Kimberley Motley is an American attorney and the first foreign lawyer to practise in Afghanistan. Born in 1975 to an African-American father and a North Korean mother, she grew up in a poor neighbourhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where hers was the only mixed-race family - and the only family with two parents. Education was very important to her parents, who sent their four children to private schools and also paid for extra tutoring. After completing degrees in Criminal Justice and Law, Kimberley spent five years working as a Public Defender before taking up the opportunity in 2008 to go to Afghanistan for a year to train local lawyers. Her husband, Claude, stayed in the US to take care of their three children. When her one-year contract in Afghanistan came to an end, she decided to stay and started her own private legal practice. Initially she only took on foreign clients, but once she had familiarised herself with the intricacies of local laws and customs, she accepted her first Afghan client. She has gone on to build a thriving practice, with a 70-30% ratio of paid to pro-bono work. Her practice now extends to other parts of the world including Uganda, Ghana and the UAE and earlier this year she published a book about her working life. DISC ONE: Will Smith - A Nightmare on My Street DISC TWO: Elton John - I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues DISC THREE: LL Cool J - I'm Bad DISC FOUR: KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See DISC FIVE: Dizzee Rascal featuring Calvin Harris - Dance Wiv Me DISC SIX: Ed Sheeran - I See Fire DISC SEVEN: The Black Eyed Peas - Pump It DISC EIGHT: Kendrick Lamar - DNA BOOK CHOICE: 1984 by George Orwell LUXURY ITEM: Business card holder with photo of her children CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Pump It by Black Eyed Peas Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Previously sounds music. Radio broadcasts, hello, I'm Lorna van and this is the desert island discs. Podcast. Every week I ask my guest to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they want to take with them if they were cast away to a desert island. This is an extended vote, and if the original radio full broadcast and for rights reasons, the music is shorter than the original broadcast. I hope you enjoy listening. my castaway. This week. Is the lawyer kimberly motley? If you happen to be in afghanistan and run into trouble, hers is useful name to know. We could try her neck
nine one one bestowed to denote her reputation as an unofficial emergency service to west and embassies foreign companies and the pro bono clients whom she is usually the only hope american, I both she was the first foreign litigated practice in afghanistan. Not only is she a woman using her We said one of the world's most conservative male dominated cultures. She also uses the local. She studied Maria the islamic code that coexists alongside the new afghan constitution and his represented clients in my joggers councils of l, who meet out justice based on their interpretation of islamic principles, as she puts it, working system from the inside out. It's a far cry her life twelve years ago. She'd, never left the? U s and was living and working in her home town of Milwaukee wisconsin, raising three children and making it meat as a public defender, though apparently it's not that far from her childhood dream of being a dj, she
as laws alike, like songs I put on my playlist, you have to figure out which ones will make people dance when you go to court kimberly motley welcome to desert island discs. Thank you for having me so tell me about this playlist of yours, then, under that you d jane your time off. How does the comparison between the courtroom in the dance floor play out? Well, I feel like it's my job to understand. What's the beat of the court some courts, they like hip hop some courts, they like rap. From course they like rock and my playlist, consists of the laws, the stories that my lines have and my legal arguments that makes in their its remarkable to watch for each of you fearlessly voting afghan law to afghan judges and you're doing that three translators. How does that process work? Well, I mean it's, a dance is something that we practise before I go to court.
so. A lot of that process is not just me. You know, communicate with the judge what the laws are, but also communicate with my translators and getting them to understand, not the words that are coming out, my mouth, but understanding. Actually what my message is an even working in afghanistan for eleven years and you ve called the judicial system that team to town deep to the problems with it run, I mean there's a lot of issues with court systems everywhere, but particularly with it. afghanistan. At least what I see is a lot of people are going to court not being represented by attorneys, which is their legal rights in Afghanistan. I see a lot women, frankly being railroaded in the system and men as well on women. More so, for you know what they term as moral crimes do have met quite a few women that were victims of rape that were criminally charge with a dull tree. I've been to court
where people are allowed to speak they're not even allowed to present their case. There's been very few court hearings that I've seen where I've seen prosecutors, bring evidence or witnesses to support what they're saying in court, but people are always getting found guilty. It's a very uneven justice system, and so I try to do what I can within the legal system. I try to fight for my clients within the bounds of the law and really the goal is not just for me to represent my clients, blossom to educate my clients,
what their rights are? So you ll fight fight, sounds like an important words. It's always a fight. I mean it's always a battle when I have a case. That's a trial case, it's war. As far as I'm concerned, it's a very active profession to me. For me, the laws are very tangible. I feel the laws you know and I feel it's my responsibility to not just tell my clothes with the laws are, but to empower them and to try to convince them that they have ownership of the laws as well, that the laws are there to protect them as well. you mentioned getting ready for court and practising with your translates as I wonder if that music, as it is a part of your pre court process, you know it's funny because for every single case that's going to trial, I created a music playlist and for every single client I'd have the signature song for, client, and these play get me motivated. Get me in the mood to fight on behalf of my clients issues some there.
