Friday, February 2, 2018, 06:46 PM
Posted by Administrator
When I sold computers, in the 1970s in slightly upstate New YOrk, my immediate boss, Joe Trivisone, told me: "If you make people want to be like you, they'll buy from you." Joe was talking about buying computers but the same rule applies no matter what you are selling: cars, drugs, the facts of your case to the judge or jury deciding it, whatever.

The late, great Irving Younger...America's greatest Continuing Education Lecturer (that's what the announcer said as the intro to each of his cassette tapes), told a story about John Mitchell who, if my memory is correct, was Nixon's Attorney General. He was (as I recall from the IRving cassette-taped-lecture) charged with colluding with others to fix the price of milk. He was a middle aged white man. He was acquitted by a jury of 12 middle-aged white men. What you want if you are a criminal defendant, Irving said, is a jury made up of people who are exactly like you.

What I got from this.....okay, what I GET from this 40 years later, is that you want your client, when he/she testifies, to be as much like the trier of fact as possible. For my stuff, usually, the trier of fact is a judge.

Judges either are well read.......or believe they are well read. They are knowledgeable....or think they are. They are open know this part of the sentence. They are liberal about some things but conservative about other things. They are well-dressed (maybe naked under the judge-robe but, at least, giving the impression that they are likely well-dressed. They don't drink much (I haven't seen a local judge out drinking for years). They are gracious to their spouses (or think they are) not abusive in any way they'd admit and they are kind to children. They are church-goers...likely fearful that G-d may punish them for their judicial mistakes with eternity in hell.

So, here are some helpful hints if you find yourself a party to a lawsuit, sitting on the witness stand:

1) The word "yes" is not pronounced "yeah". Ever.
2) The word "ain't"? It is not a word.
3) Dress like you are going to church. Don't go to church? Then you especially better dress like you are going to church.
4) Be courteous to the lawyers. If you are mean to your own lawyer, the judge will assume you also beat your wife/husband. If you are mean to the lawyer on the other side, the judge will think you insult people you don't like, don't give to charity and kick homeless people who approach you on the street to ask for spare change. The fact that your lawyer or the other lawyer is stupid is NOT an excuse (many lawyers are stupid...your judge probably has lawyer-friends who are).
5) Don't argue with your lawyer or the other lawyer. The judge will think you pick fights.
6) Show some humility. I promise that you are not perfect. (Though, the judge might think he/she is.)
7) Show some sympathy. ("I feel badly that I have to testify this way about my wife. I sometimes cry that things have turned out the way they have, but, I know I have to do what is in little Jedodiah's best interests.)
8) Show some empathy. ("I truly feel for what he is going through and I would never be mean or vindictive....." at which point you will go on to be mean and vindictive but, at least the judge knows you are TRYING not to be a total ass.)
9) Can you say "Ma'am" and "Sir" and "Your Honor"? what you want. Rely on the other side being SO MUCH WORSE than you that it doesn't much matter what you do.

Or follow my advice. Potato, potato.

add comment ( 2 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 312 )

<Back | 1 | Next> >>