Meanwhile, At the Hall of Justice…

That damned word just won’t go away.


It’s more relative than a prostitute’s preferences.

I talked about it before as a word defined by the beholder, not through universal understanding.

The Holiday Season stimulates some of the more needful members of our society to search for a lawyer to help with all the past injustices in their life. A good example is when they pled guilty in 1982 after giving a written sworn statement confessing to the crime. The confession came after watching the surveillance tape showing them earning a Best Actor Oscar. Now, they want something done since they were obviously the victim of unfair treatment.

They call. I say there’s nothing I can do for the conviction since it happened almost 30 years ago, they already received at least one look at an appeals court, and they lack evidence to merit an extraordinary writ. I politely decline to take their case.

“Put the money that you would’ve paid me into a savings account for your kids,” I say.

Out comes the anger. They accuse me of working for the government. I’m part of the conspiracy to make them miserable in life. They say I don’t want justice. I explain that I couldn’t, in good conscience, take their money in a case that would likely die a quick and quiet death. Out comes more anger. They state I don’t want justice, and how dare I even think about charging them for such a wonderful, glorious case.

Their definition of justice: Take my case for free and get me everything I want. Or else you suck.

I hate the use of “justice” in almost any context except the phrase “Meanwhile…..At the Hall of Justice.”

To some prosecutors, “justice” means getting the death penalty or life without parole.

To defense attorneys, it means an acquittal or the lightest possible sentence.

To some clients, it means getting a fair shake and fighting as hard as possible.

To others, it means getting whatever they want, logic and law be damned.

I sympathize. I try to be as kind as possible. I try to demonstrate the logic and math behind my declination. I try to explain that theirs is not the only sense of “justice.” I explain that my definition of the term involves not accepting their money in a case that is guaranteed to fail. Sometimes it works. Most of the time, it just causes the expulsion of bile.

It all solidifies my professional heart’s desire for “justice.” I wish the word would go away.


3 thoughts on “Meanwhile, At the Hall of Justice…

  1. It’s funny that you write this. My very first post was about this, and I’ve written a few since. People, some lawyers included, refuse to accept the notion that justice isn’t a universally defined concept, but merely a peculiar vision of what’s right (or what serves an interest best at any given moment).

    • What particularly intrigues me is how a person (or group) will assume that their definition of justice is the universal, “god-given” truth. Anyone who differs is labeled an outlier, radical, extremist, crazy, or a freak.

      It’s really a drug consumed by those who haven’t yet resigned themselves to the use of chemicals. They want this thing called “justice.” They think it will make them feel better. They feel strongly about it. Occasionally, they get what they want. When they do, they just want more. By getting it, they don’t notice that their “justice” is someone else’s “injustice.” The high makes them numb to those who suffer. They’re just so doggone happy to have “justice.”

      The only cure is to stop taking ourselves so seriously, but that’s an inoperable tumor within our species.

Comments are closed.