Tuesday, April 17, 2007

To Live and Fly to L.A.

Yesterday afternoon, I left the office early to catch a flight to LAX. The District Attorney's office of Los Angeles County issued me a subpoena earlier this month to appear at a hearing at 8:30 a.m this morning. There were a lot of cases on the court's calendar, and the case where I was to provide testimony for didn't convene well until 11:30.

At 11:40 or so, I was the second witness called. I remained in the witness box the longest among three of us that testified today. I testified for about 20 minutes before the court recessed for lunch. Then after lunch, I testified for another 40 minutes or so. I had a 3:05 p.m. flight back to San Francisco. Even though the courthouse was only 10 minutes from LAX, I didn't leave the courthouse until 2:40 p.m.

Because I thought I would miss my flight, I was on a cell phone with the company travel agency to see if they could get me on a later flight. Luckily, my 3:05 flight didn't board until 3:35 p.m., so I made it to the gate in time and actually left LAX around 4, as it was a completely full flight. I already packed my gym bag Sunday night, so I was more than ready to head to the gym once I got back to San Francisco.

While I can't comment on specifics about the case, I found the entire court process tedious and fascinating at the same time. This was my first time ever to testify in court. The last time I was called as a witness to testify was in 1984, where the District Attorney's office in Chickasha, Oklahoma (near Norman) flew me out to testify for a credit card fraud case. The case settled just before trial proceedings began, so I didn't go through the "raise-your-right-hand-do-you-solemnly-swear-that-the-testimony-provided-today-is-the-truth..." I don't think "so-help-you-God" is recited anymore.

The parts that I found fascinating was that my testimony actually had the TV stuff we've seen on shows like "Law & Order", "Perry Mason" and "L.A. Law". There were things said in my testimony where the defense issued objections, or asked to be stricken from the court records. Prior to the hearing, I was brought to a very small room next to the entryway of the courtroom with the A.D.A. and the arresting detective preparing me for my testimony.

I won't yet know the outcome, and I don't know how well or poorly I did. But in my line of work, I may do it again and will be better prepared. It will be something I won't forget anytime soon (not that I forget much anyway).
image courtesy of CNN

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