The D.A.’s Disastrous Embarrassing False Start with a Jury

When I was a rookie deputy district attorney (D.A.) one of my colleagues quickly grabbed a case file and rushed off to court for his first jury trial. He wanted to make a good impression. The judge explained that the defendant waived his right to an attorney and insisted on exercising his constitutional right to … Continue reading The D.A.’s Disastrous Embarrassing False Start with a Jury

A “Germaphobe” Couple Comes to Court Wrapped in Cellophane

"Court Case Friday" I had a case of a couple charged with interfering with businesses. They were begging for money outside of liquor stores. When they came to court, they they refused to sit down, to touch anything, and they had wrapped themselves in dozens of layers of cellophane. They crinkled when they moved Apparently, … Continue reading A “Germaphobe” Couple Comes to Court Wrapped in Cellophane

My Case of the YouTube Star Who Jumped off Hotel Balconies

"Court Case Friday" YouTube Star Hotel Jumper I presided over an interesting case involving a YouTube “Star.”  The young man filmed himself jumping off very high balconies or roofs of hotels into their swimming pools.  Apparently, when he posted the videos on YouTube, he had so many “views” and “likes” that advertisers were eager to … Continue reading My Case of the YouTube Star Who Jumped off Hotel Balconies

The Benefits of Ankle Monitors: Was the defendant really riding his bicycle on the freeway at 75 MPH?

"Court Case Friday" When GPS ankle monitors were new, the companies were anxious to gain credibility with the judges. If the judges weren’t "sold," their business could fail. My first use of a GPS ankle monitor was entertaining. The defendant had a long rap sheet of misdemeanor cases. Basically, he kept driving on a suspended … Continue reading The Benefits of Ankle Monitors: Was the defendant really riding his bicycle on the freeway at 75 MPH?

Law and Religion: Refusing Medical Care and Vaccinations for Religious Reasons

Most religions believe in the power of faith and prayer to comfort and heal the sick. For most of these sects, religious healing accompanies conventional medical care. A few of these sects rely exclusively on religious healing. They oppose medical care. They put their trust in God. To rely on human medical treatment is to … Continue reading Law and Religion: Refusing Medical Care and Vaccinations for Religious Reasons

A Teenager Daughter’s Expensive Joy Ride (Cadillac v. Porsche v. Mercedes)

"Court Case Friday" With her parents away for the evening, their fourteen-year-old daughter invited her friends for a joy ride in her parent’s new Cadillac luxury sedan.The four girls were playing with the controls and gadgets as they cruised down the road in rich Newport Beach.  Suddenly, the driver looked up and realized they were … Continue reading A Teenager Daughter’s Expensive Joy Ride (Cadillac v. Porsche v. Mercedes)

When “Coaching” Your Witness Blows Up in Your Face

I learned in law school that lawyers should be very careful about "coaching" witnesses. The story below illustrates that putting words in a witness’s mouth can blow up in your face. Let them testify in their own words. My Admonition to Every Witness Background: As a prosecutor I gave all of my witnesses, including police officers, … Continue reading When “Coaching” Your Witness Blows Up in Your Face

“Turtle Malpractice”

I presided over a unique case of veterinarian malpractice. The case involved an misdiagnosis of two desert turtles. Both turtles started having problems with their back legs. The vet never x-rayed the turtles. Instead, he quickly concluded that the turtles were either poisoned or had a neurological abnormality.  The thirty-year old plaintiff’s parents bought the turtles … Continue reading “Turtle Malpractice”

Drunk Driver Calls 911 to Report — Herself

 In 2019, a Utah woman called 911 to report a drunk driver. The caller sounded intoxicated. She had slurred speech, and she was burping, and laughing uncontrollably on the phone.  The dispatcher asked the woman for a description of the drunk driver. The caller gave a description of - herself. She also gave a description of … Continue reading Drunk Driver Calls 911 to Report — Herself

My “Yucky” Health Code Cases: Flies, Roof Rats, Slime, Pigeons, and Mystery Meat

As a young District Attorney, one of my assignments was prosecuting misdemeanor Health Code violations. One day, the Orange County Supervising Health Inspector invited me to go on an inspection tour.  The Store Selling “Mystery Meat” At a small mom-and-pop store we inspected the meat display. The meat was wrapped in cellophane, with prices only, … Continue reading My “Yucky” Health Code Cases: Flies, Roof Rats, Slime, Pigeons, and Mystery Meat