when you're in the law as long as i've been (getting close
to 9 months now) you realize that there isn't much justice
in the world. in fact, the glitz and glamor that the law
appears to go to bed with every night in the form of boston
legal, csi, law and order or whatever bullshit show is on at
the time really doesn't exist. people are stupid. people
are petty. people love to sue.
and also realize that this journal entry is coming from the
same person whose first court appearance (my last entry i
believe) was made into a farce of Shakespearean proportions.
but once in a long, long while i do get to find justice.
i volunteer for a wing of our court branch that provides
free legal representation to low income residents. these
people, normally an unlawful detainer action (eviction) away
from being homeless, don't have the means to hire a lawyer
and, as such proceedings are extremely complicated (with
seasoned attorneys consistently finding new ways to fuck it
up) we provide them with legal counsel.
now...i'd like to paint a picture of my clients in this
clinic as your usual downtrodden, sad-eyed, homeless person
who is up against that evil and corrupt slumlord. sadly, at
least for literary purposes, the painting of characters is
never so easy. the real world gives us many shades and many
hues. and a lot of fucktards.
allow me to introduce two of my most amazingly awful
clients. the ones where i sided with the landlord and just
had to say, "you are getting the fuck kicked out."
enter "cat lady." cat lady had not showered in three days
(she let me know this right off the bat). she was getting
kicked out. i felt bad for her. then i read the police
report upon which the eviction was predicated. according to
the report she had a few misdemeanor animal cruelty
complaints against her. why? she drowned her cats.
apparently the meowing and caterwauling got so bad that she
had to get kicked out...that and of course she drowns her
cats. when asked, she simply replied, "i's knows whens dey
dyin', i just want to puts dem out of dey misahreeee."
but she wasn't the worst one. the worst one was a man who
looked like he was staright out of the wire. big black
dude. huge guy with muscles the size of texas. he could
barely fit in the space we provide for initial client
interviews. he was interesting not only because he looked
like he could kill me with his eyebrow but also because he
was facing a criminal possession with intent to distribute
crack cocaine charge on the same day (the criminal
prosecutor, who was standing outside the clinic's door was
kind enough to allow him to defend himself in court that day).
i looked over his eviction process and the police report
upon which, yet again the eviction was predicated.
"it says here...that you set your kitchen cabinets on fire
while cooking crack cocaine is that correct?"
"man, dey be comin' in. gettin' all up in mah shit. and
fuckin' stealin' mah shit and callin' dey cops...fuckin'
ain't right. and NOW...now dey got deh nuhrve to tells me
that i canst live dere no mo?"
"you got kicked out because you set your cabinets on fire
cooking up crack cocaine..."
i realize that my tone was not the one normally used with
men of his proportions and i quickly looked for the
prosecutor to escort my client out as there was nothing i
could do for him.
so yeah. the clinic doesn't exactly have angels and
sometimes, fuck it, landlords are in the right. but this
one day, and this was the day right after my client fucked
me in open court, you do get someone who is good and honest.
this man came to me in the form of a completely intoxicated
black male in his early 60s. a war veteran nonetheless. no
family. just him all alone in this house. a house that had
mold all over the place. a house that didn't have running
water for three weeks.
he looked at me with those sad droopy eyes as he passed me
the pictures (thank god for the presence of mind to take
pictures!) and as his stank alcoholic breath hit my nostrils
so did these words, said in the type of deep sight that
belies the true tragedy weighing on this mans heart:
"today is my birthday too..."
he trailed off.
i don't know what came over me. maybe it was my shitwad of
a client bitching about how he couldn't get off of his third
traffic ticket in as many months. clamoring over a few
hundred when this guy was just looking for a place to live.
a place that already looked like shit.
so i took those photos and i went to the landlord and his
attorney. really i felt like i was on boston legal (or ally
mcbeal if that shits still around). the landlord was the
true archetype, fat, close set eyes, narrow brow that always
seemed to be frozen in a perpetual furrow. his lawyer, one
of those affable morons. with a shit eating grin on his
face, a wrinkled tie stopping well short of his belt and a
completely disheveled look.
i gave the photos to the landlord.
"we want until the end of the month to move out. he is not
payin any rent due and owing and i want his deposit back."
the landlord looked up from the photos, the attorney looked
up from his summons and complaint. i think out of all the
variety of sentences that could have come out of my mouth
and all the different types of demeanor that i could have
taken against them, haughty derision along with those words
were the absolute last a seasoned attorney and his fellow
slumlord were expecting to come out of a "baby lawyer's"
the slumlord looked down at the pics again a bit shaken now.
"what's this, i don't know what that is?"
i couldn't believe it. fuck it.
"that's fucking mold." i said jabbing my finger at it.
the lawyer's mouth damn near hit the ground. you can cuss
amongst yourselves but never between lawyers and never to
i couldn't believe the arrogance of this slumlord fuck
though. how can he dispute this?
the slumlord seemed unfazed by my ejaculation and moved to
the next photos,
"these aren't right...they show water damage, but i shut off
the water 3 weeks ago."
if you are a landlord, you DO NOT shut off utilities. ever.
with that admission his attorney grabbed him on the elbow.
he knew he was fucked. i just smiled.
"i'd be more than happy to take this to a hearing."
the lawyer grew beyond pale, this would be a fucking field
day for any judge who wanted to feel good about himself.
"heheh...how bout we just agree to your demands and file a
and then i kicked myself. i should have ended my list of
demands with, "these are our demands." that would have been
so freakin' cool!
but i got it all. there is no better feeling than walking
back to someone who was nervous as shit, on his birthday
that he would have to go to open court to defend himself and
tell him that you not only got everything he wanted but also
his deposit back.
once in a while. not very often. justice decides to come
out of her unbelievably good hiding place. when she does
this whole attorney business is the best job in the god
damned world...i just hope i get to see her more often.