Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hard Work

The woman in my office today. She got married at 16 and lived with her husband as a sharecropper, working the cotton fields. She was pregnant, working the fields in the summer and lost her baby. She said she knew when she lost the baby because she was riding on the wagon to the gin, bouncing up and down and she felt it. She lost 4 babies that way.

She also chopped wood and carried coal for the family that owned the land. She made her daughter's clothes in school, including her drill team outfit. She writes in a very old fashioned hand.

She knows hard work.

She doesn't own a TV. She tithes fully. She's had cancer for 14 years but takes her medication.
Her car is paid for.

She pays her bills rather than eat.

That's character.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Probation Violation

I am really, really tired of people saying that Paris Hilton is being treated more harshly by this Judge than if she were a "normal" citizen. First of all, it someone in one of my Courtrooms told a Judge "its not fair" ---all of my Judges would give that person a very long lecture, possibly followed by a contempt finding if that person continued to whine.

In my jurisdiction, if you fail to schedule your alcohol treatment classes within 7 days of going to Court, you'll get violated. If you fail to attend them- you'll get violated. If you're arrested for DWS (driving while suspended) it COULD violate your probation... and the second time you were DWS, unless you had a great reason, would most probably violate you, and finally, if the Judge assigned you to do community service and you didn't go- you would most definitely get violated.

In fact, I have a client who had a BAC 1/100 less than the legal limit and the prosecutor agreed to drop the case (there was also an allegation of illegal drug use) if my client would attend DUI class. My client failed to attend and I can't find him, so the Judge violated him (he remained On Bond until the dismissal) , AND reinstated the case. When he's arrested- he'll be denied bond due to his bond violation and by the time the Judge gets around to hearing his case he will have probably served 30 or so days.

I think the Judge did a good job in this case and if Hilton had beans for brains she wouldn't have acted like a spoiled brat...(or, to me, suspiciously similarly to a person going through withdrawals.)

Of course, I also understand the Sheriff's position. She takes up a lot of man hours. Its a funny relationship- the Judge orders someone to Jail, but the sheriff is in charge of how/where the sentence is served, good time ect....usually. The whole Contempt thing was an interesting power struggle... and one I've seen before. Usually, however, what happens is that the Sheriff comes to the Judge and explains why he wants something different in a case (The guy has 10 communicable diseases and an abcessed tooth and we can't afford to keep in in jail your honor....) and the Judge either explains why that won't do or goes along with it. Its all a delicate process.