Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A trial of a different sort

I had to go to court today.  No the fashion police didn't haul me in and charge me with contempt of grubby nylon dog lady workout pants.  I was subpoenaed as a witness for the prosecution for the traffic accident caused my a teenage girl running into me last October.  I couldn't believe it but she and her father decided to fight the ticket.  This caused me a lot of anger and anxiety because I couldn't possibly imagine what sort of lies they would make up in court.  I worried over this for weeks and to make matters worse the court date was postponed because the cop couldn't make it on the original date.  I know it sounds silly that I was so upset about it but a lot of aggravating stuff has gone on with this involving the insurance companies that I haven't written about because it's too aggravating to relive here on my blog where I already have plenty of much more fun things to be aggravated about like running dogwalks.  I'm sick of people not taking responsibility for their actions and I'm especially sick of parents lying for their kids.  These are the worst sort of parents and they're raising the worst sort of kids.  Getting the subpoena for the court date was the last straw.  Because on top of all else now I'll have to get all dressed up in my fancy business suit and wear the wretched pantyhose.

I found out the father is a contractor and let me tell you, stirring up a hornet's nest with someone who's in your profession when there's over 40% unemployment in your field was not the brightest move on this guy's part, but anyway I figured his business is probably getting sued all the time and he has a sleazy attorney on retainer.  We're all going to go in front of a jury and the sleazy lawyer is going to attack me on the witness stand and turn the whole thing inside out and have the jury sobbing over this poor wittle 16 year old girlie.  Because I watch way too many detective shows and just look what happened with O.J.  For the past couple of months I've been waking up in the middle of the night screaming about Johnnie Cochrane and the Chewbacca Defense.


So today I was something of a nervous wreck.  I knew it was ridiculous and I did what I could to calm myself down but at one point just before I started getting ready I felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack.  I don't know what a panic attack feels like but I'll bet this was close.  I debated over whether the jury would believe me more if I wore a fancy suit or a nice but more casual dress.  I had a brief moment of Crazy where I contemplated trying to figure out how to put make-up on but figured that was going to go nowhere good.  I did try to blow dry my hair out so it wasn't too feral and even used some velcro rollers.  Didn't look quite as good as when I go to the hair dresser but was better than my typical finger in a light socket look.  In the end I went for the fancy suit and pantyhose.  It's amazing and disturbing how much nicer people treat you when you wear fancy clothes.  I  may be a nervous wreck but I'm going to try to at least look good when Jonnie Cochrane rips me apart in front of the meticulously 'hand-picked for the defense' jury.

I arrived at the courthouse early and had time to chat with the prosecuting attorney and the cop who would also be giving testimony.  I admitted to her that I was nervous and that I knew there was no reason, that I wasn't the one on trial but still.  She was a very nice woman and explained the whole procedure of what would happen in the court.  She told me to just get on the stand and tell the truth about what happened and don't worry about it.  As it turned out there wasn't going to be a jury, just a judge who would decide the case and that was a huge relief to me.  Juries are unpredictable but I knew an experienced judge would take one look at the evidence and see the facts of the matter for what they were and hopefully not be so susceptible to the Chewbacca Defense.  I was also happy to find out that I was only allowed in the courtroom to give my testimony and to hear the closing arguments and verdict.  I was worried that I would lose my composure if I had to hear the lies that the other side was surely going to concoct.

I had to wait outside the courtroom for 20-30 minutes or so before it was my turn and I took the time to try to focus and calm myself down.  I've been reading a book about enhancing sports performance and one of the things they tell you to do if you become nervous and distracted is to remember past performances where you had really good, perfect focus.  Lately when I run Strummer in both trials and practice I've been taking a deep breath and having a brief moment of Calm in my brain before I release him off the start line.  Prior to doing this I'd been going into something of a panic upon releasing him and seeing the speeding bullet flying at me and thinking 'must get out of the way' sort of like those kids who run from softballs flying at them when they're supposed to be catching them.  So I sat outside the courtroom and tried taking deep breaths while thinking about that feeling of Calm.  I'll admit I was still nervous when they called me in but my heart rate had gone down to something reasonable and I wasn't feeling like I was having a panic attack.

