Let me tell you the story about my jury trial last week. Usually, I don’t mention trial results because the bar, rightfully so; wants lawyers to always include disclaimers that each case is different and no result means a guarantee for another case. This result shows why each case is different.
Kim Raab and I showed up to Richmond Circuit Court last week for a trial on a rear-end impact. Admittedly, it was a low impact case. In fact, the defense had blown up a picture of our car that was two-foot by three-foot big. Get the picture? The question was whether we could prove that our client’s upcoming back surgery resulted from this impact.
The jury was instructed that the defendant was only responsible for the injuries (harms) that she had caused. An aggravation of a preexisting injury meant that the defendant could be responsible for only the aggravation.
The first day of trial (Thursday), the judge kept going until about 8:45 p.m. The jury was escorted to their cars. I had packed up my things and was headed to my car. (I am about to digress!) When I got there… I had a flat tire. I said to myself, “Self, seriously?”. I looked around and realized that no one was in the garage. Plus, you had to basically drive a special way to get out of the lot. No AAA wrecker would be able to get to me.
I know, you are wondering if I changed the tire myself. Well, I must be honest… No. My excuse is that it takes some kind of special tool. The reality is…well, you know the reality. So, I drove very slowly to a nearby hotel and got the tire changed. Now, back to the trial story! Isn’t that what they call “part and parcel”?
After all the evidence was in. After all closings were done and jury instructions were read to the jury. They retired to deliberate and I went to sit down outside the courtroom, and wait.
After about ninety minutes, I heard the buzzer and thought that we had a jury verdict. Then, the bailiff said that the jury had sent out questions and we were to go to the judge’s chambers. (office). The judge then read from a yellow piece of paper that the jury had sent out. The paper had a question that indicated that a juror had spoken to someone about the case that was not part of the jury. This, against the judge’s specific instructions.
Since this is becoming an epistle, let me cut to the end. When the judge called the jury out to inquire about the question, he concluded that a juror had potentially not followed his instructions. The judge declared a mistrial. That means… we have to reset it for trial and try it all over again in front of a new jury. Mistrial… it is the second worst word that I could hear. Well, maybe the third. Those words? The word “defense” in front of verdict; and the word “Denied” on a judge’s ruling of importance.
A trial report with nothing to report. No result. Only part… no parcel.
Pic o’ day reminds that some things just don’t make sense: