Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thoughts about age

It's my mum's birthday today, she's 71. Spritely as a 45 year old, though, make no mistake.

Happy Birthday, mum.

But that got me thinking. About how old my mum is.

No, wait, about age. About the age of some of the people I see in court every day. I think that perhaps age is the one true variable, the one thing where I see diversity every day.

By that I'm stating the obvious in that I rarely see handsome, wealthy, executives in Brooks Brothers suits. I see a lot of minorities, disproportionate to the ratio out in the real world. I see very few pirates.

But every day there are defendants who should be drawing rude pictures in their history books at high school, young men who can't possibly be as chronologically deficient as they look. But they are.

I see hordes of people in their twenties, no surprise there, but the shock is that they show up to court with their four kids. Or two grandkids.

The middle-aged ones often get lectures from the judges, if they're getting probation: "Aren't you getting too old for this merry-go-round?" They hand their heads and nod, knowing it's true.

And some who are, absolutely positively, too old to be picking up their first felony. I'm talking seventies. Oh sure, they don't pop up often but we see them. And we see plenty of their younger brethren, men and women in their 50s and 60s who are up on yet another theft or drug charge.

Age as the unpredictable factor in court. I'd not thought about that until today.

Thanks mum. And happy birthday.

The gift card is in the mail, I promise.


  1. My Dad turned 65 in December and was sentenced for his first felony... first crime beyond a traffic violation at all... about a month ago.

    Federal court, though, where there are a few more handsome executives in Brooks Brothers suits sitting in the defendant's chair.

  2. The other day I was in court with a 69-year old client with no prior criminal record who that day started an eight-year prison sentence. Very somber occasion. And very out of the ordinary.


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