COLUMN: Going through the motions

There are only three kinds of people in the world my lawyer friend informed me: “Lawyers, criminals, and other people.”

real peopleShaking my head as I know better than to argue. Lawyers get paid to argue and I don’t. Still, they know the rules of the game they play. The outcomes may be a surprise, but they live to fight another day.

However, here is my anonymous transcript of a real exchange in Superior Court two weeks ago.

Defense attorney: So, Officer, how long did you observe the defendant before determining he was drunk?

Officer: A couple of minutes.

Defense attorney: Would that be 120 seconds then?

Alright, I quietly lost my composure. Doubled over and choking back laughter, I was trying not to be charged with contempt of court. Judges are in charge of the courtroom and make strict enforceable rules of decorum. I finally was able to look up – only to find the judge looking at me trying not to laugh either.  Court is seldom a funny place, but it has its moments.

Still, these are life changing moments in people’s lives. Turning over life decisions to a jury of your peers is difficult. The cases, stories, and testimony can be hard to hear. There are days that I have to leave as the horrific details are revealed. There are days that I joke about bad incidents. It’s sort of like having lunch with an EMS or Rescue crew. We get a different perspective.

Life in the courtroom is real. A single individual’s actions affect his mother who sits stoically in the hard wooden chair, the witness who must tell an account, a victim who must relive that day, and attorneys, law officers, jurors, bailiffs and judges who ensure that a fair trial is conducted.

Real is messy. Real is crazy. Life is a real process and not just going through the motions. (Sorry for the bad pun.) Anyway, here’s to your 120 seconds of gratitude to not being in court today.