Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Actual Naughty List

When I mentioned the Naughty List in my last post, I thought, No one is going to believe this ridiculous shit!  In fact, the more I thought about it, the more unlikely it seemed that an actual "Naughty List" had ever existed, as the idea of it too accurately portrays both some judges' twisted priorities and their patronizing treatment of lawyers.  Sometimes you don't see how crazy something really is, until you try to imagine how someone from say, S. Carolina (Hey, you guys, and thanks for reading!) will see it.

I managed to find a copy of the Naughty List in archives, to satisfy myself mainly, and I've posted it here, but redacted the names of defendants and naughty lawyers alike.  This list sums a lot of ills--deigning lawyers "naughty" if a case is old, without regard to the merits, treating lawyers like children, and seemingly loosing sight of the fact that this is supposed to be a "justice" system. 

My case that shows at the top of the above list was a true success story, with a patient prosecutor and a sweet, young client slowly getting her shit together--completing treatment and getting her diploma.  I wonder what she thought of the system as the prosecutor sheepishly introduced the case each time, saying, "I know this is on the Naughty List, but ... "  

One time this client asked me, "What did you do to get in so much trouble?"

"I threw spit balls at the judge."

And she was like, "Really?"

The Naughty List quietly disappeared a couple of months ago.  I don't know if someone complained, or one of the other judges saw it and said, "Hey, this really looks bad--We're not supposed to say out loud that case statistics are all we care about!"  

As a practical matter, however, I miss the Naughty List.  Because in the category of unintended consequences, I got some screamin' deals out of it.  Why?  Because the prosecutors hated being on the Naughty List way more than the public defenders did.  I remember shaking my head as a prosecutor (and full-grown man) said to me, without a hint of irony, "You know I cannot agree to the schedule you want, Ms. Defender, because I will not be on the Naughty List again!" 

I don't get a guy like that--a guy who looks down on everyone else, and then judges his own state of naughtiness based, not on his own conception of right and wrong, but on a word someone typed at the top of a stupid list.  But, like I said, as a practical matter, as soon as a case got close to making the Naughty List, the prosecutor would cave, and I would finally get my deal.  If I could just find a way to bring Naughty back . . .


Anonymous said...

That's it. Mission statements are all the rage these days and I've finally found one for our office: "Bringing Naughty Back" I'm thinking we can even put it on T-Shirts. Sixth Circuit Public Defender's Office, Bringing Naughty Back.

Anonymous said...

What if your supervisor is the one pushing cases to plea?? It is very frustrating and so I moved back to the misdemeanor unit. Every now and then I feel guilty about all those felons I left behind, but I do good work where I am and I have fun while doing it. The reduction in pressure is fabulous.