When I was in high school, a common taunt when anyone complained about something was, “Here’s a dime: call somebody who cares.”

Thing is, in the 1970s, if you wanted to actually follow that advice, it wasn’t much of a problem. You simply offered to accept the dime — later a quarter — found a phone booth, and dialed the number you’d memorized for those who might actually care.

As Stephen Petrick recently learned, it doesn’t quite work that way anymore.

You can read the linked story to get the details, but basically, Petrick was arrested, locked up, and effectively denied bail for five days because he hadn’t memorized the ordinary — that is “not-a-cell-phone” — numbers for anyone who might care about him. Numerous people did care, but all they could do was sit and wonder, “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego Stephen Petrick?”

Actually, I guess cell phones are now “ordinary,” and home phones are becoming more rare.

The news story covers a number of significant points. For one, as with Mr. Petrick, many — if not most — people today no longer memorize phone numbers. We rely upon our cell phones to “know” how to call our family, friends, doctors, favorite restaurants, and just about anyone else with whom we’ve ever had significant contact. When that fails, we turn to the Internet.

Surprisingly to some, there is no dearth of both cell phones and the Internet inside most county jails. And let’s not even talk about cellphones in prisons.

But if you don’t have a detention officer or deputy in your pocket, you likely won’t have a cellphone there, either.

And Petrick clearly had neither.

But that’s not really what inspired me to write a blog post about him.

No, the part that struck me is the way the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department — which, I believe, holds the U.S. national record for cell phones smuggled into the jail by their deputies — justifies not providing the fucking yellow pages to those they incarcerate:

Nicole Nishida, spokeswoman for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, confirms there are no phone numbers provided for bail bondsmen near phones to which inmates have access.

“And we have no plans of doing it in the future,” she says.

Nishida calls the problem a “vending issue” that would have to be resolved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. She says it boils down to fairness: making sure the Sheriff’s Department does not display favoritism toward any particular bail bonds businesses.

God forbid, by the way, that anyone other than a correctional officer or deputy should try to smuggle a cell phone into the jail.

Yeah. Regarding Petrick, the jail spokesperson’s message could not be more clear:

Not our problem. We just lock up human beings, take away their freedom. Eventually, they have some legal recourse.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Hey. We’re only the Land of the Free. Home of the Brave.

Or so the ads say.

Truth of the matter is that, these days, no government agency gives a flying fuck about whether what they do is right, or just, or fair, or…

The only goal is to keep the money flowing. Create a sizable underclass from which the parasites can continue to make a living. Who cares if they’re treated fairly? Who cares if the system is just? Who cares whether they’re guilty, or not?

If people — in court we pretend they’re special, by saying, “the People,” with a capital “P,” but we really mean “the prosecutor,” who doesn’t give a damn about people — if people get hurt in the process, well, that’s just a sad side effect of the need to make sure that sadists (law enforcement officers, probation officers, parole agents, correctional officers, district attorneys and their deputies, judges, etc.) continue to collect paychecks.

But one of these days, the people — I mean the real people this time, which is why I used a lowercase “p” — are going to revolt. They’re going to turn on those with who abuse them, those with uniforms, those with robes, those with badges. Blood will flow.

You’ll find me standing out front of the courthouse, waiting.

With a bagful of dimes.

11 comments

  1. Where did you hear that I and my colleagues were given the responsibility to administer the system? You are apparently misinformed about who I am.

    I am a criminal defense attorney. I have no ability to administer the current system.

    You are right that I’ve known about the shortcomings in our system for a long time (not “forever,” since I haven’t been an attorney forever), and I’ve complained about it, written both blog articles and, more importantly, motions in court about it, adjudicated cases because of it, and generally worked to change the system. Certain changes (most notably the indiscriminate shackling of minors, which is and always has been illegally) have occurred because of my work. (Do a search on the blog, using the search box near the upper right, for “shackles” or “shackling” to see what I’ve said about that and what I’ve done.)

    As for the bail issues, again, I have no idea where you get your information. Criminal defense attorneys like me fight bail issues all the time. In one of my more notable bail motions, I successfully convinced a judge to reduce bail from $400,000 to $5,000. And that was after the judge had told me earlier in the week that she probably would not change her mind, even if I tried. Yet, in the end, I convinced her that the law required it, and she did it.

    You write without knowing either what you’re talking about, or who you are talking about.

    Feel free to read a few more of my blog articles, if you’re interested in resolving your ignorance problem.

  2. Where did you hear that I and my colleagues were given the responsibility to administer the system? You are apparently misinformed about who I am.

    I am a criminal defense attorney. I have no ability to administer the current system.

    You are right that I’ve known about the shortcomings in our system for a long time (not “forever,” since I haven’t been an attorney forever), and I’ve complained about it, written both blog articles and, more importantly, motions in court about it, adjudicated cases because of it, and generally worked to change the system. Certain changes (most notably the indiscriminate shackling of minors, which is and always has been illegally) have occurred because of my work. (Do a search on the blog, using the search box near the upper right, for “shackles” or “shackling” to see what I’ve said about that and what I’ve done.)

