When working as a paralegal for a public defender in Pennsylvania, I somehow saw everything. My best stories usually came from the office.
We’d get handfuls of drunk drivers who couldn’t afford decent lawyers. I felt bad for them, but I felt worse for the clients I knew were innocent: a homeless man accused of robbing a grocery store or a young woman accused of doing drugs on the job. I could tell when they’re innocent. I saw it in their eyes.
I also felt sorry for the guilty ones who didn’t deserve the harsh sentence they were facing. There were so many nonviolent offenders facing large penalties. Many of these offenders came from difficult backgrounds. The help they needed would never come from sitting in a jail cell. But anyway, I digress.
Although most of the stories I saw came from the office, some of my more memorable stories weren’t related to my job at all. In fact, when my boss got injured in Boston, he couldn’t defend himself in court. He was ready to sue and he needed the help of a Boston personal injury lawyer. Being a public defender, it seemed like my boss was invincible. However, I never expected he’d go through something so terrible.
The Night of the Accident
My boss had been driving to Boston to visit a client. Although the client lived in Philadelphia, he was up in Boston for the holidays. Being the great man he is, my boss drove out to Boston to meet him and discuss his case. As he was driving back to Philadelphia, a drunk driver hit him on the highway.
The driver didn’t suffer any injuries and fled the scene of the accident out of fear. My boss was left unconscious, with no one to call emergency services. Thankfully, within ten minutes of the driver fleeing on foot, someone drove by and saw what had happened.
Taking Legal Action
My boss went to the hospital and spent months in recovery. He had three broken ribs, internal bleeding, a fractured arm in three places, a fractured collarbone, and a significant concussion. Because the driver fled on foot, the police were able to track him down. With the help of the lawyer in Boston, my boss pressed civil charges and won a settlement. The driver also faced criminal charges for what he had done.
Reflecting on My Job
I’m glad my boss’ accident happened in Massachusetts because this was not a case I would have been happy to take on and defend. Sometimes, it was hard to work in the public defender’s office. There were many cases I was proud to defend because I knew the client was innocent or deserved a lesser sentence. But there were also many clients I knew were guilty and deserved to be behind bars for what they had done.
Sometimes, I had to put trust in the justice system and remember that everyone deserves a fair trial. My boss made a full recovery after his accident and got the justice he deserved, so that’s all I could ask for.