always done it with that in mind. Let's get to the music. Tell me about your first choice. Today, kimberly will my first Toys is a nightmare on my street by will smith, and I grew up in the projects and my parents sent me to catholic schools, and there was this one teacher in particular a sister Francis who was very strict, a german teacher and we're all like really really scared of her. So, anyway, one day she gave us this assignment and she wanted us all to create a song us, a school song foreseen albert and I was extremely shy as a kid she told us. We could pick our partners and I picked jamie noble who was awake hit with a stutter, and I pick frank ballast jerry who was the italian kid, and I was a boy
carrying girl. Now, in my school we were the only ethnic minorities when the school, so the three of us were kind of the misfits in the class, and I had an uncle who was a dj, and so I asked him to give us the soundtrack of a nightmare on my street by wealth, miss that we could rap to it without we're like beastie boy, and it was so amazing cuz. We were all shy and it was just one of those moments where I realise that no one is just one thing. you know, we are all serve labelled as you don t be stutters in old francs. The italian headed on the quiet black girl- and I remember us performing it- we got sister France's to smile- is a good memory was lightened at about this time. You did all those are backed up by name.
This latter. Everything went all the way, whether someone but on our streets, a nightmare, and my street will smith slightly sorry. I wasn't the earlier version there kimberly motley on. I know I was less than a nightmare unseen, our street. It was so bad. So tell me a little bit more about your practice. Clients than there are. Seventy thirty makes of paying clients and pro bono work, and it is the latter that I've made headway. round the world of the many clients that you work with, which will you never forget? Well, I mean I think a client that really sticks out, in my mind, is going on and afghan teenage girl that was raped by her cousin's husband couple weeks after it happened. She actually went to the doctor with her mother because she know what was wrong with her and the doctor discover that she,
pregnant pig also knew that she wasn't married and in Afghanistan there is supposed to be doctor patient confidentiality. But despite that, the doctor decided to tell the police that goal nozzles pregnant, and so she was ultimately arrested for adultery for having the audacity to be raped, and so, when she went to first court, I was not representing her. The judges paraded her and one judge. Basely said you know you can't get pregnant the first time you have sex and- They told her that if she decided to marry her attacker than they would release her and she actually refuse- which I think was a extremely brief thing for young teenage girl to do and because she refused, they gave her an eight years. Prison sentence, forced marriage is complete
the illegal it's illegal. According to islamic law, its illegal according to afghan law, and so I started representing coolness and we went to the supreme court, they agreed she did not have the merrier attacker and then she was given a three year prison sentence, but that still that's good enough, and so ultimately we decided to ask for a pardon from then present in cars. I do I thought to be a great idea to add letters from family and friends to support her being released, Unfortunately, ghoul NASA's family wanted to kill her because she had supposedly puts shame on the family for being raped, so we decided to put it pardon petition online and within three days we got over five, thousands, natures, which was amazing and she was given a pardon by present cars. I she was the first woman to get a pardon for moral crimes case in afghanistan and it made a memorable b.
