August 03, 2004


Our little high desert p.d. office is back up to staff, with the debut on Monday of two newly-minted lawyers. Robin is a mom of two, ages 3 and 1, which during law school would have made her, um... let me get my calculator... very very tired. Chris is an ex-Marine, whose bearing I just know is going to shame me into better posture in the courtroom. Both seem quite bright, and I'm grateful and relieved that they've arrived.

Susan's back from the bar exam too. This afternoon I followed the three young associates over to misdemeanor pre-trials. Ever been in a Turkish bazaar? Or remember the scenes in "Titanic" that take place in steerage? Okay, you're got the mental picture: about sixty souls packed into a one-hour docket, packed into a small windowless courtroom made of concrete blocks painted brown, a few guys in orange, but mostly out-of-custody folks, half of whom haven't made their office appointments, and throw in a half-dozen pro se wild cards, whom the young p.d.'s are being ordered by the judge to meet, greet, and deal, no discovery,without so much as a how-do-you-do.

So plea bargains are being hashed out, lawyers are gesturing like commodities traders, numerous city tickets are getting dismissed, some cases are left on the trial calendar, a degree of rough justice is done (like watching sausage being made), and things are going real smooth-like. That is, until one of the pro se guys, without benefit of counsel, stands up and addresses the judge man-to-man:

Self-Representing Guy (to judge): "They don't have any evidence, they don't have their witnesses, you should dismiss this."

Judge (to guy): "Well, this is a pre-trial conference, so the state isn't required to bring its witnesses to court until the morning of your jury trial..."

Self-Representing Guy (to judge): "Are you sure about that?"

God bless the unrepresented. I hope the guy wins.