14 March 2006

If This Happens To You, You're Having A Bad Day

When this happens to you, it means that you are having a bad day:

[Transporation Security Adminsitration Attorney Carla J.] Martin [who has at least 18 years experience as an attorney], the first to take the stand today, asked permission to address the court and was immediately cut off by an irritated [Judge] Brinkema, who told her, "No, you're a witness."

When prosecutor [and co-counsel] David J. Novak suggested that Martin be advised of her rights, Brinkema told her that she has the right not to testify, that her testimony could be used against her because she is in jeopardy for the alleged violation of a court order and that she has the right to be represented by counsel.

Martin said she was in "an adversarial proceeding" and wanted a lawyer. She said she spoke to an attorney last night, but that he was unable to come to the court this morning. At that point, Brinkema directed her to contact the lawyer and see if he could come in later today or, if not, at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. . . . Brinkema, clearly exasperated by the new problems in the oft-delayed case, yesterday called Martin's conduct "the most egregious violation of the court's rules on witnesses" she had seen "in all the years I've been on the bench."

Even prosecutors were stunned by Martin's actions, calling them "reprehensible" in court papers and adding, "We frankly cannot fathom why she engaged in such conduct."

It also doesn't help your day to see seven different witnesses come before the Court, supported by e-mails from you, describing exactly how you have violated a court order sequestering witnesses in a death penalty case, and mentioning new ways that you violated the Court's order that no other lawyers had previously mentioned.

You are also sure to ingratiate yourself with your co-counsel when you say things like: "their opening statement 'has created a credibility gap that the defense can drive a truck through.'"

The Bush Administration's problem in prosecuting terrorism cases in the civil justice system is not the civil justice system itself. The Bush Administration's problem is the idiot lawyers it has assigned to handle cases in the civil justice system.

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