I've been using facebook since its inception. Back when it first came out, I worked a really boring desk job at a legal publishing company. It pretty much consisted of data entry, and proof-reading. So in an attempt to keep my hands from clawing my eyes out in boredom, I was on facebook with other similarly situated friends (i.e. victims) pretty much all day, every day. It got so bad that I was hitting the refresh button on my browser every few seconds like a lab rat waiting for something new on my news feed.
If I gained nothing else from my job (and I didn't), it was a facebook addiction that still remains pretty rampant to this day. In my defense though, there's a lot to like about social media. With it I can keep track of all 250 of my closest friends. My stalkers always know just where I am. I've reunited with a ton of old friends, and met new ones from all over the world. And instead of actually talking to my wife sitting next to me, I can post on her wall (we've had whole conversations on facebook while in the same room...that's love). I think it's a great tool if used properly (i.e. not obsessively checked every couple seconds).
For me, it's become the preferred way to keep in touch with people. I hate the phone. I can't imagine anything more painful than to have to call someone and actually ask things about their life. I prefer that they tell me the news of their lives in 130 characters or less. If it's more important than that, I expect an in person meeting. And there better be beer.
I don't mind that people feel the need to broadcast their every thought and life activity to everyone nowadays. Just ate eggs for breakfast? Great. Way to get your protein. Baby just shit all over you? Tough luck poop streak! Feel like having another Diet Coke? Go get'em big shooter!
I don't mind it because that's the stuff we all think about and talk about every day. I want to know what's going on in my friend's lives. And most of the time, when you ask them "What's new?" over the phone, you get the same, "Nuthin". Facebook is a great way to catalog what happens in your day. If nothing else, it gives your friends clues about your life so they have something to talk about with your lame ass.
My status updates are usually funny observations that I make during the day. Most of those observations come from my job. Over the course of time, those updates have taken on a particular form. I call them "Dear Defendant" letters. They are essentially things I want to say to someone in the court system, but for one reason or another, I can't.
These updates have become pretty popular with my friends. And a lot of you have been asking me to keep them and write them all down somewhere. I figured this was a good place. So without further delay, here are The Dear Defendant Letters of 2010. In no particular order.
1. Dear defendant, when you tell me that if I don't dismiss your charges that you will be hiring an attorney who I am fairly certain is disbarred, it will by no means intimidate me into giving you what you want. Please refer to the Office of Professional Responsibility before selecting an attorney in the future.
2. Dear defendant, you are accused of disorderly conduct for, among other things, calling a 10 year old the f word. By arguing to me that you "didn't f-ing do it" and proceeding to call myself, the investigating officer, and the alleged victim the f word, you do not convince me that your side of the story is the correct factual version. You may wish to edit your argument before using it at trial next month.
3. Saw a lady in court today that looked like Pat Benatar. Love is a battlefield.
4. Hangover + pro se defendants = zero tolerance for stupid. I'm in the wrong line of work for that...
5. Was not aware that the entire Ramsey jail smells like puke. Good to know...
6. The City of Nowthen is the proud new owner of two seized Bengal tigers. We had to delay the seizure for a week as our big animal quarantine and capture provider was up north chasing bears. Yup, my job is officially weirder than yours. (this one is a blog post all its own)
7. Dear tiger man, asking a judge to return your tigers (which are illegal to possess in the state of MN) is like asking a judge to give you your meth back after a drug raid. It doesn't happen...
8. Dear Defendant, the hospital figured out that you used someone else's identity when you came in to get a penis pump installed in your "business" (you heard me...I said penis pump). It was unwise of you to go to the same hospital and use the same identity when it became infected and needed to be removed. It is very likely that, although they may not remember your face, they may remember something else about you...
9. Dear defense attorney, your client's defense does not involve every crazy thing that your client says. If your client says he was not driving a vehicle for example, but was in fact pulled over in one and identified by photo ID...that is a thing that should be omitted from your defense. A defense based on one of the other elements of the offense that doesn't require a leap to the absurb may be appropriate.
