Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Trial by Derby

Sorry for the hiatus. I've been busy at trial, investigating cases, and attending the roller derby. You heard right. Against the surreal backdrop of Mardi Gras floats -- with Bacchasaurus, Marilyn Monroe and King Kong sculptures and props looking on -- the Big Easy Roller Girls trounced the East Texas Bombers in a bout two Saturdays ago. There was plenty of booze, burritos, bands, and babes on skates to keep the crowd jazzed in that only-in-New Orleans spirit. As someone described it, picture burlesque meets the X-Games. So what does this have to do with public defense?

Among the heavy-hitting skaters are a couple of public defenders. Not only do these ladies tear it up in the courtroom, but they are defending the City's honor in the cauldron of skating competition with, of course, a big dose of kitsch and irreverence. I saw several more public defenders mingling in the crowd, but not a D.A. in sight. I imagine a stable of Assistant D.A.s lashed to poles to avoid the Siren songs of Saturday Night Fever.

I have a modest proposal. Forget juries (the democratic version of a crap shoot?), and let's tee up the backlog of criminal cases and resolve them by roller derby bout. The public defenders can field their team of lady jammers, and the district attorneys will have their own stable of wheeled warriors. Forget jury charges and motions to quash. Justice can be meted out by hard-hitting blockers on the flat track. Well, it's a thought, anyway, for reforming the justice system. At the very least, everyone could benefit from letting their judicial hair down.

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