January 31, 2007

Juvy p.d. - conservatized me

Patterico pontificates on another crime study and draws this comment :

I’m a juvenile public defender... so here’s my $.02. My big mistake in accepting a job as a juvie PD was thinking that I would be practicing law. I’m part big sister, part pissed off auntie and all social work...

All of that said, I love my job. These kids matter to me. And maybe I get to be one of the few people who tell them “That is NOT acceptable!” and give them a reason. If my only victory is to get the kid to say “Yes Sir” to the judge and not yawn/stretch when in front of the bench this time (no, I’m not kidding) then it’s a win.

No matter what, I get up there and do my best for for them. Sometimes they notice but mostly not. And every once in a while I get a kid who’s actually innocent and, most importantly, convince the judge of it...

ID: more than a feeling

From the Idaho Supremes, this ruling:

The “subjective feeling” of a police officer that his safety was threatened by an individual pulled over for a routine traffic violation is not enough to justify an extended search for a weapon... especially when the officer is unable to articulate why a person might cause such danger.

Via The Courthouse Steps, the case is out of Jerome County, State v. Henage, 01/26/07 (pdf file).

January 30, 2007

"Efforts at systematic reform"

A&C reader Mike sent this link to an article in the January 2007 edition of Governing Magazine:

Rights of Defense - Poor people still don't get fair treatment in criminal court. But states are trying to change that.

Jeremy Gersovitz is a lawyer in Helena, Montana. Lately he has been having a pretty good run. In the past few months, his office has added several new attorneys, beefed up its support staff, and completely renovated its technology... None of this would sound unusual if Gersovitz were a partner at a high-priced corporate law firm. But he's a defense attorney for the indigent--the head of the regional public defender's office in Helena. He has a job notorious for crushing its practitioners under mountains of stress and disillusionment. Not too long ago, Gersovitz was feeling a little disillusioned himself, overwhelmed by a sense that he was frantically "treading water." That has changed...

Read the article for nods to Maryland, Louisiana, North Dakota, Georgia and Virginia, and predictions for future anecdotes about "young mothers saved and accidental junkies brought back from the brink by dedicated, well-trained, well-supported public defenders."

WA: Lacey shooting gang-related?

In the detention hearings at juvenile court today, two teenagers faced serious adult time; they're charged with Assault I in the shooting of two local men. From the Olympian:

2 men shot near Lacey

Two Thurston County men are being treated for gunshot wounds after an apparent gang-related shooting outside a Lacey-area apartment complex early Saturday morning...

Three arrested in connection to weekend shooting

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office made three arrests Monday night in connection with the early Saturday morning shooting...

The adult woman and two juvenile males arrested Monday are suspected accessories to the shooting who helped a 33-year-old man learn about the presence of a 21-year-old man at the party...

Police explore links to group after shooting - A crew called AOB has been active in Olympia, authorities say

One of the two men shot outside a party Saturday is a possible member of a group that calls itself AOB - the initials standing for "All on a B----," or "All Olympia B----es," according to law enforcement...

January 29, 2007

ID: intrepid reporter lasts 21 hours in jail

What's the worst part about doing time in Blaine County? It's not the pink elephants. From the Times-News:

A day on the inside - Journalist wants to see if county really needs new jail

My plan was to spend a full day - 24 hours - as an inmate in the Blaine County Jail. I didn't make it.

With 21 hours down, I left my cell for a quick visitation with a coworker, and after getting out from behind the bars and hearing a familiar voice, I couldn't stand the thought of another three hours.

The problem wasn't my cell mates - who were nicer than I ever would have expected - or the quality of the food. It was the boredom...

January 28, 2007

WA: an Oly child

It's the water: we've lived here in the South Sound for over two years, and it's taking hold.

Tonight my son was playing with his mini action figures, and when I asked what they were doing, he said, "They battle the police and bring food to people."

Bonus links go to The Canaanite's Call, blogging locally from Bread & Roses, and to Food Not Bombs.

