No matter how many times i ask my clients – please please don’t have your friends in the courtroom audience cause the jury hears about gangs and they get scared. When they see people in the audience who look like what they think gangsters look like they’re going to convict you. You understand what I’m saying? My guy will always say – yes I understand.
And then the next day I’ll look up and see some guy looking like this.
When I started the case the grandma of my client gave me a big bear hug cause she was so happy I was on her grandson’s case and I was so much better than the prior lawyer.
In the middle of the case she’s yelling at me as I leave the courtroom – basically a flow of obsenities leading up to the conclusion “you’re railroading my grandson!!”
When the case ends and miraculously her grandson is getting released from custody and I’m leaving court, she’s waiting for me outside the courtroom with her arms wide open -looks like another hug. I turn back and sneak out the back of the courtroom. Fuck her hugs.
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.”
After I finish off my own case (that is, as a lawyer) I go down to dept 106, the courtroom where the trial’s taking place, to sit in on the opening arguments. But they’re not letting anybody into the courtroom because its filled up. I could wait outside for someone to come out, but what’s the point? It’s not like it was when I was waiting outside the WGA on Doheny during Yom Kippur services where I was also forced to wait cause they were all filled up (of course the WGA holds about 1,000 seats compared to the courtroom’s 40) Free services on Yom Kippur – now that’s a deal! But at a Yom Kippur service you know people aren’t staying for the whole show and they’ll be coming and going. (a theological query – do you get credit for the time standing outside waiting for the doors to open? and if so – as much as being inside?)
But this Spector trial is a situation where nobody’s going to come out during the opening statements, I know that.
A Superior Court worker who was also locked out told me that there’s no camera in the courtroom – not because of objections from the lawyers but because nobody – that is nobody in the media – gives a shit – nobody has even asked. (and now I just learn that there is no longer Court TV? – what is going on with the world?) I just don’t get it. This trial’s got everything. First the crime itself is fascinating. Was it murder? Was it an accident? Was it suicide? I know everybody thinks the guy did it but there’s evidence to suggest all of the above. The victim, a beautiful, sexy woman; the defendant, a wealthy, eccentric, music business legend. Ok it’s not OJ the Original but what is? Certainly not Greta’s and Nancy’s current crop. Okay I’ll submit it on that.
OMG I’m sent out for trial downtown to begin my 7 count forcible rape re-trial. That’s ok but I have a preliminary hearing set the next day in Long Beach. It’s been postponed a few times. And I’ve got another trial set the next week (14 counts of robbery) also in Long Beach. The Judge wants to see me. The DA wants to see me. There I am surrounded by the Judge, the 2 DA’s – the one on the preliminary hearing and the one on the robbery trials. They’re “frustrated”. They’re “upset”. They’re “pissed off”. At ME! Cause “YOU GOT YOURSELF ENGAGED!” (for you non criminal attorneys “being engaged” has nothing to do with marriage or sex. [well, maybe] It means that you can only do one thing at a time. If you’re in a trial well you’re not going to be able to do a preliminary hearing or another trial. That’s what it means. I’m a trial lawyer – I go to trials when some judge tells me I’m going. That’s it. But there I am in Long Beach being accused of “GETTING MYSELF ENGAGED!” That’s exactly what the DA’s say. “Mr. Meyer continues to get himself engaged!” They’re beside themselves with anger. You’d think I’d done all the rapes, carjackings, and kidnappings. Okay so their schedules had to be changed. They work me over good. By the time I slink out of there I am so relieved that I’m still in one piece and not in jail myself, I’m actually really looking forward to the relaxation of fighting my forcible rape trial.