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The humble lawyer?


Some folks might not understand how significant humility is to my practice, since we generally think of criminal defense attorneys as the opposite of humble.  Indeed, the thought of a criminal defense attorney generally conjures a picture of a sleezy old white guy negotiating DUI “deals” all day long with a cell phone attached to one ear and a jerky attitude.  So where does humility fit into all of this, particularly when you want an aggressive criminal defense attorney rather than some weak hearted plea miester?

The venerated tenet rings particularly true here, “don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.”   A soft tone and warm handshake doesn’t necessarily indicate a weak heart and this truth will be revealed where it matters most, cross examination of the fuzz.  Even with law enforcement though, why be mean except in the rare case where there is a strategic gain that translates directly into a tangible benefit for my client?  I prefer to think of humility as a grounding in the earth, a power not even cognizable by the fuzz, and thus a power they are unable to tap into.   This grounding assists me in never losing focus on the ultimate issue, the persecution of cannabis users, free thinkers, the untamed, etc. by an overzealous police state deathly afraid of losing the workforce to enlightenment, aka free critical thought.

Actually, a concrete example of humility in practice is based on the judge who I wrote about in my last post.  I was so disenchanted with the judiciary because of what I perceived as her refusal to THINK.   However my colleague decided, instead of feeling anger towards her, that we try to educate her with kindness and in humility.  It was difficult to retrain my neural pathways towards humility there because I was so frustrated with the injustice, but doing so was the ethical and most beneficial course of action.  And now we forge on with a new goal that will hopefully benefit our next client, despite the heartbreak knowing our last client fell victim to the machine. 

Humility is the strongest dedication to truth, so much so that my own wants and desires are entirely negated. I become the public consciousness, a single vapor in the ultimate song of freedom.  My desire to fight executive interference in our community is no longer about me. It is about us, the community, the collective.  The WE.  Thus my fight is OUR fight and that’s where the real powers lies. 

Humility IS power. 

First Post


Today I had a huge disappointment in court.  I was observing a respected colleague defend a medical marijuana patient who is facing felony charges despite being under the Sonoma County guidelines.

I watched as the judge practically spat on the client’s rights, as the bulk of her legal rulings were so legally incorrect that everyone in the courtroom was painfully aware of her ignorance.  Her reputation for such ignorance is so widespread that often the mere sound of her name draws terse smiles from the defense bar here in Sonoma.  

It was disheartening to know that there are human beings like this in our world.  Indeed, at least the prosecutors are generally knowledgeable, albeit blind to the gospel truth.  This judge was almost giddy at her own ignorance.  I felt sick. 

I read a quote today that resonates with my what I heard in court this morning:

“When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy.” They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

Thus the lesson I learned today was to remember that LIFE is the ultimate assignment.  The weaker succumb to the petty power plays spinning around us.  Our job, as the strong, is to gently remind them of the real assignment.  Sometimes, as today, I fear some are too far gone….