One of the things I love about good lawyers is that truth to them means what truth means to regular folks like Joe Friday. “Just the facts, Ma’am.”*
Indeed, one of the things I like about intelligent people, whether those folks are lawyers or law men or layabouts, is that they don’t fall for generalizations. But there are plenty of times when the “criminals are victims” crew gets going that they purposely ignore facts and rely upon generalizations to further their agenda. The same thing is true for the “throw away the key” folks and most Republican politicians who talk about criminal justice issues. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I hate this type of bullshit.
I don’t know whether Ms. Tabo is just naturally inclined to pursue facts no matter where they take her or whether she learned that from the famously tough as nails Court of Appeal Judge for whom she clerked, Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones. But what is true is that this young lawyer doesn’t like bullshit either. Her excellent writing and research skills are on display in an informative and fascinating post entitled Angola 3’s Albert Woodfox, Not Quite the Posterboy for Reform. Go read it please, and tell me what you think.
As an aside, I want to continue pimping Fault Lines. It brings together a variety of voices to take a hard and honest look at the full spectrum of criminal justice issues. It is a unique and monumental undertaking and, happily, the writers for the project are some of the very best. The diverse voices and diverse subjects that appear on Fault Lines makes the criminal justice site one of those that forces you to confront your own biases. In the words of one of the primary contributors, it is intended to “make you less stupid.”
* Dragnet was a crime series that appeared on TV from 1951 through 1959. It won 5 Primetime Emmys. Sgt. Joe Friday and his partners methodically investigate crimes in Los Angeles. Sgt. Joe Friday was the main character. He was weary because he had seen it all yet he plodded on. He famously told a witness that he wanted “just the facts, Ma’am.” That line is now embedded in popular America’s culture. It is a good operating principle for lawyers to remember as they ply their trade.