mojosmom: (happy)
Here I am, typing away on my new keyboard, which didn't cost me one red cent and, no, I didn't have to upgrade my operating system. I took the whole system in to the Apple Store genius bar, and chatted with the guy. He said, "let me go check something" and came back in a few minutes with a slick new small keyboard, though wired, not wireless, and said, "you can have this". (Yes, "have", as in, "no charge".) I asked him if he thought it made sense to upgrade to Snow Leopard, he checked a few things on my computer and said, basically, "Nah, don't spend the money." I'm just getting used to the smaller size of this keyboard, so blame any typos on that. It's very cute!'

I spent the day at a seminar on immigration law as it applies to criminal cases. Due to a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, criminal defense lawyers must now advise their non-citizen clients on the immigration consequences of a plea. This threw the criminal defense bar into a tizzy, because immigration law is extremely complicated! The program was very well thought out, provided lots of resources and was very helpful and informative. One of the better seminars I've been to. There was a reception afterward at Preston Bradley Hall in the Cultural Center - I guess they wanted to impress the out-of-towners (and, judging by the out-of-towners I chatted with, succeeded).
mojosmom: (catkind)
My favorite legal research tool has finally been updated! The Illinois Handbook of
Criminal Law Decisions (a/k/a "The Bible" or "The Green Book"), published by the Office of the State Appellate Defender and the Illinois State Bar Association, was sooooo outdated. The last volume was published in 1998 with a supplement in 2003, with yearly updates on the Appellate Defender's website. But ever since it was published just by OSAD, and was red, and was called "Davidson's outline" after the OSAD employee who compiled it, it's been the greatest tool, mostly because of how it's organized.

We've been grousing for years that it needed a complete overhaul and updating, and they finally did it, and I was just handed my copy. (Oh, it's not green anymore, though, so I guess we'll have to give it a new nickname.)

So I'm a very happy camper.

A sad loss

May. 1st, 2009 03:17 pm
mojosmom: (frown)
Every criminal defense lawyer who gets the chance goes to the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia. As a baby adolescent public defender, I was lucky enough to be sent there by my office. And lucky enough to have, as one of my instructors, Bill Moffitt. He challenged me. He made me mad. He made me try new things. He taught me never to say, "I can't do that in my jurisdiction." He showed me how to make myself a better lawyer.

Bill, a former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, represented people nobody else would, people like Dr. Sami Al-Arian, for whom he won an acquittal of terrorism charges after a six-month trial and three years of solitary confinement. (Dr. Al-Arian's tribute to Bill is here.)

Bill died last Friday. There aren't enough lawyers like him, and now there's one fewer.

Obit from
mojosmom: (catkind)
I've been off at a seminar on defending death penalty cses for the last couple of days. It was mostly good, but a couple of the speakers were godawful. Do not expect me to pay attention if you misuse the phrase "beg the question", say "acronym" when you mean "abbreviation" and refer to the Compiled Statutes as the "combined" statutes. It also helps if you don't just read your presentation off the power point slides in a boring monotone.

Weird coincidence: I'm reading Alexander McCall Smith's latest Isabel Dalhousie novel, The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday, in which she has to decide whether to publish a paper on the Trolley Problem. So one of the speakers yesterday, a neuropsychologist, talked about some testing which involved . . . the Trolley Problem! (I wasn't reading the book at the time; he was actually quite interesting.)

Saturday, I went and got my flu shot. I had put it off but realized this was the last Saturday clinic. Surprisingly, the place wasn't full. I guess other people are more organized than I am about such things.
mojosmom: (catkind)
I did the most bizarre trial this week. A double jury. Two guys were charged with burglary to a motor vehicle, but could not be tried together as they had conflicting defenses. (You know, "I didn't do it, he did".) But there was a civilian witness from out of state, so the prosecution asked for a double jury. This means that a separate jury sits as to each defendant. They are both in the courtroom when there is testimony that relates to both defendants, but when there is testimony relating to only one defendant, or during cross-examination by one defendant's counsel, the other defendant's jury leaves. There are also, obviously, separate opening statements and closing arguments. This leads to much to-ing and fro-ing (or, as one juror was overheard to say, a "Chinese fire drill").

