Sometimes our job as advocates is to hold back the voracious, drooling monster that is the court system just long enough to give our clients enough space to decide for themselves how they will battle the beast.  Today was one of those days for me. 

Today “Sid” accepted a resolution that would eventually result in the dismissal of his case, but would deprive him of the satisfaction of watching the cops squirm under cross exam about how they unlawfully stopped and frisked him. He had turned down similar deals twice in the past. Today the cop was unavailable to testify, and Sid would have to take another day off from work if he wanted to push the case to trial. Clenching his curly hair in his hands he moaned staring at his sneakers, “I just don’t want to come back to court!” Then he looked me in the eye and said, “That’s what the system expects, right? They expect me to just get tired of the process.”

The monster of a system is indeed designed to wear down the will of the accused and push them to plea. Sometimes I jump in protect my clients, like at trial. Other times, I can guide them to the least damaging outcome, like negotiating a plea. And sometimes, like today, I stand between my clients and the court officer looking at her watch, the judge sighing as she reviews her docket, and the prosecutor tapping her pencil.  I hold back the voracious, drooling monster that seeks to suck my clients souls just long enough to allow them time to come to their own decision on how to confront the monster.