First Day in Court
i bought a house. i've also bought awesome paint colors for
my house. i'm also going to be doing a bunch of cool
renovation projects on it (it's a fixer-upper). but
although that is exciting for me, i can see how that
wouldn't nearly be as exciting to read about as a young
attorney's first day in court. as this is both an outlet
for my thoughts and also a shameless plug for attention from
the anonymous masses, i am sensitive to what sells free
copies of my journal.
the first day of court is always nerve-racking for the young
attorney. i've heard of people hyperventilating, perspiring
to no end, and even fainting. this was a traffic ticket. a
red light camera ticket to be exact. these are the worst.
not only do i think they are unconstitutional (not going to
EVEN get into that argument right now) but they are
virtually impossible to get dismissed. the judge literally
has a video of you committing the infraction.
i don't know why i took it. part of it was for the
experience, part of it was because a third party (lawyer
referral service) was footing the bill. my client was an
indian gentleman. let me preface what i am about to write
with the following two disclaimers: 1) i have been to india
and loved it along with the culture and people and 2) i have
a lot of indian friends (you need to say that before you
malign an entire group of people right? that makes it
i get to traffic court and 8 out of the 10 defendants are
indian. i sit down and wait for my client's name to be
called. i watch a couple of the indian gentleman amble up
to the defendant's chair and give their excuse. one guy was
great, he actually flat out denied having done it. flat
out denied. what was best was that the judge turned the
monitor and had him watch the video...he didn't even come
close to stopping at the red light.
i watched the city prosecutor. she looked like a stone-cold
bitch. dressed in an all black pants suit with a white
blouse, she looked like she could be a dominatrix on the
side for extra cash. her strikingly sharp facial features
seemed to give her an incredibly intense glare. she was not
unattractive but that could partially have been because she
was the only woman (other than the thousand year old judge)
in a room full of indian men who smelled like curry powder.
finaly my client's name was called,
"present as his attor-"
"i am also hear-uh!" i heard an increidbly thick indian
accent cut me off.
the point of an attoreny is that you don't show up. i am
your representative. so i quickly motioned to the judge &
prosecutor helplessly..."could i get 5 mins to discuss with
i got a shrug from the disinterested judge and not a lick of
emotion from the prosecutor. i pulled my client outside the
courtroom, "i really wish you'd let me knwo you were
coming..." i couldn't help but wonder why, as the only white
man dressed in a suit he didn't think to come to me and ask
if i was his attorney.
"i wnat to be a witness."
i let out an inward sigh. these weren't thsoe types of
proceedings...sighhhhhhhhhhhh. okay, okay.
so i went up there with my client. the judge arched her
eyebrows and seemed to relish what she saw in front of her.
i started, "your honor, my client wa-"
"ma'am, i would like to say that the streets were completely
empty at the time i made the turn."
the judge leaned back and signed even deeper than i had.
"sir, when you have an attorney present you would be wise to
heed his advice and decorum...otherwise there is no reason
to have him here."
i felt this was a bit of a shot at me but what coudl i do.
so then the guy completely disregarded my advice and started
bitching. he said how he had "almost comem to a stop."
bullshit. the video showed that the ONLY reason his break
lights came on was because there was no way he could have
made that right hand turn at the speed he was going.
then he got really mad because teh judge refused mitigating
and reducing the ticket price because he had a ticket within
the past 3 years.
what realy pissed me off here was not just that he made me
look like a jackass in front of the judge, but because he
completely disregarded the advice i had given him earlier.
you see, his prior ticket was deferred. what a deferral
means is that you were pronounced GUILTY but that you don't
have to deal with the sentence PROVIDED you abide by the
conditions imposed. this of course is a bit of legalese and
that is why you HIRE A LAWYER!!!
he didn't understand this and started arguing with the JUDGE
implying that she was VIOLATING THE LAW!!!! i wanted to
die. this is what he said,
"you, ma'am" (he also kept on referring to her as ma'am
instead of your honor...) "are not being correct. i did not
get a ticket in the past 3 years."
the judge was REALLY starting to get pissed off. i just
wnated to crawl under a rock and die.
finally the judge threw him out. i meekly followed my irate
client. of coruse it wasn't enough that the ocurt scene
ass-raped me. my client was very, very displeased with me.
i was a shitty lawyer who didn't know what he was doing.
nevermind that he essentially tried to do it all himself.
that he pretty much blew my case by acting like a jackass.
i didn't evne have the strength or will to argue. to be
honest with you...i felt he deserved it. i know it's bad,
but this guy is a fucking menace on the road. this is his
THIRD INFRACTION in a year. the other two were reckless
driving!!! he was not someone who deserved mitigation. and
even though i had wanted to defend him, i couldn't as he
ruined it by constantly acitng like a fucking perry mason.
so i just sat tehre staring vacantly ahead. what a drain on
the brain. my client had long stormed out promising to tell
people how shitty i was.
"i'm sorry." i heard a quite lovely voice say from above me.
i looked up and noticed the ice-cold prosecutor smiling at me.
"was this your first time?"
"heh...yeah how'd you guess?"
she scrunched her hawk-like nose and her unforgiving eyes
twinkled, "oooo, just a hunch."
she sat down next to me with what seemed like a shit-eating
grin...almost like she felt bad for me. maybe she did.
"the camera tickets are virtually impossible to get
dismissed, i mean all the evidence is right there." she
laid her hands out as if she ahd been holding the evidence
the whole time.
"yeah...just thought i'd get some experience on it."
"ah forget these things. they are worthless...almost
impossible to win...just makes clients angry they spent
money on you."
boy did she nail it...she wasn't really making me feel better.
she patted my arm..."plus that client was kind of crazy,
don't worry, it can only go up from here."
she managed another smile then cocked her head quickly like
an imaginary phone had rang...then she pulled out her
blackberry that apparently had been vibrating in her pants
"good luck!" she waved as she left me.
good luck indeed. i have gotten two more emails from this
dissatisfied client talking shit. i don't want to get
dragged into an argument, i just wnat him to go away. i did
the absolute best i could. he kind of shot himself in the
foot but i guess saying that to him wouldn't help get him to
i guess this is all part of it. in a way it was kind of
thrilling while terrifying. at the very least it makes for
a mroe interesting journal entry than the fucking paint
colors i picked out at the hardware store.