First month update

On Thursday I will have completed a full month as a public defender. The move out here went smoothly and we're pretty much settled in. It's been busy, with two trips back to the east coast, so not a lot of time to rest.

Life as a PD is busy. I have over 100 cases right now, and should have over 150 by the end of this week, as more are transferred to me. I'm regularly in the office until 6:30 or 7:00, catching up on writing motions and returning client phone calls.

I was supposed to have worked on two trials by now, but one client didn't show up on time to court and another trial got continued because the prosecution didn't have their witness. I have another trial scheduled for next week.

I'll try to update more often, but I'm pretty busy and there's a lot of stuff I can't say, due to client confidentiality concerns.

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This I Believe: Everyone Deserves Defense

I found out last Friday that my career as a public defender will be starting later than I'd like. Placement is by attrition and people aren't quitting as often as normal in this troubled economy. I'm disappointed, but still committed to being a public defender, albeit later than I had planned.

Derek pointed me to an NPR "This I Believe" essay by a former public defender. It's worth listening to, especially if you don't understand how I could choose a job where I fight for the accused, not the victim.

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Corpus Delicti

According to the 'Lectric Law Library Lexicon, "corpus delicti" is defined as:

The body of the offence; the essence of the crime.

It was a general rule not to convict unless the corpus delicti can be established, that is, until the dead body has been found. Instances have occurred of a person being convicted of having killed another, who, after the supposed criminal has been put to death for the supposed offence, has made his appearance - alive. The wisdom of the rule is apparent; but in order to insure justice, in extreme cases, it may be competent to prove the basis of the corpus delicti by presumptive, but conclusive, evidence.

My criminal law professor had a more succinct definition:

I like his better.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...the law comes alive...

For those of you who, like Steve, were confused by my post, the backstory on this post is as follows:

My professor came into class and said, "For those of you who might be confused, I'm going to show you what corpus delicti is."

He grabbed a plastic shopping bag from behind the podium and started opening it, saying, "If you don't have a strong stomach, you might want to look away."

He produced a doll with a knife through its neck, exclaiming, "This is corpus delicti," and showed it around to the class.

We all cracked up. Probably the funniest incident all semester.

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