23 December 2011
By Curtis C. Chen
The public defender, Lirrina Banefs, pulls a small disk out of her briefcase as the three of us sit down around the bare table in the police station "lounge." She places the disk on the table and taps it with two fingers. The disk glows white, and a dot of red light sweeps around its outer edge.
"Jammer?" I ask.
"It's not that I don't trust the police," Lirrina says. "I've just seen one too many monitoring technician accidentally forget to stop recording. And Grunsharii courts are notoriously lenient when it comes to evidence collection methods."
I was prepared to dislike this one, but now she's starting to grow on me.
I look over at Driftis. He's slumped back in his chair, picking at his fingernails. That's not a good sign. What does he want to avoid talking about?
"Unprovoked assault, on the other hand," Lirrina continues, "they're not so keen on. Do you want to tell me what happened, Captain Degge?"
"What does the police report say?" Driftis asks.
Lirrina stares at him for a second. "I usually get two kinds of clients, Captain. There are those who think I can help them, who really hope I can get them out of trouble, and are willing to cooperate and do whatever it takes to assist in their own defense. Then there are those who don't trust me, who think I'm only here for show, and do their best to withhold any information they think might be self-incriminating. I don't have to tell you which kind does better in the end.
"But then there's a third kind. These are people with their own agenda. Maybe they've been in the system before, maybe they just think they know things. They want to manipulate the proceedings for some personal reason. Sometimes they lie to me, sometimes they tell me too much. They're unpredictable."
Lirrina leans forward and folds her hands. "I don't like these clients. I don't like how they work against me, I don't like how they think they know more about my job than I do, I don't like how they think they're smarter than the system. Because these are the people who screw everything up for the rest of us.
"We are a civilized society, Captain. Our rules exist for a reason, and our justice system, while it may not be perfect, is the way it is because of centuries of use and refinement. I don't like people who think they're better than all that. I don't like people who disrespect what I've dedicated my life and career to."
She leans back and spreads her hands. "But I'm still going to defend you to the best of my ability. Because that's my oath. I just want to know what kind of relationship we're going to have here, Captain."
Driftis nods. "You give that speech to all your clients?"
Lirrina shrugs. "More or less."
"Pretty good speech."
"Thanks." Lirrina almost smiles. "So. What happened out there?"
Image: Oranjello...laying[sic] in the briefcase by ClintJCL, July, 2008