Still in trial. We expect to end, including closing, the week of 11/28. I am going home for Thanksgiving, leaving Wednesday night and returning Saturday morning. I have been away from my family for five weeks today. This is the longest I have ever been away from them.
How's trial? Well, so far, we are proceeding much like the first trial. The internet is very public and I do not want to comment about a trial of this magnitude. I will say that the prosecution has rested and we are presenting our case.
Ken Lammers frequently posts on A Day in the Life of a Criminal Defense Attorney, so I will tell you a little bit of what happens on a daily basis in this trial. I get up about 6:00 (I'm not an early riser, but I am in trial). Trial usually starts about 8:30. We (the other attorney and our trial assistant) are at court about 8:00. I make sure the car is plugged in the night before so it will warm up sooner. We swing by a coffee place to pick up good coffee (latte for the assistant, breves for the attorneys). The attorneys sit in the car in the dark and the cold, shivering in the -5 degree temperature until the car warms up enough that the heater blows warm air while the assistant picks up the coffee from the warm coffee bar.
Sunrise at this time of year is around 11:00 am, and sunset is about 4:00 pm. We are in court for most of the day, so we don't see the sun. (for more weather info about Kotzebue, including sunrise and sunset times, check out this site). Sometimes, if I have to drive in the evening, I see the moon reflecting over the stillness of the frozen Chukchi Sea. We've had really good weather for this time of year. That means that we haven't had a winter storm that has shut down everything. It has been clear and cold. Maybe not cold as in Kotzebue cold, but wearing a thin wool suit is cold in 2 degrees and 25 mph winds. We've also had a 'high moon', which occurs once every 18 1/2 years. This means that for 5 days this week, the moon has been full. Also, if one is far enough north, as I am, the moon does not set. Rather, it just circles in the sky for several days. When the weather gets cold, the sky is generally clear. I've not seen the aurora this trip, but it has apparently been active. Rather, I've stopped and stared at the frozen sea, reflecting the moon's cold light. It makes me think of the poem by by Emily Dickinson:
Because I could not stop for death,
he kindly stopped for me.
The carriage held but just ourselves
I don't know why, but the pale, icy moonlight off the frozen sea is to me absolutely beautiful and utterly desolate, turning my thoughts philosophical (hey, I majored in philosophy. What can you expect?). And for reasons I do not fully understand, the beauty of the winter scenery makes me think of the icy loneliness of existence and starkly reminds me of the absence of my own loved ones. An interesting juxtaposition, and a rather depressing one, I suppose, but there you have it. Anyway, back to our trial days.
Trial starts and we go through the witnesses, cross examination or direct, as the case may be. I would say that the attorneys have had lunch about 1/4 of the time (actually, I've had lunch about 1/4 of the time. the other attorney generally does not eat until the trial day is finished). Generally, we work through lunch, coming back to our apartment at the end of the day, around 4:30 - 5:00 or so. The State called almost 70 witnesses, so each day they notify us of who they intend to call the next day. When it is our case, as it is now, we notify them of who our witnesses will be. Each side prepares, getting ready for the next day. I usually retire between 10:00 and 11:00, and get ready to go again. Friday and Saturday nights are somewhat relaxed if for no other reason than there is no trial the next day. Saturdays and Sundays we get up and start between 8:00 and 9:00, usually going until about 7:00 or so in the evening, getting ready for the next week.
Logistics are on a scale that is, quite frankly, unimaginable in other jurisdictions. Forget flying in experts from other towns. That's easy. Imagine that every single witness has to be flown into town, that you have to comply with all of the requisite requests with your agency for witness travel, that you get your witness into town in time to testify and then be able to return in a reasonable time, and that you might have to do it all over again if trial goes longer than expected or if a day off is unanticipated, such as becase of juror illness or other problem.
And that's what we have been doing. Given the schedule, I hope that readers will understand why blogging has been light.