Archive for the 'legal' Category

The Child

April 23, 2010

(from 2006)

She says her heart belongs to the children
but much of that is really her need
to address the child she has never
resolved inside.

Delighting over each smile, each little
coo that the crack babies make
when they’re brought to court by
the caseworker who

She has a beautiful smile from rum and music
She dances.
The children are on hiatus for the weekend
She will not think of them in strange beds
in strange homes of strangers who do not love them.

She is only their voice on weekdays
in front of judges who do not know
the taste of poverty – being alone on the streets
streets filled with faceless addicts
that they call “momma.”

On the weekend, she will not tell her lover
how often she wakes with the image of a child
waking up in a locked facility
or in a foster home
without her sister
or her mother
or a bottle of milk.

Come Monday, she will delay her waking
because she not only wants to delay
the waking of the child
she will speak for in court,
but also the child
that she was.


some cilantro

September 27, 2008

I’m listening to Swati and I’m doing OK.

David came by for some random cooking (recipe below) and the rockstar is on the verge of something good.  And me – something good might just be in the works.  Not sure – for sure – but maybe I just might be OK.

It’s Friday and I still left work after 7pm.  On my way home, I was walking into the grocery.  I had this idea for maybe some sort of paella – some cilantro – maybe some lemons – I wasn’t sure and then…

Who did I see?  A couple from one of my cases.  A man, easily recognizable by the shoulder-length black hair coming from his cap and his tiny woman with her hair pinned up.  I found them in the produce aisle.   I felt bold and tapped the lady – “Hola!  Como estan?” as I pointed to the both of them.  They smiled and touched me – the both of them.   “Hello, Miss!  THANK YOU.”

The City had brought a case against the man- and after a year and half of trial – the city LOST.  The man was the boyfriend of this woman.  A woman with 3 children.  He had gotten drunk at a party – she had, too – and they had fought in the early morning.  Someone called the police.  White folk showed up and this guy – he did not understand.  This woman, she didn’t understand it either.

Kids may or may not have been there – so a Family Court case was filed.  I picked up this case.

My clients were 9, 11, and 14 at the time.  All the kids said to me, it was just an argument.  “He does not drink so much – it was just the party.  Miss, they got upset.”

The man’s lawyer presented evidence.  The man, the woman, my oldest client – they all testified – OVER  A YEAR to tell the judge that what happened was a one time thing.  That the children were not there.  IT WAS NOT NEGLECT.   The man is really sorry, really sad that this happened.

The whole time, the man could not live in the home, he was not allowed to have unsupervised contact with the children who had come to love him.  The woman felt like she was breaking the law when she came near him.

The judge listened and she evaluated and she thought – and she dismissed the case. The man was allowed to FINALLY come home. 

After a year and half. 

The judge was LIVID.  She had kept the man away with her order.   The woman and the man – they embraced in court.  Tears in their eyes.  Tears in my eyes.  The judge almost had tears in hers. She threw down her hands when she gave that decision.

I saw this man and this woman in the grocery store tonight.  She was picking over produce, he was holding the hand basket at her side as she put in apples, carrots, and lemons.  They saw me.  They thanked me for believing.  Believing that SHIT HAPPENS.  And that people should not be separated for over a year because someone got angry just once and they had it out.  The kids had gotten mad because they did not like seeing momma cry.   (That is how things like this gets reported to social services.) Had everyone spoken English, I doubt this would have happened this way.

I see tonight, that after all of this, this man loves her.  She loves him.  Those children, my clients – they told me that. 

And L——?  Age 14?  She got on the stand and told the Judge, “Sometimes people fight, Your Honor, but they still don’t want to hurt each other.  He is really, really sorry.  I believe him. He is the only father I have ever had…”

Get away from these people, I just don’t feel safe. Get out of this place. Cause I would do anything for you, I wish there was someone who felt the same way. Whatever happened to honesty?




– 3 boneless chicken breasts – rinsed and patted dry – cut into bite-sized pieces
– SEASON ALL (or salt/pepper) to taste

– 1 large onion – chopped
– 1 red bell pepper – chopped
– 4 cloves garlic – chopped
– 2 small serrano peppers – chopped
– 1 cup frozen peas
– 1/4 tsp turmeric
– 1 tsp Curry powder
– 1 tsp thyme
– 3 bay leaves
– 2.5 cups broth (chicken or veggie)
– 1/2 cup tomato sauce
– 1 cup rice
 – 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
– salt/pepper
– 2 TB Olive Oil

-Fresh cilantro for garnish


1.  Season Chicken with Season-All or salt/pepper in a bowl.  In a large pot, heat Olive Oil over medium heat and sautee chicken for 5 minutes.  Wash the bowl out  and set chicken aside.

