Last year, I had a teenage client named Marquan. He was a black kid whose father is not in the picture. (Gee, there’s a surprise!) He was charged with menacing. He had shown up on school property after he’d been ordered to leave the premises and made threatening gestures toward another student. While that charge was still pending, he informed me that he had picked up another menacing charge, so he had two cases. After I had received the discovery packets on both cases, I met with Marquan and his mom, who was adamant that her son had never done anything wrong.
During that meeting, Marquan told me that he had picked up another charge. I told him I knew. He said, “no no.” Darling Marquan had picked up a third menacing charge. I would like to note for the record that, having visited Marquan’s residence, I can attest that he lives in a very nice house in the suburbs. What terrifies me is his that he is convinced that he’d done nothing wrong; he just had a “I gotta keep it real” attitude.
The ending of my dealings with Marquan came as a surprise. He had managed to pick up a fourth charge for possessing marijuana. The prosecutor offered to dismiss those three menacing charges if he would plead guilty to marijuana possession and agree, as a term of his probation, to avoid the people he had menaced. While my appreciation for irony helps keep me sane (would people think I was racist if I thought this case was full of black humor?), Marquan’s attitude simply terrifies me. I fear that, someday, he will hurt someone really badly or else menace someone who is prepared to respond with lethal force.