as you at the end of the day she was so so vulnerable and so distraught and to assert that also saw accepting of what happened to you know. Up until when we had our conversations, she just thought she deserved. It you know, and how do you work with that when it comes to working with clients, if you're getting them to talk, he a hugely traumatic experience? How do you process but are you feeling when you're going through that with them? Why me it's? It's usually very, very intense conversation, I'm trying to dig and dig and dig and insight. situations? I think it's very therapeutic for the clients to be able to say this is what happened to get it out of their system, because for many
client, this is the only way that they are able to get it out, which is good and bad. You know, because I it's not like after I leaving get this out of them, that I can provide them with services and a lot of places. But frankly, if I am representing a client visit, the information that I need to know and understand, and do you get emotional ever I get mad a lot you know, but that that's really good. For me, I do get sad, but I'm not sad in front of my clients, clients, don't you see their cry with them? They want someone, that's gonna fight for them, I much more effective being angry than being sad stem from music. You set your second disk today. Why be chosen? My mother is from the northern part of korea should ever like cessation to north korea and my father
is from bash Louisiana, which it's crazy, that man from bash up Louisiana met a girl from the northern part of korea and then created me and she's always ban very, very secretive about what her past has been and I remember when I was nine years old, my mother was plain the song and she was crying. It was the first and frankly, only time. I've ever seen my mother cry. What had happened is her. Father had died in korea, up until that point, I didn't even realize my mother had a father, and so she would always play elton John and the song reminds me of that. That
nine, I guess that's why they, all the blues out and john reminding you of your mum kimberly motley. So you were born in nineteen, seventy five in Milwaukee and you ve written of your hometown. I know my work better than I know myself, although that doesn't mean I have to like it? How would you describe the neighborhood? You grew up in a where I grew then it was a very black neighbourhood. It was in the project. a low income. Everyone was on welfare monkey is, a very hard city, it's very similar to Kabul. To me frankly, smoky has allowed a problem
but even though it was a poor neighbourhood and the projects, it was also magical and a lot of ways you now I dont there's real benefits in some ways to growing up poor. I haven even saying that word for me, you get a greater imagination, which I think was great relationships really mean a lot in neighborhoods like that, you know. My father. I do a rubber. He was like the only father in that neighbourhood and he was just crazy. He was just crazy when it in a good way beeping in the military. Yes, he was in the air force, which was good for him. He would do this thing where you on the projects everyone's grass is evil is all communal, but he would have literally come bearing out the howls and just go off on people for walking on our communal grass, and it was so embarrassing but, on the other hand,
saying some he's like just cause your port as many have to act like your poor. You know were proud of this. This is our grass beer you mentioned in your mother came as a north korean. She was brought to south careers a child. Much later, she met your dad critical as parents. What was important to them? Education, every extra dollar that They had went towards our education. We went to private schools, we had to There's coming to our house all the time I mean we head school all year round you don't twenty four seven anymore, we weren't going somewhere for school. They would make a threed encyclopedias at hall and not just read em, but then we have to write book reports on them. It was crazy, is completely insane, but I'm glad they did that document of speed read a machine, a very early version of his speed, Rita. I don't know where she got that thing for him. I mean play. She came home one day you so prouder ourselves, because she had this speed, reading machine and like all these spools of paper that had all these words on it, but they were, but
and so should make us read these from the speed reader machine and she would up the time it was all about education. Let's go back to the music. This is your third disk. Today. Can why vetoes and were the reason why, Is this I'm bad by Ella cool J? Is this became my theme song when I was a little kid and my father, he did that. I liked rap side would have to sneak in list To this end, I remember one of my most treasured items that I owned was. I had this wonder: woman costume every halloween. from the ages of nine to eleven I was wonder woman and they went I was eleven. I really really one d go trick or treating, so I remember begging my brother like come on, Neil please come with me to trigger tree. No one you're a kid, and you know this is the last time. You're gonna do a thing and I knew that that was the last time that I,
was gonna, be wonder woman, so my brother put on his dark vader mass, my baby brother, yes, and he put on his superman costume and before I put on my costume, I heard the song and I thought that the money and I went trick or treating to l l, cool J on bad, This can be a boy from the figures of stay that way, bans ramble. You need a game on the wing of a number of member states and only one its army on the brenner go the way of the notorious approach you like a jelly b. Bad by local j kimberly. Molly tell me a bit.
