Stop Asking Where I'm From

Life Plus Seven. (How does that even work.)

Written By: humarashid - Dec• 19•14

Today was … a day.

I’m not knocking it – it was a good day, really. But it was … A Day.

Alright, I’ll quit vaguebooking and get into it.

We had a federal sentencing hearing in the Northern District of Indiana this morning. I’m admitted there pro hac vice, which means only for this particular case. When it’s officially over in February (there’s a little matter of a restitution hearing) then I will no longer be a part of that district. Which is fine by me. I don’t particularly like that place. I mean, it’s always a trip, and Raymond and I are always doubled over with laughter in the elevator every time we leave, but that’s for entirely different reasons.

I arrived around 9 and met the attorney who will be handling our client’s appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. He’s a lovely man, and was wearing a spiffy bow tie. I love older attorneys who wear bow ties. They’re adorable.

(Young men in bow ties more often than not are fucking dead-eyed hipsters who use words like “shmucko” to address people that they disagree with and post Taylor Swift lyrics “ironically” as their Facebook statuses, and I want to punch them in the face repeatedly. If you’re a young man that wears a bow tie, you may be the exception, I don’t know. Or I may punch you in the face if we ever meet in person.)


Also, I literally just decided 0.02 seconds ago that this will now be a Taylor Swift blog, so here. My posts will now be punctuated at both appropriate and inappropriate times with pictures of Taylor Swift.


We had a nice little meeting in the NDIN courthouse cafeteria – cutely named “the Jury Box” – about the case we were there on (we’ll call it the Rosenbaum case) as well as some other cases we’ve kind of incestuously been mutually involved in. (As in, the appellate attorney originally had the case, but then we got it on appeal, and the trial attorney had been another friend, blah blah blah. Incestuous.)

Then it was almost half past, and time to head up. So we all went upstairs, and were let in by the Judge’s clerk, who is one of the nicest men I have ever met. He’s such a sweetheart. We chit-chatted for a while once we’d settled, and then the Government arrived with its entourage, and the Marshals brought our client up, and not too long after, the Judge came out.

Sentencing was a dog-and-pony show, as it sometimes is (but not in the Northern District of Illinois, which is totally the best federal district in the country, although I might be biased). Whatever. The Judge handed down a sentence of Life plus 7 years, followed by 15 years of mandatory supervised release, formerly called parole.

Welp, it’s a good thing Jews don’t believe in the afterlife. (Har har har. Gallows humor. Don’t mind me.)

Afterwards, we checked a few things out with the clerk and then the three of us headed down to the basement where they have the lockup facilities. The Marshals let us spend some time with Rosenbaum, and then we left.

The appellate attorney split, but I know we’re going to be in touch quite a bit over the next 2-3 years. Raymond and I split up and drove back to Chicago, paying the egregious $4 toll to get over the bridge back into our wonderful, sane state.

(Seriously, though, that goddamn toll really burns me up. I remember being a kid and tolls were like $0.50, and now it’s the price of a cup of coffee just to get to fucking Indiana of all places. Like, I feel like if things made sense, Indiana would have to pay anyone that entered its state lines willingly, you know, because it’s so terrible, basically the goiter of the Midwest, which is also the term I use for Ohio. Why do I have to PAY to go somewhere that sucks so hard. Why. Name one good thing about Indiana. That’s right, you can’t, because there are literally none. None things. Ever.)***

We drove to 26th and California, the Makkah of criminal defense, where we always have a bunch of cases going and usually a couple clients in custody at the adjacent jail. Ray took me to lunch at Il Vicinato, this lovely, cozy, time-honored Chicago spot a few blocks away from the courthouse, where all the defense attorneys have been going for decades to eat after trial as they waited for their juries to come back with a verdict.

Il Vicinato 1

The host recognized him as soon as he walked in, and we found a little table in the back and settled in for a wonderful meal. I believe Il Vicinato was mentioned several times in Defending the Damned: Inside Chicago’s Cook County Public Defender’s Office by Kevin Davis, which was the book that made 1L-Huma long to be a criminal defense attorney. I have read that book cover to cover, and it’s been the basis of so many fantasies back when I was trudging through law school and spending 8 hours a day on the Internet looking at pictures of cats while I should have been studying for the Bar, and I remember reading about how Andrea Lyon, who was and remains one of my idols, used to eat there with all the other attorneys on the Murder Task Force, and my boss, too, back in the day when she ruled the halls at 26th street.

Il Vicinato 2

It was so meaningful to be there, honestly. I felt, for the millionth time since I met Raymond, that I was yet again being inducted into a tiny little club and being shown the secret handshake. I mean, there I was, enjoying spaghetti and meatballs – followed by tiramisu – at the same place where Andrea Lyon and Raymond used to wait to learn whether or not their guy was going to be put to death by the State or not. Incredible.

We had a great lunch, and spent most of it talking about our clients, psychology, the law, which is pretty much what Raymond and I usually end up talking about when left to our own devices.

Finished with the meal – and stuffed to the gills – we headed out into the brisk afternoon and drove back to the courthouse. We ditched the car in the garage and walked across and over to Division 10, one of the two Max Security divisions of the Cook County Jail. (It’s Max, but not Super Max. I’ve been to both, and it’s always a trip.)

The jail visit went fairly smoothly and was uneventful, so I don’t have a cool story about it. Not that I would share it yet even if I did, because it’s an open case, and I don’t talk about those. I could probably talk about the Rosenbaum case, because once the restitution hearing is over with, we will no longer be the official attorneys of record, but the case is going to be appealed, and we’ll still be in contact with Rosenbaum, so I just don’t feel comfortable talking about it until it’s gone as far as it’s going to go. But that case was a story, let me tell you. Lots of craziness, a bad fact pattern, my first and only federal trial, a great cast of characters including federal prosecutors, (hi, Jill! Hi, Tom!), FBI agents, the senior district judge, and so on.

Maybe one day when I’m living in a cave in the Catskills writing my grand manifesto on deer pelts because I’ve inevitably lost my mind and completely caved to my deeply misanthropic tendencies, maybe then I’ll regale y’all with stories about the Rosenbaum case.

No, but I’m joking about the misanthropy. I wouldn’t characterize myself as a misanthrope. As butt-paralyzingly frustrating as we are, I love people, and I love how people have been people-ing for thousands upon thousands of years and none of us knows what the fuck we’re even doing. Ugh.

Life plus seven. That’s what one of us is doing, at any rate, at a currently-undetermined Bureau of Prisons facility. Happy Hanukkah, Mr. Rosenbaum, I guess.

sad thinking

*** It has come to my attention that Illinois criminal defense attorney Matt Haiduk was born in Indiana. So I amend this post to indicate that Mr. Haiduk is the only good thing that I know of that came from the Devil’s butthole, aka Indiana.

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