Last Thursday Gerry Spence and I flew home from Puerto Vallarta after a six day trip to Puerto Vallarta with our cameras. We visited dozens of small towns and collections of houses in the surrounding area during that time. We saw a part of that area neither of us had seen before and have some great photos. During our time together, with no one else along and no schedule, we talked about a lot of things including surprisingly similar background life experiences. I enjoyed our time there immensely in spite of the heat and humidity.
Gerry had tried the Imelda Marcos case in New York. After hearing his description of the trial and his experiences I regret he never wrote a book about that case.We were talking about difficult judges because he had an a very difficult situation with the judge in that trial.Gerry said he has recently posted on his blog his views on that subject which I had not read. One aspectwe explored was revealing to me and thatwas how we react to thejudge who seems to us isunreasonable or abusive.The first commentGerry made was "Who’s going to protect the judge?" His pointwas that there is no one to protect the judge except the judge herself or himself.The lawyer needs toreverse roles and understandwhere the judge is coming from.
The other thing that we agreed upon, about this subject, was bull fighting. We bothrelate toErnest Hemmingway’s 1932 book Death in the Afternoon I have been a huge fan of the courage, skill and art of the matador. My favorite quote from the book deals with timing and courage. Hemmingway writes about the concept of "Ver Llegar" or "to watch them come" which he describes as the ability to watch t he bull come as he charges with no thought except to calmly see what he is doing and to make the moves necessary to the maneuver you have in mind. He says "To calmly watch the bullcome is the most necessary and primarily difficult thing in bullfighting." Gerry’s slant about this was that the madador doesn’t charge the bull, he calmly waits and watches. The lawyer should adopt the same restraint in dealing with the judge. Calmly, without giving up one’s power, react to the situation.
In the Marcos trial, after the judge had attacked Gerry in front of the jury, Gerry said he had a motion. The judge asked counsel for a side bar and Gerry pointed out that his credibility had been attacked by the judge in front of the jury. The judge asked him what Gerry wanted to do about it and he said to the judge that it was his problem since he had created the situation. The judge took a recess and after awhile resumed court. He then proceeded to lecture the jury about what a wonderful person and trial lawyer Gerry was as his remedy. I don’t think that’s going to happen to us, but the lesson of calm, honest reaction to the situation is one to consider.