Why people go into public defense

In the course of answering the question, "Is there any justice in the criminal justice system?," Washington neighbor The Judge says:

First some observations. I worked for 11 years as a public defender... These days people typically go into public defense for one of two reasons. Either they have a profound belief in the fundamentals of the constitution, or they have a strong anti-authoritarian streak. Sometimes both. But with some exceptions (as in any profession) PD's are skilled, talented professionals...

OR: PDX parenthood

Used to be a trip to the big city meant hitting the book shops and record stores, maybe some live music or an Irish bar. Now when we're in Portland, like this weekend, it's a trek to find statues of the characters in the Beverly Cleary books, and a visit to the science museum.

January 26, 2007

ID: "It's not a path anyone would choose to walk"

From Channel 2 KBCI:

Boise boy, 16, Accused of Murdering Mother

Police say a 42-year-old woman found dead Thursday morning was murdered by her teenage son. Ethan Windom, 16, has been charged with first degree murder. He was arrested and formally charged following a day long investigation into the death of his mother, Judy Windom...

From KTVB:

Prosecutors say teen confessed to killing mom

The 16-year-old charged with killing his own mother appeared in court today. Ethan said very little, but the state's attorney said that police have a confession from Windom that he killed his mother in accordance to a plan...

From Fox 12:

Boise Teen Confesses to Murdering his Mother

"Ethan Windom, after he was read his Miranda rights, he claimed he had killed his mother and planned it in advance," said Judge Richard Grant during the probable cause hearing...

ID: 12-year-old attacker, teen samaritans

From the county where I went to college, horrible news and a glint of humanity. From the Statesman:

Boy arrested in attack on 5-year-old Nampa girl - High school students praised as heroes for holding suspect until officers arrive

A 5-year-old Nampa girl was assaulted and found in an alley Wednesday, and a 12-year-old boy has been charged with aggravated battery in connection with her injuries... Two high school students were lauded as heroes when they held the boy for police and stayed with the little girl until paramedics arrived...

Heroes say they'll straighten out now - Two Nampa High students say they've changed after helping badly beaten child

Cody Lovell and Chad Johnson... are being lauded as heroes for calling police and detaining the 12-year-old boy. At school, fellow students congratulated Johnson and Lovell and called them heroes. Both rejected that label. "I just did what any normal person would do," Johnson said... Johnson's father, Jay Johnson, said it was fate that his son found the girl at a time when he needed to turn his life around. "I think he sees the value of life a little bit more," he said. "He's had his problems, but he's always been a good kid."

January 25, 2007

WA: bed date? you'll have to wait

In Grant County, WA, a man was alleged to have committed a murder in late September. His public defenders requested a mental evaluation in early October. The evaluation has just started in January. From the Columbia Basin Herald:

Lybbert gets mental exam - A 20-year-old Moses Lake man accused of killing his girlfriend's disabled father in September entered Eastern State Hospital last week for a mental evaluation, his lawyers said Wednesday.

January 24, 2007

CA: p.d. karate calms courtroom combatant

Another reason that you should heed your public defender: he might have a black belt in karate. From KPIX:

Lawyer Punches Client In Sonoma County Court Melee

A 44-year-old Cotati man was punched by his own attorney and shot twice with a Taser stun gun Wednesday during a melee that emptied a full Sonoma County courtroom after he tried to remove a court bailiff's firearm from its holster...

Then attorneys joined the fray. Deputy District Attorney Robert Waner and
(Deputy Public Defender Jeff) Mitchell, who has a black belt in Kempo Karate, participated in restraining the defendant...

WA: small-town diversion

This one's for Injustice Anywhere, from KOMO:

Shoplifters' choice: public humiliation? Or juvenile detention

Shoplifters caught at a Whatcom County store have two choices: a ride in a police car or public humiliation. If they chose the latter, they have to wear a T-shirt that announces to everyone they got caught stealing...

The owner of the 123-year-old Custer Country Store, Nicole Perry, ...did something no one before her had ever tried: she wanted to send young shoplifters a strong message, without sending them to juvenile detention.

