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The Olden Days of Practicing Law
July 6, 2012
Lawyers (maybe everyone…) likes to tell stories about the olden days. Usually, the story is about how much better things were back then. Given the heat over the last week or so, here is my story — and things were definitely not better back then!
In 1977, I was a very young assistant D.A. trying either my second or third jury trial. It was August, the courtroom was one of those narrow ones off the main hallway on the 5th floor and it definitely was not air conditioned. It must have been 110 degrees in there. The judge allowed us to remove our sport coats but could not turn on a fan as all of the papers on the tables would blow around.
It was a drunk driving case and I don’t remember much about it except that the defense attorney decided to make a big point about the state being represented by a very young kid (which I was) and he was not only an experienced lawyer, but a county supervisor.
I remember thinking to myself: Is this smart, to let the jury know that you are one of the people responsible for not even having a window air conditioning unit in the courtroom?
It probably was more the strength of the state’s evidence than either that argument (or the brilliance of the prosecutor) but the jury convicted the guy in about ten minutes. Or more likely, the jury just wanted to go home.
In any event, the entire courthouse is air conditioned today, so that, at least, was not better in the olden days!