Sorry, Melissa

I have a latecoming apology.

25 years ago this summer, when I interned at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office during college, I was assigned to a project with Melissa, another intern. We helped research and design "caught" posters. Imagine a wanted poster with a person's photo, only instead of saying the person is wanted, it says they have been convicted of a crime and states their sentence. The DA's Office printed the posters and put them up in the gang-controlled neighborhoods from which the defendants sprang. The DA's office thought that public shaming of gang members through four-color posters in their neighborhoods would be a effective deterrent against armed robberies and drug murders. That was the extent of the DA's Office's grasp of sociology. My excuse is that I was 19.

Anyway, one Friday when Melissa left early, I left her a panicked message saying that the poster we had just crafted and released and had posted was wrong, because the defendant — let's call him John Smith — had not been convicted of homicide in violation of California Penal Code section 187, but of unlawful operation of an unlicensed riding mower in violation of City Code section 187, and that there was talk of a lawsuit and a press conference, and the DA wanted to talk to us. This was hard to confirm or deny on a weekend because there was no internet at the time on which Melissa could look up either Mr. Smith or the LA City Code.

That was mean. Sorry Melissa.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. Ivraatiems says

    Take note, Ken: A dozen angry bogus-slander/libel-attorneys are writing this down so they can use the phrase "Kenneth White, known intern-torturer" in their next filing.

  2. Alex says

    DId she not notice the sentence was particularly harsh for a lawn tractor related crime that did not involve blade to human contact?

  3. says

    Did the boys in the hood take retribution on the lawn mower guy, since he didn't do what he needed to do to join the gang?

  4. Gbear says

    Providing wall art for the hood & fodder for a fellow attorney at the same stroke, my hats off to you.

  5. Dave says

    I'm thinking the posters may have actually served as a 'reward' for those convicted.

  6. says

    You are an evil evil person, Ken. Not for your prank as an intern, but for making me remember that d*mn 80's song "Nineteen".

    Total tangent: we need a separate entry for the new layout, so readers can offer their reactions and feedback without dominating every other thread.

  7. En Passant says

    Ken wrote:

    I left her a panicked message saying that the poster we had just crafted and released and had posted was wrong, because the defendant ā€” let's call him John Smith ā€” had not been convicted of homicide in violation of California Penal Code section 187, but of unlawful operation of an unlicensed riding mower in violation of City Code section 187, and that there was talk of a lawsuit and a press conference, and the DA wanted to talk to us.

    No problem. Just calendar an ex-parte hearing seeking a judicial finding based on new evidence not presented at trial, that Mr. Smith was also playing an accordion at the time of the offense.

  8. I was Anonymous says

    Quoth Roscoe:

    No problem. Just calendar an ex-parte hearing seeking a judicial finding based on new evidence not presented at trial, that Mr. Smith was also playing an accordion at the time of the offense

    And riding a pony.

  9. Lagaya1 says

    I'm so glad to see you're back! I had stopped visiting Popehat after you left. Got tired of just finding Clark huddled in the basement with his guns. I hope you're back to stay!