    As for the bail issues, again, I have no idea where you get your information. Criminal defense attorneys like me fight bail issues all the time. In one of my more notable bail motions, I successfully convinced a judge to reduce bail from $400,000 to $5,000. And that was after the judge had told me earlier in the week that she probably would not change her mind, even if I tried. Yet, in the end, I convinced her that the law required it, and she did it.

    You write without knowing either what you’re talking about, or who you are talking about.

    Feel free to read a few more of my blog articles, if you’re interested in resolving your ignorance problem.

  3. the people created the judiciary and the laws. you are your colleagues were given the responsibility to administer the system. the current system is irretrievably broken. guess why – because of you and your colleagues. the media highlighted this one case. however, you and your colleagues have know about this forever. after all these years, nothing has been done to fix it. guess why? the people pay the police (part 1) to enforce the law, and 99% of the time they get it right. they do their job. then they turn the matters over to guess who – you and your colleagues. and thats when everything goes to shit. face it pal – the people pay for the administration of justice (part 2), the lawyers have been put in charge, and its broken. its you and your colleagues that need to step back, take a look, and accept the fact, that the system the lawyers have created, designed, tweaked, re-tweaked, manage and supervise – is friggin broken. when are you and your colleagues going to actually do something to fix it, and put your selfish greedy needs 2nd to the principles of justice. like doctors, you folks spend more time and effort trying to stay on the top of the pedestal, then you do about ensuring liberty and justice. you and your colleagues have created a system that is a complete joke. look within pal, and fix it, or resolve yourself to the fact that you have not honored your solemn oath to uphold the constitution. thinking that blogging is going to fix a 5 day loss of liberty is preposterous. you are lawyer and have the legal license to get crap like this fixed in the courts, the appeals courts, the supreme courts. go to the courthouse and fix it, unless you are not equipped to handle such a basic simple matter as getting the jail to provide immediate access of accuseds in finding their bail. use the laws – they are already in place. no need for new law, new rules, new regulations. when the judge sets bail, the gov’t is not supposed to make it difficult for an inmate to seek and find it. and it behooves me that the sheriff, after a person has been admitted to bail, would want to keep an inmate under his liability, for any longer than necessary. the sheriff should seem thrilled to shed liability of the custody of an inmate every chance he gets. someone needs to remind the sheriff that shedding liability is a very good thing for the peoples account. someone needs to remind the lawyers that this accused’s liberty was violated (as been happening for decades – and not one lawyer has stepped up to protect the liberty rights of the accused when the jail hinders the finding of bail). again – ongoing for decades, and the lawyers have not fixed such a basic simple issue. so much for your hollow oath.

  4. the people created the judiciary and the laws. you are your colleagues were given the responsibility to administer the system. the current system is irretrievably broken. guess why – because of you and your colleagues. the media highlighted this one case. however, you and your colleagues have know about this forever. after all these years, nothing has been done to fix it. guess why? the people pay the police (part 1) to enforce the law, and 99% of the time they get it right. they do their job. then they turn the matters over to guess who – you and your colleagues. and thats when everything goes to shit. face it pal – the people pay for the administration of justice (part 2), the lawyers have been put in charge, and its broken. its you and your colleagues that need to step back, take a look, and accept the fact, that the system the lawyers have created, designed, tweaked, re-tweaked, manage and supervise – is friggin broken. when are you and your colleagues going to actually do something to fix it, and put your selfish greedy needs 2nd to the principles of justice. like doctors, you folks spend more time and effort trying to stay on the top of the pedestal, then you do about ensuring liberty and justice. you and your colleagues have created a system that is a complete joke. look within pal, and fix it, or resolve yourself to the fact that you have not honored your solemn oath to uphold the constitution. thinking that blogging is going to fix a 5 day loss of liberty is preposterous. you are lawyer and have the legal license to get crap like this fixed in the courts, the appeals courts, the supreme courts. go to the courthouse and fix it, unless you are not equipped to handle such a basic simple matter as getting the jail to provide immediate access of accuseds in finding their bail. use the laws – they are already in place. no need for new law, new rules, new regulations. when the judge sets bail, the gov’t is not supposed to make it difficult for an inmate to seek and find it. and it behooves me that the sheriff, after a person has been admitted to bail, would want to keep an inmate under his liability, for any longer than necessary. the sheriff should seem thrilled to shed liability of the custody of an inmate every chance he gets. someone needs to remind the sheriff that shedding liability is a very good thing for the peoples account. someone needs to remind the lawyers that this accused’s liberty was violated (as been happening for decades – and not one lawyer has stepped up to protect the liberty rights of the accused when the jail hinders the finding of bail). again – ongoing for decades, and the lawyers have not fixed such a basic simple issue. so much for your hollow oath.

