The Morning After

by Jamison Koehler on July 19, 2013
U.S. Capitol Building

I wake up again at 3:00 am but, for the first time in over a week, there is nothing to do but clean up my study.  After four days of trial, the jury took only a couple of hours to find my client guilty.

There were positives from the trial:  A government expert who could not perform basic calculations, and another expert who messed up the standardized field sobriety test.  Other witnesses were caught in basic contradictions. And, of course, there was our expert, toxicologist Dick McGarry from Roanoke, Virginia, who I thought performed beautifully on direct and even better under cross-examination.

It is amazing how a loss affects your perspective on things:  Every decision you made, every argument, is suddenly suspect.

There were times during the trial at which I hated the prosecutor.  But he came over to shake my hand even before the jury returned with the verdict, and he was even more gracious after the win.

His supervisor attended much of the trial, and there was a crowd of DUI prosecutors there to see parts of the trial.  While I stew in my study, I am thinking that, this morning anyway, he is probably sleeping in.

4 Comments on “The Morning After

  1. On the criminal side, I have never lost a case. That is because I have never tried a criminal case. On the civil side, which I haunt, I have lost more cases than many of my colleagues have tried. Losing does indeed suck. I remember my losses far better than many of my wins. I suppose that the familiar, lousy post-trial loss crash has one bright side: we still care.

    Long ago, one of my mentors taught me to ask the questions about how it went, what I did well, what was bad *before* the jury comes back. In a sense, that is the best measure of how you did. The brief glimpse of your opponent’s pre-verdict handshake suggests that you tried a good case. Time to let go?

  2. David:

    Mark Bennett put it really well one time. Although I couldn’t find the exact quote, it looked something like this: Victory=Ego. Defeat=wisdom. Or something like that.

    And, yes, venting over, it is time to let go. I am also taking the whole weekend off.

  3. I’m curious how a DUI trial lasted four days. Can you elaborate?

  4. Marilou:

    These were not full days — the court still did other business in the morning. But we did jury selection the first afternoon. The governnment presented its first witness on the second afternoon with cross. On the third afternoon, we had the government’s other two witnesses and my witness. On the fourth afternoon, we had closing arguments.

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