Dream of:05 February 1989 "Pre-Trial Nerves"
It was a Monday morning and I was in crowded courtroom in the Dallas county courthouse. I was here on the case of Ms. Bell (a legal client) which was scheduled today for a jury trial. However, there were also many other cases scheduled for jury trial today, and I was unsure my case would actually be tried. I hoped not, because I definitely wasn't ready and I felt sure if the case were tried today, I would lose.
The other people here were mostly attorneys who had come to make announcements of ready or not ready in their cases. I finally saw O'Connor (a female attorney for the party opposing Bell) arrive. O'Connor was probably 30 years old, slender and well dressed. She looked quite professional, although I didn't find her particularly attractive.
Another fellow (also about 30 years old) was with her. It looked as if he was also a lawyer and I figured he was going to help O'Connor try this case. Actually I didn't think she had ever tried a civil case before herself.
Of course neither had I, and my inexperience was part of the reason why I was so nervous. I had never tried a civil case before and here I was getting ready to possibly go to trial on this one. I just hoped that another case was in front of mine and that the other case went to trial instead of mine. Then my case would be put off for five or six more months.
In fact, I hadn't prepared for this case at all. I wasn't even sure the case was scheduled for trial until I got here. I had thought before about having the case transferred to another court, but now it was obviously too late. And I hadn't even prepared the issues which the jury would need to decide. I had never amended my petition which I was supposed to do. I really felt unprepared. But there wasn't much I could do now, except wait to see how things turned out.
When the judge began calling the docket, I was in the back of the room. He called the names of the cases one by one and the attorneys stood and announced whether they were ready. I had never witnessed a docket call like this before and the experience was definitely edifying. Although I didn't plan on handling any more civil cases, at least I would have a fairly good idea what to do if I ever did have to handle one.
One attorney stood to make his announcement – he said he was ready but that he had hoped he and the other side would be able to settle the case before going to trial. I hoped they couldn't settle, because since they were ahead of me, if they didn't settle the case, they would go to trial and I wouldn't have to. It seemed as if most cases the judge called out had already been settled. And there were quite a few for which no one was here. I was really surprised by just how many cases were ahead of me.
What was I going to do when the judge called my case? I felt uncomfortable. I thought I would tell him I wasn't ready, but that we would try the case anyway, if he required it. But I didn't know whether I should tell him I wasn't ready. I really felt uneasy.
At first the judge was a stern looking, stout, white man (probably in his late 40s), but when I looked again, he was a slender black man about the same age. It seemed as if I had seen the black judge as a judge of a criminal court before.
Finally I heard the name called. It wasn't Ms. Bell, but Ms. Bush (another legal client). The case was definitely mine. I slowly walked toward the front, still unsure of what I was going to do. Before I can reach the front, however, the judge said something unintelligible about the case and quickly left the room. O'Connor and the fellow with her started to head out and I stopped them to ask what had happened; but they walked on without telling me. I suspected the judge had said we wouldn't get to my case because another case was ahead of it. But I wasn't certain.
So I walked over near the judge's bench where a woman was seated who was apparently a clerk for the judge. She had a list of the cases on the docket. I thought another list like it was probably posted out in the hall. I wished I had looked at the list in the hall before coming in here to see where I stood. But I thought maybe the woman could tell me.
She was very pretty, and seemed to remind me of an actress I had seen on television. She was very slender, and appeared to have small breasts. She was probably in her late 20s. I was immediately attracted to her, although I didn't show it. I asked her about my case, and for some reason she began talking about one of the other lawyers who had made an announcement concerning readiness for trial. She criticized the lawyer for having done something wrong, and then she critically added that I had voted for that lawyer earlier. I was disconcerted and unsure to what she was referring, but it vaguely seemed as if earlier in the day, I had indeed taken part in some kind of elections. And it seemed as if this same woman had been sitting near me. She must have been watching how I voted. I found that quite interesting, because she obviously must have found me interesting. Perhaps she was likewise attracted to me.
At any rate, I was feeling somewhat more relieved, because it appeared that I might not have to go to trial after all.
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