Friday, August 7, 2009

Law and Order: Not-So-Criminal Intent

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal - Do all the errands I did not get accomplished yesterday.
Grievance - Baby Love is teething terribly
Celebration - Boy Love begins school on Monday!

I recently embarked on a daunting journey to Oregon for two and a half weeks. One of the nice things about both Big Love and I being from the same place is that we never argue about where to take our vacation time. Oregon is a perfect, beautiful place full of people that we love. So from the middle of July to the beginning of August, I was living in a virtual paradise. Who would have guessed that paradise would be a recipe for frantic/helter-skelter-ness and general exhaustion? Actually, a lot of people could guess that. That is the stuff that legendary novels and horror flicks are made on.

One of the most beautiful things about this trip was that I got to see Cheetah. Cheetah is an army medic and my best friend. She is currently serving her sentence overseas, and she was home on leave for the two weeks before I was scheduled to get there. Fortunately for me, I had to appear in court, so the insurance company shipped the boys and I out here three days prior to our original trip plan and covered all airline fares. This meant that I could overlap with Cheetah for two whole days. It was awesome. Except for having to be in court all day.

I was a bit misleading before when I said I had to "appear in court". This would imply that I was merely there as a casual witness, to return to my ordinary life after my 15 minutes on the stand. This is not the case. I was actually the defendant. I was sued a little over a year ago for a car accident I caused. It was one of those deals where the accident itself was pretty ridiculously minimal, but I hit a person that was waiting to be hit. I was sued for over a quarter million dollars from each of the people in the car, and what do you know? It went all the way to trial.

I was assigned a lawyer from my insurance company. An interesting fellow to say the least. He is not what I expected from a lawyer. I was, of course, expecting Sam Waterston to come out of that office building on Broadway. Instead, there was a 30-something slight asian man in a sharp pinstripe suit. Donned in tiny square glasses and a faux-hawk, he met me with a, "Hey wazzup?" This guy was obviously way cooler than I was ever meant to be, and I was somewhat intimidated by that at first. As the days went on, however, I found him to be a much more relatable. He had children about the same age as mine, and was really big on family. He had nervous habits that made me chuckle to myself, like the constant need to poke holes in things with his pen, or obsessively pull off bits of the rubber rims around the tables in the court room. His laugh was more like a single, explosive "MHAH!" that caused the small office supplies around him to vibrate with sound.

In the courtroom he had a kind of boyish, play-it-dumb kind of tactic with the witnesses. You know the movie Philadelphia, and how Denzel always prefaced his questions with "Okay, now explain this to me like I am a 3-year-old"? This was somewhat his mantra for the trial, but in a completely non-aggressive way. He would play like he had no idea what was going on ("I apologize for not being able to read this very well...could you read this passage please? Is this what this is saying? Okay thanks for clarifying.") Then when he had weasled out of the witness what he wanted to get, he would make a surprisingly aggressive point/accusation. He never raised his voice, but you could tell that he was wrapping the witnesses around his little finger. I was proud.

The other guy's attourney took a more southern style approach to his...uh...lawyering? I am quite sure that "lawyering" is not a word. He spoke slowly and respecfully, drawing out his sentences to the point of excruciating boredom for the poor jury. He sat in his chair while questioning witnesses, and was completely relaxed the entire time. Watching my attourney and the prosecuting attourney was very interesting. On Law and Order, all the attourneys take similar approaches in the courtroom, and everyone knows that all court proceedings are exactly like Law and Order. This was more like a Fire vs. Ice kind of experience.

After I had sat behind the defendant's table for an entire day plus the next morning, I was finished with the process. The jury settled my case for 12k, which is much more in my favor than it was in his favor. This made me happy, and I could spend almost the whole of the next day with Cheetah. I thank the Lord for the court experience, and now I know that I do not care to take the time to get sued ever again. Duly noted to self.

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1 comment:

  1. yikes...sorry you have to pay 12k but yeah being sued for millions it came down a good bit

    you are a great writer...sure you have been told that before!