Some clients you know you'll see again. You hope you won't, but you know you will. And, in a division with as rich a history as ours, sometimes our division alumni will reminisce about certain clients, with the attendant speculative curiosity about where fate has taken them.
For example, Client X was recently released by our hard work. (Everyone who has worked our division has had Client X at one point or another.) A Division Alumnus (DA) saw Client X on the street and called to congratulate me on getting Client X out and wondered how long it would last.
However, by the time I got this call Client X was already back in. Division Alumnus thought the next time I was able to get Client X out (if at all possible) he'd only be out for two weeks or so. I said I couldn't even guess.
Well, I got Client X out, but here's the tragic thing - he didn't even make it *out of the building* before getting re-arrested over some alleged incident that occurred while he was claiming his property. That's fast. And I don't even know if it counts as "out."
Some PDs get frustrated by this - I don't really. It's disappointing on some kind of sympathetic level, sort of like the embarrassment you feel when you suspect others are embarrassed. But, given just who are clients often are, it's completely understandable. While we'd all like to represent the well-mannered, articulate, intelligent, virtuous, clean, humble, and easy-to-work-with poor, the fact of our country is that poverty feeds and is fed by low educational levels, psychological dysfunctions, emotional disturbances, personal challenges, addictions of various sorts, and, often self-destructive behavior. I don't mean to suggest that I haven't had wonderful human beings as clients - I have. Nor do I mean to suggest that poverty is the just punishment of the poor or anything as perverse as that.
What I do mean to suggest is that you have to expect that some clients will come back. And that they'll come back in ways that seem particularly avoidable or tragically cruel. And while plenty of people will be able to judge them for this (in one way or another) they only get one advocate to help them out of their immediate troubles - and that's you.
In a related note, I love arrest forms written about people in jail. They always include the standard lines like "Defendant taken into custody and transported to jail without incident." The defendant is ALREADY in jail! You sir, are now *more* in jail.