Don't Set Furniture on Fire

What happens when you do something stupid in college and go to jail.



Whoever tells you that the United States is the richest nation in the world is mistaken. According to Fortune mag, the richest per capita is Qatar (2016 data, I think). The top 15 list is mostly oil money and small European countries (Democratic socialism works, folks. Nice mix of free market and socialistic principles.)

Some interesting notes from the list. Luxembourg is #2 and - amazingly to me - Ireland clocks in at #5. The United States ranks #12. Not bad but the distribution system needs work.


"if you can't afford a competent lawyer you are well and truly fucked. . ." You owe public defenders an enormous apology. They spend all day every day (I was one for a couple of years) defending people who can't afford the $5000 private attorneys. Our outcomes were at least as good as the private lawyers'.


If you're ever in jail and come feeding time you don't feel like eating except for the milk, take the whole tray anyway and give it a more hungry inmate - or you'll face their wrath.


@1 That the country is so wealthy and that has inhabitants that cannot afford lawyers is the precisely what you are pointing out lack of distribution.

Not sure if you made that statement pointing out a flaw but people's need to rush to disagree with Charles Mudede on this is incredible.


No reputable attorney extorts up-front costs. Parents could have easily could have shopped around and saved thousands.


@6 maybe the parents were trying to get the kid out as soon as possible. Bad things can happen in jail.


@7: Yes, bad thing happen in jail but a bad lawyer cannot expedite the process faster as far as the magistrate court or the city attorney's office.


that same couch would probably have been added to a bonfire in the middle of the street on frat row after one of their sports teams beat their cross state rivals.


For my $5K, I'd want my lawyer to buy a couch from the Salvation Army, smash cigarettes into it to show that embers don't ignite synthetic fabric; then counter that the frat bros doused theirs with gasoline and lit it after the defendant left.


@10 Couch fires are pretty common, depends on the age of the fabric. Older materials that don't make today's specs are super dangerous. It just takes one spark to get inside the stuffing, and will keep going and going even if you try to put it out. High school bud had a roommate that passed out smoking a cig on the sofa, woke up, saw the burn and dumped water or beer on it, then went upstairs to sleep. House went up in flames a couple hours later, thankfully no injuries.


I realize Charles' point is that our legal system is fucked up in many ways and needs help, but in talking to people over the years, my @11 isn't exactly common knowledge, as evidenced by @10. Many if not most are surprised to learn of what happened to my friend and the house fire. I'm trying to figure out how this would have been kicked up to the district attorney's office who then thought there was a credible arson charge. At least the judge had a saner perspective. It seems like if the frat bros were using daddy's influence on the DA or whatever, it would be a pretty juicy case for a personal injury legal firm if the student wanted to go after the fraternity.


Good anecdote Charles. I enjoyed reading this story, but I agree with @2 that public defenders do some good work.