These sorts of trials are quite common in Cook County (they've even had triple and quadruple juries - I don't know where they put them!), but not where I am. So there was much improvisation. I tried to find an admonishment/instruction to jurors in this situation, but there's none in Illinois. I finally found some language in a federal case out of the 10th Circuit and put one together, which the judge did give the jurors.

I don't, however, think that my judge will be inclined to do this again, as he said to another judge: "A bit of judicial advice; don't do a double jury!"

I lost, as expected, as did the other defendant. But my jury was out for five hours, as opposed to one-and-a-half for the other guy's. One of our misdemeanor assistants second-chaired the case with me. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have had a second chair on a case like this, but since opportunities to do a double jury are rare, I thought I'd give someone else a chance to sit in. I hadn't tried a case with her before, and I'm very favorably impressed. Her skills need work, as she's a relatively new lawyer, but she is eager to learn and a hard worker.

Unfortunately, because my jury didn't come back until 9:00 Thursday night, I missed the rescheduled going away party for my coworker (the one I mentioned had been cancelled due to a hostage situation a couple of weeks ago). I've called her, though, and we're going to have lunch next week.

Last night, I went to an ora felice (happy hour) at Casa Italiana. It was geared towards people networking for their businesses, not something I need to do, but I don't pass up the opportunity for wine, noshes, and practicing my Italian! One of the people who came was a woman who had been in class with me a couple of years ago. She had stopped taking classes because she was hired on by a big architectural firm to work on a major renovation project of a historic downtown hotel. Now that that's over, she has gone out on her own. Her husband, also an architect, will join her in this endeavor, but not for maybe a year. She was saying that she wants to do work mostly in hospitality (restaurants, hotels and the like), but when I said that was too bad because the only project I had was my tiny second bathroom, she and her husband were both interested, especially when I said that I want to bring it back to period, because he works a lot with older homes (my building is 1910). I expect, too, that when you are just starting out, no project that brings in money is too small! So I will be calling her, and may finally get this project off the ground.

On the way home, I stopped at a new produce store a couple of blocks from me (very new - they opened on Wednesday). It's called Open Produce, and is focused on sustainability, a laudable goal. Their stock is not huge, but it's varied, and they have a sheet of paper on the door for customers to write down suggestions for what they'd like to see. The prices are pretty reasonable, the staff is friendly (if still a bit green - oooh! pun!), and they are open until 11:00 p.m. almost every day.

This morning, I took my car in for an oil change, and as it was a gorgeous day, rather than wait in the dealer's boring waiting room, I decided to go up to the Green City Market. Never got there. Two blocks up, I discovered another farmers' market, so shopped there instead. I got some lovely tomatoes, golden raspberries, fingerling potatoes, and, in a sure sign of fall, butternut squash and chestnuts. Also some flowers - dahlias and tuberoses.
mojosmom: (Italian)
Yesterday, I went to a charity sale, proceeds to the Avon Breast Cancer Foundation. This sale happens every year, and they are very smart. Nothing is priced. Just "give what you think is appropriate and remember it's going to fight breast cancer". I bought a bunch of books, and these:
New shoes

Normally, I wouldn't buy shoes at a yard sale, but one look at the soles told me that these had never been worn. The store tag on the bottom wasn't even faded.

I was able to get to two of the local farmers' markets this week. It was my week for coaching at the intensive trial advocacy program at the U of C Law School (many wry chuckles were had over Scalia's recent fulminations that the school has become "liberal"), so I went to the larger Thursday market that I usually miss. And yesterday I went to the smaller one. I was going to a friend's for dinner and said I'd bring dessert, so I wanted to check out the fruit. I bought peaches and raspberries, about as fresh as you can get without picking them yourself. Yummers.

