|TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
THE GRAND OLD PARTY, THE SWAMP, AND PRIDE
HAVING WATCHED CNN SPECIAL ON THE LAST DAYS OF THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE AND ALSO LISTENED TO THE FIRST FOUR EPISODES OF RACHEL MADDOW’S PODCAST…THE BAG MAN WITHIN 48 HOURS HAS JUICED MY REFLECTIVE MOODS.
THE BAG MAN IS AN INSIGHTFUL LOOK AT THE CORRUPTION OF THE NIXON WHITE HOUSE AND HIS VEEP, SPIRO AGNEW, PERHAPS THE MOST CORRUPT PERSON TO EVER SERVE AS VICE PRESIDENT AND THE SHAMEFUL ATTEMPTS BY NIXON AND HIS CRONIES TO BURY THE SCANDAL. AGNEW WAS ACCEPTING CASH BRIBES DURING HIS TENURE AS MARYLAND’S GOVERNOR AND CONTINUED TO DO SO WHILE HE WAS IN THE WHITE HOUSE. WHEN THE SHIT WAS ABOUT TO HIT THE FAN, HE ENLISTED: BOB HALDERFMAN (NIXON’S CHIEF OF STAFF), ALEXANDER HAIG (NIXON’S SECOND CHIEF OF STAFF), JOHN ERLICHMAN, RICHARD NIXON AND GEORGE H. W. BUSH (HE WAS HEAD OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AT THE TIME) TO ATTEMPT TO BURY THE STORY. THIS CABAL FAILED AND AGNEW WAS FORCED TO RESIGN IN DISGRACE BUT NOT BEFORE HE:
- ACCUSED THE PRESS OF FAKE NEWS
- ACCUSED THE DEMOCRATS OF TRYING TO GET HIM
- ACCUSED THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS OF CORRUPTION
- VOWED TO NEVER RESIGN AS A RESULT OF THIS WITCHHUNT
DOES ANY OF THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?
THEN I WATCHED THE CNN SPECIAL ON THE LAST DAYS OF THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE. THE STAFFERS ADORED OBAMA. THE SPEECHWRITERS WORKED METICULOUSLY TO GET IT RIGHT. OBAMA REVIEWED AND EDITED HIS SPEECHES. THE WH AIDES AND OPERATIVES WORKED HARD TO INCLUDE ALL FACTIONS AND TO KEEP THE PRINCIPLES THAT OBAMA PROMOTED AT THE FRONT OF THE AGENDA. MICHELLE OBAMA AS WELL AS THE PRESIDENT MADE MY PROUD. TRULY A GROUP OF DEDICATED AND HONEST PUBLIC OFFICIALS.
AND NOW WE HAVE TRUMP…..
DUMB, DUMB, AND DUMBER
THINKING ABOUT THE DUMBEST THINGS I’VE EVER DONE IN COURT (TOUGH TO BOIL DOWN TO A FEW BECAUSE THERE WERE MANY) AND THE DUMBEST THINGS I’VE HEARD AND SEEN IN COURT (THERE WERE MANY), CAUSED ME TO REFLECT ON THE DUMBEST THING I EVER HEARD A JUDGE SAY IN COURT (THERE WERE MANY) AND ONE CAME TO MIND…..
SOMETIMES IN FAMILY LAW YOU LITIGATE REAL DUMB ISSUES. THE CASE IN POINT INVOLVED TWO MIDDLE CLASS PARENTS EACH EARNING ABOUT $50,000 ANNUALLY. THE PRESIDING JUDGE CAME FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT WORLD. HER FAMILY WAS ENORMOUSLY WEALTHY AND PERHAPS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO HER RAPID RISE IN THE LEGAL WORLD. SHE WAS APPOINTED TO THE BENCH AFTER THE VERY MINIMAL TIME REQUIREMENTS AS AN ATTORNEY AND THOUGH SHE WAS BRIGHT SHE HAD ZERO STREET CRED AND NO SENSE OF HOW THE OTHER HALF (MYSELF AND THE LITIGANTS IN THIS CASE) ACTUALLY LIVED.
