Cheap Like Your Mom

Eclectic. I think that pretty much describes it. Yep. Eclectic.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Not Guilty

So I won a trial this past week, which is always a great feeling. It was a Criminal Mischief charge, which for those not in any law based profession means vandalism. The Prosecutor was accusing my guy of breaking out someone's passenger side window. Essentially, my guy and his friend were invited over by a third friend to his new apartment. The problem was it was 1 a.m., and the third friend's girlfriend wasn't having it, because the baby needed to sleep. So she met them outside and started yelling at my guy's friend. My guys friend started yelling back, the third friend didn't appreciate him yelling at his girlfriend, and a fist-fight ensued. My guy actually broke up the fight, and took his friend, who was now bleeding from the head, to the hospital. They were saying that my guy had taken his friend with the head wound to the car, but stopped before taking him to the hospital to handle some more important things, namely smashing in their truck window with a jack-handle.

Their relevant evidence consisted of two witnesses and some pictures of the damage. To impeach someone is essentially to call BS on them, and it is incredibly satisfying to be able to pull it off when someone is on the stand and absolutely full of it. For example... Their first witness, the girlfriend, gets on the stand and starts testifying about how she didn't start the argument, my guy's friend started grabbing her by the arms and shaking her when she had politely asked him to leave because it was too late for visitors, and then went on about how crazy the fight was that my guys friend had gotten into with her boyfriend, friend three. So I went ahead and showed her the part in the police report where she had told the officer that there hadn't been any physical altercation, only verbal. She said that the officer must have written her report wrong. We'll see. She then proceeded to talk about how she had seen my guy do it with her own eyes. So again I showed her the police report, where she had told the officer that she had returned to the apartment after the fight, but before the damage occured. She responded that what she meant when she said that she returned to the apartment was that she walked over to the apartment, but didn't actually go inside, she stayed in the doorway and watched my guy do it. She tried to tell me that the officer had neglected to put in her report that she was an eyewitness to the damage occuring. I call BS. There is no way the officer forgot to put down in her report that she saw him do it. The impeachment of the other witness was not nearly as exciting, as she only changed her story a little bit from "I saw him do it," to "I saw him standing next to the truck with the jack-handle in his hand, and I heard shattering glass, but there was a tree in my way, so I didn't actually see it happen." As it turns out though, the officer was my best witness, because there was no one else who could have definitively testified to their previous statements and showed that they were changing things.

Oddly enough, none of that was relevant. I thought it would come down to whether they believed the state's witnesses or mine. It apparently did not. The jurors actually talked to the bailiff after court, which they are allowed to do if they want, it's just that they also have the absolute right not to talk to anybody about it ever again, which is why we are always ecstatic whenever we get even the tiniest glimpse into how a juror's mind operates. This information is about fourth or fifth hand, so I can't really vouch for it's veracity, but I was told the conversation went a little something like this. They asked the bailiff whether he felt they had made the right decision in finding Not Guilty. He bluntly responded "No." So they explained their decision to him. It had nothing to do with the burden of proof, or witness credibility, or clever legal arguments, of course. They felt that my guy would not have had time to do it, and the evidence picture looked staged. As far as the time, I am not sure how that would have even crossed into their heads. There was no definitive time for when my guy and his friend arrived, just sometime between 12 and 1 a.m., and the officer arrived at 1:30. Either they were saying that this wasn't enough time to get there, look around for the new apartment, get in an argument, get in a fight, break up the fight, drag injured friend to the car, and leave, or they were saying that there's no way he would have taken the time to stop and break a window on his way to take his buddy, who's bleeding from the head, to the hospital. I suppose I'll never be sure which. The argument about the picture being staged I was excited about though, because jurors are known for making their decisions are unpredictable, and based on things that, to us as attorneys, are completely off the wall, and yet this was actually an argument that I had made in my closing. The jack-handle was sitting in the car-seat in a manner that didn't make sense. It's handle was down on the seat cushion and the metal end with the prongs was up and leaning against the arm of the car seat. I only argued it for 30 to 45 seconds, because it is incredibly difficult to get a jury to believe the "I was framed" defense, but if the jack-handle lande that way, it meant that whoever was holding it had to have been holding the metal end with the prongs in it, and hit the window with the plastic handle end. Whichever end went in first, it only makes sense, would fall to the ground first. Anyway, a win is a win, so I was very excited all week, I hope everyone else had a great week too. Peace.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


