A DUI Trial on Unmapped Uneven Terrain.


The terrain of a trial comprises the factors that the trial lawyers don’t create — for example, the spirit of the times, the state of the law, the unchangeable facts and, to a great extent, the conduct of the judge.

The lawyers know what the spirit of the times, the state of the law, and the unchangeable facts are before trial begins. But with an unpredictable judge it is possible for the terrain to be very different than the lawyers expect. The judge’s handling of the case can make the difference between holding the tactical high ground and being in the valley under the adversary’s guns.

Sometimes it’s an uphill struggle, sometimes it’s a downhilll fight (or so I’ve been told). Right now I’m in a DUI (in Texas we call it DWI, but everyone else in the world seems to call it DUI) and failure to stop and give information (FSGI) jury trial on uncharted undulating ground. In the fog. The judge started out by interrupting my brief voir dire several times unnecessarily. Since jury selection is the most important part of trial, next time I’ll ask him beforehand not to do that. Since getting the jury picked, the judge has made some unexpected rulings for us and some for the government.

It’s an interesting experience; it sure beats the usual uphill slog the defense faces in jury trials in the Harris County courthouse.

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0 responses to “A DUI Trial on Unmapped Uneven Terrain.”

  1. Re: ” Since getting the jury picked, the judge has made some unexpected rulings for us and some for the government.

    It’s an interesting experience; it sure beats the usual uphill slog the defense faces in jury trials in the Harris County courthouse.”?

    Sounds like, all in all, this experience means you got a fair trial. Maybe the Terrain was unmapped and tilted both ways because the Judge actually followed the fules of not knowing the facts of the case beforehand and made his or her rulings as the case unfolded for the first time?

    Sure is hard to out and out compliment a Judge in H.C. Tx. isn’t it?

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