Are you the state’s attorney?

Sometimes, for my job, I do criminal accompaniments.  This means I try to go to the victim’s criminal case, and sit with them and support them during the testimony.  During a jury trial, I usually stay in the room and watch the trial, so that I can explain to the victim later who said what and why.  

The problem with criminal accompaniments is that you have to go to a courthouse and be surrounded by well, criminals.  It’s especially bad when I’m doing a criminal accompaniment and my client is the one on trial – which happens with some frequency because oftentimes both parties will press charges against each other, or the other party will press charges/call the police to threaten/retaliate against the client.  Anyway, the problem with this is, because of ongoing de facto segregation in my city, most of the criminals are poor and black.  I know I don’t post pictures of myself here, but I am neither of those things.  Further, I dress like a professional.  Which leads to the inevitable question:

“Scuse me, you the state’s attorney?”

“Scuse me, are you my public defender?” 

“Scuse me, you an attorney?”

“Well, if you’re not the state’s attorney, where is the state’s attorney?” 

I don’t really like answering these questions, because they often end in requests for representation or advice, so I tend to dress down a bit on criminal accompaniment days.  Which sometimes leads to the state’s attorney asking me who the hell I am when I start giving my client legal advice.  Today is Friday, which means I usually wear jeans if I don’t have court, but I’m not sure I’m comfortable wearing jeans to do a CA or talk to a client, ever.  Unless they show up on Friday without warning and don’t give me enough time to put on my dress pants.  

If you were to go to court, what would you wear? I think the line to skirt is “dress like a normal person who doesn’t own a suit”, but I don’t really remember what it is like to not own a suit.  


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