  5. the taxpayers, via its county commission, needs to demand the sheriff, and the unions, and the courts, deliver efficient processing of inmates. this guy would have been in and out on bail. the 5 extra days times thousands of inmates equals huge waste of money, time and personnel resources. this waste is outrageous. and as for you lawyers, instead of moaning and whining on a blog, get off your butt and away from your keyboard and get involved and get it fixed. i doubt that will happen, as lawyers love to promote that they care about basic liberty and rights, yet in reality, they really don’t, unless it impacts their wallets. i’d call you – if you really cared. show me you really care.

    1. What is it that I don’t care about? The huge waste of money? Or basic liberty and rights? Doing stuff that doesn’t fill my pocket?

      In any of those cases, you clearly don’t know me. If you had called me, or been to my office, you would know that I routinely turn down cases because I don’t want to take money from people who don’t really need a criminal defense attorney. Or you might have been like the woman who came in for help with an expungement after she lost her job and to whom I gave advice for over an hour, without taking her money, on what to do about it after I advised her that in her situation she would gain no benefit from an expungement.

      I’m not saying I’m going to do that for everyone, by the way, because while I am not driven by a concern for my wallet, it is unfortunately a fact that this is the only way I have to feed my family. There are no lawyers I know who can simultaneously feed their families and represent or advise everyone in the world for free.

      As for the huge waste of money, I not only write about that from time to time, I discuss it with judges, prosecutors, and others in attempting to encourage decisions which will achieve a balance between saving money and improving society. I frequently represent people with drug problems who wish to obtain help. In the old days, our society wasn’t full of piss-asses like you who hide behind pseudonyms — excuse me, “fake names” (I suddenly realized based on your writing that you might not know what “pseudonyms” are) — people who think that “demanding” something from people who won’t listen is different from “blogging” to inform people who might — and we used to have facilities where people with mental health issues, which might include drug addictions, could get help. Today, we deal with them in the legal system and lock them up where they almost certainly won’t get help. In cases like that, I work to get them help, thus hopefully saving them a pointless jail or prison sentence, while saving society future money. When people are jailed or imprisoned and then released without treatment, they go on doing what they did before, costing us all more money. When people get treatment, they stand a better chance of not continuing to do what they did before, which costs society less money in the long run from not having to pay for future crimes and not having to pay for future arrests and prosecutions and not having to pay for future punishments.

      That’s just part of what I do to fight the higher costs to my clients and to society.

      Finally, I write this blog as part of my attempt to “get involved and get it fixed.”

      Or perhaps you think that the best way to fix things is by not talking about them.

  6. the taxpayers, via its county commission, needs to demand the sheriff, and the unions, and the courts, deliver efficient processing of inmates. this guy would have been in and out on bail. the 5 extra days times thousands of inmates equals huge waste of money, time and personnel resources. this waste is outrageous. and as for you lawyers, instead of moaning and whining on a blog, get off your butt and away from your keyboard and get involved and get it fixed. i doubt that will happen, as lawyers love to promote that they care about basic liberty and rights, yet in reality, they really don’t, unless it impacts their wallets. i’d call you – if you really cared. show me you really care.

    1. What is it that I don’t care about? The huge waste of money? Or basic liberty and rights? Doing stuff that doesn’t fill my pocket?

      In any of those cases, you clearly don’t know me. If you had called me, or been to my office, you would know that I routinely turn down cases because I don’t want to take money from people who don’t really need a criminal defense attorney. Or you might have been like the woman who came in for help with an expungement after she lost her job and to whom I gave advice for over an hour, without taking her money, on what to do about it after I advised her that in her situation she would gain no benefit from an expungement.

      I’m not saying I’m going to do that for everyone, by the way, because while I am not driven by a concern for my wallet, it is unfortunately a fact that this is the only way I have to feed my family. There are no lawyers I know who can simultaneously feed their families and represent or advise everyone in the world for free.

      As for the huge waste of money, I not only write about that from time to time, I discuss it with judges, prosecutors, and others in attempting to encourage decisions which will achieve a balance between saving money and improving society. I frequently represent people with drug problems who wish to obtain help. In the old days, our society wasn’t full of piss-asses like you who hide behind pseudonyms — excuse me, “fake names” (I suddenly realized based on your writing that you might not know what “pseudonyms” are) — people who think that “demanding” something from people who won’t listen is different from “blogging” to inform people who might — and we used to have facilities where people with mental health issues, which might include drug addictions, could get help. Today, we deal with them in the legal system and lock them up where they almost certainly won’t get help. In cases like that, I work to get them help, thus hopefully saving them a pointless jail or prison sentence, while saving society future money. When people are jailed or imprisoned and then released without treatment, they go on doing what they did before, costing us all more money. When people get treatment, they stand a better chance of not continuing to do what they did before, which costs society less money in the long run from not having to pay for future crimes and not having to pay for future arrests and prosecutions and not having to pay for future punishments.

      That’s just part of what I do to fight the higher costs to my clients and to society.

      Finally, I write this blog as part of my attempt to “get involved and get it fixed.”

      Or perhaps you think that the best way to fix things is by not talking about them.

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free ePamphlet

Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free ePamphlet on "How to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer."

Recent Posts

Topics

Archives