Whoops there she goes ...a trial diary excerpt

Photo:  Judge A's courtroom in Wenatchee, WA

Photo:  Judge A's courtroom in Wenatchee, WA

Trial day 3.

Swim to consciousness through Nyquil fog.  Can almost breathe through both nostrils.  But there is a weight on my body.  The left over pall from yesterday.

The tooth brush whirls.  Do not feel like full-speed-ahead-charge!-Karen on the White Stallion.  Somberly put on black combat uniform and head back out into the desert.

In the hall outside the courtroom there’s a desk area.  The clients are with their two children.  This has been planned because the sitters could only cover for two days.  They are cute blue eyed little sweethearts.  Drawing pictures of houses with crayons.  I’ve offered for them to hang out in my hotel room.  They can play in the pool and watch tv.  The parents will switch off as each other testifies. First the kids want to see the courtroom.

Court starts up.  Judge A asks if there is any other matter.  I say, your honor, I would like to introduce my client's children.  They will be out in the hall but wanted to come and see what a courtroom is like.  Judge A breaks into a big smile and greets each child.   She is kind and sweet.   How old are you she asks.  The five year old holds up one hand, waves all her fingers and giggles.  The little boy bounces up with shiny eyes and grins that he’s ten.

Barely a second passes.  Frowning the defense lawyer, Keley, announces she needs to register an objection to the children being in the courtroom.  That she has children too, but a courtroom is no place for them.  She doesn’t want them distracting the jury or acting inappropriately and causing disturbances.  She’s really probably thinking that we intend to parade them in front of the jury.  I guess to get them to like us more.  Which they absolutely wouldn’t.  Like us more that is.

Judge A pauses.  In a level voice says the courthouse is open to the public and she won’t impose additional restrictions on this family.  She leaves the bench to wait for the jury.  The children and mom leave.  I lean over to Kelley and hiss in a voice choking with fury:  that was absolutely inappropriate, unnecessary and rude.  The judge comes back in (probably catches me call Kelley rude) and we begin.

Now I didn’t tell you this, but yesterday, Kelley accused me of violating a motion in limine and asked the judge to caution me (which she did).  During opening I apologized for being a bit under the weather, not my usual perky self and didn’t want them to feel this was a reflection on my belief in my client’s case.  The MIL says we are not to express our personal beliefs as to the merits of the case.  Kelley is so petty about this, that it  takes my breath away.  With a sigh, Judge A says technically it does violate the MIL.  I can tell she chalks this up to big bad city lawyer cut throat positioning. I know this because she  says so.   I don’t like to be clumped together with Kelley on this.  But I am.

Back to today.  Kelley’s negative trial karma is going to catch up with her.

We finish the plaintiff expert physician's testimony.  Then recess.  Judge A calls us into chambers.  I’m thinking – uh oh, did we lose another juror (yesterday we lost the alternate on condition that if we lost another we would go to a jury of 11).

We sit down.  The judge closes the door.   Then absolutely royally in no uncertain terms rips into Kelley for her comments about the kids.   This may well be the single most eloquent powerful dressing down of a lawyer I have ever seen in chambers.  Judge A is brilliant.  In that moment I love her.  My eyes well and overflow.   I can’t help it.    She is championing the moral outrage that coursed through my body when Kelley rained on the little children’s parade.  Judge A hands me her tissue box.  Kelley says she apologizes, that she has kids too and that’s why she raised the issue in the first place.  Then her voice falters and she sheds a tear and also is given a tissue.  I feel no sympathy for her.  Not that I don’t like her.  In all of our interactions outside of the courtroom she is really one of my favorite defense lawyers.  No nonsense, straight and true.  But she is willing to risk collateral damage when she goes for the jugular during trial.  The way she disrespected the family was really crappy and wrong.

We are ushered back outside, the judge and jury on our heels.  The plaintiff is on the stand and it is back to business.

The rest of the day is summed up like this.  Yahoo!!!

I wish you could have seen the plaintiff testify.  I wish you could have seen Kelley’s awful cross.  I wish you could have seen the wife make my eyes water just a teeny little bit.  That perfect place where nothing overflows.

We rest.  Defense calls a five minute witness who adds absolutely nothing.  Court adjourns.

But wait.  It is not quite over.

We must come back to do instructions after the arraignment calendar.  An hour later at 5:00 we are back in court.  (Note:  this will take us two hours.  Judge A really goes above and beyond).  The judge has gone to take off her robe.   I have my laptop and ipad out with each set of instructions.  Kelley is shuffling piles of papers getting set up.

Crash!!!!! Bang!!!! Hahaha.

I turn around. Whaaaaaaaat!

Kelley is lying on the ground on her back.  Half way back to the spectator bar. Roller chair sidewise.  Three foot long elegant legs sticking in the air.  She rolls over and springs up.  Jokingly asks me to represent her.

I smile and laugh with her.   I really do like her. I do.  I really do.

But inside, am thinking.

Poetic justice strikes again.