more than about school. You described your childhood is very multicultural, but you also said you know you the only that kid's your school, your you with a black he perceived in a blanket. What was it like catholic private school at your parents? And you do we not honest the school was Lee was great and it was interesting because it was inserted the middle the city. There are only ten of us in each class and a very connected community, very middle class, except for us, which is fine. Great teachers yields a really great experience and I feel like as a kid I was able to move and sort of different types of people and did not feel comfortable feel right from the off. We did. You know my household. It was my creed, mother, my black father, my mother was only korean woman in the community and when she came to the? U s, she don't be english very well, so we sent a learned together. You know me as a baby and she was in comfortable with
english. So when she would have meetings around welfare, I would be the one talking for her. Will you advocating for her from a young age? Yes, yes, I didn't think about like that, but pretty much yes, money was pretty tight, then, as you say, your own welfare. So what was the impact of that on you? Will you expected to contribute to the family finances? Yes, I mean I had a job I was ten years old. I had a paper out which was a terrible job to have frankly the projects, because it relies on people paying for the paper, and so I had that job, and I remember I worked at haagen. Does my father was up, her toggle fur and also a janitor, and so we would go and help him with cleaning, and things like that I serve was brought up, always not just making money but making money to pay bills, which is a different type of thing. When you were a kid
yeah. I know that you had a realization quite early on in your legal korea, that when you become public lawyer that actually for love, your colleagues, that was their first experience of meeting people who were proof, but for you it wasn't. It was a reality you are familiar with and that that made you different. I think so I may I think I came in with a wealth of life experience that the other trees didn't have like. I understood how drugs are sold on the street. I understood, for instance, what a pound of we'd looks like I understood what I saw police do in and not do legally. I also saw a lot of crime as a kid. Unfortunately, so I came in with that experience which I think was really really valuable in terms of not just representing clients but really being able to relate to clients. For instance, I knew other tories when a client,
come to them and say what he didn't read me my rights. You know the attorney would be very skeptical that, but then I had grown up around where that never happened. So I wasn't skeptical about that There was also, in the background to your family life in your teens. Your father lost illegal case that he'd been fighting since you are right to, I think, he'd been fired, to becoming disabled in a car accident. Yet he lost his case. I mean they must have the huge awareness of the injustice of that in your family. Definitely it was a case that went on for years and years my father was in a horrible car accident. I was working for general electric at the time- and you know we had a dog- we were serve middle class before that happens, we're doing pretty good and then one c had the car accident everything change we had to give up our dog, we didn't have a car anymore. We wouldn't brent cars here and there it just changed everything and my father was so.
Hopeful that he would, when this case in this case, went on for at least seven or eight years, he would go and talk to his lawyers about Heal the wrongful termination that they had terminated ham based on his disability and at the end of it he lost he laws and it was a big blow to. And to you, do you remember the impact of it? Why just remember being very sad you'll because it just seemed like ok if he wins this case you'll everything will check back to the way that it was will get our dog back and edges didn't happen, and it just may me, you know angry to be honest. Angry on one hand, and but also on the other hand, I cut it felt like will, of course, because ass, just how the system is poor people don't win, and do you think had an impact on you choosing law as a career. I mean you once said lord picked me, you know issues I try
I ran from it for a very long time. Honestly, what I graduated high school, I went to college honestly. I want to be a dj My parents wanted me to be a lawyer, but I just was like no. I want to be a dj and I think part of that is because again my father was so against rap, and I would just like know I like rap and it, and also part of it, was that I just didn't see, The legal system work for people, I didn't see anyone win. What was the turning point? You know there wasn't like this thing happen, you don't I'm. When I was in high school. My parents did. Let me watch tv of course, and so one of my teacher said he wanted us to wash line order like as an assignment, and so I
Remember I love that show, and I just for like the next three years I was like my teacher said I have the watch about it. You know he. It was just for that one class, and so I I guess maybe that might have been it, but I just didn't realize it is time for the next piece of music. What's he gonna be suddenly I see by katy tungsten.