(W)hen Nicole catches a kid stealing, she makes their parents an offer. Their kid can get picked up by police and go through the courts, or they can work off a $200 fine in the store. There's just one catch: The kid must work 26 hours wearing a bright orange T-shirt that reads, "I stole from the Custer Country Store."

January 23, 2007

ID: how they joyride in I.F.

From KIDK, via Objective Justice:

Front Loader Joyride

While out on patrol early this morning, Idaho Falls police officer Jessica Hunt saw something strange headed her way. She was looking for a stolen front end loader worth more than $90,000, when it almost hit her patrol car...

"some of it is fascinating. some of it disgusts me."

From Nicolle the law student, "the last refuge of the persecuted crack smoker":

love for the PD

i love my clinic at the public defender so much; i wish i didn't have to take class, and i could just spend forty or fifty hours a week there. they'd clearly have enough work for me to do, and i can't get enough of it. i love it.

January 21, 2007

ID: "you can't stop just by saying no"

From the Idaho Statesman:

Canyon jail program aims to curb drug addictions - Sheriff started the program after more than half the inmates polled said they were on drugs when arrested

The Canyon County jail's substance abuse education program began a year ago to target a growing problem with drug addiction, specifically meth, in local communities. In the past, drug abusers would serve their jail time but wouldn't receive anyhelp combating the greater problem: addiction. Inmates say the advice on rehabilitation resources and jobs, consistency, and the concern from a trained substance abuse counselor has made more of a difference than jail time alone...

WA: Stephen Colbert analyzes my congressman on TV

The Colbert Report salutes the Washington 3rd, birthplace of grunge and the Vancouver Sausage Fest, featuring advice from Brian Baird (D-WA) on where to find the best recipes for home-made meth.

January 18, 2007

ID: "Self-admitted hippie," esq.

A fine lawyer I knew back in the home town, from the Idaho Statesman:

Once a self-described hippie, Phil Gordon takes on class-action suits

I was living in a commune when I realized I needed to provide for two children. So I packed up my family and our milk cow and moved to Moscow, where I attended the University of Idaho, graduating with a law degree in 1976...

I particularly admire his filing system.

CA: dissatisfied citizen

A scurrilous, sometimes entertaining rant from a public defender client:

On the wall in the waiting room of the public defender's office there's a wooden plaque. It has a slot in which to slip the photograph and name of the month's "best public defender". The heavily lacquered wood is impressive and shiny with polish. And the slot is empty. In fact I can't remember it ever being filled...

He characterizes the p.d.s whom he goes through as:

twerp - not exactly winners - blotchy - a very cross boy scout - a martinet - a living synthesis of reverence and rebellion, rage and order - Joe Cocktails - jackass - absolutely no pretense to humanity - pinprick - erstwhile *ssh*le

Colorful sure, possibly true here and there. I suspect that there's quite a bit of spin going on here, and surely another side to the story, but any homeless guy who can quote G.K. Chesterton can't be all wrong.

OR: Project POOCH

Project POOCH - "Positive Opportunities = Obvious Change with Hounds” -

successfully pairs youths incarcerated at the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn, Oregon, with homeless shelter dogs.

Youths (guided by professionals) learn to train the dogs, groom them, and find them new adoptive “forever homes.” The dogs leave the program ready to be great pets, while their trainers re-enter the community with new job and personal skills and increased compassion and respect for all life.

Here are some canine alumni and some dogs ready for adoption.

If you're in Portland this weekend, you can visit Project POOCH at the Rose City Classic Dog Show.

January 17, 2007

WA: "a crazy quilt"

From the Olympian:

Alexander: Money needed to improve public defense

The state's public defense system must be improved..., Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander told a joint session of the Legislature Wednesday...

"Too often in our state, indigent defendants are represented in criminal cases by lawyers who lack the training and experience to be considered effective or who are overburdened with caseloads that are so large that they are unable to devote adequate time to the defense," Alexander said.

