Friday, September 28, 2012

Breaking the Habit

The thing I enjoy most about my job is the people.  Even when I complain about them, I still enjoy them. 

You see, I get to work with lawyers, judges, doctors, accountants, medical examiners, cops, scientific experts, suburban housewives, derelict dads, thieves, murderers, rapists, neglectful mothers, child abusers, and con artists.

And that's just in one week.

Many of my cases involve a cooperating witness.  This is someone who is either part of the crime and agrees to testify against the other participants or someone who knows about the crime and agrees to testify in exchange for a deal on their case (think jail house informants).

They all come with their own baggage.  You can read here for a discussion on that.  It's just the cost of doing criminal business.  Criminals witness homicides at a far greater rate than suburban grocery store managers. 

I usually find the cooperators entertaining and intelligent.  It surprises me every time.  I get the feeling that if they were to direct their energies outside the criminal world, they would be a productive society member.

But then there are the other ones.  Like this female who was going to testify against her brother in two horrific assaults and attempted murders.  This girl, call her Jasmine, liked to steal.  Purses from a store, cash from a register where she worked, or credit cards from a community center where she was doing her court-ordered volunteer work.  She really didn't have qualms about the place as long as it had something of value.  She had been in jail for the four months while I was meeting with her.  It was at our last meeting, the one I told her that the defendant pleaded guilty and the case was over, that she told me she was pregnant.

She wanted to get out of jail with a time served sentence.  She was terrified of having the baby in jail.  She didn't want probation with a new baby.  The baby would be the impetus to turn her life around.  The judge obliged with a time served sentence.  Jasmine went on her way to turn her life around.  We were confident we would never cross paths again.  Well, she was confident.  I was hopeful, not confident.

Until I saw the wanted posters.  Apparently, Jasmine was on video stealing thousands of dollars from a few different stores in the last month and the police were asking help in finding her.  Apparently, I'll be seeing Jasmine sooner than we anticipated.  I already know her reasoning - it was for the baby.

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