Sycophant Boy takes state-appointed cases when the Public
Defender has an over-load. He thinks the increased caseload will
help him in his quest to become a partner in the firm which
currently has no partners. The previous steady stream of evacuating
lawyers, bailing out after just a few months with the practice,
bodes ill for Sycophant Boy. Currently the firm is comprised of
Small Attorney, the firmís owner, and "Associates" which means
The Boy represents those about to be involuntary committed,
defends deadbeat parents, and tries to free the occasional felon. He
racks up around a hundred bucks an appearance. He could make more,
but he doesnít track his time or make any note of mine. The firmís
legal software is too complex for him.
Every two weeks, on Thursdays, the county holds Involuntary
Commitment Hearings. I call it "Crazy Court" because when someone in
the office asks me where the attorney is and I try to explain using
legal terms, their facial expressions remind me of someone who needs
to be placed in protective custody. Reduced to a common term, "Crazy
Court" -- they understand. So, Crazy Court was last Wednesday. I
suppose the intent was to figure out where some folks would spend
Thanksgiving. Basically there would be two choices; either in the
arms of psychiatric professionals or in cardboard box apartments
under the old Tar River bridge.
On this day Sycophant Boy represents two middle-aged men. The men
and their court-appointed attorney stand behind a large table, ready
to face the Judge. Sycophant Boy is dressed in his usual natty
style. Heavily moused hair, Brooks Brothers knock-off suit, crispy
white shirt with Ralph Lauren logo, cashmere-looking overcoat folded
just so on the back of his chair. He clicks his ballpoint pen
incessantly as he waits for the Judge. The two defendants stand
motionless beside him. They wear dingy cotton orange jumpsuits and
plastic flip-flops with white socks, state-issued.
The judge enters the room. Court is in session. Sycophant Boy
turns to the man to his immediate left and says, "Is there anything
you'd like to say to the Judge?"
"Yes, there is . . . Your honor, I have women in my pockets."
Sycophant Boy turns to the second man, "Is there anything you'd
like to say?"
"Yes . . . Your honor, I pooped in my pants."
Man Number One raises his right hand, then speaks. "I have
something else I need to say today. Your honor, I have a dog in my
A little while later Sycophant Boy returns to the office. Tells
the tale of Crazy Court and comments on Man Number One. "He's the
most sane man I know. That's where women belong, in your pocket."
He's not kidding.
Valerie MacEwan is a paralegal in eastern North Carolina.