"... The systems that we have in the state for providing public defense vary greatly and, consequently, we have a crazy quilt of public defender systems with no two systems being exactly the same..."

The chief justice's speech is archived on TVW here.

Winter herd animal blogging

Bison, elk, bighorn sheep and mountain goats, safely grazing this weekend at Northwest Trek, Eatonville, WA.

January 16, 2007

CA: the jury has the case of the ex-CCCP reservoir dogs now

From the L.A. Times:

Emigres' murder case goes to jury - Organized crime and money laundering are linked to a kidnapping scheme that left five dead, prosecutors say

He was a glasnost entrepreneur trying to forge a new future out of the ruins of post-Soviet Russia. Now, the Russian immigrant to the San Fernando Valley is trying to convince a federal jury that his resourceful style of communist-busting capitalism did not turn into a kidnap-for-ransom murder scheme that ended with five bodies in a Sierra lake. The jury is expected to begin deliberating today whether Iouri Mikhel and co-defendant Jurijus Kadamovas were responsible for the deaths...

ID: wolf-slayer in chief

If Butch Otter is determined to drive the wolves out of Idaho, perhaps they could do as I did and find refuge in Washington. From the AP:

State forms committee to plan for wolf's possible return

Idaho's new governor may want to shoot wolves, but a diverse Washington state group will meet to determine what type of welcome mat will be laid out for any wolves that take up housekeeping here...

Here are some Idaho Wolves - Myths and Facts for the new governor, who declared "I'm going to bid for the first ticket to shoot a wolf," at a rally on the Statehouse steps last week. To give you a flavor of the fervor of the eliminationist overlap on display there, one picketer's sign said, "Wolves are Illegal Immigrants."

Here are a few good Idahoans who don't think that way - maybe they can redeem the beautiful but dumb state we love:

The Mountain Goat: Otter's Wolf Plan Takes a Page from Bush

The Hot Springs Guy: Anti-Wolf Rally in Boise Huge Embarrassment, Supported by Governor Butch Otter and Wolf Myth Busting - The Truth About Wolves

Bill Schneider: Idaho Governor Declares Wolf Public Enemy Number One

A. K. Linehart: Could it be our reputation?

Finally, the dean: Ralph Maughan's Wildlife News

P.S.: 43rd State Blues reports that the wolf-haters are rallying again this week.

January 15, 2007

Oh happy day

It's Martin Luther King Day in the USA. Celebrate with a visit to Blawg Review #91, hosted by Public Defender Stuff, where righteous posts from legal bloggers are rolling down like a mighty stream.

January 14, 2007

Happy birthday, Skelly Wright

You know that Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is January 15. As it happens, Judge J. Skelly Wright's birthday is January 14.

Skelly Wright was born in New Orleans in 1911. He started his professional life with the prejudice of a privileged white guy of his time. Fortunately he overcame it, in ways that freed a lot of people and made the country better.

His change of heart began at a party where he saw black and white blind people being segregated:

He said, "I once observed a Christmas party, and I saw that the party was held in separate groups, blacks and whites, and I realized they were all blind." Wright sensed the irrationality of segregation. When he told this story to journalist W.J. Weatherby, Wright "was so moved that he could not complete the story for several minutes."

Skelly Wright ordered the admission of blacks to LSU's law school in 1951. He described it as a turning point in his life: "Ordering LSU Law School integrated was my first integration order. Until that time, I was just another 'Southern boy.' After it, there was no turning back..."

Judge Wright decided many of the early desegregation cases in New Orleans... He and his wife were ostracized by many of their former friends. The feelings against integration were very hard. Wright was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to the Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. This appointment enabled Wright and his family to leave New Orleans...

Here's Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Judge Wright:

By the time I joined the D. C. Circuit in 1980, J. Skelly Wright was Chief Judge... I appreciated his intelligence and ardor, his firmness and spirit. As his colleague, I discovered that J. Skelly Wright was not easily typecast. He was tough when the occasion warranted rigor, but also gentle, even shy in social settings. And sometimes... there was in his countenance a disarming, beguiling, almost mischievous smile and glance.