The local Italian-American Chamber of Commerce sponsored an Italian Style Expo at Navy Pier this weekend. I went and met up with some of the folks from Casa Italiana. Lots of food and wine to taste, jewellery and fashion to drool over, and literature to pick up. Not to mention various modes of transportation, from the sublime:
to the practical:
Boy on a red Vespa

I must say that if I didn't have such a long commute, and if we didn't have winter, I'd be very tempted by a Vespa!
mojosmom: (catkind)
As I had mentioned, I had jury duty yesterday. It was instructive. The folks at the Jury Commission were very nice and helpful, and I brought along Ulysses as well as my Italian homework to see me through all the waiting. Seemed like I was the only person who wanted to be there; everyone else was grumpy about it. Sad, really.

I was part of a group that got sent up to a courtroom in the afternoon (though, sadly, I never got into the box to be voir dired). The judge had an odd method of doing the questioning, but I find that judges all have their quirks that way: some do panels of four, some of six, but this guy racked fourteen (12 + 2 alternates) and questioned all at once. But the strangest thing was that the prosecutor asked a couple of throwaway questions of two or three jurors and the defense attorney didn't ask any! I was shocked! This wasn't any petty little case, either. It was an attempt murder and aggravated battery with a firearm, both of which carry stiff penalties. (Never being one to leave well enough alone, I checked the guy out when I got back to the office this morning. He's on a writ from the penitentiary and has been down a couple of times, so he is definitely not looking at a minimum sentence.) Also, the defendant's African-American and it was a very pale bunch of jurors. So how do you not do any voir dire? I'm flummoxed. To the point where I am tempted to track down the attorney later this week (when the trial will be over) and ask her what she was thinking.

Tonight I watched a documentary on WTTW, our local public television station, Out & Proud in Chicago, about the history of Chicago's LGBT community. Not the greatest piece of filmmaking in the world, but definitely insightful, educational and important. Then I hopped on the computer to check the election news, and found this. I'm truly disgusted.
mojosmom: (Default)
Back in January, I spoke at a Continuing Legal Education seminar. Today, the folks that put it on sent me a complimentary copy of the DVDs from the program, which is very cool because they normally would have charged $180! I watched myself, and was not appalled.

Now, a few minutes ago, I came to my friends page and found the feed from this blog entry from a favorite bookseller. Scroll down to the second and third photos. I saw those, grabbed the phone, and said, "Oh, please tell me you haven't sold the lunchbox yet!" And she said, "I was just about to put it in the window." To which I replied, "Please don't! I have to have that." So she put it aside for me.
mojosmom: (Default)
Sad news yesterday. Giuseppe di Stefano has died. (New York Times obit. I was never fortunate enough to hear him live, but his Cavaradossi to Callas' Tosca and Gobbi's Scarpia is probably the best opera recording ever. I listen to it often.

But another old man is still going strong. Last night I went to the Goodman theatre for "A Conversation with Horton Foote", and cake and champagne in honor of his 92nd birthday (coming up next week). I hope I'm in such good shape when I'm ninety-two! (Assuming I get that far, which, considering the longevity on both sides of the family, is a distinct possibility.) I'd seen Blind Date and The Actor last Saturday evening. Apparently the latter is almost completely autobiographical, judging from what he said last night. Tomorrow, A Trip to Bountiful.

Saturday morning I went up to Lakeview to stock up on tea. There's a place there that sells my favorite (Lapsang Souchong) in bulk at a very reasonable price. Then I went over to Aiko's. I'm sad. They are closing in April. Not enough people are doing traditional binding anymore, and not enough people appreciate the quality of the paper and tools at Aiko's or the quality of the people there. They'd rather buy cheap from people who don't even know what mending tissue is. So everything is 30% off, and I spent more than I should. And commiserated with Chuck, who has worked there for 29 years and has been the owner for fifteen. April 11th is their last day, but on the 12th they will have a silent auction of some special items, limited edition books and that sort of thing, with the proceeds going to the Aiko Fellowship at the Center for Book and Paper Arts.

