Dream of: 15 September 2005 "Presenting Evidence"

I was in a court room where a trial was about to start. The trial seemed real, but also seemed like a practice court trial from law school. I had a female partner, and we were both about 25 years old. We were both dressed up - I was wearing a light blue suit. The jury was already in front of us. Two other lawyers were representing the other side. I knew my partner and I were representing the defendant. Although this was a murder case, I was uncertain whether the case was criminal or civil, and I wasn't even completely sure of all the facts. I felt ill-prepared, yet at the same time I felt ready to stand up in front of the jury and try the case.

One of the attorneys for the other side (a man about 50 years old) stood up and talked to the jury for about five minutes. However, he didn't say much of anything. After the attorney had sat back down, I turned to my partner and asked her which of us should speak to the jury first. She said she didn't want to go first. Since I was ready to start, I told her I would go first.

I mainly wanted to talk about the evidence. I might also mention the burden of proof, but I wanted to emphasize the lack of evidence against our client, a man. I wasn't sure who the murder victim had been, but I thought the person had been a woman, possibly the wife of our client. No eye witness had seen the murder, and I was fairly sure that no physical evidence existed. The evidence was basically guess-work, not even rising to the level of circumstantial evidence.

I also wanted to point out some other suspects, specifically the woman's brother, who had had motive and who could have committed the crime. Apparently an inheritance could have been the possible motive for the murder.

Before I could begin, my partner stood up and began speaking. For some reason she had unexpectedly decided to speak first. While she was speaking, a man (about 30 years old) wearing a round black hat walked into the courtroom as if he were in a daze, as if he had a hangover. When he took a seat next to the other lawyer on the other side, I realized he must be the partner of the other lawyer. He started talking with people and caused quite a commotion. Soon other people were standing up in front of the jury and talking with each other. My partner had lost complete control of the situation. I stood up, walked over to her, and said sternly, "Do something, or I will. You're in charge."

I wanted her to assert some authority and force all the people to sit down so we could return to business, but she seemed to have lost complete control.

Even more commotion broke out. Right in front of the jury, off to the side, was a small concession stand where refreshments were sold. It appeared that a man had tried to steal something from the stand, and a policeman had grabbed the man and forced him to the floor. The whole place was becoming ever more chaotic.

The judge sat and watched without intervening. He looked exactly like Judge Chamberlain Haller (the character played by the actor Fred Gwynne in the movie My Cousin Vinny). Just as the courtroom started to quiet down again, he stood up and walked into the next room. He had to step down some stairs to enter the room, the door of which was wide open so I could see inside.

A large organ was sitting in the next room. I thought this fact significant, because a big piano had been involved in this murder case. The judge walked over to the organ, sat down, and began playing the organ. I was both impressed and amazed that the judge could play the organ. I thought he was trying to make some kind of point, although I failed to grasp the meaning of his action. However, I thought the judge was saying something about the evidence and about the whole proceeding in general.

Now I was biting at the bit to stand in front of the jury. I thought I was the only one here who would be able to present a cogent argument about this case. It seemed no one else knew what was going on. 

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