Saturday, April 16, 2011


It has been a while since I last posted anything on here. Life happened, again. But as I sit here trying to concentrate enough to study for my ConLaw final, I find that I am still as distracted as ever. Found out yesterday that several people I know, one of whom is a very good friend, did not pass the bar exam. I'm already nervous about that darn thing & this certainly doesn't help. Pressures are mounting from all sides. As soon as someone find out that I'm a law student & about to take the bar, their first question usually pertains to what I will do once I pass. My answer of "I don't know" just doesn't suffice. They think I'm lying. Seriously, I don't know. I wish I did. I don't like uncertainty. I plan things far in advance & am content when I do so. This entire year is a big unknown for me. The last thing I want to do is study but that is the one thing I must put above all else, including the husband. I'm usually very good at time management & staying focused but as my last finals of law school approach, I still do not want to have anything to do with this. After 4 yrs of law school, I miss having a 'normal' life...& I miss my husband.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


In August, I posted "But The House Isn't There Anymore". I wanted to let you know that since then, the charges against my client have been dismissed. The State was never able to locate the victim. I'm still wondering what the purpose of resetting the case in August was...

A High Can Last More Than A Day

Someone made a comment to me today about a client I was representing. The comment was "We should just put a bullet in her head".
What precipitated this comment was the fact that my client had gotten 2 DUIs within 2 days (along with a slew of other charges).
What the person who made the comment failed to understand is that when you have shot yourself up with morphine, drank Benadryl & Nyquil, & had a few drinks, that 'high' can last more than 24 hours.
I know it is easy to get skeptical, especially in the world of criminal law but I hope that I always have some sense of respect for others.
My client will be going to in-patient treatment after a brief stay in the county jail.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

But The House Isn't There Anymore...

I was appointed to a case where my client was charged with a felony. After reading the affidavit, I determined that the officer had not done much investigation as there was another person that should have been charged but the officer didn't bother to locate him. A subpoena had been issued for the victim but the officer's return stated that the subpoena could not be served because the house had been damaged by the flood & was torn down. The victim was not in court & had not contacted the court or DA's office to inquire about the case.
I argued with the DA to dismiss the case. The DA wanted the subpoena reissued. Reissued to where??? The house was's not there anymore. Hello!!! What is the point of reissuing the subpoena to the same address? The DA would not agree to dismiss the case without reissuing the subpoena. The DA said that if the subpoena comes back unable to be issued, he would dismiss the case then. So, my client has to come back to court because the DA thinks the Sheriff's Office can achieve the impossible & serve the victim in this case at an address that no longer exists.
The Clerk didn't get it either but the Judge came to my rescue by saying that it is the State's responsibility to see that the subpoena is served.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Civil v. Criminal is Frustrating

As most of you know, I handle only criminal cases. So, when I get appointed to a case & read the affidavit of complaint only to determine that the case is actually civil in nature it is quite frustrating for me. For example, I was appointed to a case where my client was charged with vandalism. The affidavit described a landlord-tenant situation. The landlord was the person who had sworn out the warrant, alleging that my client had damaged the house before he had moved out. My client had signed a lease & put up a security deposit, which was not returned to him. The landlord gave no reason for withholding the security deposit & did not contact my client regarding the damage to the residence. The landlord went to the clerk's office & swore out a warrant for vandalism. My client said that the damage the landlord was alleging was not done by him or his fiance; that they were instructed to leave the key to the house on the stove & leave the front door unlocked. The landlord did not inspect the property until 2-4 days after my client had moved out.

I argued with the District Attorney all morning that this case was not a criminal case; that the criminal warrant should be dismissed & that the landlord should be instructed to swear out a civil warrant if he wanted to pursue his claim for damages above the security deposit. The DA would not agree. We had a preliminary hearing. The landlord & his son, who helps him manage his rental properties testified that the damage amounted to $2,000 - $2,500. They even had pictures of this damage. My client's fiance testified as well. She was shown the pictures of the damage & testified that she had never seen damage the landlord was pointing out & that the house was in bad shape when they moved in. She also testified that her & my client worked on the property (painting & such). This was verified by the landlord.

After all of this, the Judge agreed with me that this was a civil matter but (in the same breath) said that because the burden of proof for probable cause is so low that he bound the case over to the grand jury. I can only hope that the grand jury will not indict my client. If they do, then we're on to Circuit Court, where the burden of proof is much higher & we are entitled to discovery.

Monday, July 5, 2010

It's Just One of Those Things

I had a case where my client was charged with public intoxication. My client was the passenger in a car that had been pulled over because the driver was suspected of driving under the influence. The driver & my client were both arrested.
I wanted the charge dropped. After all, my client wasn't in public - he was in a privately owned car. The officer didn't have to arrest my client. The officer could have called one of my client's (sober) buddies to come & get him. The DA disagreed, saying the officer had no such duty to do that & that the charge was valid. The charge was dropped due to my client having other more serious charges but when I got back to the office, I did some research hoping to be able to prove the DA wrong. What I found was case law to support the DA's position that the charge was valid, the rationale being that the car being on a public roadway was enough for the charge of public intoxication to stand.
The moral of the story: if you're going to get drunk, stay on private property!!! (Though it'll be tough for you to get home for a while)...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oh, The Logic

I had a client who was facing 4-6 years in the Tennessee Dept. of Correction if he bound his case over to Circuit Court. The DA offered 11 months & 29 days suspended after serving 6 months on all 3 charges if he pled guilty. My client didn't want to accept the offer. Why? He didn't want to go to jail on that particular day because he would miss his daughter's birthday. I asked him if he realized that he would miss 4-6 birthdays if he decided to bind his case over to Circuit Court. He said that he did but he would take his chances & deal with that in Circuit Court.
After a short pause, I proceeded to further explain what he was looking at in Circuit Court, as he would be dealing with the same DA. He told me that he understood that it didn't make sense to me but he had to do what he had to do. (HUH?)
I went back & spoke with the DA, who agreed to let my client report to jail in 2 weeks & I was able to keep his case out of Circuit Court.