Friday, February 11, 2011

The Absent Blogger

Thing is, I wasn't even thinking about this blog until a truly bizarre comment from someone I've never met (and likely never will) landed in my inbox for moderation:

Hey, you, nutjob. I care not if you're the gorgeous redheaded, kick-ass, super-dooper-girly in Wal-Mart who buys a slushy for your imaginary friend enjoying the feel of cotton. You go, girl!! Some people ain't wrong in the head. They're ZooIllogical, baby! And that's awe.some.cubed I love you! Let's enjoy the Extra-Corpus-Collosus-Outrageous-Splendour of God's Kingdom together. See you soon. God bless.

Kold_Kadavr_Flatliner is some dude in Topeka, Kansas, and I have no idea how he found my blog, or WTF buying a slushee in Wal-Mart means, but maybe the imaginary friend is God, who likely doesn't indulge in slushees. 

Thing about slushees, every so often on a hot day, you may crave the hell out of one.  Then you start in on it, and by the time you're about halfway done, you're grossed out to the point of wanting a shower.  Kinda like reality TV, Entertainment Tonight, and anything even peripherally involving a princess.

At any rate, I'm glad Mr. Kadavr sent in the comment.  Made me remember that I used to really enjoy blogging.  Also, that I do not love Blogger, as they don't allow much customization at all.  See how narrow the posting window is, and how one post will scroll down for miles?  Yep, you cannot adjust the width without picking one of their bloodless new templates.  And to add insult to injury, the "below the jump" feature doesn't work worth a damn.

In other news, I decided to stay in Oxford after accepting an attorney position with Tollison Law Firm.  I'm still a low-rent clerk until bar results come out in September, but I have my own office and I've taken ownership of a criminal defense case.  I can't try it, of course, but at this point the only thing I'm not doing for it is signing my name to the numerous pre-trial motions.

I've learned more while investigating this case than a whole semester at law school. 

Lesson 1:  Everyone lies, including (and especially) your client. 

Lesson 2:  When interviewing any witness you may call for your side, preface the conversation with the words, "If you have unfavorable information, that helps us even more than favorable, because if we don't know about the bad stuff, we won't be prepared when the prosecution brings it out.  You're actually helping [client X] more by giving us the bad information."  Until you speak those words, friends and relatives of your client won't tell you the truth.  Period.  And then you could find yourself at trial with some damning evidence staring you right in the face that you would have known about, had folks told you the truth.

But that's not going to happen in this case.  I went back and reinterviewed a couple of witnesses after learning that lesson.  It ain't like terrorist interrogations, these people actually want to help you prepare for trial.  You just have to tell them how by giving them permission to tell you the truth without betraying their friend/relative.

My job at Tollison will involve general practice--wills/estates, property, torts, etc.--and criminal defense work.  I had an excellent shot at an ADA position with the District Attorney's office in New Orleans, but it would have involved significant risk on my part, including many months without work and complete devastation of all my savings.  I still plan to take the Louisiana bar next February, and I'm not completely closing the door on that possibility after practicing here for several years.

Several family members have expressed opposition to my soon-to-be practice defending the accused, although the two uncles to whom I'm closest, including a former police chief, are all for it.  They get it.

The job is to ensure the client gets a fair shake and that any trial issues are preserved for appeal.  In Mississippi, those two outcomes are FAR from foregone conclusions.  You have to put up a helluva fight to avoid a Saddam-style conviction based on virtually nothing and decided by juries who will believe anything the prosecution tells them as a default position, especially if the defendant is black.  I mean, folks fell for Steven Hayne and Michael West's bullshit for decades.  People rot in Parchman based on insanity like a blue light exposing bite marks that don't exist and insect bites that pass for toothmarks.  Even the retired police chief gets upset at the mention of Hayne or West.  True believers in the Constitution and Bill of Rights understand that unfair criminal trials violate the very foundation on which this country was founded.  Have a problem with that?  Please re-read the Sixth Amendment and the SCOTUS cases interpreting it.

And if ya don't get it, I'll not waste my time explaining it.  And I bid you good day, accompanied by a dismissive little wave.  Since when have I made career decisions based on

Also on the agenda--a real garden, finally.  This is the first summer, about 1995...that I'll remain in one place long enough to plant, care for, and harvest the fruits of a real garden.  I don't count Arizona, you can't have a decent garden there.  I already started my tomatoes and strawberries indoors.

Next on the agenda, which I hope to start this weekend with a much-anticipated warm spell:  raised beds.  Given that I no longer have a roommie and don't start making real money until the fall, I can't pay someone to build these beds.  Gotta build them myself.  It's not the building that intimidates me, it's filling them with good dirt.  I don't have a truck or a muscle-man, and will need to shop around for something much cheaper than those big bags of Miracle Gro garden soil.  I'm hoping to find some cut-rate compost and mulch. 

Stay tuned.  I'm a true gardening novice, even after compulsive research and many hours listening to the Gestalt Gardener on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.  How hard can it be?  Stick stuff in the ground green side up, right? 

Ask me how simple it is in August, when it's too hot to work outdoors from 8am to 9pm and I'm fighting off rabbits, deer, and insect plagues.