Friday, October 23, 2015

A Witness for the Prosecution

I had the unenviable task of testifying in a federal trial earlier this week. If I typed the details of the case here, it would be way too long and horribly boring. The short story is that I was a prosecution witness in a case against a vendor that I had contact with when I was working in advertising. The trial was in Tucson, Arizona. Here’s the breakdown of the trip.

The Good:

  •  On the flight to Tucson, the gentleman in the seat to my right didn’t mind me eating a tuna salad sandwich .(Note to self – next time get turkey. The tuna was good, but I wouldn’t have to ask permission to eat turkey.)
  •  My seatmate to the left of me was asleep.
  • I was well prepared by hours of conference calls with the prosecuting attorney and his team.
  • The first defense attorney who questioned me was kind of a doofus (and always smirking) – definitely technology challenged – and he kept asking where the red squiggles on the screen came from. Finally, one of his team rolled his eyes (really - he visibly rolled his eyes) and told Smirky Doofus that one of his file folders was touching the touch screen. This was right after he accidentally turned the system off and didn’t know how to turn it back on again. Looking back, I wish I had secretly touched the screen every once in a while to keep making red squiggles and dots. That would have been hilarious!
  • There were several people on the jury who nodded and smiled encouragingly at me as I was testifying. They were the only really friendly faces I saw in the courtroom that day.
  • One of the nice jury men took a short nap. I couldn’t blame him. I wanted to take a nap too. Actually, what I really wanted was a glass of wine.
  • Right after I saw the man taking the nap, I looked at the clock in the back of the room and the hands were spinning around really fast. I pretended that I was in a movie where everything around me was moving in triple or quadruple time while I was sitting completely still. Well, I actually didn’t, but I wanted to. Instead, I paid close attention to Smirky Doofus so that he couldn’t trip me up with convoluted questions. I had been warned about those earlier in the day.
  • My favorite question that Smirky Doofus asked me was about an email. “So, Ms. Lozano. Do you see this email that Ms. Bailey wrote to my client, Mr. Rivera?” “Well, Mr. Doofus, I see the email, but there aren’t any names in the TO: or cc: sections, so I have no way of knowing if it was sent to Mr. Rivera or not." “Oh…. well… Um… (shuffling of papers) Judge, can I take a minute?” What a doofus. (P.S. I'm guessing that Ms. Bailey had blind copied everyone on the email, which would explain why there were no visible names in the TO: section.)
  • If the rest of my life goes well, I’ll never have to do something like this again.

·  The Bad
  • My seatmate to the left of me was asleep – which was in the good column until I had to go to the bathroom.
  • I was supposed to fly home Monday, but since I was on the stand for 4 ½ hours, I missed my fight and had to stay over another night. I really wanted to be home.
  • I realized mid-testimony that I could see my reflection in the monitor in front of me, and a piece of my hair was sticking straight up. I had to work to NOT see it for the rest of the time I was on the stand.
  • The lady sitting next to me on the flight home, while very friendly, was sucking on candy and making lots of smacking noises.
  • Smirky Doofus was trying to make me say that what the defendants had done was okay. The reasons he was giving for it being okay were bullpoopy, and everyone knew that – or I hope everyone knew. I’m sure that at least everyone who wasn’t on the jury knew, but the jurors are supposed to only take what is testified into account, so I had to be very careful to make my case well. I don’t know if I succeeded.
The Ugly
  • In Atlanta, there was a guy at security putting his shoes back on. I wish he had put his belt on first. I could see at least half of his rear end, and you can’t unsee that. I’m still having nightmares.  
  •  On the way home, the plane sounded like the tuberculosis ward. I’m serious. If I end up with some sort of hideous bronchial disease you’ll know where it came from.
I was told that they’d let me know once the trial was over, and what the verdict was. I hope that’s true.  And I hope it’s guilty!