criminal law was so much better when it was just cases in a textbook. where a case is just a name and a holding. where the facts are disposed of in a paragraph or so. where the what happened is dramatically less important than the what did the court do. you can close a textbook when you’re done for the night; remember the holding, forget the facts.
what the textbooks fail to show is the human side of the cases. they don’t talk about the children who think that it’s normal for a dad to hit his daughter, for a mother to not feed her son because he misbehaved. law school taught me how to draft a memo. it didn’t teach me how to respond to a victim’s dad asking me for a tissue at the sentencing of his daughter’s killer.
i’m almost a lawyer. hopefully i’ll be practicing this time next year. i don’t yet know what i’ll be doing, but if i stick with criminal i’m going to need a hobby. something other than booze to drown out the police reports. something to make me stop seeing the victim’s tears when i close my eyes. something to help me revert back to my lockean view of the world, rather than the hobbsean i seem to be developing.
i’m working on this case right now. it’s set for trial in a few weeks. if we win, the mother will go to prison. a mother who has been abused by her husband for the past decade. a mother who nearly killed her son.
this case has taken over my life. i find it hard to go home and do anything else. my google reader is massive, my DVR is stacking up, and my gin bottle is emptying at a much faster rate than before. i’m trying to find a constructive way to handle the stress and emotions of this job, but i haven’t figured that out yet. any ideas are quite welcome.