When The World Stops

July 19, 2011

Sometimes, in my job, I have a day when I move into a microcosm and the rest of the world is required to stop.  This is one of those days.

Today is the sentencing for my client that was accused of the first degree murder of her abusive husband.  When you represent someone for far more than a year, you either like them very much or dislike them very much.  I like Ellen very much.  So, even though I have been working in Criminal Defense for twenty-five years, on sentencing day for a client I like, my chest is tight, and I pray we have left no stone unturned both in investigation and in preparation.

To make it more stressful, Dateline-NBC is interviewing Ellen this morning.  Their Producer made arrangements with the judge to set up in the jury room off his courtroom for her interview.  The judge refused to permit her to wear street clothes for the interview or for her sentencing.  She will be dressed in the orange jail jumpsuit.  The Dateline Producer has brought her a scarf from the Metropolitan Museum and we’ll arrange that over her shoulders.  I have her makeup that her mother brought me.  I think the interviewer should apply it for her.  (He’s the guy that powders his face at every break.)  In the hearing about the clothing, the judge said that he thinks the orange jump suit looks like the scrubs that doctors wear, and he doesn’t find it humiliating or denigrating at all.  I didn’t have enough time this weekend to find orange scrubs to wear, and I’m not sure I would have done it — though the irony tickles me.

The sentencing will be at 1:30.  There will be witnesses, the deceased’s family members are permitted to speak — and will they ever.  This will be a gut-wrenching, heart pounding day.  I had to blog about it in advance because by 4:00, or so, I will not have a live brain cell.

Wish us well.


  1. Julie says:

    Good luck, Penni. I cannot imagine the stress.

  2. Taryn says:

    I can’t imagine doing what you do. I hope the outcome is what you have worked and hoped for.

  3. Holly says:

    I am wishing you strength through this.

  4. susan says:

    Good luck, Penni. I wish you peace and an in-tune brain throughout this process.

  5. Jean from NM says:

    Oh, boy, we’ll be thinking about you. Who’s the judge? I wonder if he or she would like to wear one of those orange jump suits if it’s not humiliating or degrading. Hang in there. Know that lots of thoughts are with you.

  6. Janet says:

    My work is a different kind of stress, but I know what you mean about certain days – you don’t get a good night’s rest before and that just adds to it. Take lots of belly breaths!

  7. DeAnn says:

    Good luck Penni. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way!

  8. Sounds like a harrowing day.

    Sending good thoughts that the jury do the right thing. No one should be afraid/abused in their own home. !!!

  9. Jeri says:

    I’ll have my fingers and toes crossed for the outcome you’re hoping for!

  10. Builder Mama says:

    Wishing you and your client well today…I can only imagine how tense you must be, and Ellen as well. I hope the judge is able to give a fair sentence and both Ellen and the victim’s family can move forward with their healing.

  11. Dawn says:

    Thinking of both you and your client today. WIshing you both Peace, Hope and Love.

  12. C-Myste says:

    We were following it today at the office, watching news clips and pictures and thinking of you. The comments on some of the sites are horrific. Keep yourself safe 🙁

  13. Mary says:

    Thinking of everyone today – I hope the outcome is the best for all concerned, whatever that turns out to be.