Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I’m not a criminal lawyer

And I haven’t seen enough Law and Order to fake it, either.

I got sent on another mission to defend a juvenile delinquent today. The cops were totally fucking with me. I went to three different facilities before I found the client. Almost every single police officer that I spoke with, either on the phone or in person, was unhelpful and rude.

I worked for quite a while answering phones at a telemarking firm and am automatically polite and to-the-point. Normally I get great customer service because I am respectful of the people I talk to and am not an idiot. I ask if I am speaking with the correct person and try to give a concise statement about what I am hoping to learn. It didn’t do a damn bit of good today and I was hung up on and treated to snotty attitudes by completely unhelpful public employees.

One officer continually kept calling me ‘young lady’ while questioning whether I was an attorney (after I showed him several ID cards – including photos – that clearly proved my status). I hate Hate HATE these fucking power plays. Finally I was able to meet with my client. He is the first male delinquent that seemed aware, intelligent and alive. His eyes were not yet glazed over and vacant looking. Unfortunately, I could only speak with him through glass and didn’t get to connect as well as I would have without that barrier. Why do I get locked in rooms alone with the scary thugs and then have a wall between the one male kid who seems like he still has a chance?

After speaking with him I learned that he had didn’t have a court hearing scheduled and hadn’t been charged with a crime yet. My legal hackles rose – isn’t there a problem with police detaining, but not charging someone? The police told me that they were still figuring out how to charge the kids and were still investigating the incident. The desk Sargent refused to give my client my business card, agreed to attach it to the file, but refused to attach a note explaining that my client was exercising his right to remain silent and that I was his attorney. For these tasks to be done, I would need to speak with the investigating officer, who would arrive at 3:00PM.

Fuck. This is not what normally happens. Normally the officers I speak with agree to relay this information.

Later, back at the office, I research and learn that the police can hold a person for 48 hours before his court hearing. Tick tock tick. However, they are not supposed to do this to ‘buy time’ for investigating for reasons to charge the offender. Very suspicious. When I called the station back I learned that the officer whose name I was given was NOT the investigating officer. The investigating officer worked days and normally left at 3:00PM. He happened to be working overtime when I called, so I was able to speak with him.

My client still hadn’t been charged and even after I explained that he was asserting his right to counsel and to remain silent the detective told me that a State’s Attorney was coming in later to speak with him. W. T. F.?! I sternly repeated that my client was not to be interrogated further and that any communication relating to the incident needed to be relayed through me. The detective then became very harsh and assholish. I then tried to confirm that he had my business card, but he said that it wasn’t attached to the file. Double Fuck. I gave him my contact information and made him repeat it. Fucker. This is just not normal or right. The whole situation stinks. I totally feel like Mr. Polish last name (white) officer is planning to fuck over this young, black ward-of-the-state.

Fuck the CPD and their racist disregard for civil liberties.

This whole experience blew. Besides all of this power-play, and bad cops to deal with, the trips to and from the stations sucked, too. I wasn’t expected to travel so much and forgot to change into an ugly pants suit. Instead I was wearing a work outfit that is somewhat hoochish. I forgot how much I hate the stares at the police station from the officers, clients, criminals, juvenile delinquents and male members of the families-in-waiting. I feel like a slab of meat and long for a burka in these places. Today was much worse than otherwise because the cops were brazenly staring at my neckline and legs, I think to try to make me feel more uncomfortable. Fuckers.

Plus, I had to wait forever for cabs at the intersections near a couple of stations. Cabs don’t come very often to the Southside. A dressed up white girl in these neighborhoods becomes a spectacle and someone to stare at, yell to and make those nasty kissing/hissing noises to. Pedestrians and people in vehicles alike. God, did I wish I had my bike. At the last station, I knew the chance of a cab arriving was nil, so I just took a bus and train back to the Loop.

I didn’t say a word about this yucky aspect of my day when I arrived back at the office. However, my partner apologized immediately when he saw me. He said that it was completely stupid to have me running around those neighborhoods by myself without a car. My bike and CTA would actually have been the best option for getting around quickly.

There was some humor in the day, though. One of the stations had a Costco representative visiting them. She had trays of cookies and donuts – and all of the cops were acting like it was Christmas. Knowing the reputation of cop-donut love, I would think that they would have acted with dignity, but No. None was to be found. Cops were literally running down the halls as the word spread about the cookies/Costco Lady. Looking at how almost all of the cops were oozing and bulging out of their uniforms, I’d guess that this is the only running they ever do.

If my client isn’t released the second past the 48 hour point, I am totally going to turn into bitch-lawyer and spring his ass out of jail. Those motherfucker donut-scarfing, racist, lazy, rude, sexist cops can bet on it. Maybe I’ll mention that one of my other projects is investigating police misconduct. Bastards.


At 5:27 AM, Blogger George said...

That sucks. I am 45 and one of my best friends happens to be black.

He gets the shits out of being followed by security every time he goes shopping somewhere.

Thing is, he's a cop and and has more education then 95% of the people walking around this earth.

Sometimes life ain't fair.

PS-He hates donuts.

At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sucks being judged by your appearance (i.e., cops not taking you seriously because of your gender and/or appearance). I've been on the receiving end of that, too.

But a few days ago, you devoted an entry ("How old is (s)he?") to doing exactly the same thing, writing several mean-spirited paragraphs about someone who wasn't hurting you or anyone else, based solely on appearance.

If it's wrong and hurtful when done to you, why is it OK for you to do to somebody else?

At 8:12 PM, Blogger jojo said...

I hate engaging the anonymous person(s) who only add negative comments, but here are some of the differences in the situations:

1.) I was not acting as a public official in a position of trust with the ability to arrest and detain. Hell, I wasn’t even armed,
2.) She was not trying to protect the civil rights of a juvenile,
3.) I was not implicitly accusing her of fraud or forgery, or in the alternative I did not mess with her simply because I wielded the power to do so.

Even given the above crucial differences, the heart of this criticism seems to be about ‘judging’ people by their appearance. Sorry, but I do that every day of my life and hope to never stop. I’m sure everyone else does the same thing.

Her characteristics that I noticed are indicators of vanity; nose-job, overly tanned, probable boob-job, gobs of make-up, bleach blond hair and probable face lift. Therefore, I don’t feel that judging her to be a vain woman is inappropriate. She put effort into choosing and displaying these characteristics.

I am a young, female attorney. I chose to be an attorney and had the identification to prove it. The characteristics of young and female are not within my control, and should not be an excuse for the police to try to harass/intimidate me, stall me from meeting my client and then refuse to attach a note to the file directing that my client not be interviewed again and failing to attach my business card to the file to alert the detective that the juvenile was represented by counsel and then lie to me about what detective was working on the file in hopes that I wouldn’t get to contact the detective before he completed his investigation and hopefully took a statement from my client.

Fucking with me is just a means to fuck with my client’s civil liberties. I don’t think for minute that the police ‘judged’ that I really wasn’t an attorney. Whether the purpose was to fuck with me or fuck with my client, their behavior was not acceptable – and also not atrocious enough to file a successful complaint.

Finally, I didn't do anything to hurt the woman.


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