Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Questionable outcomes

I went to court today to support a client who was facing some reasonably serious charges. After a long wait, we were finally called into the courtroom and after some negotiating with the judge, it seemed like we had reached a positive conclusion for all concerned. At least I thought so.

It turned out later that this was not the desired outcome at all. Though he had difficulty voicing it at the time, the person I had accompanied was deeply disappointed by the resolution that his lawyer had reached with the judge. I'm still not sure what he was expecting (and perhaps it was completely unrealistic) because he refused to speak about it afterwards.

The experience has raised some important questions for me about the degrees and methods necessary to ensure that people have a full voice in matters that concern them. This becomes problematic when serious mental illness is a factor, but nevertheless this cannot be an excuse for not trying.

At my commissioning last year, I was personally charged with these words from Proverbs 31:8-9
Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute.
Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Seems like there might be a few challenges there...

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