THE ISSUE: WHO WOULD PROVIDE THE TRANSPORTATION FOR CUSTODIAL EXCHANGES? BOTH WORKED LONG HOURS TO MEET THEIR EXPENSES AND WANTED THE OTHER TO SHOULDER THE TRANSPORTATION BURDEN.
EASY ENOUGH, SAID OUR JUDICIAL SOLOMON: “LET THEIR AU PAIR, HANDLE THIS TASK.” APPARENTLY IN HER WORLD, EVERYONE HAD AN AU PAIR TO HANDLE THE MUNDANE DAY TO DAY TASKS.
TOMORROW, THE DUMBEST THING, I EVER DID IN COURT.
An au pair (/o??p??r/; plural: au pairs) is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, au pairs take on a share of the family's responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a monetary allowance for personal use. Au pair arrangements are subject to government restrictions which specify an age range usually from mid-late teens to mid to late twenties; some countries explicitly limit the arrangement to females. WIKIPEDIA
TRUMP, STATESMEN, AND FRANCE
PRESIDENT TRUMP IN HIS ONGOING QUEST TO ELEVATE HIS POSITION TO ONE OF RELEVANCE HAS RECENTLY SLIGHTED NOT ONLY THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT AND ITS PRESIDENT BUT THE HEADS OF STATE OF OVER SEVENTY COUNTRIES IN ONE MORE ACT OF HUBRIS AT THE OCCASION OF THE ONE HUNDRED ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARMISTICE THAT ENDED THE FIRST WORLD WAR. HIS ACTIONS BRING TO MIND THE OBSERVATIONS OF PROFESSOR FEARS, CHAIR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA CLASSICS DEPARTMENT.
A TRUE STATEMAN HAS FOUR UNABIDING IDEOLOGIES:
- A BEDROCK OF PRINCIPLES
- A MORAL COMPASS
- A VISION
- THE ABILITY TO BRING PEOPLES TOGETHER
SADLY TRUMP LACKS ALL FOUR. HE ALSO HAS TWEETED THAT FRANCE SHOULD PAY ITS OWN WAY AND CARRY THEIR OWN MUD. HE SUGGESTS THAT FRANCE OWES US FOR OUR SUPPORT OVER THE PAST SEVENTY YEARS. IF HE WERE A STUDENT OF HISTORY, HE WOULD KNOW THAT FRANCE WAS OUR VERY FIRST ALLY. THAT THE FRENCH FLEET DEFEATED THE ENGLISH ARMADA OUTSIDE OF YORKTOWN IN 1781 THEREBY CUTTING OFF THE ENGLISH SUPPLIES AND THEN BLOCKADED THE HARBOR. THE FRENCH PROVIDED 8000 TROOPS WHO ALONG WITH OUR 7000 BROUGHT GENERAL CORNWALLIS TO HIS KNEES AND FORCED THE ENGLISH SURRENDER ENDING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. FRANCE ALSO PROVIDED THE FINANCE FOR OUR WAR WITH THE ENGLISH AND GAVE US CREDIBILITY IN EUROPE. BUT IT WOULD BE TOO MUCH TO EXPECT THAT THE GRANDE FORMAGE WOULD KNOW ANY OF THIS.
NORMA AND CHIP….HELL HATH NO FURY
IN MY STINT AS GARBAGE MAN AND LOWEST MAN ON THE FAMILY LAW TOTEM POLE, I WAS ASSIGNED THE CASE OF NORMA AND CHIP, REPRESENTING NORMA.
NORMA HAD NOT BEEN THE BENEFICIARY OF MANY BREAKS IN HER LIFE. BORN TO A MOTHER WHO WAS BOTH SYPHILLICTIC AND AN ALCOHOLIC, NORMA HAD PHYSICAL PROBLEMS ALONG WITH EMOTIONAL SCARRING DURING HER ADOLESCENCE. NEVERTHELESS, SHE FOUND CHIP, AN EASY GOING, HARD WORKING, BLUE COLLAR KIND OF GUY AND THEY MARRIED SOME TWENTY YEARS BEFORE I FOUND HER IN MY OFFICE. SHE HAD DISCOVERED THAT CHIP HAD BEEN PLOWING FIELDS OUTSIDE OF THE MARITAL FARM. SHE WANTED A DIVORCE AND SPOUSAL SUPPORT BECAUSE SHE HAD BEEN UNABLE TO WORK FOR MUCH OF THEIR MARRIAGE.
