Aside from the fact that I get genuinely depressed by reading about all the war, death, destruction, and turmoil in the world, I really hate reading the local paper. Why is it that small town newspapers always have a "Police Blotter" section?
After working here for a while as a PD, reading the Police Blotter is like old home week. Seeing the police have arrested the client that failed to appear after paying off a bad check. When if the client had only shown up, the case would have been dismissed. Now they not only have to deal with the bad check case, but they had crack in their pocket when they were arrested.
There is a really crappy ruling from the Supremes. I think it should be required reading for anyone that is arrested before they are allowed to be released from jail. Basically goes on for several pages to say this: If you get arrested for a new charge while you are out on bond, you get held in jail with no bond.
Makes sense that if you are in trouble once, it's only going to get worse if you get in trouble again. But you should see the saucer-sized eyes I get when I explain to the client that they are now sitting in jail until their case is done, simply because they wanted that one last hit of crack before they go on drug offender probation.
They act like I can't possibly be telling the truth. I really need to start trying to take myself back to before I went to law school, before I was "taught to think like a lawyer." But I seem to recall the LSAT was made up of a lot of logic questions. And I did ok on that. So maybe it is something that I've always had.
It just doesn't seem to me that it should be that foreign of a concept. I've read the bond paperwork. Even the bondsman won't keep you out if you get in trouble again while you are on his bond. But I go through that same concept several times a week, always to the same reaction.
And before anybody reads this, and jumps on my case about my light-hearted, or heartless, comment about someone with a cocaine addiction, don't. I know perfectly well that an addiction is not something that you just walk away from. I spend my days trying to get every one of my drug clients into rehab, not only for them, but so I don't have to have them as a client again. Not that they are bad people that I never want to see again, but under different circumstances would be preferable.
But I got off track. I hate reading the paper.
It brings me back to the reality of the job I've chosen. It is hard to not notice all the crap in the world. But sometimes, reading the rest of the paper, I am able to step back from the feeling that I hold peoples' futures in my hands. When you deal daily with one of the "realities" nobody else wants to deal with, being reminded that there is one more, or ten more, futures added to the mix is occassionally gut-wrenching. But it also reaffirms why I do what I do, and to all those citizens who bad-mouth the Public Defender, as this post does, why our jobs are necessary.