Tiger Mom Lawyer

A letter from Tom E:

Karen, you story reminds me of someone, equally devilish, who rammed a jury verdict right through my professional reputation 33 years ago, after I lost a supposedly unlosable case. Only it wasn’t a He. It  was a she.

As the then City Attorney for Lake Forest Park, it was my duty to prosecute a gentlemen who was accused of unlawfully aiming and pointing a firearm, and attempted assault for throwing Ninja Stars. Seems he had challenged a patron of our City’s Dance Club – Fandango’s – to a Kung Fu fight in the parking lot. A fight witnessed by close to 100 patrons, all of whom were more than willing to testify the Defendant had indeed drawn a gun and thrown a Ninja Star.

In those days, even gross misdemeanors could go to Superior Court, de novo, for jury trial.  And my opponent,  unfazed by the municipal court conviction,  demanded de-novo 12 person jury trial in King County.

So, during the trial, my opponent kept referring to me as, “Tom.” “Why’d you do that for, Tom?” “Boy, that was sure dumb, Tom.”  “Think the City Council will vote to approve your bill, Tom?” “Your not gonna  call all 10 of your witnesses, are you, Tom?”

Just like you, I was soooo polite. Figuring Jesus must have been right  “…the meek shall inherit the earth…” I knew I could count on, at very least, the minds of 12 jurors in an unlosable prosecution.

Then my opponent did the unthinkable.  She called the Defendant to the stand. Had him explain the Rules of Ninja. Why he was so good at throwing Ninja Stars. Had he really intended to Star-Stab his challenger, he would have. And, he wasn’t pointing the loaded gun at just one person, he was pointing it at the whole crowd, because they were taunting him!

But the worst thing she did, was to make this Defendant into a really likeable guy!

In retrospect, probably my best move during the entire case, was to make sure the Judge did not let any bullets go back to the jury room, along with the gun.

The jury was out, lets see, maybe 10 minutes.  It was unanimous.  12 – zip. Not guilty.  As I was leaving the court room, the Defendant, now a star a/k/a Bruce Lee, was instructing some of the jurors on how to throw a Ninja Star.

And the name of my opponent? That dreaded terror, seared into my memory, whom I am sometimes reminded of when someone says “Hey, Tom” (which can happen a lot when you are named Tom).

Mary Fung Koehler. Your Mother.

Photo:  Mom before she became a tiger lawyer