I gave my testimony to the prosecuting attorney and I thought it went well, I explained everything clearly and pointed out on a diagram of the street how it had all happened.  Then it was Jonnie Cochrane's turn to question me.  Except Jonnie Cochrane turned out to be the 16 year old girl who hit me.  Defending herself.  Her parents were there but she was acting as her own lawyer.  I was stunned.  The prosecuting attorney objected to most of her questions and the judge sustained every last objection.  They let me answer a couple of questions but none of them helped her case.  It was all over in just a few minutes.  I had to stay in case they needed me for more testimony after she gave her testimony but they never did need me.  The lawyer came out of the courtroom and said I could leave but I decided to stay to hear the closing arguments and verdict.  The prosecuting attorney gave a succinct summary pointing out how my evidence corroborated with the cop's and showed that she was guilty without a shadow of a doubt.  The girl's closing arguments made the Chewbacca Defense sound rational.  And the judge was having none of it.  Guilty as charged.  Phew.  So glad to be over with that.  I was so cynical going into this, so sure the system wouldn't work.  It was good to see that sometimes the system does work.  My testimony had turned out to be a key piece of evidence that won the case so I felt good about going despite all the stress.

I have a much more fun, hopefully less stressful trial this weekend.  Three days of USDAA at Boulder County Fairgrounds, less than 20 minutes from home, yeeha.  I even entered Strum in the Tournaments for the first time ever so that we would have a reasonable amount of runs each day.  Also I think he's finally ready.

I took Lola to see her chiropractor Dr. Jay this morning because she hasn't been since last summer and my knee's been acting up.  It was a significant bother at the last trial and I wanted to get it fixed before the weekend.  A few simple adjustments that I could barely feel and it feels good as new.  The man is a miracle worker and he didn't even charge me extra for it.  I didn't run on it today, wanted to let the adjustment sink in but I'm going to try to get in a practice tomorrow to see how it's doing.  Lola's pelvis was all locked up, I felt bad waiting so long to bring her in.  She goes back in 3 weeks but then hopefully she'll be o.k. for a few months.  

Looking forward to a good night's sleep tonight for once and no Wookies to haunt my dreams.

7 comments:

  1. Feral hair? what a great description. Glad everything worked out okay.

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  2. Wow, a 16-year-old acting as her own attorney? That's so weird. Glad you survived. Have a great time at the USDAA trial!

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  3. You must have remembered to take the velcro rollers out of your hair. I've never been on the stand before, but did have to sit on the jury for a 3 week long case.

    See you at the USDAA - I've entered Rip in tournaments too. This will be his 2nd shot at a Grand Prix leg, and his 3rd go at Steeplechase (he did actually manage a Q in Laramie!) Good luck this weekend!

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  4. I was shocked to see the girl defending herself. That's never a good idea anyway even if you're an adult. Maybe the father thought they'd get off easy on a technicality or something or that maybe the cop wouldn't show up.

    Three weeks??!! Geez Greg, don't you know how to get out of jury duty? ; ) Good luck to you too this weekend. I think it'll be a fun, low key trial.

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  5. Glad it went as it should of Elayne. Good luck this weekend. I wish I could have made it. Please video. He is going to rock in Steeplechase I just know it :-)

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  6. Isn't there some quip about the person who acts as her own attorney has a fool for a lawyer and a client?

    They were betting on someone NOT showing up. I'm sorry you had all the worry and the stress, not to mention the time lost, but I'm glad you showed up and did your thing, and I'm glad that she was found GUILTY.

    VINDICATION!

    Serenity Now!

    Or some such.

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  7. Vindication, yes! Bummer that you had to have all that time stressing about it, though. What a waste of everyone's time and money. But glad that your hair styling saved the day.

    -ellen

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