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AND- he lunged at me! I need my teddy bear!
There are times when I see an item that so graphically portrays the unmooring from reality represented by the current crop of “Advocates” from any actual world in which I practiced that it seems worth it to bring it to light and to comment upon it. Here is a person who, I assume, purports to call him/her/itself a Trial Lawyer, a term which was an appellation of pride for me, who actually points out for the world to see, that a Trial Judge —pardon the hurtful word–“snarled” at her and other defense counsel. Oh, and if that is not enough, the Judge “lunged” at him/her/it, one assumes in a threatening manner!
Imagine that! What next? A Judge who, God forbid, uses “sharp language” in telling Counsel to sit down and quit abusing the privilege of objecting too much? Oh, the humanity! Where do they get these people? If I had gotten a mistrial every time a Judge snarled at me, I would be re-trying cases for the next three lifetimes! And, these are supposed to be our Avocats, our brave defenders of our rights in the battlefields protected for us by The Rule of Law? Trigger warning: what I am about to say may be extremely upsetting and hurtful: how pathetic that these are what we now call Trial Lawyers. Just simply pathetic.
On Thursday, one of the attorneys defending Jussie Smollett claimed that the judge in the case, Judge James Linn, “lunged” at her in court, according to The New York Post. Smollett’s attorneys also asked the judge to declare a mistrial, which he denied.
“The odd fracas came in the midst of the defense’s cross-examination of Olabinjo Osundairo, who claims he was paid to help Smollett stage the hate crime, as attorney Tamara Walker grilled him about his alleged homophobia and past derogatory remarks toward suspected gay men,” The New York Post reported. “Osundairo, 30, had just acknowledged he used the word ‘fruity a**’ to refer to a man he suspected was gay and Walker asked if Smollett, who is openly gay, knew he’d said such things in the past.”
Chicago Tribune criminal courts reporter Megan Crepeau outlined what happened next, tweeting, “Judge Linn tries to hustle things along, saying Walker is getting into something ‘collateral.’ She asks for a sidebar, the jury is sent out of the room, and she asks for a mistrial — in part because of the ‘collateral’ comment.”
Walker’s fellow defense attorney Heather Widell accused the judge of visibly “snarling” when he sustained an objection from the prosecution, claiming, “I’ve noticed snarls multiple times.”
The great trial warriors of old must be looking down at the likes of “Heather” and wondering what happened to the traditions upon which our system of adversary combat were founded, with cross-examination described by the greatest scholars of the law as the “greatest engine ever created by the mind of man for the search for truth”, and ask themselves if this is what our progeny has become: cowering little creatures hurt at every “snarl”?
God Help Us.Published in