Lawyers by nature are egotistical and self-centered; otherwise they would not want to be lawyers. Most judges are even worse, since they occupy positions of power over peoples’ lives and fortunes and many suffer from severe cases of judgitis.
Professional jealousy is second nature to lawyers in the practice of law and they love to see another lawyer go down in flames. While doctors assist each other with business referrals, lawyers would rather sue each other, hence the shark symbol. A new lawyer learns these facts of professional life sooner or later, usually the hard way.
Almost a year had passed since all criminal charges pending against me in Oklahoma were dismissed. My law practice was growing steadily, assisted by the local newspaper coverage of the dismissal of murder charges against the young mother from Oklahoma City who had shot-gunned her former boyfriend. I was actually starting to enjoy life for a change and it seemed like my long struggle to survive was over.
One bright and sunny morning, Jean, my thirty-five year old super-efficient office manager, ushered a new client into my office.
The smartly dressed and uniformed Private First Class soldier walked into my office and announced, “I need to hire you to represent my poor mother. She’s in the Tarrant County jail.” He then related how his long suffering mother had finally snapped one day and shot her deadbeat husband, Roscoe, the father of her three young children, in the heart.
Jimmy looked to be about nineteen – but mature beyond his years. He was the product of an earlier relationship of his mother – her love child, by another loser.
“I hated my stepdad, the S.O.B. beat Mom and me when he was drunk, and he stayed drunk or high on weed most of the time. She became his slave so I left home and joined the Army, before I had to kill him.”
“Did he work?” I asked.
“No, are you kidding?” he replied – his facial expressions showing his contempt for his stepdad.
“Mom worked two jobs – she cooked at one place in the mornin' and then comes home and cooked dinner for us em' and then went back to cookin' until closing time at another place. She was workin' herself to death to pay the bills and keep food on our table.”
An old cliché came to my mind as he talked; “Some people are alive only because it is against the law to kill them.”
“How did your stepdad get himself shot?" I asked, showing my empathy for Jimmy’s opinion of Roscoe.
“Roscoe attacked her and was going to beat the hell out of her. She grabbed her .25 heater out of her purse and told him to go away, but he kept coming – so she shot him one time –an kilt him dead.”
The boy waited for my response. I looked him in the eyes, “Nothing more deadly than one well-aimed bullet. Isn’t that what they teach you in the army?”