The last four and half days have been an utter nightmare. My sister-in-law, Kim was killed in an automobile accident on Saturday, September 13, 2003. That night, I had to see my baby niece in a hospital hooked up to so many tubes that she looks like she should be in a Borg incubation chamber. Then, I learned that she was brain dead. After my remaining niece and nephew had their chance to say good-bye to their baby sister, my sister, her husband and I took them home to our house. Later that same Saturday night, my older brother faced with the grim reality that his little baby girl was not coming back to him, decided to have Madison taken off life support. He held her in his arms one last time as she left this life.

I kept my other niece and nephew for most of the day on Sunday. I went to the local Wal-Mart Super Center to get some groceries. A close friend, Bob called me on my cell-phone. We had planned to go to Las Vegas this week to hang out with some mutual friends. As you can guess, I had to bow out. It was surreal talking to Bob about what had happened while standing in the coffee aisle with tens of people walking by. It is hard to console a child about the loss of their mother and their baby sister, especially when you are on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

I saw Kim and Madison for the first time together on Monday night at the funeral home. Neither Kim nor Madison looked real. Madison looked like a life-size baby doll. Kim looked like a mannequin from a department store. I cried like a child. No, I wept. I did not cry that hard even when my own grandmother died on Christmas last year. The only rational explanation I can give is following: My grandmother had been ill for many years, and she had been in a nursing home since 1996; I had an opportunity to make my peace with her passing. A piece of human debris violently took Kim and Maddie from my family. There was no rhyme to reason for their deaths.

If that was not enough, on Tuesday, I had to help my dad retrieve any personal effects from my sister-in-law’s car. I had seen the damage to the car on the local television news, but seeing in reality was far worse. The accident crushed the motor like a tin can that is to be recycled. Either the emergency crews or the accident ripped the roof of the car off. There was glass through out the car. I found shredded pieces of clothing that belonged to my baby niece in the car. The sight of my sister-in-law’s car moved my Dad, a US Marine, a Vietnam Veteran almost to tears; I had not seen my Dad cry since my Grandfather’s death in 1988. Looking at that car, I felt like someone had ripped out my heart from my chest. There was a pronounced void in my being.

When we got back to the funeral home, my brother wanted to know if he should go see the car. I told him “No.” Although it was a one-word answer, when our eyes met, my brother could see how the sight of Kim’s car had emotionally devastated me. He started to weep, and so did I. Finally, today was the funeral. I do not want to tell what happened today right now because it is too personal to my family and me. Kim and Madison enriched my life. Words cannot describe how much I loved them and how much I will miss them. I believe that I will see them again. Therefore, the question is not if I will see them again, but when. That gives me hope, and some measure of peace.


Yesterday, September 13, 2003 has to be the worst day in my life to date. As I was watching UGA playing South Carolina, I got a phone call from my mother. She was in a panic; she confused me for my brother-in-law; she was having the hardest time trying to explain what had happened. I knew something was wrong, seriously wrong. Then, my mom told me bluntly what was going on. She said, “Kim was in a car wreck. Kim’s dead. Maddie is going to be okay.” Kim was my sister-in-law. She married my older brother, Brian. Maddie, Madison is my youngest niece. She was born on May 14, 2003. Mom told me that Maddie was at Egleston Hospital in Atlanta. After a few minutes of confusion (that felt like hours), I went to Egleston with my sister and her husband. While I was sad that Kim was dead, and the grief that my brother was going through, my heartache was only beginning.

Once I got to Egleston, I found my brother. He was with my parents. Brian said that there was no hope for her. Against my instincts, I hoped that he was not talking about Maddie. My instincts were right. The doctor that was treating Maddie came in and told my sister, her husband and me that Maddie was brain dead. Afterwards, I went to see Maddie. She was filled with tubes, sensors, and her head is in a brace. Her eyes were closed. While her body was still warm, she did not respond when I touched her. She was gone. My little niece was gone. I have not seen Kim. She is at the crime lab for an autopsy. Maddie was not five months old. Kim was 25. Apparently, a driver going to Atlanta on Ga. Hwy 316 came across the median and struck the car that Maddie and Kim were in at the time. I have seen the TV news footage of the wreck. Kim’s car is a mangled and twisted piece of fiberglass and metal.

As an attorney, I have seen a great deal of the pain and suffering man can inflict on his fellow man. However, what I have seen today is too much to bear. I would rather be disemboweled than to see again what I saw yesterday. It is too much for me to comprehend right now. I am a whirlwind of emotions. Words cannot accurately describe the sorrow that I feel, the anger that swirls through my heart, the hatred that I have for the driver of the other car, the confusion as to why this had to happen at all. I am living a nightmare, and I do not know when or if I can wake up from it.

Some drunken observations from the poker table

I just got finished playing poker with some lawyer buddies of mine. Some observations:

1. Most young white criminal defense lawyers think just because they know every NWA song by heart that some how they can relate to their African-American clients;

2. Lawyers talk trash about each other in ways that you cannot imagine;

3. Lawyers covet what other lawyers have, such as their wives;

4. Not every lawyer is rich;

5. Jameson Irish Whiskey is okay, but I prefer Jack Daniels

6. I won $32.50.

Uncles and Nieces

I kept my three month old niece, Madison last night. After spending a night of listening to her coo, spit up her formula, and stare at me with her big blue eyes, I realized that I have a good life, and that I need to get my head out of my ass. Thank you, Madison. I love you with all my heart.

And now back to our show . . .

Life is not good for our hero. He has a trial on Monday with a client that is prototypical jailhouse lawyer. He complains about each and every aspect of our hero’s representation. The client saps our hero’s patience and desire to do good. Also, our hero is beset by judges that are more concerned with efficiency and consistency than seeking justice. The constant nipping from these judicial rattlesnakes into our hero also drains our hero of his resolve to be public defender. In fact, they make our hero wonder why did not he become a greedy corporate lawyer or real estate attorney. Will our hero leave the public defender’s office? Will our hero sell his soul for more money, more prestige, and less aggravation? Only time will tell.

Reasons why I love Tybee Island

  1. The four and one-half hour drive from Atlanta gives a person time to think and regain his perspective in life.
  2. No signs of suburbia for miles and miles.
  3. Seeing freighters, shrimp boats, fishing boats, and ships in general out on the open sea.
  4. Getting some decent seafood at a decent price.
  5. Time appears to move slower.
  6. The ability to sit on the beach and watch the tide come in and not have to say word to anyone, unless you want to talk to them.
  7. Watching people that should not be in either bikinis or Speedos gallivanting down the beach without a care in the world.
  8. Realizing that I am not the person with the palest skin on the beach.

While I did take some pictures, most of them are of Fort Pulaski, a Civil War fort right outside of Tybee Island. I am a dork. Plus, I don’t have a digital camera, and I take black and white photos. I won’t get these pictures back until next week.

Vacation Time!

Vacation time at last! I am heading to Tybee Island. To be honest, I have to go to a Seminar for Public Defenders in the State of Georgia. However, I do not have to pay dime for anything. Close to three years fighting the man is starting to pay off.