I actually had the honour of meeting her a few months ago and she just amazing person. I love this song and I chose a saw because I feel like this is one of those coming into your own type of songs, and that's how I felt like once. I decided that I need to go into law is beautiful,
Suddenly I see katy tonsil kimberly motley by two thousand and eight. Then you were thirty three you had a and a masters in criminal justice and a doctor in law. We'd married your husband claude, and had three kids and that yo you move your family from a walkie to north carolina. It was shortly after that that you went Afghanistan. It was as part of a state department scheme to train afghan lawyers. What was the appeal of that role for you? It was completely a financial. This given prior to going there. I was working as a public defender who can so me going. There would make more than triple my salary. It was just a one year programme. I didn't have a passport cells first, how my left, the? U s and really that was our plan- just go there for a year, make the money
and then come back. I much then did you know about what you were in for me, what we were expecting? I was expecting what you see on the news in. I was expecting that. Would be bombs everywhere, that it was a dangerous and scary place. I don't know anything about afghanistan and that point in time. I would a struggle tat frankly founded on a map, and it was frankly ridiculous that I was higher for that job is crazy and what was the advice that you were given about? What you was set to do and how we should conduct yourself? Well, you know they send us to this training in Virginia and I'm one of three women in the trainees. Third, fifteen to sixteen other men. There, the training and their sort of telling us as women that we need to cover our cells. We can't dance. We can't look me in the eyes. We can't shake their heads are telling us all these things that were not supposed to do it,
Women, american white man telling us how to conduct ourselves in afghanistan. It was ridiculous because this is radio. I'm just gonna have to convey the look on your face, who shoots like absolute discussed, yeah ills, ridiculous. They had no afghans training us about how afghanistan culture is similar, haven't when you got them well When I got there. I was terrified. You know. You really literally think that when you get off the plane that suicide bombers gonna try to run up to you and give you a hug, I remember being on the bus from the plane to the terminal and me in this afghan women are locked, eyes and she's gonna shook her head at me like here we go and then she started putting on her headscarf in. It was a sort of this understanding that we're about to enter into this world and be second class
It is indeed, but it was nowhere near as scary as they try to make. It seem like it was in that training and how much of the protocol that you'd been talk through. Did you adopt? If that's not ridiculous question here? I did none of it. I did not of it and why? What was he thinking? It was an interesting feel right. You know it just wasn't who I am, and I wasn't doing it to be disrespectful, but but frankly, I found that, from my spirits, afghan just one is to be who we were baden, have the same expectations on how we should behave. As the americans told us we should have when we were in afghanistan. You don't wear headscarf in court. I dont where headscarf at all period- and I dont do it to be disrespectful, but it is not something that I've ever done in afghanistan. Have you ever received criticism because of that? And if so, how
from the funny thing is. The criticism that I have received it from, which is very few and far between is usually from non muslim foreigners that work in Afghanistan. You know they say, oh, you should respect the culture where the headscarf and in I'm dislike really, you think. That's respectful the culture in a culture where, frankly about eighty five percent of the women are victims of sums. form of domestic violence. You best believe about ninety. Nine percent of those women are wearing headscarves, don't tell me wearing a headscarf, makes people any more respectful for women. I disagree with that. You know their certain things that obviously edgewood afghanistan to be respectful, I'll, never wear shorts in afghanistan, but ultimately I think you just have to be who you are and pure respect. That you were sent to work with afghan lawyers. How did they react to what was it like for you working with them? You know it's been amazing
frankly working with lawyers in afghanistan and working with judges. It's for me. There has been so many people that have been very, very helpful. Would I do it's a team sport there's lots of afghans that are my colleague flight by translators in my drivers, who have worked with me, there's been a lot of people. I've met who ve been willing to teach me about. Afghan law. Teach me about islamic law, which has been really really helpful and I've always been welcomed. I've never been told in afghanistan that I shouldn't be there,
and so I have found it to be. A very interesting and open minded place, a practice. They could a kick me a long time ago and they have. It is time for some music. This is your fifth disk today by vetoes well, I chose this song because when I first went to Afghanistan, there is parties and frankly hands down the best part. Is I've went to our word afghanistan area? Oh my god, therein saying you are so good because I really feel like. I met the world and Afghanistan, you know because you have people from all over the world that come to these parties. You know from the uk from Austria from the u s, and so we have these parties- and I remember my friend nick Lee and he play
is to death with me by dizzy rascal, and I was like who is this as the editors whether sombre like everyone does pots and dances and images, as just a beautiful thing to see all these people from different parts of the world just are coming together and dance and dizzy. Rascal, plus you pull over unit, in other words, to set up a storm
You ve done to me dizzy rascal and calvin Harris kimberly motley after your contract
with the: u s, state department ended. You decided to set up your own legal practice in couple name. He said you were only supposed to be there for you. Why did you stay well? I stayed because I was really interested in may be you know, seeing if I could take cases in afghanistan. I didn't plan for it to be a practice, but basically, when I was there for the first year, I went to different present around the country and I met a lot of people that were locked up and I remember going to pull a turkey prison, which is the largest prison in afghanistan, and I met some british and south african soldiers are sir on this tour and, as was there to learn about the legal system. I remember going to this last block and I saw these two guys and they are speaking english behind the bars and so they're just trying to get my attention and can be really super friendly, super chatty, but every one was very, very uncomfortable and so ass. We
try those slowly walk away from these two guys, Bevin Campbell and asked him alone. They were trying to shove these pieces of paper to me, and I was like known, and I can't take on less, not part of my job and a member Bevin sort of looking at me in saying you know. Please help us, no one is helping us, so I decided to take the papers and just reading their stories that night about how they have been imprisoned for several years and tortured and abused by could walk away from that, and so I went to the. U s. Embassy now said: hey, you know as part of our training programme when we actually use real cases that we can train the lawyers on how you deal with real life cases, and I was immediately shut down- was too low.
