Criminal Justice … err Legal Defense … System

We are back in Las Cruces New Mexico for the retrial of the man who killed my brother. You can read my first blog post here. I do hope it is clear that I am passionate about our court and the rights of the accused — even though it is a very very difficult situation for my family. That has not changed. But since asked, I figured I’d write a blog post, so there is no confusion and naivety about the way our criminal justice system works. At least for some defendants. And from my perspective.

If you are family or a friend, a member of this beautiful community or a regular Joe or Jane watching from afar, this particular trial can seem confusing and frustrating. In fact, at times it will be downright ludicrous and even a bit foolish.

Our family appreciates those who approach us in the community to say so. It really means a lot. We all know, and we are living this together.

So, let’s be honest — our court system at times may seem more about legal defense than criminal justice. And that is sad.

Burden of “Truth”

If you don’t know, you should. The defense attorney is paid very very well to say anything, anything at all. It doesn’t have to be true since there is no burden or requirement for them to prove anything. And they can hire B-list so-called “experts” who fly in from the middle of nowhere to say anything for a buck. And they can all act unethically (although they shouldn’t) and do anything, absolutely anything without fear of any significant consequences. At least outside of court. Continue reading “Criminal Justice … err Legal Defense … System”

Starving, Excruciating, and Fair

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Tracy and I have banned a few words from use by our three kids (12, 9, & 7) when describing their personal situation or present difficulty. In our household starving, excruciating, and the phrase “it is not fair” are not permitted.

Here is our thinking.

Starving — I’ve been around the world, and I have slept on a dirt floor of an orphanage with a group of beautiful children — looking into their eyes, I’ve seen starving. And while my little ones might find themselves hungry and we may eat a little later than usual sometimes, these fair skinned American kids do not know starving. And for that I’m grateful. But let us not forget those who are starving for real and reserve that word for them. And furthermore, let us give to a well-managed charity on behalf of children who are in need both in this country and abroad. They are precious, and it is our responsibility as a community to make sure they too are not starving.

Excruciating — A word literally created to describe the agony of crucifixion on the cross. Again, I know my kids have never suffered such pain. And while I understand falling into a cactus hurts and it is most certainly painful when you go down hard on a bicycle, I contend that in measure to the cross, it is nothing. For one, they will never find themselves in agony alone having been rejected by their father — I wouldn’t dream of it (although they usually just ask for their mother). And second, the pain — it just doesn’t come close. Continue reading “Starving, Excruciating, and Fair”

Just the right amount of throttle.

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I love motorcycle riding analogies. I hope it’s my love of the open road, but maybe it’s just my simple mind.

Either way, here’s another.

If you ride, you know the importance of balancing the road speed with your bike’s engine speed for the most optimal performance. When out of balance, you feel the machine below you laboring or even losing power and traction. At the wrong time, say in the lean of a sharp curve this can be dangerous. Or simply just distract from the pleasure of the moment.

But when it’s right… a tight curve on an optimized machine, WOW. The tighter the curve, the greater the lean and the potential for a better experience. Being in the moment with the road moving beneath you as you glide, aware of what is happening around you and fully in control. What a thrill.

Just close your eyes for a minute and imagine the feeling. Pretty amazing, right? Continue reading “Just the right amount of throttle.”

Pulled by vision, Pushed by pain

Often we are either pulled by vision or pushed by pain. It has been my experience that I can sometimes switch between the two, or even be driven by pain until I develop a clear vision.

 

This is true in much of life and in business.

As for business, there is profit to be had in solving pain for an identifiable customer or better yet, developing something that solves a pain one has personally experienced as it yields both compassion and passion. And that is very rewarding.

There is even greater joy in developing past the pain and into a vision of what was previously unimaginable. Not just the absence of pain (as that is rarely, if ever, possible), but more excitedly the crystallization of a vision that is much much bigger.

The power of vision is that it is compelling and sustaining when times get tough or new problems develop, as they often do. Continue reading “Pulled by vision, Pushed by pain”

A little root, a destructive path.

This weekend my son and I were working in the yard when we uncovered a massive root that appeared to grow between the bricks of our planter and under the back section of the patio. We were both surprised at how big it was as it snaked its way through layers of brick and concrete, Jameson was sure the root had to get smaller as it went on below the concrete. So we kept digging, and in fact, it was just as big.

I explained to him that at one point it was tiny, and that allowed it to spread out and grow in all directions making its way through the cracks and crevices. Once there, it grew and expanded pushing everything else aside. By starting small it grew along a path, becoming quite destructive.

