For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 7

overload (overhead) including staff, workspace, and
reducing practice luxuries. This has been difficult and
will require continued adaptation.

Universal Struggles
For perhaps the first time in our careers, we were
experiencing similar life circumstances with our clients.
Every phone call began with mutual exchanges of
concern and expression of disbelief about the world
around us. As they wondered what would transpire in
the country between now and their next court date,
so did we. When they told us that they were going to
be late on their next payment, we thought about our
own finances. If our clients expressed a lack of concern
about their cases given the growing health concerns
of our geographic region, it gave us pause about our
own priorities. We juggled the fears and anxieties of
our clients while trying to maintain our own physical,
emotional, and financial well-being. Self-care became
increasingly important as the questions mounted, and
answers were few and far between. PACDL held a few
Zoom sessions on this very topic.
Immediately following the initial shutdown, we
received calls from families of past clients seeking
early parole petitions and current clients seeking bail
modifications. Some of these clients were incarcerated
in state correctional institutions and their files were
" closed " some time ago. Everyone wanted answers
NOW. We had no past practices to rely on. In many
cases, we had to say that we could not help, as there
were no policies or procedures to support the request.
In cases where we could assist, it was not immediately
clear how to access the court system.
The day following the shutdown, Syzane filed
a petition for early parole through the abnormal
channel of an email to court administration. A hearing
was held at the nearly empty courthouse as part of
the new " essential court " schedule. Days prior, we
thought all court was essential. Ultimately, the Judge
denied Syzane's petition on behalf of a client who was
sentenced to immediate work release. There would be
no work and no release. The client missed the birth of
his child, even though a furlough had been arranged
several weeks prior. Some of these losses were difficult,
as clients were desperate.
It became clear that assisting our clients, particularly
those incarcerated, was going to be difficult and, in
some cases, impossible. Some county jails restricted
in-person visits and began offering virtual visits.
Eventually, most counties reduced their incarcerated
populations with bail modifications and furloughs,
but many of our clients remained behind bars. This
turmoil reminded us why bail and sentencing reform

is important. Maybe we both should have gone to
one more meeting or written one more letter to our
representatives. Our indigent and court-appointed
clients suffered most and, while that has never felt fair,
it was particularly cruel at that moment.

Reinvigoration
Whether we wanted downtime in our practices or
not, now we had it. April through June felt particularly
slow and inefficient. Making progress in current cases
was an uphill battle. Embracing a shorter workday was
often easier said than done.
But with this came a sense of reflection about how
immersed in our practices we had been for so long.
What were our goals? Who did we want to be to our
clients? What did our futures look like in the world
of private criminal defense? Was now a good time to
switch gears?
Despite our frustration and confusion, we realized
that we had a purpose. There was a reason we were
not law clerks, tax attorneys, or prosecutors. We were
wired for this. We started out in Public Defender
Offices and felt at home. We had spent years going to
jail on Friday nights. We always took calls on weekends
from people who had just been arrested. We went to
court and argued even when we knew everyone in
the room was thinking, " How can they do this for a
living? " And now, in this downtime, we realized that
our clients needed our grit and passion more than ever.
The challenges were considerable. Many clients were
frustrated when their cases were continued countless
times. Some clients did not have access to technology
or the skills to operate it. We became pseudo IT experts
overnight. We learned new court procedures and
educated our colleagues and our clients.

Community Outreach and Client Assistance
In addition to our clients and families, our communities
also needed us. The skill set we honed to assist our clients
was the same skill set that we could employ to give back
to those locally needing support in these challenging
times. Our bar associations spearheaded contributions
to local medical professionals, frontline workers, and
county agencies who were combatting the pandemic
daily. The municipal and non-profit boards we sat on
looked to us for our leadership and guidance, as many
struggled with unforeseen challenges.
We also engaged with our own clients in a new way.
We could empathize with the daily stress and anxiety
they were experiencing. On top of the pandemic itself,
we had clients who felt that their own legal situations
were an example of a larger national storyline of racial

Vol. 5, Issue 4 l For The Defense

7



For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 4
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 5
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 6
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 7
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 8
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 9
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 10
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 11
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 12
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 13
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 14
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 15
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 16
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 17
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 18
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 19
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 20
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 21
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 22
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 23
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 24
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 25
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 26
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 27
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 28
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 29
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 30
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 31
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 32
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 33
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 34
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 35
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 36
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 37
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 38
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 39
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 40
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 41
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 42
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 43
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 44
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 45
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 46
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 47
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 48
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 49
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 50
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 51
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 52
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol7_issue2_2022
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue3_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue2_2018
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue3_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue2_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue1_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue4_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue3_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue2_2016
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