By Jordan W. Charness
I spent the day in court today. Being a lawyer, I guess that is not so unusual. Perhaps what was somewhat unusual is that it was a pleasant experience for all concerned. This happened to be a business matter dealing with the intricacies of international law, and the lawyers and their clients behaved professionally. Actually, we did not hear a word from the clients since they were still in their respective countries. Nonetheless, there was detailed expert testimony and a fair exchange of legal viewpoints and opinions.
Through it all, our judge, a lady in her 50s, did her utmost to be pleasant, understanding and even sympathetic to both sides. She asked intelligent questions and although no judgment has yet been rendered it will likely be clearly motivated no matter which side wins. In short, she was all that you would expect and hope for in a judge and this courtroom experience was all that it should be.
This brought to mind a recent telephone call that I received from someone who wanted some free advice. This person was quite upset and felt that he had been mistreated by the police and wanted to know if he would fare better in court.
According to him, he had visited Chinatown the previous week. Since he was only going to be there for a few minutes he parked in a parking place that was reserved for people who were handicapped. He assured me that he was away from his car for no more than 10 minutes.
Upon his return to his vehicle he noticed a police officer writing a ticket and placing it under the windshield wiper of his car. He ran over and told the police officer that he’d only been away for a few moments. He picked up the ticket and saw that it was for over $150. The officer pointed out that the car was not displaying a handicapped sticker and then asked the driver if he was in any way disabled. The man loudly answered, “no,” and repeated that he only been parked for 10 minutes.
About this time, the police officer asked the man for his license and registration. He pulled out his driver’s license and handed it and the automobile’s registration and insurance to the cop. He was asked to wait a few minutes while his paperwork was checked out.