Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I want off this train

By the time a case gets to me, the train wreck has already happened. The thing is done, the bodies are cold, and according to Farraday's rules of time travel, even if I could go back in time, there's nothing I can do to change it. I just get to hear about it after the fact.

But my hearing about it or reading about it after the fact feels like watching the train wreck happen in super slow motion from behind a sound-proof, one-way window. I can see all the things that lead up to the wreck and can see all the ways in which the wreck could have been avoided. I can see all the wrong turns and the bad choices and the sheer waste of it all. But the people on the train can't hear my warning and they can't see me frantically waving my arms. They can't see all the alternate tracks the train could have gone down to avoid the wreck. They didn't see the stop light or hear the warning whistle. They can't see the last chance they have to at least jump off the train and avoid the worst of the carnage. And there's not a damn thing I can do about it. So every time the train just barrels on, the wreck occurs, and all I can do is be part of the clean-up crew.

Sometimes I get very frustrated that there's nothing I can do to go back in time and make all the people, my clients, co-defendants, family members, and, yes, even the eventual victims, make the right choices, the ones that won't end in the big train wreck. I get tired of dealing with the carnage.

Can I take a day off and just go do nice, happy, abuse-free, it's-for-the-best-for-everyone open adoptions?


Language Lover said...

Gaaaa, I Googled "Faraday time travel" and ended up with a Lost spoiler! (I'm only in the middle of season 2 on DVD)

Unknown said...

As my mom always tells me when I get down about cases, "Just remember you didn't make the facts. Just do the best you can with what you have." Easier said than done, right?

S said...

It's often not a problem for me, but the case I'm working on right now has facts that are frustrating me on a personal level. Ask me about it when you see me this weekend!

And LL, sorry to spoil LOST for you. (And did I really spell Faraday with two "r"s? I saw that just now and am vaguely horrified. Lesson being, don't blog while tired and with wine in system!)

Anonymous said...

I never assume that it's gonna turn out bad for my client. And then I'm always surprised by the ending!

lu said...

i am quite intriqued about the take-home concerns of you lawyer types! it is something that has interested me, but i never pursued it and now i spend most of my days reviewing legislation... funny how that turned out!

thanks for your note, i will stop by again soon.

i'd love to hear if you've ever come across a case of trafficking in your work or if you have any knowledge of how your legal system handles it too.

Lisa Johnson said...

I've always been interested in time travel and have had that sense of wanting to go back and change things too or warn someone.

It's so strange reading old legal documents when we know how things turn out. Not even just their case, but with life in general. I always find it odd reading documents dated 9/10/01, because I know what happens the next day.

I guess in the future, I can have the exact opposite feeling looking at documents that may be dated 11/3/08.

S said...

I remember maybe 2 or 3 years ago, I was working on a case where I had to review old transcripts from prior hearings. One of those hearings was on 9/11/01. I remember thinking that the people in the hearing that day must have been so dazed and had no idea what was coming.

Sometimes I just get overwhelmed by the wasted lives in my cases. So many people, far beyond the defendant and the victim, have their lives altered permanently and profoundly by that one incident and if any one of those people had done just one or two little things differently, it could all have been avoided. But then I guess I wouldn't have a job.

Lu, I've never dealt with a trafficking case. I work exclusively in state court and that would be most likely dealt with in federal court. There is a case going on in Kansas right now that touches on trafficking. The local Indian restaurant owner has been charged with several crimes stemming from his alleged use of undocumented workers. Here's the url for a story from today's paper about the case. Today's article actually uses the word trafficking.

Language Lover said...

Sorry I whined about the Lost spoiler. It's really insignificant compared to everything you discuss in this post and comments. I don't really know what to say because my work benefits people so indirectly that it's hard to figure out the consequences of different decisions.

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