So my brother is starting a blog about moving to NYC. Thus I am restarting my blog, inspired by my brother. Since my last post, I have become a Public Defender. To be honest, I was worried about whether I could defend criminals every day. But as it turns out, I love it. It's not really about defending criminals. It's about helping people. The system is not intuitive or simple, it's incredibly complicated, and alot of it doesn't make any sense on it's face. People need help understanding what the Hell's going on, what the rules are, and what it really means to choose between a plea agreement and a trial. It's really not like it is on TV. And it's also about defending the Constitution. It sounds cliche, but everyone has a right to a trial, has the right to have the state prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, has the right to have an attorney fight for them to the best of their ability, etc. I really believe in what I do now, and hopefully after a while, you'll see why. Peace out, and word to your mothers.

"Public Defenders stand alone, armed only with their wits, training and dedication. Inspired by their clients' hope, faith and trust, they are the warriors and valkyries of those desperately in need of a champion. Public Defenders, by protecting the downtrodden and the poor, shield against the infringement of our protections and, in reality, protect us all." -Hightower v. State, 592 So.2d 689 (Fla. 3d DCA, 1991)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Updizzle (Update)

Wow. It has been a while. This semester has been insane. I have been doing paperwork for the bar, registering for the bar exam preparation course, paperwork for graduating from law school, doing pro-bono work with the Tallahassee public defender, finding a job for after I graduate, and finding a place to live with Erin after I graduate. Additionally, I had the ethics exam to study for and take, and I am ec-freaking-static to report that I found out last night that I passed it. Technically, the ethics exam constitutes one of three sections for the Bar exam: Florida, Multi-state, and Ethics. So I have passed a third of the Bar! Huzzah! Also, within the last few weeks, Erin and I have rented an apartment which is uber exciting. Hooray for not living with each other, and without parents. It is near I-4 so that I can get to Kissimmee, which is where I got a job working as a public defender! I am currently studying for my last few finals ever, and preparing for graduation on the 16th, as well as packing for the move the very next day. Anyway, I am sorry about being MIA the entire semester, both in blog and in reality, but I really have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I hope that everyone is doing well, and that I will be able to see you at graduation, or at least over the holidays. I really should get back to studying State Constitutional Law now, even though I am SO done with school. Peace out, and word to your mothers.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Wedding and Honeymoon

Hey out there everybody! I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who was able to make it to the wedding, and that if you were unable to attend, you were there in spirit regardless. The wedding went off beautifully, and it was amazing to see everyone there and enjoying themselves. I was too busy to actually do anything besides follow orders from the photographer and the MC, but I tried to get around to say hi to everybody, and let them know that it truly meant a lot that they were there. It was incredible. Then we went on the honeymoon which was just fantastic. We flew to NY, and from there we took a cruise to Canada, which was gorgeous. Everybody was incredibly nice, and while St. John was a little quaint, I really enjoyed it. Erin preferred Halifax, which was a little bit larger city, and had some incredible public gardens. The cruise itself was also great. The food was, of course, scrumptious, and we met some really cool people. Believe it or not, we were the oldest couple at our dinner table. There was another couple who were engaged, and one had just finished undergrad, and the other was still working on it. Another couple were newlyweds like us, though they were 19. The other couple wasn't actually a couple, they were a brother and sister. I didn't actually ask them about their age, because they were a little weirded out by everyone else being couples and were a little quiet. They definitely looked significantly younger than us though. We also got to get on stage and play the newlywed game, since we were the newliest of newlyweds. Everyone else had gotten married on Saturday, but we were married one day more recently. It was a little embarrasing, but we got a free bottle of champagne out of it. Anyway, when we got back, we decided that since we were already in NY, we should just stay a couple of days. We saw a lot of cool things, Rockefeller Center, Strawberry Fields in Central Park, Ground Zero, and The Lion King. The Lion King was incredible. The costuming was not only beautiful, it was ingenious. They probably had to have a mechanical engineer on staff to design these costumes. We also shopped a little bit, and picked up the songbook for Wicked - since apparently Erin used to play piano, and her love of Wicked is strong enough to inspire her to pick it up again - and a couple of things Erin found on Canal Street. It was a great time, overall, and I really enjoyed both the wedding and the honeymoon. The last few days since we got back have been cool. We got Erin's name changed on her driver's license and a few other places, and ran some other "just married" type of errands. Oh, and the other night, I had this crazy dream where I won the lottery, and Rob updated his blog.* Dude, it was crazy. Anyway, I will talk to you all later, so peace out, and word to your mothers!!

