Casey KK’s American (Constitutional Right to Counsel) Top 10

by Kristina “KK” Kersey, Sr. Youth Defense Counsel


How excited am I that we have our first Black female Supreme Court Justice who is a public defender? (Once a public defender, always a public defender; it’s blood in, blood out.) Very!


But not more than Senator Cory Booker. No one was more excited than Senator Booker.


However, when Justice Brown Jackson wasn’t receiving cartoon heart-shaped googly eyes from Sen. Booker, she was being peppered with, “How can you represent those (::swallows::) people?” (Read: protect a constitutionally mandated right to counsel.) I felt like she was “smizing” right at me, personally, through the camera, as we shared a collective “Pffffft” with the defense community around the nation.


Ted Cruz noted that “public defenders often have a natural inclination in the direction of the criminal.” That our hearts are with the criminals. And, criminal lovers, it’s time that we recognize this.


So, as the Delilah or Casey Kasem for defenders everywhere, I’m sending these top 10 love songs out . . . *dramatic pause* . . . to the “criminals.”


1. Take My Breath Away, Berlin. This beautiful tribute to the moment when a judge, fully prepared to rule against you, begins to embrace your race equity and adolescent development arguments. It’s hotter than the volleyball scene in Top Gun.


2. Sweet Child O’ Mine, Guns N’ Roses. Reminds us that eyewitness IDs are frequently unreliable, and we should test them whenever prudent. Can you describe the person, Axl? She’s got eyes of the bluest skies, and her hair reminds me of a warm safe place. Thank you. No further questions.


3. Our Lips Are Sealed, The Go-Go’s extol their adoration of 5th Amendment rights in this pop classic.


4. Is It a Crime? Sade’s ode to motions to dismiss in the interest of justice is often mistakenly thought to be about love.


5. I’ll Be Loving You (Forever), New Kids On The Block urges us all to commit to post-dispo representation. How long am I your attorney? Just as long as you want me to be. ::swoon::


6. Got To Get You Into My Life, The Beatles. Paul wrote this love song to marijuana. It’s true. Google it.


7. Let’s Stay Together, Al Green. I don’t know how Al knew back in 1972 about the harms of virtual hearings where youth are separated from their attorneys, but he couldn’t be more right.


8. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell. If you need me, call me, but also can we normalize public defenders taking vacations and recharging and not burning out? Okay? Great. Thanks, bye.


9. (Everything I Do) I Do It for You, Bryan Adams. This slow jam is about the dance youth defenders do, engaging parents and guardians while remaining fierce, expressed-interest, zealous, client-driven advocates. That takes way more skill than when Robin Hood splits the arrow of his opponent to win the tournament.


10. Dreaming of You, Selena. Late at night when all the world is sleeping, I stay up and think of you. Selena really captures that truly blissful, deep REM slumber that you get the night before a big case.


And this last one goes out to all my youth defenders out there. From me, to you:


Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Queen. For you who remain ready (Ready, Freddy!) to do every crazy little thing in defense of children.

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