Besides being a writer, I am also a mitigation specialist. Principally, I assist lawyers who defend Mexicans facing the death penalty in the U.S. I go to the towns where they are from and interview family, friends, teachers, classmates, colleagues, nuns, priests – anyone who can give us information that might inspire mercy in a jury, in the hope that they will give them life without parole instead of a death sentence.


Since emarkbing on this work, I have become ever more attentive to legal matters. Therefore, I couldn’t help but notice this two-story setup on East Broadway, on the fringes of Chinatown in New York, across from Seward Park. It would appear that in New York State, when they talk about “passing the bar,” they are not kidding.