Monday, October 7, 2013

Criminally Civil?

Remembering why I chose criminal practice.

There are times when “going private” seems wildly attractive.  This usually corresponds to making another student loan payment or planning another car repair.  Otherwise, I find criminal practice to be exponentially more interesting, collegial, and frankly, fun.  I was again reminded of this just last week.

As I sat in court waiting for the judge to call my case, the public defender and I were treated to a hearing in a hotly contested civil case.  Even after sitting through it, I couldn’t tell you what it was about.  It had something to do with a promissory note worth nearly a million dollars.  The hearing became a bit of a spectacle for all who watched.  This is what I’m sure I heard:

Plaintiff’s  Attorney:  “Your Honor, I filed a Motion that means I win.  Please declare me the winner.  By the way, the Defense has questionable parentage.” 

Defense Attorney:  “Your Honor, we filed a similar motion that proves they are lying and undeserving of any compensation.  I’m sure we can all agree that his sister is easy.”

Plaintiff:  “We were first, having filed on Friday, and my suit is more expensive.”

Defense:  “It was NOT Friday in Australia, they have lied again.  My shoes are nicer.”

Plaintiff:  “I would like a trial date as soon as possible to avoid additional costs and to avoid trampling my vacation to Bali.  My tie cost more than that prosecutor’s suit”

Defense:  We just received the response and need additional time to bill our clients before resolving this out of court.  My tie cost more than the public defender’s entire ensemble.” 

The exchange was so comically spirited that the public defender leaned over to me and commented: 

“Almost makes you feel like you and I are on the same team, doesn’t it?”

Yes.  Yes it does.

Our case was eventually called and his client was sentenced to 8 years in prison. 

For the record, I thought we were both dressed quite nicely.


  1. I agree with my daughter. Yours is a refreshing blog read. Keep writing.

  2. Thank you very much! I appreciate the kind words and I certainly plan to keep it up.

  3. Overworked and underpaid describes the, often difficult, work you do. Thank you for foregoing Bali and $1000 ties to make this world a bit better. I look forward to reading a compilation of your posts in book form!

  4. Thanks Catherine. I think if I had such an expensive tie, I would be afraid to wear it!