It was a perfect opportunity for us to talk about how anger and hatred grow similarly in our hearts. It starts small and subtle, but it stretches out in all directions and if left unchecked it will only increase and cause great destruction.

We went on in our work discussing the importance of keeping short accounts; that is to say, the importance of talking often and honestly when someone hurts or upsets us. Not allowing destructive bitterness or anger to grow.

I love my son and want the very best for him, and I know life will give him a lot of difficult times and broken relationships. And it is important for him to learn, for us all to remember that it is never about avoiding pain. But rather dealing with it as it comes, quickly — and never alone.

Look right, go right. But be sure to steer left.

I have been riding motorcycles most of my life. And one of the early lessons I learned (painfully, I might add) was the idea that if you look right, you’ll go right. And if you look left, well you guessed it; you’ll go left.

Especially at highway speeds and around sharp corners.

What made this confusing at first was the idea of countersteering. A concept you’ll learn early in a motorcycle safety course if you are smart enough to take one.

Simply put, that’s the idea “to initiate a turn toward a given direction by momentarily steering counter to the desired direction (“steer left to turn right”). Thus, to negotiate a turn successfully, the combined center of mass of the rider and the single-track vehicle must first be leaned in the direction of the turn, and steering briefly in the opposite direction causes that lean.

Simple, right?

The first nickname my fellow riders gave me was “Kickstand”. However, shortly after that I became known by my club as “Road Rash” — Don’t ask.

I have often used these concepts in leadership and business because we go in the direction we look, and most often balance best and execute less painfully when we do so counterintuitively.

Simple examples include; “The way up, is the way down” (to quote Heraclitus as well as much of Jesus’ own teaching on humility vs. pride and the Kingdom of Heaven etc).

So, in life, in business, and in leadership; you’ll go in the direction you look. And it might just be a counterintuitive move to get there.

Let’s ride.

This post first published at medium.com/@mrjamesmartin

A strong community, what a gift.

The people of Las Cruces and Santa Fe are incredible. They have done so much to help and encourage our family during these difficult times. We are living here for several weeks as we attend court proceedings.

Just about every time we go out, we are stopped by a stranger who recognizes us and wants to hug or encourage us. There is a strong sense of community and belonging and it is apparent we are all healing together.

A local church community provided a vetted list of babysitters (between our families we have a baby and six kids under the age of 13) and provided week’s full of entertainment and daily activities to occupy our kiddos.

Our amazing Crime Victim Advocate, Suzanne provided a list of local restaurants and establishments who offered to provide food and other services.

And of course the little (often unseen) examples, like the service techs and manager who offered to cover parts and labor for my sister-in-law when they recognized her and knew she was making a trip out of town.

The Land of Enchantment describes New Mexico’s scenic beauty and its rich history. And Las Cruces is known as The City of the Crosses and it’s motto is People Helping People, our family has experienced both. Community is a means of grace and the people of this community have really come through.

Thank you.

This post first published at medium.com/@mrjamesmartin.

Watching my brother die, over and over again.

This has been an extremely difficult week as my family and I sit in Third Judicial District Court in Las Cruces, New Mexico watching and listening to the testimony and evidence presented against the man accused of killing my little brother. This is the first of several weeks to come and I doubt it will get easier.

As you may already know, my brother Deputy Jeremy Martin (#SFSO40) with the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office, was shot in the back after an argument with a fellow deputy (allegedly) after a night on the town.

Adding to the complexity of this deep pain is my sincere love of my country and my love of justice. I believe with all my being in the civil liberties this great country affords its citizens. Great men and women have fought and sacrificed to protect and ensure these liberties. We are so privileged.

Civil liberty and justice. You really can’t have one without the other.

I appreciate that a man is innocent until proven guilty and wholeheartedly agree with the legal burden being on the state to prove guilt. I respect the need for a sterile courtroom in the view of the jury, comprised of our peers. I deeply respect an impartial judge ensuring all testimony is given firsthand and a thorough record created and maintained.

Although a bit more difficult, I also respect the legal defense and the men and women who choose to believe (or at least represent anyway) the accused party and fight for their rights.

I most certainly don’t always agree with the court and I desperately want to stand up and speak out about the insanity of what I hear presented as some version of “truth”.

But I don’t. I can’t. I am obviously biased and I did not witness firsthand the events of that fateful night. Continue reading “Watching my brother die, over and over again.”

The Mexican Fisherman & The MBA

I came across this story recently and thought it worth sharing.

The American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.

The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them, The Mexican replied, only a little while.

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” Continue reading “The Mexican Fisherman & The MBA”