Judge Wright's heroism in implementing the law of the land... has been recounted in diverse places. An incident told to me by Martha Scallon, Judge Wright's secretary nonpareil, conveys how his life was affected in the trying post-Brown years.

In May 1960, Judge Wright issued the first order ever in Fifth Circuit territory setting a day certain for the beginning of grade school desegregation. His signature on that order and earlier rulings, all of them stridently opposed by strong forces in this State and City, put his personal safety at risk. Opposition to the Judge's day-certain order, his secretary recalled, had reached fever-pitch. One evening, when Judge Wright and his wife were out, a caller from the White Citizens Council rang. (Though the phone number was unlisted, it was found out.) The Wrights' son, James, then age thirteen, answered. "Let me speak to that dirty n*gger-loving Communist," the voice demanded. Son James replied: "He's not at home. May I take a message?" Sheltered by loving parents through all the vilification and ostracism the Wrights endured, their young son simply took it in stride, along with the cross burned on the lawn and the company of U. S. marshals around the clock.

At home on a Sunday morning some 46 years ago, in February 1956, Judge Wright set down on the back of a program from a Mardi Gras ball the insight that had come to him early on in the New Orleans school desegregation case; his eloquent statement expressed the understanding that guided his stewardship of the litigation. These are his words, as they appear in his published opinion ordering the school board to desist from requiring segregation in any of the schools...:

The problem of changing a people's mores, particularly those with an emotional overlay, is not to be taken lightly. It is a problem which will require the utmost patience, understanding, generosity and forbearance from all of us, of whatever race.

But the magnitude of the problem may not nullify the principle. And that principle is that we are, all of us, freeborn Americans, with a right to make our way, unfettered by sanctions imposed by man because of the work of God.

Throughout his tenure on the D. C. Circuit, Judge Wright kept those words from his 1956 order, encased in glass, close at hand on his desktop.

In his years on the D. C. Circuit, Judge Wright listened and responded to the pleas of outsiders seeking justice under the law... Judge Wright combined "careful scholarship and courageous determination to make the law a working force in the lives of ordinary people." Dissenters, indigent consumers and tenants, government employees dismissed for homosexual behavior unrelated to job performance, all figured among those whose human dignity he strived to advance...

Judge Wright has been labeled "activist" and "liberal." No doubt he would bear those designations proudly, if properly comprehended... Judge Wright once borrowed from Theodor Geisel to state his credo:

It is claimed that judicial review is anomalously undemocratic, and if by that one means that it is often counter-majoritarian, the point must be conceded. But in another sense, the courts are the most democratic institutions we have... It is in the nature of courts that they cannot close their doors to individuals seeking justice...

In the centerpiece of his statement, Judge Wright quoted from Horton Hears a Who:

The judiciary is... the only branch of government which can truly be said to have adopted Dr. Seuss' gentle maxim: "A person's a person, no matter how small."

Happy Birthday, Judge Wright, and happy Martin Luther King Day.

January 13, 2007

WA: "a higher likelihood of re-offending"

From the Olympian:

Teen sex offender arrested in case involving 3 girls

A 13-year-old registered sex offender was arrested Thursday on suspicion of having criminal sexual contact with three girls ages 13 and 14, a Thurston County prosecutor said...

Yesterday I sat at counsel table next to this 13-year-old. Some commenters on the Daily O's webpage are calling for him to be executed. Read the comments, and you can see why I don't necessarily regret that minors in Washington can't get jury trials.

"Dude, where's my fire engine?"

From KTVB - Boise:

Fire truck joy ride lands man in jail

The large green truck had its lights and sirens on, so deputies called dispatchers to see if they knew what the truck was responding to. Canyon County dispatchers were unaware of any emergency situation...

Deputies found out the truck belonged to the Murphy Reynolds Wilson Volunteer Fire Department in Owyhee County. Deputies stopped the vehicle around 1 a.m. on Highway 45 at Stage Coach Road. The only occupant in the truck was... Winston Keith Goering III, of Murphy, Idaho... His blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit according to deputies...

