Something Made Me Laugh

I don’t often laugh. You might hear a dry chuckle from me, occasionally a snort.  But not a full, vibrant chest-deep laugh.

My humor hotspot is absurdity; I enjoy the world turned, unexpectedly, upside down, so that the “smart” decisions aren’t smart anymore. I laugh loudly when truths that are never told, are suddenly out in the open.

Popular entertainment largely avoids absurdity.  Absurdity ruffles the feathers of the important.  Absurdity makes the sponsors nervous. And worst of all — it’s hard to write well.

So the funniest thing I’ve found lately, the thing that makes me laugh out loud, is a public defender blog called What the Public Defender? There you’ll find things like this:

When you tell a stranger that you’re in law school and you want to do criminal defense and they launch into a moral rampage and say all prisoners should be put to death.

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A public defender has the hardest, most poorly-paid job in world of lawyers: he (or she) defends criminals who have no money, only the right to representationl. The caseloads are staggering, the clients are not always wonderful people, and having the law on your side isn’t always enough.

The DA doesn’t bother to show up for motions argument; I argue for 15 minutes; the law is on our side; and the judge responds, “Your motion is denied.”

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To be a good PD, you’ve got to care about the rights of others.  You’ve got to have ideals — it helps to be young. And when things go wrong — or, sometimes right — you’ve got to vent.  This blogger vents well.  She (I suspect) takes situations from her own work, or situations sent to her by other PDs, and illustrates them with an animated GIF, as you’ve seen. And maintains complete anonymity because, y’know, too much honesty is bad for the resume.

When someone says, “you’re a public defender? so does that mean you defend criminals?”

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The life of a PD is full of highs and lows and cringe-worthy moments.  It’s an emotional roller-coaster of a career, with people’s lives on the line. And those people aren’t always helping.

When the victim doesn’t identify your client and then he looks at you and says a little too loudly, “that’s because I was wearing a different shirt.”

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When the DA threatens to jury demand a case because you quoted her taunting you on Facebook…

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When a Texas Judge sentences a wealthy defendant to probation after killing four people in a DUI accident the same day my client gets jail time for stealing a jar of salsa.

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When you find an obscure section of your state’s constitution specifically outlining that your client had a constitutional right to be where he was arrested for trespass and therefor the drugs they found on him have to be excluded.

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 When the prosecutor asks me when I’m going to switch over to the “good” side:

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When the jury has been out for almost two hours on your dead dog loser trial.

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The public defenders win and lose, but the best of them care.  The work’s too hard to stay long for any other reason. And sometimes there are triumphs, or at least humanity.

When you walk your client (who was facing life) out of the jail as a free man for the first time in a year, after the judge dismissed his case with prejudice, and he just stands there for a minute looking at the sky and letting the sun hit his face?

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When your in-custody client starts sobbing at a plea hearing, so you wipe her face with tissues because she can’t reach her face due to her shackles, and the first thing the DA says after the client exits the court room is “Do you need hand sanitizer?”

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When after being advised numerous times never to speak in court, your client stands up and yells, “Damn, your honor, doesn’t my attorney look hot today?”

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When a police officer tells you he thinks you’re the devil.

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When I finally get the crime scene tech’s photos and they prove the lead officer was lying about seeing the evidence in ‘plain view’

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Anyway, do take a look at this blog.  If it were only humor, I wouldn’t mention it.  Rather, it is humor in the face of hardship and despair: This may be one of the highest things that our sorry race possesses.

When you get your very first not guilty!!

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