10. 9th grade mock trial tomorrow. I am advising the defense, because with my four trials as a defense attorney I am apparently the most qualified in our office.
11. We got comment cards back from the 9th graders in Future Leaders Mock Trial day today. The most frequently mentioned way we could make the courtroom experience better apparently is to "shoot guns".
12. The defense attorney for my sentencing today told me that the defendant may have fled the country. I wish he would have fled BEFORE we had a week long trial in his case.
13. Dear whale sitting on the courthouse lawn smoking a cig and drinking your adult beverage. I was tempted to go see if you were alive until you moved just enough to get the cig into your mouth. This is not the beach, this is a court of law. Move your disgusting display of humanity elsewhere.
14. Was not aware it was "Wear Your Dirty Clothes to Court" day in Scott County. One gal also looks like she hasn't showered...ever, but I've come to expect that from her. At least the air conditioning is on. Last time I saw her it wasn't. That was "Name That Smell" day.
15. Dear judges, my name is not Mr. Christianson. It has never been Mr. Christianson. The fact that you continue to call me Mr. Christianson even after I introduce myself on the record as Christian Peterson before every case (and approximately 20 times per day) only reinforces my opinion that I am a potted plant in your courtroom. Even dogs learn through repetition. Happy Wednesday to you!
16. Just noticed that Belle Plaine DWI incident reports have only five choices for "Unusual Actions": Crying, Sleepy, Mood Swings, Urinating on Self, and Other. Really?! Who came up with these choices?
17. Just had an arraignment with the Pawn America guy. Do you think it was appropriate of me to ask him where Eggmo was? (Probably only Minnesotans will get that one)
18. Wishes people would take subpoenas more seriously. It's a lot easier to come to court yourself rather than have me send you a ride. You won't like the car I send...
19. Heard the best line during sentencing from a judge to a defendant: "Quit you crying and listen!" Awesome...
20. No ma'am, I will not ask the judge to reimburse you for therapy session for your cat...who "witnessed" the crime the defendant committed.
21. Judge: "Do you have a good excuse for missing court. And let me add, if you don't have a good excuse, it's better to say nothing."
Defendant: "I have a great excuse." (goes on to list crappy excuse)
Judge: "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, again....if you don't have a good excuse, it's better to say nothing."
22. Scheduled to give a presentation about careers in criminal law at UST this afternoon. Hopefully they won't object to the theme of my presentation: "Run away...run fast."
23. Dear Defendant, it is best not to reply, "No, you're in contempt!" to a judge that just held you in contempt.
24. In Carver County on a conflict case. So this is how it feels to be a private attorney. Confused, with a suspicion that my time could be better elsewhere.
25. Just dealt with a lawyer that looks exactly like Inigo Montoya.
26. A defendant just told me that I look like "a hot Mr. Rogers" in my dress shirt, tie, and my half-zip sweatshirt. Not sure how to take that...
27. DWI police reports are usually pretty dull, but if you look hard enough there are a few gems. Like this line: "<redacted> was issued a Notice and Order for Revocation which he refused to sign but rather drew a finger in the "fuck you" position on the form."
28. Dear Defendants (yes plural, I saw two today): I'm not sure if it makes a difference, but just to play it safe, it's probably not a good idea to come to your felony DWI sentencing wearing a Tommy Bahama shirt with a giant martini glass on the back. Just sayin...
29. Dear Defendant, if you call the police to report that the police are harassing you, I'm just not sure you're going to get the help you want. Just sayin...
30. Dear Defendant: Requesting to get out of jail because you have "kids with a ton of different baby mommas" to take care of is not an effective bail argument. You made it worse by pointing at one of the baby mommas and saying "there's one of the bitches now". Congrats, you pissed off the only person who would have bailed your horny ass out of jail.
31. Good thing that trial settled, because my star witness was a 6'2 tranny named Terry.