No, that's not why we're here were not doing that, and so I do you really believe in the programme anymore and also I knew that there are people that needed help, and so I decided to quit the job and that's when I started representing people and in the beginning I was only representing foreigners that were being grimly charge, in afghanistan for free cause. I didn't wanna, take people's money and then mess them up. Ito now wasn't sure how this would work. that point tina you mentioned earlier. Not you don't see. Law is being creative using those working the system from the inside out. Did you know that that, was what you were going to do, that you were going to use the legal frameworks and thus cheryl or frameworks that were already in existence in the informal judicial system in afghan culture to get these guys. I'm yes to a certain extent by at that point in time I wasn't
trouble with using Sherlock. I wasn't sure how it would be perceived being a foreigner. You know, quoting from the holy koran soul in the beginning, I only was going to use afghan formulas that were written and then I just started representing people, and I saw that wasn't the most effective way to do things, and then I started sort of meeting with new laws and different people too. I understand and learn about austria law, and then I started using that and view a very open to teaching me. You know because it it just had not been done, and it was weird I think, and also because I was the first foreign lawyer too, like even observe court or to go to the prisons freely. I had free access to the prisoners, Afghanistan and I wish Rocco better prison and they would lead
come in and just talk to people. It was crazy. You mentioned queen to understand the culture that you're working in Afghanistan's listed as one of the most corrupt on the corruption perception index. How'd you manage not aspects of living and working. There were the best way to fight. Corruption is not be corrupt, and so for me, I've had a lot of judges and prosecutors. That may come to me or come to my people you're asking for a bribe as the best way to that I have found a fight against. as for me to be the super transparent, so I'll say I don't pay bribes, they will honour, and I was asking I will just in case you were. I want you to know that. I doubt if I have a judge that asking for money We have been known to write a letter and say on this date. You ass before this amount of money. I do not pay bribes, it is illegal and I'll file it in the file.
I remember the last time that I was asked by that a judge shrove was trying to ask if I would pay the money they go to my translator and they said to americans pay bribes and my tresses goes not this one. let's get to your next piece of music kimberley motley. What's it going to be and why she chose well, this song is such a beautiful song and it's ed sheeran. I see fire that was in the hobbit. Soundtrack I chose this on, because this sort of one of those songs that I have used in sir, my private time. You know this is a sad but it's a song where I am able to serve.
Unwind different conversations I may have with clients. I don't know it's a very emotional song issue. We should raise this issue. I see a cheering and I see fire kimberly might leave spend over a decade in afghanistan now and in that time your house has been built,
in two and it was ransacked alive. Grenades was actually thrown into your, whom I mean it's an incredibly dangerous place to live regardless of your occupation. An average of seventy four people were killed every day in the country in august, according to data collected by the bbc. Recently. How much do you worry about your personal security? Unfortunately, there has been more issues with security in afghanistan and more people are suffering as a result. More than I am, but frankly it is part of the job de worry by becoming them to the dangers yeah. I do, I think, gum I think you're gonna have to meet at least for me I have to be done to it, because I can't be terrified all the time about what may or may not happen, and you see every one else, also, sir. It does that
You know if you live in a war zone, you have to live, so you have to understand how to work through it. Your husband clothes is at home with your three children when you're working in Afghan. Done and elsewhere. How much of what you are facing when you're way do you choose to share with them? Well me I'll talk to them about cases here and there I try to be very selective with what I tell especially my children, because they don't really need to know everything. They need to be happy. Kids. They are interested as they get older there more interested, but they do worry, but I feel like To be honest, my upbringing Milwaukee was very helpful and I feel, like you know, I group bad neighborhood, malawi and that Afghanistan, for me, is this. The bad neighborhood ages have to watch your back, be smart and keep your head on a swivel. It was interesting for me too, to watch for each of you
spending time and Afghanistan and then kind of going home to spend time in the states how much of a process of decompression and recompression do you go through when you going from one place to the other. I have learned that I need the kind of a day to get back into a western world. Could it's hard because, unlike were aggressive in Afghanistan and they when I come home, I don't want to be like that, but I don't know we all polish. I taught me about this. I was a boy legitimacy. Why, though, Well, I mean I just feel like this is just too I am. I don't know I guess it's. It makes a person vulnerable to talk about this and I gotta know what I need to do for myself in my own brain at a nose at something I really want to share its, not necessarily by recommending it. It's just live in its doing it
