Friday, November 2, 2007

Moccasin Justice Court

Here is a picture taken in front of the Colorado City/Moccasin Consolidated Court. It serves, as you can guess, Colorado City and Mohave County north of the Grand Canyon. It is a double wide trailer converted into a courthouse. To its credit, it is presided over by a very fair and genuinely concerned judge--and it has a very friendly cat that welcomes you. To get there, you have to drive north through Las Vegas, east to St. George, north to Hurricane, then South east to Mocassin, which is 20 miles south of Colorado City. The drive itself is beautiful. If I didn't know the Fundamentalist LDS church chose the location because it is secluded from "the world," I would think it was merely a decision involving how pretty the landscape is.

I represented a client in a domestic violence case. Ahhh, domestic violence--pretty much the bane of my existence. No category of cases gets to me quite the same way. It has cured me of any desire to practice family law. The problem with domestic violence is that everybody is a victim, especially the children. Also, while I don't have any real statistics to back it up, I would venture to say that at least 3/4 of the d.v. cases that run across my desk involve alcohol. The combination of strong emotion and stronger drink creates volatile situations. I don't envy the officers sent into those situations who hear completely different stories from those involved then have to make a determination about who is telling the truth and how to diffuse the problem. I, at least, don't get involved until things have calmed down substantially.

I often find it hard not to confuse my role of legal counselor with family counselor. I try not to cross the line very often by giving personal advice; I don't know if I ever should cross that line. It is essention to just sit and listen, though. Sometimes the public defender is the only one sitting a person's corner. Often, there isn't a whole lot I can do for the person other then help him or her feel understood. At the same time, I fight the temptation to chastise the man who beats his wife, or the woman who hurts her children. There is just no excuse for such behavior.

One year ago, I the work of a public defender was all about writing stinging motions to supress or "fighting the good fight" for the wrongfully accused. How could I have known that so much time would be spent wading through years strangers' family problems? Is it all worth it? Yeah, it is, 'cause every so often real change occurs for all involved. It's nice to be a part of that side.

1 comment:

K&B Brown said...

That would be hard to do. I have a hard time just with the ladies at Wal-mart that are yelling or talking down to her kids.

We just went past the Hurricane exit and I watched the Oprah on polgamy, just a side note.