Judges don't like it when us attorneys can't stop bickering. They are irritated by having to deal with our exchanges of snipes, digs and downright insults.
Last month after a trial ended, two jurors followed me down to the courthouse lobby. They wanted to talk about what happened. Both commented on how impressed they were that the attorneys acted in a civil manner. Sure we disagreed with each other and objected and there were tense moments. But we were not overly disrespectful like the lawyers they saw on television. They appreciated that.
I believe that lawyers take too much credit when a trial is won and too much responsibility when a trial is lost.
Of course this is our j.o.b. We are in it to win it. Our client's well being is our number one top absolute priority. And regardless of the reasons why sometimes we cannot convince the judge or jury of our position - it totally bites when we lose.
4:30 Slide sideways out of bed. Do everything necessary to get out of house. 5:15 Drop Nala off at downtown dog lounge. 5:45 Arrive at SeaTac. Park. Walk. Get thru security. Wait. Board. 7:00 Lift off. Eat lemon luna bar. Pull up P case on ipad. Exhibits have been loaded into Trialpad. Scroll through them. Nod off. Child kicks seat. Get back to work. Eat too many grapes.
Instead of doing her usual acrobatic routine, Nala is curled up around my feet. On the little rug in front of the sink. I glance up at the little crystal clock on the shelf. It says 6:10 which means it is 7:10 since the clocks sprang forward Sunday. Haven’t changed it yet. The mental math keeps me sharp. Or so I tell myself.
"No one has noticed; no one gives a s**t. But women, they wear the wrong colour and they get pulled up. Women are judged much more harshly and keenly for what they do, what they say and what they wear."
Alarm goes off. Am already conscious. Tissues surround me. Am ill.
Have to be in court by 8:45. Go through the motions. Get there in time. Judge S is late. We are set to argue before a jury trial starts at 9. They are at the voir dire phase. The prosecutor and defender are chatting.
Children may be scared to testify in a trial. But being on a witness stand can also be empowering for them. They are having their day in court. They are participating in an integral part of our country's foundational structure. They are helping the process of determining the truth.
Shellie: I'm addicted to Drop Dead Diva. You were right. K3: I know - isn't it entertaining. Shellie: Who would have thought. K3: It is such a ludicrous concept, but executed so brilliantly. Shellie: I love how she flicks her hair over her shoulder when she scores a point. K3: You get the case in the morning and try it in the afternoon.
Tomorrow we were supposed to be giving closing arguments. Instead, today the Court sent everyone home. Can't write about what exactly happened. This case is going to be tried again. But can tell you what it's like to have a Judge say they're granting a defense motion for mistrial. This is the third time I've had the experience.
Both sides used extensive demonstrative exhibits during opening. Basically we agreed that I could use what I wanted so long as they could use what they wanted.
The transcript is not very accurate (understatement). The courtroom was video recorded. If we wanted a quick transcript, at the end of the day the bailiff would copy the recordings and provided them to a court reporter. The reporter would then transcribe from the videos with only moderate success.
Arrive early to get everything set up for opening. The Prolumina (tech) guy is there to run everything for Nick the defense lawyer. He is playing with our big tv. We are chit chatting and my computer won’t boot up. Are you kidding me. Hard start it. Nothing. Not panicked at all. Which sounds ridiculous. Should be hyperventillating.
Four more witnesses testify – but only want to talk about one of them. The 38 year old daughter.
How do you turn a witness into someone a jury will connect with. Well, for starters you stop believing you have magical persuasive powers. Presenting a family member means getting out of the way so they can show their love. It means creating a safe place. It means embracing the human condition. Not in a data collecting, data spouting lawyerly way.