yeah, I mean my job. It's always answering one boxing ring or another and frankly, when you get into a boxing, ring you're going to get hit it and if you don't want to get hit, don't be a boxer and that's her of how I feel about my job, the fear, the threats, the bombs, the whatever's, it's just the job, it's clear from all that. You said today that you feel the afghan legal system does need to change. Is that happening and if so, where were you living above? When I first went to have gathered in two thousand eight, I believe there are. Less than a hundred attorneys that were licensed, and I had to convince attorneys to go to court to represent their clients, whereas now now a little bit over ten years later, there is over, I believe, two thousand attorneys and you see more attorneys going to court to represent their clients, which is great. I just had a training
last year, whilst training a lot of women lawyers on dna evidence, which is amazing on d and a evidence in Afghanistan. Ten years ago. Our training them on what the constitution said. You know, so I do sir, a lot of really positive progress. I do see the lawyers using the laws more to the benefit, especially of women, but I want to make it seem like. Oh, it's all better now, because it's not it was abysmal back then now it's still not great, but it's not as bad as it were I see some more music. This is your seventh disk today, in I largely sounds, are damned songs, involvement and on a desert island by myself.
I wanna dance. I dont want to just be served feeling sorry for myself, so this song, pompey by black eye peace, reminds me of my kids new anytime. I would take them to football games or baseball games. I would play a song that would get them in the mood to get them pumped up to get out there and in fight and is also very effective song when your kids are in the car in their arguing that This is good practical tips, excellent super effective because I have found up just when there's in their arguing getting an earth just play this song and then jack it up and they stop.
can be some people in that situation. Right now can lay. They can just turn up its heckling. Only too easily would yogi place. She would kick back. We may not like that. Which way come pigsty, the black eyed peace, kimberly motley eve. Had the support of your family, your house include support your decision and he was looking after things at home while you were working over there, but has your work in Afghanistan taken too long, you personally, I mean. Definitely it's definitely changed our relationship, its chain.
Me as a person and a lot of ways how they just saga has made me trust people more, but also not trust people more. If that makes sense, I mean that complete. You make sense, because you're seeing the best and worst of people all the time as part of what you do right exactly. I mean I've seen some beautiful things where people have stepped up to the plate. You know, like I, had a client to meet a close and I had people taken a shirt off their backs to literally give my client clothes and then I've seen people do some really really ugly and terrible terrible things that I just don't understand how they could do that to another human being, especially when it comes to chill Brennan in women and just make we saw mad some things that I've seen you ve exe?
and your remit to international cases beyond afghanistan, and these days you also work in ghana, uganda. The! U way, why is it that drives you? You don't part of my practice is being immersed in culture. Is he going to a place in immersed myself and cultures and mercy myself into my clients, lives immersed myself into the legal system, and so I really enjoyed that a lot and I feel to assert accent that I have a responsibility to help people not just to help people but to protect them with the law and to empower them with the law. And yet I feel like that's me. superpower my superpowers to fly their land and give you the law, but not just give it to you, but in power you in a way that you start understanding and can argue for yourself and as such, a wonderful compliment that people trust me enough to come to me and say: can you help me with this and
responsibility to do that and what about your own future? How do you see that you're? I look at you. I just see I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing right now. Have you ever thought about politics? I mean Muscat ass, this all the time I know, but I just politicians, man, they're so disappointing these days age- The only reason is there. What I mean I don't know. I just feel like. I think What I do is political and a lot of ways, and I think this is where my so power is I mean, maybe at an old twenty years from now. Maybe I'll change my mind, but right now and I feel like I'm more effective with what I'm doing the politicians
can make the laws, but I'm the one that goes and shows how the laws do work and don't work for the people, and then I come back and charm. This is what happened in this which need to change with this time. Your last disk care, what's gonna, be my last desk, is kendrick Lamar dna I feel like this is my worst on. You know what I'm about to go to. Ports. This is my job I got I got I got. I got around one point, as you know the lamp always about my was born. I did when I give me back my transformed my dear, I did not know tat he had had taken on your part here. If that were the case, then I got I've got I've got I've got that has not been kendrick
