Monday, August 26, 2013


 Anyone associated with law enforcement (and likely emergency medicine) has both heard and said “You just can’t make this stuff up” countless times.  It’s true.  You can’t.  Among the most interesting things I  get to hear are the explanations offered by defendants.  Sometimes they are absolutely true.  Most of the time, they aren’t.  They are always interesting.  These “explanations” often follow a few common themes. . 
                Some other dude did it (SODDI)(Saw-dee). Always popular.  Law enforcement has clearly mistaken him for his evil doppelganger, twin brother, or one of the victim’s ex-boyfriends.  “He did what?  Who would do such a thing?  Surely not I” says the defendant.

                I have no idea what you’re talking about.  “Never mind the fact that my hand is wrapped in my now bloody t-shirt and the items stolen during the smash and grab robbery are on my coffee-table, I have never heard anything as outrageous as the crimes you’re now describing to me officer.  Who would do such a thing?”

                Its okay, the victim had it coming.You see, officer/Judge, he stole a bunch of stuff from me back in college, so I figured it would be okay to break in to his house and steal his Xbox.  Besides this guy is a real (insert alleged expletive) and if I didn’t do it, someone would have done it eventually.

                Finally,  my personal favorite:

                These aren’t my pants.  This usually follows a pat down by officers which yields some item of contraband (i.e. a gun, joint, meth, or baggie of mushrooms.)  This usually involves a wild party or a roommate who is, you know…a criminal.    “As I rose to go to work and pay my taxes like  every other non-criminal, I obviously grabbed someone else’s britches—and can you just believe the crazy stuff they’re in to?  Outrageous.  Tell you what… just keep the pants, and I’ll be happy to walk home without them."

If you want to hear some good stories, just walk to up to your police officer friends and say  “these aren’t my pants.  After your pat down search, you’re gonna hear some good ones. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Courthouse High

Do you remember that feeling?  The one you had back in High School.  The dance is coming up.  You haven’t asked her out yet, but you’re pretty sure that no one else has either.  You’re not even sure she’s noticed you, but being a man of action you have a plan.  Because you’re in High School, that plan likely involves two bottles of Axe body spray and a detailed wardrobe review…but it just might work.

Welcome to jury selection.  It feels exactly the same, at least for the attorneys.

Should I use product in my hair or is that too pretentious?  What if they don’t like product?  If I do use it, will they think I’m self-absorbed and not like me?  What suit should I wear?  Does the dark one make me look somber or does it make me look like an undertaker?  Will the lighter suit make them think I don’t take this case seriously?  Do I wear the “I’m a conservative prosecutor” tie, or do I go with the flashier “I’m gonna take you all to the SHOW!” tie.  Cologne?  No cologne?  We all know that at some point in the trial, I’m going to get the flop sweats, and maybe the cologne will help cover the scent of fear.  If I wear it, how much is too much?  Is there a sweet spot between “Hi, I’m a middle school boy borrowing my dad’s love mist” and “How YOU doin’ juror number 34?”  Tie bar, or no tie bar.  My watch is silver and my tie bar is gold.  Can I mix those two?  What if they notice?  If they DO notice, what will they think?  Am I gaining weight?  Is that a zit coming on?  Oh sweet heaven, not NOW.  Shoes, oh, the shoes…brown or black?  Do black shoes go with a blue suit?  I don’t think so…but then what about the belt?  Should I eat breakfast?  If I do, I could get gas.  If I don’t, my stomach will make objections in open court.  Is my collar shrinking?

All of these thoughts course through my mind in about a nanosecond on the morning of jury selection.  I’m not sure that any of this makes a difference.  Certainly I shudder to think that a juror’s decision could ever be influenced by my choice of tie.  On the other hand, I think I just caught juror 34 checking me out.  Awww yeah.  I hope my tie said “Guilty”.