Henry C.’s Down Home Dispatch: Lawyers read laws, not calendars and clocks | Opinion

CATLETTSBOURG At the Berkeley County Circuit Court in West Virginia, Judge Gray Silver III had a little slogan: “Lawyers have an interesting relationship with time.”

Now I was raised in South Berkeley, and while I may have had a call or two, I had never walked into a courtroom until I found myself reporting on crime for my hometown newspaper.

It didn’t take me long to figure out what Judge Silver III meant by that – the lawyers were saying a hearing would take 30 minutes, and two hours would pass before the judge took another 45 minutes to go to court. back and think about it, then make a decision.

The lawyers would say, “It’s only a four-day trial,” and nine days later the jury would go into deliberation.

All this to say that Judge Silver III – perhaps one of the most diplomatic and outspoken judges I have ever had the pleasure of covering – was actually saying, “Lawyers have no concept of time “.

And that’s what I had seen in court – no matter what state I showed up in – until I came to Boyd County, Kentucky.

Judge George Davis and Judge John Vincent keep the trains running in their courts – most days they start on time and most days they end on time. If a trial lasts three days, good God, it will be three days.

If an argument takes an hour, it will take an hour.

But on Thursday, sitting outside Judge Vincent’s court, I could hear the echoes of old Gray Silver, long since retired and presumably enjoying his time on tree stands or in turkey blinds.

Sebastian “Just because you did it doesn’t mean you’re guilty” Joy told the judge he had to postpone a trial date in early July because he double-subpoenaed himself in federal court and that the authorities did not have it.

“And for the end of July, beginning of August? Vincent asked.

Apparently the prosecutors were going on vacation then.

“How about September 19? Smith asked.

At that point, the defendant – appearing via the prison video link – sighed: “My God”.

Either they chose to ignore it or he didn’t hear it, because Vincent kept trying to find a date. Sometimes they had to ask public defender Brian Hewlett if any of his cases, set for such and such a date, would actually go or plead guilty.

How many lawyers does it take to pick a date? Apparently four is the answer.

After a few twists and turns, the lawyers finally landed one day – August 15. Now that would be tough – they would have to hold two half-day trials and one full day. But for everyone involved, it seemed doable.

“What if we set a trial for August 4?” Vincent said.

“I can’t, judge,” Joy said. “It’s my birthday.”

With a chuckle, Vincent asked, “She wants you all day?”

Joy replied, “I think she wants me all week.”

“Well, we’ve all been there,” Vincent said. “Am I right, guys? »

After landing a good date for it in July, Joy asked to be excused – Hewlett said: ‘It’s real love here.’

“I don’t know if this is love or if I’m scared,” Joy joked.

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