27 July 2004

Deis Iovis

Thursday: In the morning I am the victim of being too successful. My client is at his preliminary hearing date charged with 2 counts of forging a public document (2-10 years each), 2 counts of possession of oxycontin (up to 10 years each), and one felony failure to appear (up to 5 years). I talk to the prosecutor and all the charges are going to be dropped but the failure to appear; that charge will become a misdemeanor and carry 12 months with 6 months suspended (3 months actually to serve). Client balks. It’s not that he doesn’t expect to be imprisoned; it’s just that he wasn’t expecting it today. He just can’t go today. After a long while his girlfriend and brother talk some sense into him but he still wants to put off reporting until Monday. When I am able to arrange that he finally decides to plead and take his sentence.

At 11:00 I have two bond hearings. In the first I get a $5,000 bond for my robbery suspect. It’s low for a robbery bond but that’s because he’s overcharged. It all comes out of a fight he got into with a towtruck driver who was trying to repo his sister’s car. I’m sure I’ll write more on that on a later date. The second gets confusing so it’s held over to the 1 p.m. docket.

At 1 pm I come back and take on the bond case again. The prosecutor and I have worked out all the charges except a trespass and we take care of them. Then I move the court to set a bond on that charge because the evidence seems to point to my client’s actual innocence; Client was staying at a friend’s house overnight when the landlord and police showed up the next morning and everyone was arrested because Friend was evicted and supposed to be off the property (it appears that Client knew nothing of this). The prosecutor points out that three of the charges we had just taken care of were contempt for not having come to court and the judge sets a $1,000 bond. As I am writing this down I realize that something is going on between my client and the prosecutor. I look up and see a quizzical, bring-it-on asshole look on the prosecutor’s face. I turn to my client and he is looking forward in a totally neutral fashion. I’m still not sure what happened. I guess I’m going to have to start wearing stilts now so my clients can’t look over me and make faces at the prosecutor.

Late in the afternoon I go to Beaumont Juvenile Correctional Center to visit a couple clients. This place is where Virginia dumps the worst of the worst juvenile offenders and you can tell. I’ve been in many a jail and prison and none of them feel as much like they are two seconds from getting entirely out of control as this place does almost every time I am there. Anyway, when I get there the guard at the front searches me and then has me sit down until headcount clears. I sit for 45 minutes, watching the entire dayshift go off duty. Finally, another guard walks up and asks what I’m waiting for (the first guard having left; presumably his shift ended). I tell her that I’m waiting for headcount to clear so I can visit my clients. She gasps and informs me that they were just starting headcount. So then I wait another 30 minutes for it to clear; as soon as it does she hustles me into a room to meet my clients. My clients being extraordinary trouble makers in a group of troublemakers are brought to me in cuffs. They remain handcuffed and we have to sit where the guards can watch everything through a window. Not that the guards were watching all that attentively. After a hour or so I finish the interviews and head back home.

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