the blog

A Letter to My Lawyer

red fire hydrant amidst flowers

I have a few points to make that I believe will aid your efforts to be an effective public defender whenever the misfortune befalls you in the future. The first is that your unpaid clients are legally entitled to the same vigorous defense as the ones who line your pockets. Had I been a paying defendant, would you have “watched the whole thing” and decided based on what happened after the arrest that the arrest was justified? Or would you have watched up to the point where I entered the police car, with context in mind, and realized that the sequence of events implied an intent on the end of the officer to detain me in order to search my car?

I took a couple of classes in paralegal studies once upon a time, and while I won’t pretend I have more training than you, I do know that intent matters, and that this case likely qualifies for dismissal on the grounds of illegal search and seizure. I also know that Google says that demonstrating an inability to affirmatively tie me to the drugs is another way out. I was not inside of my car, I did not have the keys to the car, and thanks to the fact that it was stolen because of their conduct, I also do not have the car in my possession now. What is to prevent me from saying that it was not my car? I am not implying that I should lie, but I am implying that the arresting officers had reason to doubt my assertions of ownership.

What happens after I get in the police car is irrelevant to my case, except insofar as you believe it justifies their treatment of me while I was in the jail. As far as I know, a pre-existing mental health condition does not automatically qualify one for spending their time behind bars naked. Conversely, had I demonstrated an intent to self harm, it would not have mattered whether I had been previously diagnosed. In fact, only the explicit mention of suicidal ideas, as far as I know, earns one the honor of such intense humiliation.

Thanks to your brazenly condescending treatment of the matter, I’m going to go ahead and file a couple of official complaints against the department. Maybe it will help some people remember that all of the paupers are also real people, with real lives that are really depleted by their self-satisfied impersonations of a public servant.

Ms. —-, I am thirty one years old with two children who spend about 35% of their time in my presence. I recently returned to school to finish my degree in Psychology and overall, I have about a 3.8 GPA. If considering only my present University, I have a 4.0. At 31, I have no criminal history, so clearly I’m a relatively upright citizen and my future, and my children’s’ futures with mine, are bright as of right now. This charge would relegate me to a life of stigmatization and poverty, and thanks to social stratification, will permanently alter the prospects my children have for their entire lives too. Now I don’t know a single person who would pay you to tell them this was a good fucking idea.

Anyway, your incompetent handling of my case so far has made clear my need to hire someone else. With so much at stake, I need someone capable of prioritizing their legal oath above their financial bottom line, or I need to make the two interests align. Gross. What I need from you, the only thing I need from you, is to stall as much as you possibly can until I can come up with the funds I’ll need to buy the vigorous defense I’m legally promised.

Last thing: Supporting the officers’ decision to lock me in the crazy cell and keep me naked for several days by even implying that I should undergo a psychological evaluation (By the way, I’ve undergone assessment as an adult as well. No mental health conditions identified, aside from situational depression following my divorce.) is the opposite of what any sensitive or culturally aware lawyer would do. We live in the age of police brutality and my arresting officer has already been suspended for excessive use of force. A jury doesn’t have legal training, they have social conditioning. Think about it.

You’re welcome. And you’re effectively fired.

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