Nobody ever said that trial lawyering would be an easy profession. As I have said time and time again, this work is filled with proverbial projectile vomiting, projectile diarrhea, underhandedness by too many prosecutors and police, unfairness by too many judges, and shoveling sh*t.
When fully prepared for the day's curveballs, merely annoying or otherwise offensive words are more likely to roll off my back like water off a duck's back. High vibration and high energy diminishes low energy, at least in perception, and such perception is critical. When fully prepared for the day's curveballs, dangerous words and actions by opponents and others are more manageable, do not disrupt my good spirit and sense of well being, but instead invigorate me for the challenge.
When one sees and experiences all the rights that get trampled on in court, and by so many cops and prosecutors, the temptation is repeatedly present to get angry at such situations, and to call the rights violators fascists, tyrants, and low lifes at best. Anger, however,...
Abbie Hoffman believed in having fun while fighting for social change. Then, twenty-two years after joining a group dropping dollar bills onto the New York Stock Exchange’s trading floor in 1967, he killed himself with barbiturates, then just two years older than I am now....
Anger dissipation is critical on the road to victory in the courtroom and in life. As a Fairfax criminal lawer, I know how much easier that anger dissipation is said than done, but also know the benefits of applying the practice and principals of taijiquan/ t'ai chi ch'uan -- including relaxing and sinking -- with every potential anger-inducing event.
A key part of criminal defense victory is for the lawyer to be convinced that the client should be acquitted, to feel that in the lawyer's heart, guts and bones, and to persuasively convey those feelings to the judge and jury.
Criminal defense and persuasion benefit tremendously from a clear mirror. That mirror can be the magic mirror, where others are not likely to do any better than we give them the faith to do. That mirror can also be the spiritual mirror of the heart that can have boundless warmth and generosity.
Everyone gets angry, at least sometimes. Anger, rooted in fear, is weakening and even debilitating. However, it also is debilitating for us to beat up on ourselves for getting angry, and to beat up on ourselves for anything. We must continue on the positive and powerful path, while learning from our mis-steps rather than letting our mis-steps become our quagmire. Why do I keep returning to this topic of anger? Because I have known anger by having grown up feeling too much anger, knowing the need to transcend it, and now being on that transcendent path, although with mis-steps along the way. I have gotten angry at those seeming to cross my path, violating human rights, expressing racism and acting racist, and being downright dishonest. Lama Surya Das wisely learned that demonstrating for peace during the Vietnam War while feeling anger was not sufficient. Peace starts within ourselves. I keep returning to the approach of finding calm within the eye of the storm. We can test our powerful calmness by wading among proverbial feces and even stepping in actual feces. Courthouses are often far from pretty places, and jails and prisons are warehouses from where people will eventually emerge, and not necessarily as better people after the incarceration dehumanization process.
We can wake up in the morning feeling invincible and like nothing will diminish our optimism. The true test of that feeling is interacting with people throughout the day, for instance when we drive and have people honking at us and making obnoxious bewildered hand gestures because we are not running traffic lights about to turn red or are not exceeding the speed limit. I already have the answers -- and have blogged many times about them -- for not getting distracted, upset nor diminished on our path to success and victory, but the answers often are easier than putting them into practice
Donald Trump is facing so much dissent on the streets and in airports, in the courts, and beyond that one wonders whether he will get any rest from dissidents until he reverses course from his xenophobic approach to non-United States citizens and his ill-fated insular, groupthink approach to critical and sensitive decisionmaking.
It is easy to find ourselves challenged to succumb to automatic pilot mode during the day, constantly moving, moving, moving. Criminal defense lawyers constantly prepare for battle victory. Judges tell us when to come to court and when to start our trial. Clients merit timely replies, and numerous timely phone calls and meetings during the representation period. Cases must be investigated. Witnesses must be located and talked with.
My total opposition to the death penalty very much informs my strong preference for diplomacy before military action -- which involves no judicial process before firing on others -- as a last resort, and to erring on the side of restraining military actions,
If the trial lawyer has done his or her job well enough, at the end of the trial, not only will s/he win, but will leave the jury and judge wanting to hear the lawyer talk even more, rather than rushing to their cellphones to catch up on all the emails and texts that arrived while the lawyer was onstage.
"I knew you would pull it off," said my client, after I felt like I had pulled a rabbit out of a hat getting his misdemeanor case dismissed. On our third trial date, the prosecutor finally agreed to dismiss my client's marijuana possession case after my client followed my roadmap of homework (clean urine drug tests, participating in a drug education program, and performing community service...
It is tempting during or at the end of a competition where the opponent wins, to blame external forces for the loss, when by doing so we are losing a golden opportunity to be inspired by our opponent to reach greater and greater heights, ideally in the current battle or else in the next battle.
Remember that anger -- which also contains the letters for "rage" -- is rooted in fear. Fear is weakening, not strengthening. Non-anger helps one concentrate, strategize, strengthen, achieve clarity and non-distraction, and be on top of one's game.
Recently in cross-examining a witness and interviewing a part-time job candidate, I was reminded of the mindfulness bell, as I was fully open, mindful, clear and compassionate with these people. From each person, I obtained substantial truthfulness, while making myself no more of a threat to the cross-examined police witness than needed to obtain the desired openness and honesty from him, and with the interviewee giving him a chance to mine into his inner self to give me the revealing answers I needed to decide whether to pursue his candidacy further.
When another person is yelling at us, our first instinct may be to fight the yelling, to avoid getting wounded and to avoid looking weak to the yeller, others within earshot or both. Once the seeming subject of the yelling reaches equanimity and solid grounding, the subject can start to sift out vital intelligence
Feces can come the way of even the most otherwise blessed and successful person, even at the least expected moment. How we deal with the feces helps define whether we will continue on the path of success with the feces being only a minor annoyance or temporary detour, or whether we are going to get so upset that we slip on the feces, break our leg in the process, and swallow a bunch of feces in the process.