*You know I'm just messing with you Rob, but seriously, the beginning of March??

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Very Special Construction Site.

From the moment you get out of the cab, you know that there is something special here. Humans do have a sixth sense, and I think that it's sympathy. The ability to feel the joy or sorrow of others. There is too much sorrow here, and it strikes you like a wall of pungent odor, like entering a Bath and Body Works of mourning. Everyone was staring intensely, though there wasn't much to see beyond the large, chain link fence; just some cones, Caterpillars, that orange plastic netting made up as fencing. As I momentarily broke my gaze, I noticed a sign above me that instructed people not to donate money to beggars, so that they won't have incentive to come and sully this sacred place. And in fact, whether out of reverence, or pragmatism, there were no beggars here. However the same sign declared that street performing here was strictly forbidden as well, since it was important to maintain this place's atmosphere. I felt, quite to the contrary, that the old homeless man sitting a few feet away playing a shaky rendition of "Amazing Grace" on an old, beat up flute is what pushed the trip past everyday tourism into what felt like a pilgrimage. His slow notes were soulful, if not all correct, and they formed a song that sounded like it had been lifted directly from a scene in a movie where they pan across the aftermath of a fresh battle, attempting to drive home the fact that you are looking at dead people, people who had friends and families that will never see them again. Let's just say that as I listened to his song, and read a few names off of the Vietnam War style "Wall" posted in foam core on the chain link fence, I was glad to have my sunglasses on. Poker face, indeed. And as soon as this thought bubbled to the surface of my mind, it struck me. Everyone had sunglasses on. Or at least all the guys did. Even indoors, in the adjacent subway, where you can see the same construction site from a different angle, all the guys had their shades on, pretending that they were too manly to be affected emotionally by the only place in New York where you might actually feel comfortable hugging a stranger: Ground Zero.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)

Hello again. I have started attending FSU's Kickboxing/Grappling club, and I really enjoy it. It is very individualized, there is no actual sensei, we all just kind of learn from each other. A lot of guys show up exclusively to use the bags for Tae Kwon Do practice or boxing conditioning, and it is cool to learn from them, and incorporate different styles into the training. I really enjoy rolling around on the mats though. It reminds me a lot of wrestling, which I really miss, both as a sport and as a means of conditioning. The major difference is that this involves striking, which is pretty much kickboxing, but with the added component of setting up shots. I am really enjoying learning it all, and I always wondered about stand-up fighting. Anyway, I also just wanted to post just to say that though busy, I am still around. Peace out, and word to your mothers!

Monday, May 22, 2006


I went to trial for the first time today, and I am ecstatic to report that I was successful. Granted, he pled no contest, which is kind of like a forfeit, but the end result is that my client now has a permanent injunction (restraining order, essentially) against her abusive boyfriend. Since he didn't contest it, my experience arguing in front of the judge was very limited, but it was more than nothing, and it is more important that my client got the injunction. And besides, there was so much work and research before the trial, that it doesn't feel like I wasted my time at all. In fact, quite the opposite. While I was interviewing my client last week, I think I realized that yes, this is where I belong, this is what I want to do. It was a great experience. I used my skills in logic and my education in law, and put them together to help someone in need. And I was successful. Hell yeah. Peace out, and word to your mothers!