I was at a CLE (continuing legal education) seminar today, and will be again tomorrow.
mojosmom: (Default)
I have bond court this weekend - we take it in turns, and generally have it every 3-4 months. We were done fairly quickly this morning. A woman came in on a warrant for parking tickets - fifty of them! It would have been a lot less expensive for her if she'd just bought the damn permit. Then there was the kid (18) who'd missed a court date because he had two on the same day. On being asked by the judge why he hadn't taken care of the warrant, he said, "My mom deals with my cases." Hmm, maybe that's why he has so many . . . Followed by the EMT you hope won't respond to your 911 call. Having been released from the next county over on a DUI, he picked up a reckless driving charge and a ticket for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. I wonder what tomorrow will bring!

Later, I went downtown to do a couple of errands, and went over to the Cultural Center for a noontime concert, "Red, Hot and Cole",Bradford Newquist singing Cole Porter songs. This was one of a series of cabaret concerts they are doing in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Ice, which I'm going to check out in the near future.

After that, I stopped into T.J. Maxx and made a haul! I've been looking for a black suit, and found one I liked for a very reasonable price, though I'll have to get the skirt altered (shortened and taken in a bit). While there, I browsed their clearance racks - just can't resist that word. I found a couple of blouses at $10 each, and a short dusty blue suede Anne Klein jacket that will be great for wearing with jeans - $15. (Here is the same jacket on eBay.)

Most recent [ profile] croc_sandwich posts are here and here.
mojosmom: (Justice)
I spent much of the weekend busily preparing for a trial that was supposed to start today. We had a good self-defense case, and I was so looking forward to cross-examining the state's witnesses. "Mr. so-and-so, you were convicted of Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm." "Yes". "For shooting at my client." "Yes". Unfortunately for my desire to amuse myself, the assistant state's attorney prosecuting the case got wise over the weekend, and offered my client a sweet deal on an unlawful possession of a firearm. So no trial. This happens a lot - prepare for trial and it won't go.

And I hadn't, of course, done all of my Italian homework, because I was so busy on the case! I had also changed my symphony ticket from Thursday to Friday, just in case the jury was out late on Thursday. I may try to change it back, so I can go to a Dario Castagno (Too Much Tuscan Sun) reading at Casa Italiana. We'll see.

In case you were wondering, if the toaster doesn't work after you plug it in, it may be because you actually plugged in the food processor instead. You should check, instead of just cursing a lot and threatening to throw the toaster out.
mojosmom: (Default)
I was intending to go downtown today. I wanted to go to a jeweler's to get an estimate on replacing the stone in my ring (good news from my insurance company - no deductible applies, and it's not chargeable - meaning my homeowner's rates won't go up). I thought I'd go to the post office (I desperately need stamps) and early vote. I actually spent a good bit of time last night on various bar association websites to check out their judicial recommendations. However, the temperature is in negative single digits, without taking wind chill into account, and I really don't feel like standing at a bus stop! I'm off work Monday, and it's supposed to be warmer (20ºF), so I'll go then. The post office will be closed for the holiday, but the Board of Elections will be open. Maybe I'll go look at the new Spertus building, too.

These people are probably glad they didn't pull this stunt this weekend!

Cold weather does, however, inspire me to do stuff in the kitchen. I've taken the leftover lamb bones from Christmas dinner out of of the freezer to thaw, and will make lamb stock tomorrow.

A friend of mine is on the front page of the Chicago Tribune this morning. Curiously, there was a story about a similar case in the New York Times today. And, no, I have no idea what I'd do in such a situation. Fortunately, I've never been in that position.

My client visit on Tuesday didn't take as long as I thought, so I got to Springfield in time to have a decently early dinner with my friend, Sue. We ate at Maldaner's, and I would highly recommend it if you are ever in Springfield. Sue recently resigned from her job, is doing some consulting and considering her options. She is luckily in a position to take her time. She hadn't been happy there for a while, having been lured in basically under false pretenses. There had been rumors the business would be sold, she was assured that wasn't the case, and, lo and behold! it was, and she had to be the hatchet woman and lay off a lot of people.

