Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thank you Mock Trial....

Because I never really explained what happened on that fateful day in June here is a quick summary:

After doing a safe merge from a Right Lane Must Turn Right lane to through traffic, I got pulled over for "crossing the solid white line" and was given a 4 point ticket and a 100 dollar fine. The problem was, the officer was behind a landscaping trailer several cars behind me and there was no way he could see where my tires actually crossed.

So this brings us to yesterday:

I made it to the courthouse about 45 minutes early. I hoped to see a few trials before mine to see how it all went. We had everything from "I throw myself at the mercy of the court" and the female tears with the wave of the hands to dry them.

I listened at the same words as the judged droned on about "due to the experience of the officer" and blah blah blah, I watched how every person got pronounced "guilty." Things were not looking in my favor.

As I was watching the last trial before mine, in walks in the law himself. He sat down just as cockily as he had when he strode up to my car. I smiled. I was going to enjoy myself.

When it began, I was happy, smiley and very polite. The prosecutor asked the officer questions and I was surprised when he gave some incorrect facts..... oooo-ooo I got him! I took a few notes, added a few more questions that I would ask when it was my turn to cross-examine him.

When I asked the questions, I got a few "I am not sure's" and "I can't recall's" on some key points. My hopes were raising just a little.

Now stopping the story here for a moment... the trials before, the prosecutor would never redirect questions or give a closing statement... She and the judge were really not all that interested in the cases that they had before them.... Until mine.... :)

After I questioned him and she redirected some questions to me, it was my turn. I presented this:

Of course it wasn't this small in court. I had blown it up to cover almost an entire foam board, large enough for everyone to see and of course made copies for everyone else to reference. Martin said that when the Prosecutor and the deputy saw my board their eyes got really big and seemed impressed. I also brought out five photographs with various shots of the intersection.

I showed how it is impossible to see where a car actually crosses the line when behind, especially in heavy traffic. I noted that he wasn't sure where the line actually started. I had poked some pretty major holes.

After I had finished, the prosecutor wanted to ask me some questions, she never cared to in the trials before, remember? So she asked me some pretty irrelevant questions and tried to make their case seem stronger. The judge even got in on the questioning of the deputy!

And then.... She gave a closing statement! I was shocked! So of course, I gave mine, pointing out all the inconsistency that the officer stated during his testimony. I believe I had given a doubt....

As the judge deliberated out loud, it seemed to be going really well in my favor. Most of the points that I had brought up he validated. He said it was hard because he believes that both parties gave their side to the best of their perception yet we had some inconsistencies. So as we get nearer to the desicion, I started to hear the same blither blather I had heard earlier, due to the experience of the deputy... And I thought to myself, "Oh this isn't good. I lost." I heard, "It is beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is GUILTY"... every eyeball including the clerk that had been helping raised their eyebrows in surprise. I think everyone thought I had it.

So bottom line, do I regret going through with it? Not in the least. It was fun to be a "lawyer" in real life just like I had practiced in high school. My only regret was that I didn't try to sneak in a,