Judge Rob Pineiro said...
On my very first day of work as an assistant state attorney in June of 1977
I was given a stack of files and rushed into the late, great Judge Dominic Koo's courtroom to try some DUI cases. No training, no "gung ho" speaches--just "knock your socks off, kid".
It was a rather bewildering experience for a 22 year old "newbie".
However, a kindly, older gentleman offered to take me under his wing and teach me the realities of life. He explained how the police had railroaded his client, a sweet little old lady; how they had trampled all over her rights and cruelly slammed her into the drunk tank with no cause whatsover.
Incensed at the injustice, I confronted my witnesses with these serious accusations. Expecting them to quail before my righteous indignation, I was astonished to see them howling in laughter. One of the police officers, having controlled his hysterics, simply said "I guess you just met Sy Gaer." He gave me the other side of the story.
I went back to the person I now knew as Mr. Gaer and politely said:
"Excuse me sir, but it appears you may be full of - - - -."
His response, with a dismissive gesture: "No maybe about it."
A couple of decades later, I'm sitting on the bench itching to start a jury trial--it was already past 10 am. Only one other case left on calendar, Sy's Motion for Mitigation for one of his clients--actually typed out!
Well, I waited but no Sy, so I denied it. The Jury is about to come in when Sy pants through the door. I told him how I had argued to myself that his client had been railroaded and was the victim of a colossal injustice, but I didn't quite convince myself--so I denied it, albeit with tears in my eye.
Without blinking a eye, Sy manages to gasp out "Judge you just weren't eloquent enough." He then proceeds to tell me how I should have argued it to myself, congratulates me on what would have been a great argument and grants his own motion.
Rumpole says: What's great about these memories is that besides the wonderful "Sy stories" they also help to bring into prospective for the new prosecutors and PDs what life was like before all the high-tech training they now get. Ask any lawyer over 40 who spent time in the SAO or PDs office and you will get a similar story:
"I was handed a bunch of files, told where the courtroom was, and sent in with the words "try to not screw things up too much. If you have any legal questions, ask your secretary." Those were the good old days. Not to complain too much, but isn't the SAO overdoing the "I have to ask my supervisor" type of training? Give these lawyers some discretion we say!
To err is human. The best lawyers learn from their mistakes. As our eloquent President said: Fool me once shame on you…fool me again….if you fool me…hmm…you can’t fool me again, but if you try…why….well you get the idea, right?”
We strictly adhere to the Harvard Medical School of training: “LEARN ONE. DO ONE. TEACH ONE.”
See you in Court waiting for a prosecutor to go speak with their supervisor.