My CLE presentation went well, especially considering that I was the last speaker of the day and was talking about case law. As near as I could tell, no one fell asleep. After I spoke in Chicago, I asked some folks from my office who were there what they had thought. They were uniformly positive, but of course they work with me! But after I spoke in Springfield, people I didn't know complimented me, so it must have been good. And someone I do know from professional boards, but who didn't have to say this, asked me if I taught and called my speaking style "engaging". Isn't that nice?

The CLE people put me up at the Crowne Plaza where the seminar was held. Now that's a nice hotel! The room was immense, big enough for a king-sized bed, desk, full-size sofa and coffee table. There was a ton of closet space, and I could only think that it was a waste to be there for just one night. There was a pretty little gauze bag on the bed containing a sleep mask, ear plugs, and lavender linen spray, along with a CD of relaxation techniques and music. They call this the Quiet Zone floor.

The seminar finished shortly before 5:00. I hit the road right away, and made very good time - no traffic issues at all. So I got home in plenty of time to see this season's absolutely best Project Runway episode.

Thursday night, the judge to whose courtroom I am assigned, and his wife, hosted a gathering at a local watering hole for courtroom staff, and other lawyers and probation officers who appear before him frequently. His wife told me that it was their "holiday" party, but that they had decided to wait to have it until after the state ban on smoking in bars went into effect. Guess that's one bit of business not hurt by the law! It was a nice time, nothing fancy, just casual, very enjoyable.

Yesterday after work I met up with a woman who is considering opening a law office in our area, so she was looking for advice and information (two things I'm pretty good at handing out, sometimes to a fault!). She presently practices in another state, but her husband got transferred up here. I think she'll do well if she does decide to practice up here, because it's evident she has put a lot of thought into how to come into a new jurisdiction (always delicate!) as well as marketing strategies. I gave her some names of other lawyers to talk to (a couple of the "big dogs"), and touted the local and state-wide criminal defense organizations.

It was nearly a disaster, because I had suggested we meet at a steakhouse near the courthouse that has a nice bar and is a lawyers' hangout, but when I got there, there were no cars in the parking lot. And then I saw the sign, "closed for remodeling"! I waited for her in the lot (I'd left her cell # in the office, how dumb was that!), but after a bit she called, having gotten lost, and we arranged to meet somewhere else. So it worked out. It worked out quite well, in fact, because the weather was quite nasty and by the time we were done, it was better and traffic was much improved. I did a bit of grocery shopping on the way home, which is also nice to do when no one is in the store!
mojosmom: (Default)
I was on my way to the theatre, when I got into an accident. I'm okay, my car's okay, but the other person's car is badly damaged. Personally, I don't think I was at fault, but apparently technically I am. I was coming down a street, and went around a car that was sitting in my lane, and hit another car that was emerging from a parking garage in front of the stopped car. But I guess since she was a nun, she gets the benefit of the doubt. It's doubly annoying because it's not that long ago that I did cause damage to my car (hit a pillar in a parking lot), so I'm really worried about my rates.

Not a good day generally. I was sitting in a meeting this morning and noticed that a stone was missing from my grandmother's wedding ring that I wear (it's a band of diamonds). Fortunately, it's scheduled on my insurance, so I should be able to get it replaced. Nevertheless, it's upsetting.

And, of course, I missed bloody (literally) Titus Andronicus tonight.

Otherwise, I spent the week coaching at a trial advocacy seminar, and gave a talk yesterday afternoon at a continuing legal education seminar. I'm driving down to Springfield next week to give it again. Saw La Traviata last night, with Renée Fleming, who was fabulous.

Oh, and I just want to point out that I tried that "pick the book nearest you" meme, and both books sitting on my desk had only two sentences on page 123, as both had chapters ending on that page. How's that for coincidence.

And here are the remaining [ profile] croc_sandwich Blue challenge photos.
mojosmom: (Justice)
Just back from the annual dinner of a professional organization of which I am on the board. We gave an award to Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., who was introduced by his more famous father, the Rev. The food was good, the wine flowed, the speeches were not over-long. The venue, the University Club, was gorgeous. Tomorrow, a board meeting, which will probably not be as much fun. ;-)

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