Via The Mountain Goat, who says:

Dude, where's the fire?... I have to think this tops the Boise Zamboni guys.

WA: "prisoners don't walk around with pockets full of quarters"

Op-ed from the Olympian:

Inmate phone call deal is a good one

There's nothing wrong with giving prison inmates a break on their telephone calls...

January 11, 2007

WA: TVW open house, Guantánamo lawyer interview

This weekend Joseph and I went to the new studios of TVW, Washington State's version of C-SPAN. Joe got to check out both sides of the camera. I thought that Joe handled his interview well, and stuck to his talking points in the face of some tough questioning. When asked, have you ever watched TVW, he said "no." Asked if he would watch TVW if they carried Pokémon, Joe said "yes."

There's law-related news on "The Docket," TVW's legal affairs program, if you're into that sort of thing, not to mention Washington Supreme Court action.

Seeing as how it's five years to the day when "Guantánamo" started becoming synonymous with "Gulag," perhaps you'd be interested in this month's Docket episode, featuring an interview with LCDR Charles Swift, one of the lead attorneys in Hamdan (extended (as in almost an hour long) video of the Swift interview is available here as a Windows Media file).

January 10, 2007

ID: what to do with unloved Boise courthouse murals? "eBay comes to mind"

From the Times-News:

Idaho lawmakers still undecided on fate of Indian lynching art in old courthouse

Lawmakers haven't yet decided what to do with 26 Depression-era murals - including two depicting the lynching of an American Indian - in an abandoned courthouse slated to house the 2008 and 2009 Idaho Legislatures. Renovation is under way at the old Ada County Courthouse so it can house 105 lawmakers and more state employees for two sessions while the 100-year-old Capitol nearby undergoes a $130 million facelift and expansion...

Some state Indian groups object to murals showing an Indian in garb atypical for Idaho tribes as he's apprehended by two white men, then lynched by two others. The murals were so offensive to one former District Court judge that he concealed them beneath American and Idaho flags when he worked in the building...

I practiced a little in that courthouse, and talked about the murals before.

January 09, 2007

Public Defender in Action: exciting champion of justice!

Thank you, Rick W. - this is really cool.

Bonus links give a few more covers and pages and a little history of our pipe-smoking '50's comics superhero, Public Defender in Action. And remember:

"The innocent are not always the best citizens but they must be defended!"

NY: "soon, no one will be cut off from their family..."

Good news for New York prisoners and their families, from Newsday:

Spitzer orders high prisoner collect-call fees to end

A $3 surcharge on collect calls made by prisoners to their families was eliminated by the Spitzer administration Monday...

Spitzer: Prison calls' cost to drop

New York families who regularly get phone calls from loved ones behind bars were ecstatic yesterday when Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced that calls from prisons will soon be a lot cheaper. Spitzer said he is eliminating a "tax" that hikes the cost of the collect calls and gives the state a 58 percent kickback on the cost of each call...

And from DMI Blog:

Spitzer overturns controversial Pataki-era policy: no more excessive phone charges for families calling their incarcerated loved ones

"As a public defender in the Bronx, I have seen time and time again the role that maintaining contact with a loved one while he or she is in prison plays in reducing recidivism rates and in the general health of families and communities..."

LA: one judge's solution for New Orleans' indigent defense crisis - put a p.d. in jail

Via The Legal Reader, from the New York Times:

Judge Sends Public Defender to Jail

The chief judge in the city’s juvenile courts had a top public defender arrested Tuesday in a bizarre escalation of a fight over changes in the city’s troubled program for representing indigent defendants.

The judge, David Bell, was upset that no public defender was in his courtroom when he was ready to start this morning, and he drove to the defender’s office and waited outside for Stephen Singer, the chief of trials, to arrive.

