Friday, January 06, 2006

Forget Federal Prisons....

Just try having a client in Rikers Island that needs medical attention. No wait, how about having a client in Rikers Island that needs medical attention that has to be extradited to another state at the end of her sentence? It's twice the fun!

To begin, Rikers Island has the worst medical facilities in the world. My client has many ailments, including: schizophrenia, a chronic artery condition which causes her to bleed excessively, hypothyroidism, and now a liver infection (from all her meds). She's limited in her ability to move, and, so, the other women inmates abuse her. How do they abuse her? Well, for starters, they use her cell to hide contraband. They do this because she'll get in trouble when they do the inspections, but she can't retaliate against them because she's so old (almost 60) and has all these conditions.

Now, another state wants to extradite her when she's released from prison.

I guess I should say how I'm involved. My father and I were retained to replace her old attorney, who chose to not waive extradition, and basically pissed off the other state immensely. To not waive extradition means that you have to have a hearing and all sorts of other bureaucratic processes to get someone out of the original state to the next. It's a headache. Thanks former attorney.

So, while we are micromanaging this woman's health situation at Rikers, we are also trying to make sure the other state is appropriately prepared to transport her safely. This includes having her examined, relaying the examination information to the extradition officers, etc. We do this, ad nauseum. We are told by all the law enforcement agents that our client is a malingerer. Noone cooperates.

Then we get in front of a judge. We argue the extradition warrant has expired. The DA successfully argues that extradition warrants NEVER expire. They are immortal. The judge buys this, I swear.

Enter extradition asshole.... I mean extradition officer from the other state. I approach him and say: "Hi, I represent X, you guys are prepared to transport her? You got the aftercare letter I sent you from the doctor? [which states that she cannot be shackled, must be ambulatory and no handcuffs, i.e., an ambulance]" He says: "don't worry we've handled this type of stuff before." I say: "ok, but are you trained medically? have you brought an ambulance?" "Sir, if she needs any medical assistance, she'll get it, we're ready to deal with this..."

Ok.

Then I ask: "What facility is she staying in tonight? I need to tell the family, local counsel, and I have to see her." He says: "well, she'll go to the precinct, and then we'll see where we are." Then we'll see where we are???? What the hell does that mean? "What does 'we'll see where we are' mean? Where will you take her after the precinct? [which obviously is done for pedigree, prints, etc.]"

"Sir, I don't want to predict the future...." That's my favorite line. See, cops know EXACTLY where people are going at all times, under every circumstance. You could tell a cop a set of facts hypothetically, and he'd cite you the regulation as to why they would have to stay in a certain place for safety, etc. This cop knew exactly where she was going, and was just being an asshole. This is, to me, what tautology is all about. Being skilled in the art of evasive answers. Cops are trained in this art, and some are more artful than others. This guy just doesn't choose his battles well. Long story short, the judge had to ask him where she was staying.

So, I call the precinct after she's transferred to A-Hole's possession. I ask if they know she's coming, they say yes. So I ask if I can send a fax with her medical information, including prescriptions. They say "Sure, that'd be great."

Next day, I see my client. She slept in the storage room, with no heat, no blanket, and certainly no meds. We tell this to the judge, the press gets involved because of her crime, and the Deputy of the police department tells the press, I kid you not: "we had no information regarding her medical condition, noone has ever told us anything about that."

Isn't the system grand?

That was a majority of my week.

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