and dna, so Kimberly motley. I am about to cast you away to a desert island. How do you feel about the prospect of a pretty good I'll, have my imagination, some fine, you will completely on your own will give you the books to take with you at the bible and the complete works. If shakespeare you can Also have a book of your own. What would you like? The book that would choose is one thousand nine hundred and eighty four by george orwell, it's a book that I always travel with and I feel like it would stand the test of time especially with me being board on a desert island in its book that I can read and reread over and over again. You can also have a luxury item. What would you like? Well, I mean, of course I would choose a solar powered vote by no less, not plainly gazer that come on. I know little
game this system, you ve, met your much. I know that's like playing the game right, but what I would choose, as I have this business cardholder and basically there's a mirror inside and on the cover of the holder, when my kids were to seven and twelve years old, I was taking a picture of them. My little girl cherish and my two other kids, deviant salt and I take the picture and there are just smiling and laughing, is so q and that's a picture picture that I put on the cover of this business card holder and so would take them. And then I could break off the business car holder and I could maybe filed it down. Down into a knife or something for protection, and then there's the mere. So there's a lot of things I could do with a well islam
You can use the knife a strictly impractical purposes. I think we can definitely allow that the picture of the kids is absolutely perfect, so it's yours. Finally, if he had to say just one of these eight tracks- from the waves on your desert island, which would it be, I would have saved my kids side- have the same pump it remotely? Thank you very much for sharing your does Alan discs with us. Thank you for having me. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with kimberly. Other lawyers heaping castaway include baroness helene Kennedy, anthony julius barbara mills and michael mansfield, and in twenty fifteen kirsty young interviewed Brian Stevenson, a fellow You can lawyer founder of the not for profit, equal justice initiative whose work focuses on death penalty cases, children,
sentenced as adults, prison and sentencing reform and issues of race and poverty kirsty asked Brian. What it was like to work on such challenging cases to represent people who had done terrible things were its difficult work. Does no question but it also deeply engaging these are people who are condemned. These are people who have been judged to have no moral redeeming features beyond hope, and I ve never met anybody about whom I could say this person is beyond hope have represented people who have done some really difficult and dangerous things, including some whom have to be institutionalized for a very long period of time, but I never met anybody about whom I can say. There is no hope for this person and this idea that we are all more than the worst thing we ve ever done is very resident for me. I think
so my tells a lie there, not just a liar. I think if they take something that doesn't belong to them, there not just a thief, and I think, even if you kill someone you're, not just a killer and I actually take pride and standing and advocating for the humanity of people vital who surely, in a functioning democracy that people ultimately, I held accountable, the very worst things they needed, no question, and I'm not, against punishment. But you know in amerika we have a system of justice that really defined by error for every nine people that we have executed in amerika. We, by dint of fight one innocent person on death row in that rate of error, in my judgment, auto cause us to stop the death penalty not because we think it morally unacceptable, necessarily, but because you can't tolerate and that kind of air for every nine planes took off one crashed, nobody would fly and what's interesting is that the longer I've spent
representing the condemned the longer I've spent on death row. The more I become persuaded that these are places where some remarkable things are happening and that manatee that compassion that sometimes beauty that is given to me by my condemn client is really radicalized. My understanding of what it means to be in that space is an extraordinary things to hear you say because I had planned at my next question really was to ask you about being surrounded by so much darkness with delight in your life signs to me as though it later in the least expected all absolutely I've had clients spent. most of the entire visit trying to encourage me, worried about my mental state, as I'm dealing with some complex issue, and so there is a dynamic even on death row that affirms my very basic hopes and aspirations for what human beings can
should do Brian Stevenson. Speaking to kirsty in twenty fifteen, do listen to the whole of that programme. It is a great one he can find that programme on b c sounds next time on desert island discs. My guest will be the actor
stephen green. I hope you'll join us. Everybody, I'm caitlin jenner and I am a guest on Simon Monday's. Don't tell me the score podcast. We talked about everything, the olympics, transit issues and all the lessons that I have learned along the way I really enjoyed recording the broadcasts, and I hope you enjoy listening to it. You can hear it on BBC sounds just search for dont. Tell me the score.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-08.