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Happy New Year

Just over four months here in Colorado, we're settled in to the apartment, have a good sense for the area, and are getting used to having snow on the ground most of the time.

Work is super busy. Last I checked, I have 206 client files open. It's crazy, but I'm starting to feel like I know what I'm doing, even though there's still not enough hours in the day to get it all done.

No resolutions yet, but I'm considering some.


First month update

On Thursday I will have completed a full month as a public defender. The move out here went smoothly and we're pretty much settled in. It's been busy, with two trips back to the east coast, so not a lot of time to rest.

Life as a PD is busy. I have over 100 cases right now, and should have over 150 by the end of this week, as more are transferred to me. I'm regularly in the office until 6:30 or 7:00, catching up on writing motions and returning client phone calls.

I was supposed to have worked on two trials by now, but one client didn't show up on time to court and another trial got continued because the prosecution didn't have their witness. I have another trial scheduled for next week.

I'll try to update more often, but I'm pretty busy and there's a lot of stuff I can't say, due to client confidentiality concerns.

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It's been too long

I'm not dead yet.

There's a lot of change in my life. I'm married now. We're moving to Colorado within the next two weeks, and I start my job as a Deputy Public Defender. I'm renting out my house in the DC area and am in the midst of a mad scramble to do all the things necessary to prepare the place for tenants, e.g. painting, licenses, leases, and various maintenance tasks I've been avoiding while residing here.

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Stress Testing the Banks

If you have to prove you are worthy of credit, your credit is already gone. -Walter Bagehot

Timothy Geithner, the Treasury Secretary, has come out with a plan (really more of a vague idea) to "stress-test" American banks to determine whether they can survive this current recession. To be conducted in April, this testing will be performed on banks of over $100 billion who have taken government money. Using assumptions of average unemployment of 8.9% in 2009 and 10.3% in 2010, Treasury will determine whether they can survive.

There are two problems with this plan. The most obvious is that we haven't been in a crisis like this before so we don't know whether those unemployment assumptions are too pessimistic, too optimistic, or just right. We won't find that out until it's too late, but that won't stop Treasury from spending more tax dollars based on the model.

The more fundamental problem is that the very fact that these banks are being stress tested indicates that they are on the road to failure. People don't ask whether your company can survive if they think it can; they ask to confirm that it can't.

My opinion is that this is all political theater to convince the American people that their money has not been thrown down a giant rathole and to pave the way for a more smooth nationalization for some of the ratholes banks that have already received government funds.

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This I Believe: Everyone Deserves Defense

I found out last Friday that my career as a public defender will be starting later than I'd like. Placement is by attrition and people aren't quitting as often as normal in this troubled economy. I'm disappointed, but still committed to being a public defender, albeit later than I had planned.

Derek pointed me to an NPR "This I Believe" essay by a former public defender. It's worth listening to, especially if you don't understand how I could choose a job where I fight for the accused, not the victim.

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I passed the Colorado Bar Exam

Results of the Colorado Bar Exam were posted this morning and my name was listed in the list of people who passed. Now I just need to pass the background check, take a professionalism class, and swear in and I'll be a real lawyer.

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