Aug 19, 2017 You may always decline being sprayed in court with proverbial prune juice and diarrhea
Each day in court is filled with experiences from fragrant flowers to fetid feces. You may always decline being sprayed with proverbial prune juice and diarrhea.
Some people absolutely adore prunes, whether dried, stewed, or as juice. (Prunes revolt me. I am so prejudiced against them that I have not touched them for over four decades). When they offer you a dish of prunes, they may believe they are offering a gift of ambrosia. Others might offer prunes with the same spirit that my friend’s “friend” gave him a gift of Depends diapers at his fortieth birthday celebration– as a ribbing about what might befall any of us when octogenarians or nonogenarians, including that very Depends gift giver.
Nobody has to accept the would-be gift nor anti-gift.
The courthouse and courtrooms are at once filled with specks of gold and shitstorms that can erupt at any moment even when least expected. I enter the courthouses and courtrooms attired with proverbial rubber suits and goggles so that the shit has no effect on me. I encourage my clients on the same path.
Of course, I have a quarter century of experience dealing with all that shit through thousands of appearances in court. My criminal defense clients tend to be new to the experience, so I tell them as I tell you, that trial courts are less hallowed halls of justice than battlegrounds where rules are often unfair, and rules of fairness often are not sufficiently enforced. Successful courthouse battle often is best approached as guerrilla warfare, where it is great when the Constitution is upheld, but where I am always ready to fight in the absence of rules. Russell Crowe’s ever-successful gladiator character inspires me on that path.
Along this path, it helps to have a thick skin, so long as that thick skin does not obscure one’s humanity and empathy.
The foregoing is important to keep in mind during every moment and step in the courthouse and everywhere else. To do so is emboldening, empowering, and invigorating. To do otherwise can become maddening, debilitating, and devastating. The only path to take in life is the winning path.
Jon Katz battles daily in criminal court. For a confidential consultation with Jon, please contact Jon’s assistants at 703-383-1100.