Some government lawyers go through a productive life of 60 years pushing paper, handling their share of cases of theft, shoplifting, estafa, kidnap for ransom, cellphone snatching, and it’s an idyll life, you have a good routine. Many lawyers go through a fruitful, easy life, up to 70 or 80 and not be summoned by the Supreme Court on oral arguments and that’s a charmed life, as far as I’m concerned being called by the Supreme Court is just stressful, the cathedral-like dome where you have to face 15 magistrates in robes makes you feel small, like you have to justify your insect-like existence to gods. (well, some lawyers like it, they dream of it; anyway.) For most, we just want to go about our business, not doing anybody any harm and just earning our keep. But one day, you’re sitting in your office. Shuffling folders. Or you’re walking in the corridor. You get a call. Or your assistant is waving frantically at you. And then, a case that determines how the world turns, lands on your lap.
Law of probabilities. The roulette turned and it landed on your number; you didn’t do anything bad or good, it just fell on your post. (the more interesting people to watch are those lawyers who are just going about their peaceful lives, and then something happens, and cameramen are at their doorstep in the morning; more interesting than those lawyers who seek out the media and issue media advisories of their activities and call up reporters so they could get their 15 seconds).
Judge Pozon was just going about his ordinary business, disposing the usual murder, robbery, theft, kidnapping cases. Then they raffled off a case. It landed on his number: it was a case that would determine how the world turns.
In your darkest, most difficult moments, when the case overwhelms you, you look at the sky and ask: “What do you want from me?! Why me? What did I do? What the hell do you want from me?!”
The government prosecutors however, missed it; they failed to get it; they chose to do the bidding of their boss, the DOJ secretary, over a place in history; and more important, over doing their darndest to get justice. Millions of fiscals and government prosecutors dream of prosecuting a case like this, many more lawyers probably hanker for a shot at immortality. The door opened to them. This was the one. And they missed it. They names will not be remembered but a hundred years from now people will say, those were the lawyers who called their own, most important, star witness, a liar.
If justice is done here, it is to the credit of those private lawyers and witnesses who braved the odds. (on either side; I’m suspending judgment on guilt or innocence, i didn’t attend the hearings, and it’s a criminal case, you can’t make judgments in criminal cases based on ideology); and to credit of the judge, if justice is done.
The legal and factual issues the judge might be going over are (maybe; I’m guessing, I didn’t go over the pleadings): 1.The difference between the Information (the rap sheet, the formal charges) and what was proved or attempted to be proven. The Information or formal charge alleges “force or intimidation, etc.” while the evidence showed “deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious”; now, that’s technical, but the accused raised it, and I heard the prosecution answer it by saying: “when a perpetrator has sexual intercourse with someone deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, that’s force”. 2. Second, whether the evidence shows that the amount of alcohol ingested, given the kind of liquor, physical build of the person and the amount of time it was ingested, showed with a degree of moral certainty, that indeed she blacked out less than an hour later. 3. whether the testimony of the alleged victim and its corroboration by the witnesses who saw her before and after, establishes the crime beyond all reasonable doubt. 4.or whether the explanation of the accused cast a reasonable doubt. To me, the factual issues (numbers 2, 3, 4) are more important, because the “legal” issue or technical issue is resolvable either way. But that’s just me.
I’m not giving an opinion on the factual issues, it’s a criminal case, you have to have personally seen the evidence to make a call. But Judge Pozon will have to give an opinion, and it’s called the Decision.
I don’t have any right to give advice to anyone. So…this is just one small piece of consolation or encouragement or sympathy: When you realize that the case you’re handling would determine how the world turns: Shut off the world that’s breathing down your neck. Then do your job.
Then, take a vacation afterwards!! That’s my real advice.