Monday, December 22, 2008

Every PD should have a family like mine

Every year at Christmas time, I dread certain elements of my family dynamic. (Don't we all?) Dad will, as always, host history quiz time at dinner, so he can prove that even though I've got the law degree, he's more knowledgeable. I refuse to play, which then inevitably prompts him to declare smugly, "So you don't know the answer." Which just pisses me off even more. My sister will undoubtedly pick the same fight with me that she picks every year. It's pointless and it always revolves around the fact that I am the worst sister ever. Mom can be a little shockingly judgmental about the appearances of strangers in public places. And she doesn't always recognize how loudly she's expressing those judgments in public. These are the things I do not look forward to.

But there is one thing about my family that I never have to worry about. I will never, NEVER hear anything approaching, "How can you do what you do? How can you defend rapists and murders and child abusers? When are you going to switch to putting the bad guys away?" In fact, in my family I might get more harassment if I became a prosecutor. We've always been a defense-oriented bunch. My mom is an anti-death penalty activist. My dad holds a Ph.D. in American history. My sister may have gone right-wing on us, but she has stayed true to her pro-defendant's rights background. And she's pretty big on forgiveness and redemption.

If my work ever becomes the topic of conversation over the holiday week, I can rest assured that the conversation will not be contentious. I will not be put on the defensive. I won't have to explain patiently, hiding my growing anger, that I defend the rights of everyone; that appeals really are a necessary part of the process; or that a defendant who invokes his constitutional rights isn't admitting guilt. And no one will ever ask, "But isn't it hard to represent a guy when you know he's guilty?" Instead, if I go off on a rant about prosecutors or a bad court decision, I can be pretty confident that I'll just be preaching to my little choir of 3.

To have a family that really gets it is the best gift this PD can hope for. I guess I can live with the other stuff.

1 comment:

mikeb302000 said...

Happy Holidays to you Sarah. You're family sounds great; it makes me miss mine.

All the best.

 
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