In order to practice law where I live, I am required by the court system to represent indigent defendants at a pay level set by the county. If I do not participate I cannot practice in the court system here. If that isn’t a violation of the 13th amendment, it certainly is a violation of the 5th amendment in that I have a regularly set hourly rate and am forced by the government to offer my services to individuals at a rate dramatically less than my hourly rate.
Did I mention I am a transaction attorney who does not go to court. If you have no sympathy for my involuntary servitude, consider the poor bastard who is stuck with me as their attorney. Luckily I have a huge lawfirm on which to rely and know enough to know when I need help. But still . . .
Anyway, I was assigned an indignant, er . . . indigent, on Friday. It was my second go round with him. In April, he pled to possession of cocaine and was assigned to “drug court” where he goes each week for counselling, community service, treatment, etc. He is also drug tested. When he made his first appearance, he tested positive for THC (marijuana).
I would have thrown him back to jail after that first violation, but they didn’t until twelve consecutive tests positive for marijuana and/or cocaine and/or alcohol. TWELVE people!!! Tax payer dollars at work.
So, he gets re-arrested and sent to the local jail. Because he really is a basically good kid who is very screwed up, they put him in the trustee work detail. He goes out each day and works. He has a lot of freedom in a dorm atmosphere. the gate has barbed wire on it, but is unlocked. The inmates are trusted.
Let’s back up. I was assigned him Friday, the arraignment was today, I went to see him yesterday, two days ago the guy escaped from jail! Ha!
A very bad thunderstorm came through. He apparently was on work detail. Told the supervising officer some tools were left out and he needed to get them before they were ruining in the rain, and that is the last time he was seen.
I went to court this afternoon and the judge called for my guy. The DA stood up and said the man was AWOL. The judge still wanted to call for him. The DA said, “Judge, hope does spring eternal.”
“Not this time,” the Judge replied. “Benchwarrant,” he shouted out.
Sometime, somewhere, my guy will be stopped at a stoplight and a police officer will get suspicious. He’ll pull my guy over, look at his driver’s license, and my guy will be up the creek for several years.
The sad part is he is just barely 21. Sad — but funny too.