I’ve had a run of good results for clients lately. Three snapshots:

(1) One client was charged with DWI that arose after she was victimized in a brutal crime. Not surprisingly she struggled to cope and the DWI arrest and charge was a natural outgrowth of that struggle. The prosecutor handling this case immediately recognized that she was a victim more than a perpetrator. He worked with me to get her the help she needs to not only heal, but to keep her from driving while intoxicated again. When her case was resolved she told me what a relief it was and how since then she’s been busy with work and living her life.

(2) Another client struggled for years with intellectual deficit disorder (what used to be called mental retardation) AND mental illness AND addiction. She was homeless and intoxicated when the police found her. She lashed out when they arrested her. Instead of taking her to a mental health facility, they slapped with a felony criminal charge and left her to rot in jail. I worked to get her out of the jail (where she should never have been taken in the first place) to get mental health treatment. The prosecutor and I tailored a conditional dismissal for her where if she participated in mental health treatment, kept out of trouble, and reported back to us regularly, the court would dismiss her case. After a several year journey, today her case was dismissed. She’s in IDD classes, working on her social skills, and taking her medications faithfully.

(3) Finally, a third client has struggled for years with substance abuse problems. Facing charges both in Dallas and another county, he opted for the hard road – inpatient drug treatment in a lock-down facility. He could’ve done some time and gotten back on the street much quicker, but he wanted to change his life. He recently lost a family member (while he sat in jail) but is motivated to use that pain to change his life.

The system doesn’t work as often as it should. We see cases in the news that are depressing and enraging, when privilege and money buy people out of justice, when people in power are allowed to wreck the lives of the innocent, and when the poor get ground up because no one stands for them. But hard work by good defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and court staff can and does change people’s lives for the better. I saw it three times in the last week with my own clients.

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