer database of "Lying Sacks of Shit." Sure it was a minor lie but he has earned his entry. Next time I come across his name I'm going to comb his fucking sloppy reports with a fine tooth comb and point out every fucking discrepancy I come across to my attorney. Ugh. Ok, I have reports to write.
More later, I hope everyone is having a good week.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Actually, I need to run out of the office to testify in a 1538.5 hearing (Motion to suppress). The case involves our client (a Hispanic male) getting pulled over for being in violation of California Vehicle Code 26710 which states:
It is unlawful to operate any motor vehicle upon a highway when the windshield or rear window is in such a defective condition as to impair the driver's vision either to the front or rear. In the event any windshield or rear window fails to comply with this code the officer making the inspection shall direct the driver to make the windshield and rear window conform to the requirements optics code within 48 hours. The officer may also arrest the driverand give him notice to appear and further require the driver or theowner of the vehicle to produce in court satisfactory evidence that the windshield or rear window has been made to conform to the requirements of this code.
Basically it's a fix it ticket for a cracked window.
Now, you law practitioners out there have probably seen this a zillion times. I went out to take photographs of the vehicle and the Offending Windshield and that's what I'm testifying to....actually, I think I'm going to be able to post them up after I block out the plate...It's interesting to see why...crap...I gotta go. I'll be back.
Friday, July 01, 2005
I don't think he worked for the PD's office for very long but that's not really the reason for this particular post.
The story got me thinking about my life and the direction that it's going in. I mean, with Rudy, you have a guy who seemed to be doing his best to take care of his family. He has a family (Sure he was separated but it sounds like they were trying to work things out) that cares about him, two kids (look at his son, so happy to be with his papa!), and everyone has nothing but good things to say about him. For some reason, he decides not to wear his seatbelt one night and he's killed in a car accident.
Reading about Rudy's family, I saw that his family is very similair to my own. It's eerie.
I don't know, nothing matters in the end I guess. I'll write more later, this is kinda bumming me out.
Donations for his two surviving sons (Gabriel, 2 years-old, and Christian, 10 years-old):
The Department of Defense Police has established a trust fund at Chevy Chase Bank in Centreville for Illanes' sons' education. Contributions, payable to Teresa Navarro, may be sent to her at 14721 General Lee Drive, Centreville, VA 20121.
I can tell you that I have an old client sitting in San Quentin that has diabetes. In the 6 years since he has sentenced to prison, there have been eight instances of him being sent to the emergency room for mistreatment and lack of care related to his diabetes.
I know that the, We Don't Care What Happens To Them..They're In Prison crowd will be moaning and groaning about this for days to come.
Folks, these people are doing their time, paying their so-called debt to society. Regardless of what put them in prison, can we at least give them the decency of treating them like humans? I realize that they will be getting better medical care than some people who are NOT in prison but if we as a State decide to lock em up we had better damn well be taking care of them. Nuff said.
Shitty News! Supreme Court Justice Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Resigns. Sandra, why oh why have you forsaken us?!?!
Also, thanks to Blonde Justice, I will working on my first Friday Spies this weekend (not today because jeezus, I am busy at the office). More later.