Friday, November 15, 2013
Work has been crazy busy. A few months ago, I didn't have enough work to keep me busy. Right now, it's nuts. I'm currently working on an appeal. The State usually does not appeal decisions that go against it, but I did in this one. I do not believe the judge's reasoning made sense under the law. The legal term for that is that the judge abused his discretion by making a decision based on untenable grounds. It kind of scares me that I'm in a position to have to tell an appellate court that a superior court judge was wrong, but, heck, he was.
This is also a case of first impression, meaning there are no appellate court decisions addressing this specific issue. Not only are there none in my state, but I haven't found a case specifically on point anywhere in the U.S. That, too, scares me, because it means that no matter what the appellate court decides, it's likely to be appealed to our state's supreme court. Which means I'd mostly likely be arguing in front of the Supremes. If that happens, I will set up a pool: people can try to guess how many times I'm going to vomit prior to oral argument. (I've handled several appeals. Only one has been set for oral argument, and that was nerve-racking enough!)
My in-custody referrals are way up, too. That means someone is sitting in detention. If I don't file charges within 72 hours of their arrest, they get released. If they're in detention, they have a right to trial within 30 days of arraignment. That makes for a lot of scrambling. (We rarely actually succeed in trying someone in that short of a time-frame, but it's usually because the defense attorney needs more time to prepared his or her case.)
In the past few weeks, I've had four boys brought in on one residential burglary. We only have two defense attorneys on our public defender panel, and each attorney can only represent one person. They will usually reject a case if they've represented a co-respondent previously because it creates a potential conflict between the clients. Any clients that cannot be represented by one of the two panel attorneys get referred to the defense panel on the other side of the river (they have five). But given the nature of the Tri-Cities, a lot of them have been convicted of crimes on the other side of the river, too. We've had to refer criminal cases to the civil panel, whose attorneys usually handle dependency cases. It can be a mess.
I'm also handling a rape case with four respondents. Two of them have entered guilty pleas. The third charged boy is set for a discretionary decline hearing. It's a hearing in which the judge will decide whether the juvenile division of the superior court will decline jurisdiction over him - in other words, the judge will decide if he's going to be tried as an adult. The hearing is next Friday - the same day my appeal brief is due.
I'm going to ask the court of appeals to grant me an extension of time for the brief. I've never asked for one ever, let alone on this case, so there's no reason to not grant it. I'm only half way through my nation-wide list of cases that includes my key words. (In case you're interested, the key words are Miranda, silence, head, shake, and nod.) My law school taught us both online research and book-based research, and I must say I am incredibly grateful for online research. Thanks be to God for KeyCite and boolean searches! It's so much easier to scan a case and only read paragraphs where my key words appear. Trust me, I have read far too many horrible fact patterns in the last few days (a lot of child abuse murders involve the words "head" and "shake"). I'm quite grateful for the ability to scroll and scan.
Oh, and there's been a ton of out-of-custody screenings, too. Those can go pretty quickly, especially if they're mandatory diversion cases. (State law requires that I send a juvenile's first criminal matter to diversion unless it's a felony.) I can read through those a lot quicker. However, I cannot ignore the pile: there is a stupid-ass local court rule that requires I file a case within 30 days of receiving the completed police investigation. If I don't, the defense can move for dismissal. The defense has to show some prejudice (like difficulty in contacting potential witnesses while the event is still fresh in their minds) as a threshold issue, but even if the motion to dismiss is pure B.S., I still have to respond, draft a brief, and argue the issue in front of a judge. And because I'm a lawyer, I'm not allowed to submit a reply brief that reads, "C'mon, your honor, this is stupid. Please deny the defense motion because it's a bunch of crap." So it's really in my best interest to keep the files from piling up.
But on to the stuff that really matters: my workout schedule! I'm writing this at lunch time rather than going for a walk. I like having my old blog posts to go back and read, so there's a value in writing this. My pledge to walk at lunch three days a week has pretty much flown out the window. But I feel like I'm doing enough to justify goofing off at lunch instead of working out. I rode home from work Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I ran Tuesday morning and I capped off last night's commute with a brick. My transition time was about 6:30, so my legs were not as balky as they might have been, but I had a good run. I rode to work Wednesday morning, and did a Group Kick class at the gym Wednesday evening. I rode in this morning, and I plan to go for a swim after work. (The pool is available at 5:30.) I'm feeling pretty good about this.
I think I will continue with the this schedule until the weather convinces me to stop commuting by bike. (That should happen in the next several weeks.) Once I settle into a routine, it's time to move into the next chapters of Holistic Weight Training for Triathletes. The books has succeeded in inspiring me to stretch after riding/running more consistently. (I cannot claim to stretch after every ride or run, but I'm probably doing it 50-70% of the time. That's an improvement.) Time to start adding some strength training. There are a couple pilates classes at the club; I want to check them out, too. I really need to improve my core strength. Trying to do the side planks at the end of the Group Kick class has been painful and almost humiliating. (It's not truly humiliating because no one else cares that I'm so out of shape I cannot do a side plank. No one but me, and I'm the only one who's in a position to change that.)
Despite how busy work is, I've never considered skipping my bike commute or other workouts. The bike commute is calming and energizing all at once. I can't imagine life without it.
And my lunch hour is almost over. Time to pack up my files and head over to court, where I get to make people cry and put people in jail.