Prison Pete

Friday, August 04, 2006
  No Time...
I recently signed up for the ten week legal research course. While I know more about the law and legal research than I would normally have wanted, the only way to work in the law library is to have a certificate that you have taken the legal research course. There is no "advanced placement" test.

I decided to buckle down and take the class to give me the option of working in the law library at some point in the future. The class is scheduled for three hours (6:00 - 9:00) each Friday and Saturday night. This leaves me with very little free time on Fridays and Saturdays.

Starting with Friday, I work from 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM, and then depending on the workload, either continue at work or attend the choir practice at the chapel during the noon to 2:30 PM time period. Then it is back up to the chapel from 3:00 to 5:00 PM, and off to legal class from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.

Saturday finds me up at the chapel from 11:00 AM to 4:00 and then back up to the legal class from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.

Meanwhile back to Saturday's class.

It is taught by two of my fellow inmates and as I expected, I know as much and sometimes more than they are teaching. For example I was marked wrong on a test question that turned out to be a mistake by the inmate when he wrote out the question. It was a true or false question.

The statement read, "A Declatory Injunction is one type of potential relief available in the current court system." I said false. There is no such term, as they have taught the course so far. We were told of various types of injunctions and about a Declaratory Judgment, but no Declaratory Injunction. The inmate teacher eventually conceded the point.

While I do hold my tongue as much as I can, I still talk too much in the class. I try to let the other eight inmates answer the questions, but after a reasonable period of time I will give the answer.

I did get off one good joke last night. We were talking about the various steps of legal research and what you do after you find a particular case that may help you with you argument.

The next step is called "Shepardizing". And after the silence became unbearable waiting for another inmate to answer, I blurted out "Baaa...Baaaa." The great part is that the two inmates teaching the class and the officer in charge of the law library broke into instant groans. I smiled.

A little while later one of the inmate teachers commented that I must have been a real pest when I was a kid in school. I readily admitted that I was, and further commented, "It is not easy being me."

Many a truth is said in jest. It used to drive me crazy as to why I seemed to aggravate those around me.

I now understand that while I am certainly responsible for my own actions, I am not responsible for how others respond to me. I am only responsible for how those reactions make me feel. By admitting mostly to myself although I said it out loud that yes I was sometimes a pest, and further affirming that it was not easy being me, I was able to take a somewhat negative comment and give him something to think about in return.

The main problem with me being in the class is that I know 90% of the stuff cold. But I am still working on taking notes, being sure I learn it their way, but I am quick to point out the errors they make when they copy stuff onto the board.

I think I am doing okay; I make sure the other inmates get time to answer the questions, and I am sure about things that I point out and even admit when something I said was wrong.

Life goes on.
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