I haven't posted much lately and to my three regular readers, I apologize.
I had a trial that went all last week and I was a bit of a stress case getting our witnesses lined up and in court at the time they were supposed to be. The trial is over now and I'm just beginning to settle down again.
The parents of the alleged victim in my case recanted how the initial reported incident occurred, and I found myself in the position of having to testify about my interview with them.
I wasn't really nervous, but afterwards, I began to second guess the way I approach and interview victim's and their families. It's not that I did anything wrong or unethical but I want to make sure that in the future I protect myself a little better during and after interviews with volatile witnesses...Does that make sense to anyone but me? Probably not. If and when I can, I'll talk about this a little more in detail but until then...more ambiguity.
While I was on the stand, I remember a moment during cross-examination when I looked over at Mr. Cliente, sitting at the table with his hands carefully folded in his lap. He was sitting between our Public Defender and the court interpreter and he was dressed in new black jeans, cowboy boots, and a button up dress shirt.
Good, he looks pretty sharp.
Before trial started I told him he needed to dress up a bit for the trial and of course, he listened to everything I said.
His outfit wasn't something I would have picked for him myself, but I'm not from the rural part of Mexico that he comes from. Where Mr. Cliente comes from, people who are better off than others wear the outfit of what we americans would call a Cowboy.
I would have put him in a suit and tie and he would have ended up looking stuffy and uncomfortable as hell. Instead, he looked relaxed and attentive...I also don't think I could ever pull off cowboy boots like he did.
I knew Mr. Cliente's arms were getting tired as the cross-examination continued because he had folded them up on his chest. I told you to relax when witnesses are testifying. The jurors are watching you like hawks and it looks (although I know you're not) like you're glaring and trying to stare them down!
Stop. You need to stop trying to control the inevitable. These people's minds are already made up...aren't they?
Either way, we're in the final days of this trial and it will all be over soon. Mr. Cliente turned down a sweet deal because he insisted he was innocent. After a year of investigation I was certain of the same thing.
How am I going to feel after this trial is over and we haven't conveyed this to the Jury? Horrible. Worse than horrible. This innocent man has trusted us to represent him in quite possibly the greatest turning point in his life and if it gets fucked up now...I don't know if I'd be able to live with myself.
How could I? Have I ever felt this way about a case that has gone to trial before?
Maybe once or twice.
Of course we're not responsible for proving his innocence but I want to show this jury that he is a good man. An honest man. An innocent man.
On the final day of trial, I talked to Mr. Cliente and asked him what he was doing for the weekend. He said he was probably going to work Saturday and Sunday morning then hang out with his family on Sunday night and watch television.
Are you sure you want to work on the last weekend you're going to have as a free man? What the fuck is wrong with me, how the hell can I even think this? Have I jinxing this whole thing? Have I been too hard on the Public Defender, myself, our witnesses, the jury?
Come Monday, after several hours of deliberations, the jury came back.
Now, I'm very superstitious about these things. I will stay with my Public Defender through the whole trial but I am never there for closing arguments or for the reading of a verdict.
Hung...like an old sweater.
The majority of the jury were in favor of acquitting and the remaining small group of jurors wanted our client's ass in prison.
Maybe the D.A. is convinced that she can pull it together for another shot at Mr. Cliente with a new group of witnesses and different tactics.
The only thing it means for us now is that Mr. Cliente gets a few more days of freedom until a decision has been reached...to do this fucking thing all over again.