The judge took Mr. Singer to his courtroom, where he found him in contempt for not being prepared to provide representation and ordered him jailed for 36 days, three days for each of the 12 items on Tuesday’s docket. Mr. Singer then spent about five hours in jail before a state appeals court stayed the order...

January 08, 2007

“I wasn’t … very nice to work with,” he said, laughing riotously

From the TNT:

Work burnout - Feed the spirit or get used to the taste of ashes

Your job is a drag, your co-workers are baboons and your favorite movie is “Office Space.”

Ever considered that you might be the one with the problem?

"Nice people who commit monstrous acts"

From Alternet:

Transforming Fear into Power: The Politicization of Child Sexual Abuse - Politicians trying to gain points are pushing laws to "get tough" on child sexual offenders. But a new movement has a better idea -- work with offenders instead of ostracizing them

For years, CASA's staff had responded to phone inquiries for help from perpetrators, or potential perpetrators, with a quick and cold, "I'm sorry, we don't do that here. Good bye." After... a partnership with... Stop it Now!, a national prevention organization, CASA became more aware of services for perpetrators.

The MA-based Stop it Now! has been working for years to dispel what it considers the dangerous practice of demonizing child sex offenders. "The stark truth is that more often than not, people who sexually abuse children really are 'nice people' who commit monstrous acts," reads one of its monthly newsletters. "Our wish to place them squarely in one camp or the other is perhaps the greatest single barrier that prevents us from recognizing the behaviors that lead to sexual abuse."

CASA's programming more closely reflects the realities of (child sexual abuse): young people under 18 years of age perpetrate 29 percent of assaults; and almost half of the perpetrators were identified as family members, and only 10 percent were strangers... CASA is doing more to counsel families where one child is victim and another child is a perpetrator, a key priority for many who know the issue well...

I am finding this dynamic especially challenging, working with young sex offender clients, taking into account their families, parents and younger siblings in particular.

January 07, 2007

Pre-Gideon public defender comics

Now available on E-Bay: Public Defender #10, April 1957.

The suspect seems to have been caught at the scene, but at least back then, you could wear handcuffs and smoke at the same time.

Why can't our generation have a public defender's comic book?

Rational choice theory

Submitted without comment, an op-ed from the New York Times:

Free-Market Justice: an econometric study of how effective public defenders really are...

Among the findings:
The average sentence for clients of public defenders was almost three years longer than the average for clients of private lawyers...

(W)hen we removed the control for the seriousness of the crime, public defenders performed relatively worse, not better (five years more incarceration versus three years more)...

(M)arginally indigent defendants who choose public defenders tend to be guilty...

a less drastic solution than spending more on public defenders... the remedy may simply be to tighten the mechanisms we use to determine indigency...

The author:
Morris B. Hoffman is a Colorado state trial judge and a fellow at the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research

The paper he co-authored, "An Empirical Study of Public Defender Effectiveness: Self-Selection by the “Marginally Indigent”" is here (pdf file).

P.D. blogs are winners

The 2006 Public Defender Blogger Awards are up now at Public Defender Stuff.

This has been a great idea of Greg's to spread the word and build up our p.d. blog community. May there be twice as many public defender blogs to read by the end of this year.

Thanks everybody, and cheers.

January 06, 2007

It's permanent, a tattoo

Liz at "I Speak of Dreams" not only has been nice enough to link to my recent tattoo posts, but also she's found some tattoo aficionados I missed, plus one bonus piercings enthusiast, 192 on her facial area alone.

WA: “there was blood on the lockers”

You may have heard: on Wednesday morning before class started, Samnang Kok, 17, was shot and killed inside a Tacoma high school. Police arrested Douglas Chanthabouly, 18, on suspicion of first-degree murder.

The Tacoma News Tribune has a page of over a dozen links to stories, photos and videos and more information about school violence in the South Sound.

January 04, 2007

GA: ex-p.d. on ex-client - "I hope he doesn't ever see his freedom"

From WTOC: Hostilo Looks Back at Hostage Standoff, Forward to Kidnappers' Trial

A local attorney held hostage last year looks to get back to work as his kidnappers get ready for trial. After a year to gather his thoughts, Michael Hostilo has refocused on law and trying to keep his kidnappers off the streets forever...

