The Champion

January/February 2003 , Page 25 

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Taking Alabama v. Shelton to Heart

By Cait Clarke

I recently picked up the popular self-help book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff by Dr. Richard Carlson, commonsense ideas for finding balance in daily life that initially threw me off-kilter. In the book’s 100 numbered nuggets of self-help wisdom, number seventeen stood out as a bothersome notion: Surrender to the Fact that Life Isn’t Fair.1  

I found this objectionable because I believe that as community members we are obliged to work towards fairness in our daily interactions, especially in our professional lives. Fortunately, Dr. Carlson agrees when he writes: “The fact that life isn’t fair doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do everything in our power to improve our own lives or the world as a whole.”2 

Applying this within the criminal justice context and the persistent challenge of providing counsel to the indigent, as professionals we had better not settle for unfairness as a norm. Especially in minor criminal cases, we need to “sweat the small stuff” more

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