06 February 2013

Trial Preparation


I trying day in court. A client and I had a conference about the previous trial date which was continued because the client had effectively disappeared. Telephone calls were not returned. Letters requesting contact had no response. The subpoena sent for signature and return had disappeared into the nether. The trial was continued, but wouldn't you know it the client shows up at the designated time for it. In reply to the statement that might it not be a bad idea to prepare for the trial, the response is a blank stare. A trial to some is merely something you show up for; it is just another event in the life of the defendant. It does not occur to the defendant that preparation is involved. It doesn't occur to him for the reason that preparation is a notion that has no meaning to him-it is unfamiliar, unknown, and incomprehensible. He has never been asked to prepare or if asked, has ignored the request. Preparation takes planning, time, and effort. Time the defendants, you would think, have plenty of, but don't. Planning is not something that occurs to them. Future is a foreign concept. To visualize the future would cause angst. The future can be articulated without visualization. Such as "I'm going to get my GED and a job." This is a statement one hears regularly from those who have heard it from someone else who has indicated it is a good thing to tell people, especially judges. The statement has no significance other than to have something to say that might sound good. To translate the words into action is actually not contemplated-there is no understanding that such activities take some thought. What this is leading to is that defendants do not understand trials need preparation which in turn necessitates forethought, planning, time, and effort. So, to there mind they merely are required to show up on the date of the trial, presumably sit around for most of the day, and then go back to the business at hand which is usually hanging out with their friends and getting high on whatever substance happens to be available on that particular day. Its not that they don't think there is no preparation involved, they just don't think about it at all. Its just a blank-an empty space, a void, a nullity. And since the defendant will not speak with his attorney, he can not be informed otherwise. All very aggravating; the worst part being we get paid crap to do this.