A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: There's Even Sympathy For The Lawyers

Are you watching this stuff on the news? Of course you are - how can you not? You just stare and ask the same question everyone's asking - "What if this happened to me? Selfish? No - just a great question that helps you appreciate the colossal catastrophe that has occurred.

While some are asking who's fault this is, when the power will return, and what will be the future of the Gulf Coast, I have but one question: WHY ARE VICTIMS OF A NATURAL DISASTER, IN AMERICA, WAITING FOR FOOD AND WATER? That's my only question. I will ask no other. Can someone answer that for me please?

Today, I was honored. I was asked to participate in what turned out to be the best and worst telephone call I've ever experienced.

I was asked to join representatives of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in a conference call to discuss the short and long term needs of the criminal defense bar.

In the first few minutes of the conversation I joined the millions of helpless people around the world unable to do anything. I listened to the Louisiana lawyers ask each other if they've seen some of their colleagues, or know where they are.

They're looking for people. Lawyers, Judges. "Anyone heard from the public defender? someone asked.

Then they discussed other mundane issues, like the fact that they have no work, their files are destroyed, they have no office, they don't know where their clients are, and the ones in jail are being moved.....somewhere. They need a phone, a safe place to send their kids for a while, and things that we don't even think about, ever.

"When will the courts open?" I thought I heard a slight chuckle at that question.

Then the discussion of money came up. Time for me to chime in and discuss how I could.....send emails asking for money. I apologize to the starving people there, but that's about all I can do - ask for and send money.

But that's short term help. What these lawyers need now, is jobs. No one's getting arrested, no one's going to court, no one needs them. In fact, most people don't need anyone right now except someone with something to eat or drink.

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