|How Not to Act When You Hear the Words "Not Guilty" (7/09/97)|
Misdemeanor cases, regardless of the fact that the subject matter can often trump the weekly tabloids, are tried only before six jurors.
The six jurors in this paramedic's case found him not guilty.
Hey, I've lost before, and I'm sure I'll lose again. There's nothing enjoyable about it. Nevertheless, I made it a point to congratulate the defense lawyer, visit with those who had an interest in the prosecution, and write a letter to the jury thanking them for their service and asking for their insight if they choose to give it.
I'm not asking for a pat on the back. It's the decent and professional thing to do.
That's why the headline on the July 14, 1997, got my attention: "DA wants fire department probe of paramedics who attended trial". According to the newspaper, "Assistant District Attorney Edward Porter wrote a letter of complaint to the Fire Department after nine uniformed paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians sat in court last week to watch the trial of [the paramedic]. It is unclear if any were on duty."
Apparently Edward is not happy. He was quoted as saying, "If the firemen or EMTs are on duty, seems to me they had ambulances to attend to."
And it seems to me, he needs to move on to the next case.
Would he be so interested in probe if the tables were turned? What if an assistant D.A. showed up in the courtroom to watch his closing argument as a show of support? Should the spectator be investigated or should it just be chalked up to continuing legal education? And how about the any number of police officers who testify in a trial and then return to watch the prosecution during the closing argument or the punishment stage? Do we empanel a grand jury to look into their conduct?
It would appear that the paramedics wanted to demonstrate their support for a co-worker. If they were on the taxpayer's nickel, it is hard to justify. Nevertheless, to "want" a "probe" of their conduct seems a bit petty in my opinion.
Especially after you lost the case.
Barry Green is the District Attorney for the 271st Judicial District.