Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Nerdy Lawyer Rant (4 of 4)

OK -- here's the next unconscionable legal error. The Judge never pre-screens it. The Judge is watching this sucker for the first time, with the jury, in open court -- and ends up stopping the playback partially through when he thinks it has gone too far. (Which is coincidentally, just after Sympathetic Hero Lawyer has ripped off his own headset in disgust, and just before CBS would get into more trouble with the FCC.) My point, though, is that judges prescreen EVERYTHING that can be prejudicial -- if you're playing an audiotape in court, odds are the judge has listened to all of it, and probably made a new tape with certain prejudicial bits redacted. No freakin' WAY you would play a sex tape in court without a judge even PREVIEWING it (and, in a case like this, lots and lots of argument).

To their credit -- and it's an amazingly small point -- at the end of the show, when we see (victorious) Sympathetic Hero Lawyer sitting around, holding the tape, engaging in deep introspection, he actually does not destory the tape. I really expected that he would, but maybe someone on the show had some vague inkling that you need to preserve evidence for a possible appeal. (Then again, it should have been in the court's possession anyway -- not given back to Sympathetic Hero Lawyer.)

One episode -- at least a half-dozen legal errors. I wonder if doctors feel the same way about medical shows. In the real world, would them docs in "E.R." be killing people left and right?

Edited to add: Ooo! And I left out the bit where the Judge tells defense counsel that he would dismiss the case on legal grounds if he didn't think the defendant was pond scum.


olddog299 said...

Interesting analyses. One does wonder what the "Creative Consultant" was snorting for lunch, doesn't it?

"In the real world, would them docs in "E.R." be killing people left and right?" Yep. As former paramedic, can say with certainty I have seen more saves on TV on ER than would occur at Cedar-Sinai in a year's time. I often wonder how many people REALLY believe that a couple of puffs of air and a Precordial Thump or two will bring back someone in full arrest?

kiskar said...

There was a show a few years ago called "Norm" or "The Norm Show" about a hockey player sentenced to do community service as a social worker. The National Association of Social Workers, of which I am a member, protested because of the way the lead character portrayed a social worker. Norm Macdonald's response, "It's make believe." The show was fairly amusing, and I think we eventually developed a sense of humor about it. Haha!

nzforme said...

Good point -- I actually remember the controversy over "Norm." The show didn't run all that long, so I guess you guys got the last laugh.