At lunch on Thursday, I penned a little letter. I did something my girlfriend says I need to do more- I talked about my feelings
Sometimes I can’t help myself. Sometimes I can’t take it anymore. This is one of those.
October is, apparently, domestic violence awareness month. Or something like that. Every year the Woodstock courthouse celebrates this with a display of shirts. Not any shirts, though. White shirts that are “decorated” for domestic violence awareness month. And, by “decorated” I mean that very personal, powerful, direct statements are written on them. Some in Spanish. Some with illustrations.
They say things like, “violence is not just physical.” They address “you.” Many of them tell powerful stories. The display certainly does meet its goal of giving a “voice” to victims of domestic abuse.
And all of them are suspended from clotheslines spanning 3 stories of open stairway. The same stairways that jurors walk up. The same stairways that the criminally accused walk up. The same stairways that I walk up.
I have had enough.
It’s not fair.
It is not fair that purportedly neutral jurors should be subjected to a display that is aimed at essentially telling “us” that “we” do not understand how serious a problem domestic violence is. “We” don’t get how it is underreported. “We” don’t get how “abusers” get off easily.
I don’t think it’s fair. Not sure what to do, I contemplated my options. Should I subpoena the names of every person who made a shirt? I mean, I think the confrontation clause would give me a right to ensure none of them are witnesses against my client. Witnesses should not be able to “talk” to jurors (even indirectly) without my cross examining them, right?
That seemed a little harsh. I mean, getting these shirts taken down should be easy, right? So, I set out to do things the “easy” way. At lunch on Thursday, I penned a little letter. I did something my girlfriend says I need to do more- I talked about my feelings.( click link for copy of letter). I told them how I felt about the shirts. It was direct. Maybe a little too direct for some people’s taste. I asked around the courthouse and was told that I should direct it to the Trial Court Administrator.
Friday afternoon, I got a response from the Trial Court Administrator. Guess what? The trial court administrator is not in charge of making sure judicially prejudicial stuff isn’t hanging over the stairs. I guess the county building administrator has that job! Thankfully, the Trial Court Administrator forwarded my stuff over.
That was Friday. Guess what was still hanging up today? Yeah. The dirty laundry.
Oddly enough, I was contacted by a newspaper reporter today. I can’t wait to see what their story says. Should be fun to see where this goes tomorrow!