Image by richardmasoner via FlickrHere's another tale from my years as an Assistant Public Defender.
During my first year as an Asst. PD, I was assigned to represent a guy who was charged with exposing himself--a misdemeanor. The accusatory alleged that he pulled down his pants while in his mother's back yard and told a man who was riding by on his bike that he "sure looked nice in those bike pants."
Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? Well, it turns out my guy was mentally disabled. He was functional, but he definitely had issues. And, not just mental issues--physical issues as well. Urinary issues, to be exact.
When I first met him, he told me all about his urinary incontinence issues. Apparently, he had sudden, overwhelming urges to urinate, and he had a tendency to whip it out wherever he happened to be. And, he was in the process of doing so on the day in question, when a guy rode by on his bike, and my client felt the need to compliment him on his biking attire. It was fairly obvious to me that my client was being sincere. And it was pretty clear that the guy was mentally challenged. If nothing else, that was quite obvious.
The ADA and I were both new at the job, and handled only misdemeanors. Generally, we only dealt with a slew of shoplifting cases from the mall, occasional assaults, and minor property damage (It wasn't until we were promoted to city court that we were exposed to the dirty underside of human existence: drugs, prostitution, public lewdness--the revolving door of the criminal justice system). We weren't sure what to do with him. He had minimal contacts with the criminal justice system, but the case wasn't a typical case for a suburban town court.
We discussed my client's case briefly and decided to adjourn it so that we could talk to higher ups at our respective offices for guidance.
On the adjourned date, my client approached me and pressed a manila envelope exploding at the seams into my hands. He advised me that it contained medical records that established his medical condition and thus his need to drop trousers whenever the need arose. As he walked away from me, I started to remove the documents from the folder when I noticed that they were damp--peculiarly damp. And, they smelled funny. They smelled kind of like--urine.
Somehow, I managed to keep my lunch down. I'm still not sure how.
I held the driest corner of the envelope between my thumb and forefinger and quickly approached the judge's clerk. I asked her if we could call my guy's case right away. As soon as his case was called, I asked to approach the bench and explained the situation to both the judge and ADA. "I swear. He peed on the papers. Here, see for yourself. Can't we just unload this one now?"
Surprisingly, they weren't all that interested in examining my urine-soaked offering.
The good news was that the ADA had spoken to his supervisor, and was authorized to extend a very reasonable offer. We gladly accepted it and my mentally disabled, urinary challenged, client was free to leave.
My parting advice to him was try to pee in the bushes in the future--and to keep his fashion opinions to himself.