Call From the Bullpen

Not too long ago, I went back into the “bullpen” next to the courtroom, which is the jail’s holding area in the courthouse. Defendants who are in custody are brought from the main jail and help in this holding area until it is time for them to appear in front of the judge. It’s routine for lawyers to visit back there to touch base with their clients before the trial or hearing begins.

I was looking for my client, who happened to not be in this particular bullpen because it was too full so they were holding him in the bullpen for the next courtroom over. As I went in to look for him and asked the 10 or so guys that were being held if he had been there, they started asking me questions.

One of the guys in the bullpen asked me if I could be his lawyer, which I couldn’t.  He explained that he wanted someone to fight for him and felt that his current lawyer wasn’t really fighting or trying to convince the judge of anything. He just didn’t feel, based on what he was able to perceive, that there was any passion in the representation he was receiving.

While I avoided details of this guy’s case, or who his lawyer was, I did realize the importance of what he was asking. There have been many times when I had a client with desperate legal circumstances and they really had very little chance of getting a positive outcome. I would fight, intentionally exhausting every reasonable avenue of what was a relatively hopeless defense.

Those defendants, and the guy in the bullpen, just wanted to have somebody on their side. Some have thanked me, even after losing, for just that . . . for being on their side. They messed up, and they know it. They just don’t want to be completely abandoned or discarded.

That is absolutely no different from the rest of us who don’t find ourselves locked up, charged or convicted. We want enough grace to be afforded our mistakes with room to improve and make up for our errors. We don’t want to be abandoned just because we are messed up enough to offend the decency in others.

The demands of justice and the price of freedom have been paid. The sacrifice for our Freedom required the ultimate passion. What Greater Love than One that would lay down His life for a friend? Our Advocate is Faithful. We never lose when we trust our defense to our Advocate.

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