NO PROBLEM, I TOLD HER. CHIP HAD A GOOD JOB AS A FORK LIFT OPERATOR AT A GARDEN HOSE MANUFACTURER AND MADE A GOOD MIDDLE CLASS INCOME. THE DISSOLUTION PROCEEDED ROUTINELY AND WE WERE ABLE TO WORK OUT A PERMANENT SPOUSAL SUPPORT AWARD (ALIMONY TO THE UNINIATED) BASED UPON 30% OF HIS INCOME. SHE WAS ALSO AWARDED THE HOUSE AND HE GOT HIS RETIREMENT, WHICH WAS NOT UNCOMMON IN THOSE DAYS.
SOME WEEKS AFTER THE PROCEEDINGS HAD FINALIZED NORMA CALLED ME AND ASKED IF SHE SHOULD TELL CHIP’S BOSS THAT HE HAD BEEN STEALING GARDEN HOSE EVERY WORK DAY FOR TEN YEARS AND THEY HAD MORE GARDEN HOSE IN THE GARAGE THEN WALMART HAD IN THEIR STORES.
I ADVISED HER THAT IF SHE RATTED ON CHIP, THAT HE WOULD PROBABLY LOSE HIS JOB AND HIS ABILITY TO PAY HER SUPPORT. SHE SAID SHE UNDERSTOOD AND I THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE THE LAST I HEARD FROM HER. AU CONTRAIRE.
NORMA CALLED SEVERAL MONTHS LATER COMPLAINING THAT HER EX HAD STOPPED PAYING SUPPORT. NO PROBLEM, I SAID; IT WOULD BE EASY TO GET A WAGE ASSIGNMENT AND HIS EMPLOYER WOULD PAY HER DIRECTLY. WELL, SAID, HE HAD BEEN FIRED. SHE HAD CALLED HIS BOSS WHO CAME OUT TO HOUSE AND FOUND THE CACHE OF HOSE AND FIRED CHIP THAT VERY DAY. I ADVISED POOR NORMA THAT ENFORCEMENT WAS GOING TO BE DIFFICULT SINCE HE HAD GONE FROM A GOOD SALARY TO WORKING FOR MINIMUM WAGE AT A LOCAL GAS STATION.
I ENCOUNTERED CHIP AT THE GAS STATION BY ACCIDENT AND EXCHANGED PLEASANTRIES. NOW UNENCUMBERED WITH SUPPORT HE WAS AS HAPPY AS A CLAM.
I’M SURE THERE’S A MORAL HERE, SOMEWHERE.
Jacque and Jacqueline and the AKC
In 1974 I was the low man (the lowest as you will see) on the Family Law totem pole of Orange County mid-size firm. As the designated garbage man I was assigned the case of John and Paula. They were decent people and easy to work with and opposing counsel was a pro, what could go wrong?
We were able to dispose of most of the assets: a family residence, a small business, a vacation home and a number of vehicles. What we could not settle was what to do with the two French Poodles that they had raised from puppyhood to the status of show dogs. Jacque and his sister, Jacqueline, were the pride and joy of his parents (that’s how John and Paula described their relationship).
Easy, you say. Just give one dog to each…no, no. They did agree that the two siblings should not, in any circumstance be separated. It would be devastating to their psyches. The case had to be tried. Well it was a under two hour time estimate and we were assigned to retired Judge Raymond , who was older than dirt and who took occasional assignments just to get out of the house. Well, he was easy going and not a no-nonsense judge (see episode 1). He would let us try the case.
How does one try a dog custody case? Is the best interest of the dogs the governing factor, or is it the best interest of the parties. Well, today the Family Code actually has a statute that deals with companion dog litigation. We had no guidance and just put on the evidence we thought might be of some interest. Counsel and I just hoped and prayed that none of our colleagues would wander into the courtroom and see this dog and pony show.
Judge Raymond appeared to sleep throughout, never opening his eyes or asking any questions. Well, we made closing arguments….what does one say about the interest of justice and two French Poodles?