2. In reserved oil/juices (add more oil if dry), sautee onion, garlic, bell pepper, and serrano peppers – until fragrant.

3.  Add Turmeric, Curry, Thyme, and Cilantro.  Stir well for about a minute.

4.  Add peas, stir.  Then add broth and tomato sauce.  Stir well for 3-4 minutes.

5.  Add rice and stir for a minute.

6.  Bring to a boil and then cover and lower heat to a simmer for about 30 minutes.

7. Check pot and if too watery, cook for 5-10 minutes more, covered.

Serve in a bowl with cilantro – chopped – on top.
Be thankful for the legal process, but understand the injustice.  Salt/Pepper to taste.

Serves 3-5

they’ll be back

August 2, 2008

to:  fishes

date:  Fri, Aug 1, 2008 at 9:12 PM
subject:  Re:Supreme Court Decision on Same Sex Marriage

Thank you for writing to share your thoughts on the California Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.  I appreciate hearing from fellow Californians about the issues that are important to them.

In 2000, voters approved Proposition 22 – also known as the California Defense of Marriage Act – which stated that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.  The California Constitution says that initiatives cannot be amended without another vote of the people, and so I vetoed all recent legislative efforts to amend the marriage laws without another vote of the people or a court decision.  But I have always said that I would abide by the rulings of the state’s highest court.  On May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court held that Proposition 22 is unconstitutional.  I respect the Court’s decision, and as I promised before, I will uphold its ruling.

Again, thank you for taking time to write and share your comments.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

gay gay gay! yay!

June 18, 2008








*Del Martin and Phyllis Lyons – California, 2008*

I have my own issues with gay marriage – but I have NO ISSUES at all with this.  So lovely.

See my youthful commentary:

(oh yes – 2000…)

Mature Disclaimer:  Marriage for immigration and/or health care purposes only.

If I had no class-based reason, I agree with my youthful diatribe (see above.)  But now that I’m over 30 and have the above concerns, I’m more than open to taking advantage of it.  I hate that!

Hate it!

I still wish we lived in a society (world) where none of your entitlements and/or benefits were based on who you (fuck) sleep with on a regular basis. 

Fuck the Establishment. 



September 28, 2007

I met up with Zoey tonight.  She interned at my office a year or so ago.  Currently an incredibly focused 3rd year law student, she never ceases to amaze me.  We had some beers at the local crappy bar in her hood.  What used to be my hood.  She had such focus.  Such passion.

I think about her and wonder what the hell I was thinking at that time in my life.  I was all heartbroken w/o a focus.  I just needed a goddamned job- and at this point – the beginning of my 3rd year?  I wasn’t even realizing that yet.

From the moment she stepped into law school, she knew.  I have the job that she wants.  Well, almost.  But close enough.

And here I am, trying to find a “better” one.  I’m starting to doubt myself.

on 9/11/2001

September 11, 2007

#53 | Monday, September 17th 2001

I was standing outside of the Family Court in Queens, NY. Other students in my law school class and I were waiting for our professors to arrive and lead us on a tour of the Court. A man ran down the steps proclaiming, “They just bombed the World Trade Center! They smashed right into it!” He looked wildly at everyone standing on the steps.

Mothers trying to calm their children and smoke cigarettes before their court appearances did not appear to welcome this “crazy” man’s exclamations.  I immediately dialed (my girlfriend at the time who was at my house watching TV and then ) the number of a former supervisor who I knew to work in Building Seven of the WTC (later collapsing as well).

I got no answer.

Suddenly, other students began to dial the phone numbers of friends and family and lovers who worked in the buildings or the area. My professors arrived and seemed disappointed that the class would not see the court on a “normal” day. They lead us to the metal detectors (customary procedure) and within two minutes, we were told that no courts would be in session.Soon after, a police officer in riot gear addressed the waiting room:

“Attention everyone! We are now evacuating the court house. Everybody move!”So, we did.

(I got on the Q54 bus with no problem and arrived at my apartment in 10 minutes.  My girlfriend and I, seeing we had no TV reception any longer – went to Yer Man’s, our corner bar to watch their cable and drink beer about it.)

Law school classes did not resume normally until about a week later.

—–fishes——- | 24 | New York

originally posted on 9/17/01: