23 December 2008
Visited the Polk County Jail today. One client and one court room appearance with a second. Getting in is a shore. Dump everything you own in a locker, sign in, pass through the electronics, receive a badge, the while waiting for the twit at the counter to acknowledge that you exist. I was told that I had to be patient. I asked her if that was a rule, but the query was beyond her. You push a button to enter one cubicle, then a second button to enter the jail itself where two women are wating one of whom will escort you to your destination. No talking of course. No idea what that is about, must think that the inmate may learn the current weather conditions. I was taken to a control center approximately one quarter mile from the entrance where an officer met me, directed me to a room where my client was waiting. That was the only pleasant moment of the visit--in respect to the physical layout and organization of the visit. After finishing with my visit, I was accompanied out by another female inmate two of whom are waiting in chairs in the hall. I was required to go through the cubicle--both doors and then turn around and go through them again too attain entrance to the jail courtroom where my second client was waiting for a pretrial conference. He insisted upon pleading guilty as long as he could get probation all the while telling me what a joke this was and that he did not do it either time. He had two charges of enhanced domestic abuse to which he plead guilty to. I specifically told him he was an idiot and that he couldn't make probation. Didn't make an impact. He wanted out and was willing to look at four years, two years probation, five year no-contact order including in kids. Absolutely pathetic.
19 December 2008
All schools closed today due to freezing rain, sleet, and snow over night. Went to the office, but it felt like Saturday and rather than work, ordered my tomato seeds. Ate lunch in Altoona at Claxon's and finished up my Christmas shopping. No work accomplished today. It was a good day to be out and about--little traffic until late. Expect I will catch up tomorrow.
11 December 2008
A trip to Montezuma and a visit to the jail and courthouse. The jail, which I have not visited in some years is really an antique and once vacated could be an instant museum. The courthouse is somewhat more servicable with the clerk, courts, and judges on the second floor. The county attorney has an office on the second floor on the north side of the building with the court room between it and the judge's chambers, the magistrate court and the clerk's office. Today with a hearing in the courtroom, I walked up the stairs--no country attorney in the magistrate's court or the clerk's office so I walked down the stairs to the north end of the courthouse from the southend, up those stairs to the county attorney's office. No county attorney. i therefore retraced my steps to the southend of the second floor where I finally found the county attorney to learn that the initial appearance for my client would not be until 1:30. The denizens of the Powshiek County Courthouse do not get exercised readily which is a good thing. Pretty laid back so my client was eventually allowed to bond out without any further effort on my part.
09 December 2008
Depositions cancelled due to expected weather. Not as bad as predicted as usual. The local weather people spend a great deal of energy convincing us it will be much worse than it comes to be. This I can only assume lends to more and longer viewing of the tv screen where they can sell us more crap. No depos though and I used the weather to cancel a drive to Knoxville for an arraignment. My client finally called though. He gave us a Florida address from which nothing has returned, but he is living in Knoxville with a relative and has received no mail. The phone he listed is not in service. He finally calls about an hour before the scheduled court appearance and wants confirmation he is to be in court today. No concern that he has never spoken with me about his case; apparently he thinks I will be able to advise him and to represent him without knowing the first thing about the case. This is not unusual. A pervasive belief exists among my clients that I obtain all I need through osmosis--that the information of the case comes to me through the air; that police reports can be read at great distances. The weak and feeble minded will only inherit the earth if they are so numerically superior that the gene pool is forever depleted of intelligence. The ancient conflict present in all of us to assist those who can not help themselves opposing the sense the planet would be a better place without them and they should be left to perish natural deaths occurs to me periodically. My job is to help those who are unable to help themselves. It often seems a hopeless task and a never ending one.
07 December 2008
One would think that by spending both Saturday morning and Sunday morning through 1:30 in the afternoon, something of substance would have been accomplished. No. I do have a clean desk though which helps one concentrate on the items that need concentration. Nicole will have a busy week. When will I have time to go through 700 pages of documents in my one case remains to be seen. Must prepare a replevin action and put some thought into a sex abuse case. These cases have a tendancy to sneak up on you. Newton tomorrow morning. Tomorrow afternoon; no phone calls.
02 December 2008
Made a brief appearance at the Board of Governors meeting to present the criminal justice section's proposal on electronic recording of interrogations in criminal cases. Did not stay for the discussion. Had one thing in Newton this afternoon, but that was continued because my client did not want to be in jail for the CINA hearing on Friday and have her kids see her in orange and cuffs. She plead guilty to driving while under suspension and it is not her first: ergo, it is expected the judge will give her some jail time. Otherwise a quiet day at the courthouse. I will say they have overdone the Christmas tree thing. Must be a dozen of them between the first and second floors. One is covered with tooth paste boxes and such. Not sure of the purpose other than to promote dental hygiene which is badly needed from what I see on a busy court service day.
01 December 2008
Monday at the Jasper County Courthouse. Court service day in district court. One arraignment, a motion heard on the record to exclude testimony, a probation revocation hearing, and a couple of matters heard in chambers Judge Hagen presiding. No activity in Associate District Court with Judge Mott--at least this morning. Can't speak to the afternoon. Monday is criminal day in district court--mostly arraignments, pretrial conferences, motions that take little time, guilty pleas and sentencings. Doesn't appear that there was any decent crime over the Thanksgiving break--just the usual: driving under suspension, owi, public intox, etc. Nothing very interesting.
28 November 2008
I-80 runs through Jasper County, Iowa east of Des Moines to a few miles west of Grinnell. We have the Newton Police Department, the Jasper County Sheriff, the DOT (including a way station west bound) and the Iowa Highway Patrol which includes the drug interdiction team running the interstate. Don't speed, don't weave, and don't rent a car from California and look Hispanic. Simple advice for the simple minded.