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February 28, 2005



Back in the Summer of 1988 I was working a long work assignment for the Yale Drama School tech people. It was a very gritty up-early, tear-things-down sweat-a-lot job (but I did earn the respect fo the techies at the YSD and was given the singular honor of beibng named an "Honorary Techie' and given my own hardhat--alas lost some years ago--and was invited to the Annual Yale Tech Party). After work, I usually went home, did a little light reading and slept in my livingroom to catch the cross breezes without letting the lovely New Haven Street People (plus the transvestite hookers who patrolled my street from night 'til morn) know I had a window (even a barred one) open for perusal inside.
One morning about 4 or so I woke up and heard some voices out on the street. A very bored hooker was telling the john du jour "you wanna go round the world it'll cost you 45 bucks" (NOT a bargain if you were able to see what world you going aorund, believe you me). Looking back on the experience in light of Pam's stunning foray into the justice system one wonders: would that have been enough to convict both/either hooker and john if the transaction had been busted by the police...?
Let's hear your opinions!


Our jury instructions said that to find a john guilty, the evidence had to show a) the john had agreed to the transaction, and that b) he'd taken the next step to sealing the deal. Just discussing a trip around the world wouldn't cut it. He'd have to be caught getting on board the cruise ship with the activities director. Heh.


How interesting! And somewhat frustrating, I bet. "Yeah, um, I was just sort of pretending to talk about partying... yeah... that's it..."


My trial was a civil jury. Our plaintiff and cross-plaintiff resided in an island town just across the estuary from Oakland. They had a dispute over a shared driveway. Both sides were unappealing -- bascially, we got to hear about their years' of yelling at and harassing each other for atrocities like parking too close to the center of the driveway. For this, twelve other citizens and I gave up the better part of three weeks to try to sort things out (the plaintiff wanted damages for harassment; the cross-plaintiff wanted the plaintiff to pay for a heart condition allegedly worsened by stress from the ongoing disagreement). I think everyone on the jury was pretty peeved about the case by the end, despite the dramatic photo evidence and a visit to the scene of the crimes. In the end, we tried to figure out something that would discourage both parties from coming back to court -- we awarded $1,000 to the plaintiff and $0 to the cross-plaintiff. Of course, all that did was make them mad, as their attorneys told the jurors who stayed behind to talk to them afterward.

The punch line was that neither party was paying a cent for the litigation, the entire bill being borne by State Farm, which insured both. One of the lawyers told us that the company had spent more than $100,000 on the case through the end of our trial. In case you're wondering where your premiums go.

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