Monday, June 22, 2009
There are certain words that come up in legal argument all the time that for some reason (missing brain cells?) I just can't bring from my brain to my lips to say when it's needed.
I'm doing a two defendant preliminary hearing and at the end of the evidence presented by the DA it's time for the defendant to make a "motion to dismiss". Lots of times it's kind of a perfunctory, "for the record" kind of thing.
This time the lawyer for the other defendant went first and argued for the case to be dismissed and actually argued very effectively. Then it was my turn. It was a robbery case and my colleague had made all the same points I would have made. I stood up - “Your honor I’d like to... " and the word I was looking for just escaped me. I wanted to say "what the guy said just now goes for me too" but didn't think that would be lawyerly. I was sweating as I stood there struggling to find the word. Finally, the judge, either because he wanted to wrap it up or took pity on me, said "join Mr. Meyer?". "Yes your honor, that's exactly what I'd like to do."
Friday, June 19, 2009
Defendant on the stand testifying about his whereabouts on the day of the crime. He says I was at my "baby momma's house". Then the DA kept on using the term "baby momma's house" on question after question. After quite some time the judge, a black woman, interrupted the DA's cross-examination and in an exasperated and/or disgusted tone says to the defendant on the stand "does this person have a name?" "Yeah" the defendant said "Latoya". "Then use her name" the judge snaps.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I'm in court almost every day of the year and above the judge in every single courtroom of California is this State Seal. I only ever notice it when the judge reads Jury Instructions to the jury. When I looked at it recently it really threw me. Who is that lady dressed up like a Roman soldier? I looked it up and see it's Minerva the Roman goddess of "Wisdom". There has got to be a punch line but it's eluding me.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Oh we brave few - that's the feeling I get trudging up to the attorney lounge at noon after the morning session in trial which is usually a losing one and seeing all the other lawyers sitting around - or even lying around; most just waiting - waiting for a witness - waiting for a judge to decide - waiting for a court to call their case - just waiting.
Sometimes there's someone in the midst of some great victory - a lesser charge allowed in - a concession by the DA - a dismissal of one of ten counts - or even a hung jury - or on the rare occasion, a "NG"* (WE WON THE WAR) of all unlikely things.
Most of them, however, are in my boat having had their heads handed to them in the morning - but keeping hope up for the afternoon when who knows there might be some small victory lying in wait; a good ruling from the judge, a cop being honest about how it actually looked, something that comes in that you can argue about in final argument. Either way the battle goes on at 1:30.
Bring it on.
*Not Guilty if you have to ask
Saturday, June 6, 2009
"Circumstantial" - this is another of those words I just can't for the life of me remember all the time. Not so much remember but remember the word to say it when I'm speaking. See, I'm nervous that when it comes down to saying it - "circumstantial evidence". I can write it out easy as pie now - "circumstantial, circumstantial, circumstantial, circumstantial" (i can go on forever like this but you might think I could just be pasting it in but I am really typing it each time - cross my heart - so you see what kind of idiot i can be)
It's got me tense because I'm in a trial and supposed to be doing the final argument on Monday and it's the "circumstantial evidence" that is my guy's biggest hurdle in this case and I gotta talk about it - well - I think I should - there's a lot I could say about it - or maybe not - maybe i shouldn't talk about it much - maybe i shouldn't mention it at all - that's an alternative - that would be the solution to my problem.