About Preconceptions

I've heard that Twin Falls is in one of the most conservative counties in the United States. That's one reason I would like to try a case here. To see. To understand. To connect.

The courthouse is right off the main road in town. I start to walk in the door but Joe my co-counsel tells me we are going that away (off to the left). To the annex. The courthouse is now used as offices (like for the prosecutor). The actual court is in the adjacent low slung cobbled together institutional structure (i.e. not a pretty place). I think that the courthouse should be the courthouse and the prosecutor should be in the other place. People should be in awe when they go to court. We are greeted by the security officer. He looks like The Dude from the movie The Cityslickers. The guy with the gray hair and handlebar mustache. He has the same all-knowing humorous expression.

We walk through the narrow halls to the left and into the courtroom. The judge is already on the bench. Sitting there. Next to the U.S. and State Flags, below a photo of President Obama. We are the only ones there other than his staff. We sit down. I look around. I want to pull out my flip but the judge is there so I don't. The walls to my right and left are covered with carefully spaced photos of all the judges that have probably ever been judges in the county. They are all men. They are all white. They are all at least as old as me or older (way older).

The judge on the bench looks just like them. Another attorney walks in - the judge tells us to move up to counsel table. The other attorney says the lead defense counsel is going to the restroom. The judge says he's been waiting for us since 8:30 (for a 9:00 hearing). The clock ticks 9:00. 9:01. 9:02. The attorney rushes out of the room and returns with Tardy Man.

My intent is to sit back, feel the aura of the courtroom, scope out the logistics, get a feel for counsel and His Honor. I'm figuring out if I will have to deal with any kind of personality issues. Does the judge mind that I'm a female attorney from Seattle. The first motion is argued by the other attorneys. I decide at the last minute to argue our motion in limines.

I want the judge to hear from me. I want to tangle just a little eentsy bit with the defense attorney. No much. Just a little eentsy. And there, in the annex that is the courtroom; with its mauve tweed carpet and split pea green colored vinyl walls and dark laminated pseudo panelling; the judge begins to twinkle with me. He is happy. He is challenged. He likes me. I like him. I have no more fears of being home towned. Or of being treated as anything other than a capable lawyer.