A cop pulls you over. As he steps out, you feel your car tugging at the shift of his waistline’s gravitational pull. “License and registration,” he bellows. You look at him and see yourself in his aviator sunglasses and recall the line, “A job for two who are now of job age.” Slowly, you reach into the glove compartment, pull out your insurance registration, and mate it to your driver’s license. You open the window just a crack, wide enough to slip out just the two cards. “Could you roll your window down all the way, ma’am?” Facetiously, you ask, “Why?” “So I can hear what you’re saying.” “You just did,” was the reply. The bald cop’s head reddens into a blood sausage, his lips slightly parted to reveal a stilted, timid tongue long coaxed by fear of authority until now. “Lower the window, or I’ll bust it in.” Calmly, you reply, “I don’t think you could justify that.” Never shifting his gaze, the trooper returns to his vehicle, his harnessed carriage hoisted by the courage of an extreme notch on his utility belt. Several minutes pass. He returns with your two cards, sliding them through your window, which you catch nicely. “What is it that you do?” the chins inquire. “I’m a criminal justice lawyer.”
When you’re a criminal justice lawyer, you know the law better than the police do. And what luck, too, since criminal law touches everyone and everyone is presumed to know the law. Generally, ignorance of the law is no excuse, even for arcane prohibitions left over from the grand old days when venturing hatless out of doors met with swift hanging or a calf-slip made a woman a harlot (just read The People v. Carmen Banks a.k.a. Canklela Shanks). Didn’t know you were exceeding the speed limit? Sorry. Just because you’re a man, you can kiss a woman? Not with a moustache. Pi is exactly 3? What are you, stupid? No farting in public after 6:00 p.m., really? Yup. How is that enforced? Don’t ask. Isn’t this America? Nope...I mean, yes. So long as this is America, knowing the law won’t be everything, but as a criminal justice lawyer, you can watch the watchmen.