Good humor makes all things possible.
-Charles Schultz-

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
-Shakespeare-The Merchant of Venice-

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

To tell the truth

Here's something I did not know.  That old courtroom symbol, the venerable gavel, has gone the way of the dodo bird.  Our judge, although very judicial  in his black robe, does not bang a gavel.  His Honor looks and sounds like James Earl Jones.  On Monday morning his deputy precedes him into the courtroom and says all rise and we all rise, and then she instructs us to be seated and we all sit.  Some legal maxims get tossed out and then off we go; but no gavel.  He has three computer screens and one or two electronic gadgets and an iPad in front of him and there must not be room for a gavel, or else it's so last century.  And you no longer have to solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. These days, the plain old truth will do.

We're in our third week of testimony and have perhaps three weeks to go.  The wheels of justice grind slowly here in the big tomato. The prosecution has called their last witness and now we finally get to hear from the defendants and their witnesses.  Some are more interesting than others, and though at this time it is not a federal crime to be tiresome, the jury can't help but think it ought to be.

It's not like television.  Well, parts of it are--both the prosecution and the defense look like central casting assembled them--but the case itself is rather dull.  Important, absolutely, but dull nonetheless. The other thing that's dull is my hotel room.  Today it rained and rather than explore the waterfront for a charming restaurant I waded over to Denny's next door, inspiring me to plan some provisions for my little hotel room fridge.  I also plan to remember to pack more than one pair of pants--I had to wear my jeans which is not forbidden but it IS federal court and I feel compelled to dress better than a trip to WinCo.  And speaking of Winco these last few weeks have been a little hard on my resolve to eat better, without much relief in sight.  I dream of chocolate to soothe my anxiety.  Oh, WinCo--you don't care what I wear, do you?

Any of you have jury stories to tell?

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6-29-11 Breaking news:  Today, after several mysterious delays, His Honor explained that they had all agreed on a number of issues and that next Tuesday would be closing arguments and then jury instruction. We will then begin deliberating.  Although good news in the general sense, I personally am dismayed that I won't get any more information upon which to base my decisions.  I was really looking forward to having half the testimony come from the defense, rather than about ten percent. Two of the doctors have not spoken a single word--not even "I swear on my babies' heads that I am innocent of all charges".   Can't they come up with anything to make themselves look less guilty (Like, not sporting that criminally ugly black-and-white patterned leisure jacket--are you listening, Dr. P? )  That fact alone makes me feel much less charitable. I get the whole "reasonable doubt" rule--but if they were trying to send ME to federal prison you can bet I'd be arguing until they hit me with a hammer to shut me up.  

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