Despite a year away from work, he still can't put the ordeal behind him yet. He waits to testify against accused kidnappers Robbie and Connie Brower in their trial this month...

As a public defender, Hostilo had represented Brower in court. A decade ago, Brower faced charges in Chatham County of beating a man half to death with a hammer. In court he proclaimed his innocence, but asked for his hammer back. Convicted and sent to prison, Brower blamed his fate on Hostilo...

"That's probably going to follow me for years. I don't want that to be my legacy, being held hostage in Statesboro by an indigent client," Hostillo confided...

January 03, 2007

Downward mobility

From p.d. GTP:

Previously Well-Off People Drive me INSANE!!

You know I can handle the schizophrenics who look like they're about to attack me any minute. I can handle the lewd cat calls, and I can even handle the arguments I sometimes get in with clients who don't trust me and don't trust the system... But, I cannot for the life of me handle the few clients we get who used to be well-off but have now fallen on hard-times and have to come on down to the dreaded public defender's office where we only have cheap bad attorneys of course. *grits teeth*...

WA: lower prison collect-call rates

From the Olympian:

State's inmates get a break while keeping in touch

After a day's work in the woods, Cedar Creek Corrections Center inmate Cory Delosh likes to place an occasional telephone call to Puyallup.

"Let my mom know I didn't cut my leg off with a chain saw," joked Delosh, 21.

Collect calls placed by Delosh and other inmates... now cost much less as part of a new state Department of Corrections program...

I knew Cory. In the picture accompanying the article, he looks happier now.

January 02, 2007

WA: four-legged witness assistant

In the name of parity, I expect one of these for our side. From the Everett Herald:

A lick of help for victims - Service dog comforts witnesses in county court cases

Enter Stilson. Stilson, a 2-year-old Labrador retriever mix, put his head on the woman's lap. The woman calmed down. Stilson did his job. Later, after the woman read her comments to the judge, Stilson sat at her feet, easing her nervousness during the remainder of the court hearing. The dog, a well-trained service animal, is the latest addition to the prosecutor's staff...

You object! Me, I just want equality of arms (and dogs). King County had the first doggie; Trial Ad Notes has the story.

I'd put our public defender service dog next to the stand when our witnesses testify, to help them stay on task maybe. I wouldn't choose a lovey-dovey dog, but one of your heel-nipping herding breeds such as my shepherd-heeler.

Things I learned at juvy today

1. We had an officer show up for court in a short sleeve shirt, and wearing full-length sleeves. Same cop. One arm looked like Speed Racer, the other was anime - esque too. OPD seems very broad-minded. Apparently when the officer is on the beat downtown, the tats are an icebreaker with the hip kids and the street people. Lesson: tattoos can help you in your job.

2. If you're a foster kid and you misbehave, before calling law enforcement, at least one group home will first try sending you to a De-Escalation Room. Lesson: if the prosecutors had one of these rooms at the main courthouse, I might still doing adult cases.

January 01, 2007

David 43, Goliath 42

Fiesta Bowl congratulations to my hometown team.

Boise State 43
Oklahoma 42 (OT)

My. Oh. My.

All is quiet on New Year's Day

Take a moment to read the beginning of the year thoughts of John Wesley Hall, Jr., "a rumination on where we fit in to the criminal justice system and with a little about quality of life.":

I can't remake the facts, but I might be able to control the damage or even win. None of us has the luxury of representing only the innocent or prosecutors prosecuting only the guilty. We lose at trial. It is part of the job...

If I can get a few lawyers to better understand the fabric of search and seizure law and they become better lawyers and better serve justice, then this blog has been successful...

Oh yeah, no cases today.

His blogs are Fourth Amendment.com and Law of Criminal Defense. They will benefit you professionally and personally.

Happy 2007

Happy New Year (and don't forget to vote! Click below)