Tuesday, December 8, 2009

White Supremacy Part I

I've got an interesting dilemma. I was recently appointed to a case where I would have to defend a guy who, according to the police report, has "ties to white supremacy." At first glance, I was ok with this. I've always told myself that for the sake of justice and upholding the Constitution, I could defend pretty much anybody (except for maybe a child rapist who I know is lying through his teeth). However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized the potential conflict. I haven't met the guy yet, but when we meet next week at a court hearing, I wonder if he would even want me to be his attorney. Would I be the subject of his anger and hatred (assuming that he is angry and drinks haterade)? Would I eventually hate the guy myself if I find out that the allegations are true? Should I fear for my own life?

Oh, and here is an interesting twist for all you drama queens. The police officer who arrested my client was Officer Hoppie. He ain't going to be too hoppie when he sees me (see last post).


  1. We had a client with a similar background. The other attorney I work with at my firm is named Yossof Sharifi and is Afghan. We were pretty worried about that first client meeting, but we ended up having a great relationship with the guy and he loves Yossof. We never discussed race with him, though.

  2. WHATTTT Officer Hoppie?!?!?! Talk about coincidence!!! I guess he's doing his job then- maybe he just plays by the law of large numbers- if you arrest/pull over/hassle enough people, you're bound to get at least one criminal.

    On a different note. Before you go in to meet this guy- remember the effects of self-fulfilling prophecy. Other people's actions are often a mirror of your own attitudes toward them. How you shake his hand, how you talk to him, how you act toward him will be a reflection of your knowledge of his being a white supremicist, which will bring out the stereotypical behavior from him. If you interact with him with the idea of him being a nasty crazy angry man, most likely he will act that way. Just go in there to be surprised. Maybe he came from a very white supremacist family and that's the only world he understands. Maybe he grew up so lonely his whole life, and the only friends he could find were white supremacists. I'm not excusing his attitudes, but I'm just saying, if you try to keep in check your own prejudices (no matter how justified they are), you might have a positive experience. Who knows, maybe his interaction with you will change his view completely? Our class tomorrow is about prejudices and stereotyping so this stuff is way active in my mind.

    Ok enough with the essay. Good luck!!!!

  3. Hi Jang, what are you doing up so early? ;)
    How interesting that you are appointed to defend someone like this, and Officer Hoppie is the one who arrested this guy.
    I would be interested in finding out if you would be defending this guy or not and why.
    Thanks for these postings. Look forward to more!

  4. An ancient chinese proverb says, 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'. I look forward to watching you give Hoppie the cold sweats on the stand.

  5. Josh, I think I will take on the same attitude: act like race is not an issue. If he makes it an issue, then so be it. Thanks, Josh!

    MissKim, awesome stuff! Thanks! I will definitely meet him with an open mind and use all of that great Dale Carnegie stuff when I interact with him. I guess I shouldn't stereotype white supremacists... :)

    Saerome, me and Office Hoppie will probably be sharing a cup of tea in the future.

    Nate Kiser, maybe you could be the person who does those courtroom sketches for us.

  6. Wow they must pay you to write this stuff. You are a very entertaining writer. I think all your concerns are valid and perhaps even understated - sounds like a tough case especially when things are particularly close to home these days.



  7. I bet this white supremacist is posting on his incredibly racist blog right now, concerned that he will be represented by an attorney who can't pass simple sobriety tests and doesn't know how to stop on the letter "x".

  8. Ian, thanks for the compliment. It's only entertaining because it's true.

    Grant Olsen, I read his blog regularly. I will send you the link.