Judge Raymond said nothing. His long time clerk, also retired but sitting on assignment, slammed her desk drawer loud enough to wake him up.
Opening his eyes, he mumbled, “She gets the dogs.” We had won, Paula and I. This however was not the end of my sojourn into litigation hell. Paula pointed out that the American Kennel Club must be notified in order that Jacque and Jacqueline receive their proper place in the annals of the dog world.
Accordingly, I prepared a Judgment that awarded “the two French Poodles to Paula and forwarded it to New York for consideration of the AKC with the request that they amend their records. In short order I heard from the authorities that be, that I was deficient in my attorney skills. To paraphrase, “Dear Schlock Attorney:
How dare you refer to Jacque de Fils de Babbette and Jacqueline Fils de Babbette as ‘two French Poodles’? They have proper names and will only recognize the Judgment if you amend it to reflect the same.”
When Paula inquired as to the AKC status, I lied to her. I advised her that the AKC had been notified.
Lawless Power Grab
A well known lawyer on the national scene said in reference to the use of Executive Orders:
"The president took part in a lawless power grab"
"The president decided to act like a king"
Who was the author of these accusatory claims? Was it some liberal lying member of the fake media? Was it a left wing liberal attacking President Trump?
No, it was Jay Sekulow, the current president's personal lawyer criticizing President Obama in 2016. Sekulow at that time thought that the use of executive orders were proof that Obama was acting beyond his authority. He was painfully ignorant that President Eisenhower used one to desegregate public schools; that Truman used one to desegregate the military; that Reagan issued 381, George Bush 291 and that Obama, faced with a recalcitrant and do nothing congress issued 224 through 2015.
None of the former chief executives used or threaten to use an executive order to amend the constitution as Trump has on the issue of birth right citizenship.
Hypocrisy is the hallmark of both Trump and Sekulow.
Thanks, I feel better now.
The Captain and the deviate:
I don't remember all the cases that I won (there were a few) but I do remember all the ones I lost (there were a few) but most of all I remember the ones that had a light-hearted moment (there were a few.
One of my favorite adversaries was Bob L., reputed to be the king of family law. Bob represented celebrities, the rich and powerful, and the notorious. Bob liked other attorneys. When someone spoke ill of a brethren he was wont to say, "Attorneys are my best friends; they're smart, quick and funny. I like spending time with them."
I, from time to time, would have an adult beverage with Bob and always enjoyed his company. Well.....we had this case; he represented Mrs. Bud (the names have been changed to protect me) and I represented the Captain. The Captain was the skipper of a large oil vessel ( imagine the Exon Valdez) and had been married several times before he encountered Mrs. Bud who was a serial divorcee.
Mrs. B, treated marriages like real estate, she liked to move up with each succeeding union. After a stormy six years or so, they split. The linchpin issue was the character of valuable chunk of real estate along Malibu's coast. Bud had owned the property before his marriage to Mrs. B and had in fact paid a premium to have it awarded to him in a previous sub-division (divorce number two), but Mrs. B insisted that he had gifted her the property after a night of connubial bliss. In the old days, we called this pillow-talk transmutation.
As our trial judge we drew Judge W., who was well known as a no-nonsense judge (see episode 1). JW tolerated little wasted time and liked to move his cases along but for some unknown reason, he was fond of both Bob L. and myself and allowed us some slack.
Well....after Mrs. B testified as to the tender moment when Bud gifted her the Malibu property and promised to memorialize his generosity with a deed, it was my turn to cross examine her. I was fortunate enough to have letters that she had written to Bud when he was shipboard which unequivocally proved that he had never gave her what she claimed. The letters in fact chastised him for not sharing his wealth with her.
After laying a strong foundation to admit the letters into evidence, I began to read them into the record. Bob L. who had no deficiency of ego, rose to his full height of five foot six and announced to the court, "I have no objection to Desjardins reading the letters into the record as long as he does not deviate from the text!"
In a flash of brilliance and stealing from Pierre Salinger, I immediately responded in a offended manner, " I'll have you know sir, that I am not a textual deviate."
It was the only time that Judge W. was known to have lost his composure; he laughed so hard that water was coming out of his nose and had to dash off the bench. We could hear him still laughing in the hallway.
I forget how the case came out.