Adversaries Need Not Apply

To:     Mr. Blaise Trettis, Public Defender

           18th Judicial Circuit Public Defender

           Brevard County, Florida

    

From:    Norm DeGuerre, Esq.

               Deputy Public Defender, County of Santa Asphalt

 

Re:        Recent Job Opening

 

Dear Mr. Trettis:

I hope this letter finds you doing well. My name is Norm DeGuerre, and when I am not exorcising my professional demons through anonymous blogging, I am a trial attorney with the public defender’s office in “Santa Asphalt,” CA. Don’t bother looking at a map, because this is not the name of a real county. Santa Asphalt is my affectionate pet name for my jurisdiction, which makes up for the lack of thriving small businesses by creating a glut of empty, sprawling retail spaces under 3 stories in height.

But I digress.

I understand that you have a position open in your office; I write you this letter to ask that you consider me for the position.

From what I have been told, a member of your local bench named John Murphy physically assaulted Andrew Weinstock, one of your former attorneys. On that fateful day, Mr. Weinstock appeared for at least two defendants and declined to waive his clients’ right to a speedy trial. His Honor then declared that “if [he] had a rock, he would throw it at [Mr. Weinstock].” In a fit of judicial dignity, His Honor then offered to “go outside” with the public defender to settle his differences. Mr. Weinstock followed His Honor into the hallway, and His Honor proceeded to hold Mr. Weinstock’s face in contempt with his fist. His Honor then retook the bench and gave the (now) unrepresented defendant advice on how to schedule his trial date.
On the off-chance that you have forgotten this unfortunate episode, I present you with this link and a reminder that the internet never, ever forgets things:

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/crime/2014/07/07/public-defender-in-courtroom-fight-resigns/12292987/

Yesterday, you publicly endorsed His Honor’s ignominious return to the bench, stating that your office asks the court to give “second chances” to your clients on a daily basis, and that it would be only sensible to extend the same courtesy to a judge who suffered the indignity of four-weeks of paid leave before returning to his post.
As mentioned above, I write you this letter as a first step toward applying for Mr. Weinstock’s now-vacant attorney position. Although I have no personal ties to the state of Florida, my hope is that any property I buy in the 18th Judicial District will become beachfront as the oceans continue their inexorable march to swallow man’s hubris. I want to work, live, and play in your jurisdiction, and from your public endorsement of Judge Murphy’s return, I think I have a good idea of what you’re looking for in an employee.

Like you, I too believe that the law should treat everyone equally. You so eloquently noted that your attorneys ask society to give their clients’ second chances, and that this compels you to extend the same courtesy to Judge Murphy. I assume from your sentiment that Judge Murphy was, in fact, treated in the same manner as one of your office’s clients, in that he was brought up on felony charges and held in custody among the general inmate population pending his trial. I also assume that he was given appointed counsel and that his file was placed in the enormous stack of files that one of your lawyers lugs to court every day. I assume that Judge Murphy felt pressured to plead to something in order to avoid your state’s draconian sentencing practices, and that his sentencing judge blithely ignored his long, sad history of childhood abuse and substance abuse.

Because it really wouldn’t be fair to treat him differently from any of your clients.

Like you, I too have realistic expectations of how to be treated by my fellow man, especially my fellow men in positions of authority. The Ivory Tower that gave my my law degree taught me that we have an “adversarial system,” and that such a system does not work unless the accused has a zealous advocate who pushes his client’s best interests against the weight of the state and, in some cases, the weight of public opinion. But really, the public defender is but one grinder plate in the nasty sausage machine that is our criminal justice system. Of course our clients have a right to a speedy trial, but why would I inflict that right on a judge whose calendar is inconvenienced, as though my client’s rights had “value,” and that they should not be given away unless exchanged for something else of value? Such idealistic bullshit warrants a good beat-down in the courtroom hallway for all of the defendants to see, so that they don’t get any uppity notions of inflicting their rights against the state.

Finally, I appreciate the fact that your position is an elected position. You made nice with a man who was so unsatisfied with the power and authority of his office that he had to inflict physical violence upon one of your employees in order to impose his will. Clearly you understand that an elected public defender cannot win re-election by boasting about how many defendants his lawyers walked, or about how many pounds of contraband your lawyers suppressed from evidence through skillful litigation; that would just piss off potential voters. After all, most voters in Florida stopped reading the Constitution after Amendment II, and have yet to realize that half of the Bill of Rights is devoted to rights of the criminally accused. In order to win office in such an environment, you must network with your jurisdiction’s local power brokers. Your decision to endorse the Honorable John Murphy’s return to the bench shows political savvy. In contrast, I would get hung up on how my official actions as Public Defender would benefit my clients; these hang-ups, unfortunately, tend to parallel the ABA’s “model rules” for attorney ethics. Being a stickler for rules will certainly cost me at least one election. I have much to learn from you if you will only give me the opportunity.

Don’t be thrown off by the fact that my attached resume includes a personal interest in Krav Maga, the official martial art of the Israeli Defense Forces. I would never dream of inflicting my right of self-defense against any member of the bench, no matter how much his groin deserves it.

Cordially,

Norm DeGuerre

 

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11 comments on “Adversaries Need Not Apply

  1. themodernidiot says:

    Ok, so fabulous this was; I think you should send it 🙂 But my lack of legal knowledge left me confused: are you in favor of the judge and attorney or against them? I think the judge is bad,?But why did the attorney get fired? Waiving the right to speedy trial? Is a speedy trial different than the right to a fair trial? Sorry, newbie here just running to get on board.

    • This was thinly-veiled sarcasm. I can’t fathom how 1) such a brute was allowed back on the bench and given actual authority over people or 2) how the head public defender would endorse this judge’s return to the bench. Weinstock was right to quit.

      • themodernidiot says:

        Haha not so veiled, ya layer it on pretty thick; but it worked, and as usual, made a helluva point by being funny.

        Oh I see, Weinstock quit. My bad, I thought he was fired for offering trial. Ok, I’m back on track now.

        And yes, one does not go punching people in court; good god, this isn’t Parliament. 😉

  2. Style-N-Skill says:

    As a fellow Krav Maga and martial arts enthusiast turned PD investigator, that last line made me choke on my coffee this morning. My office head recently shared the original story and video in an office meeting. Now your fabulous response is making the rounds. Thanks for keeping it real and really funny.

  3. Blake Feldman says:

    Reblogged this on With Liberty and Justice for Some and commented:
    Because all defendants love their “advocate” to advocate for the system that oppresses them… Blaise Trettis should reconsider whether his position is hypocritical.

  4. HCD says:

    The most interesting letter in the world with a classy touch of sarcasm. Get em Norm! lol

  5. Eugene says:

    Reblogged this on I am not a whinger, BUT… and commented:
    As a private person, I can be (sometimes) excused for being a little violent, or a little impatient. I expect to be given a second chance.
    However, I think that a County Judge should be held to a higher standard. When a judge thinks that he can get into a fight with a public defender, and then be given a second chance, he better think again. And if he actually IS given that second chance, there is something seriously wrong with the legal system.

  6. This is such a great letter. I laughed but also cringed at the absurdity of the entire situation.

  7. madina says:

    good post! love it)

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