A Bad Feeling

A Bad Feeling

You can never be too smug… here I was patting myself on the back for finally kicking my butt into gear. For once I was actually beginning to feel… dare I say it, happy even. Great job, decent commute, stable home life, fun activity calendar… Remy was all recovered, Bubbey was on the upswing… things were good.

Then I called my dad this evening. He’s involved in a medical malpractice case, and jury selection was today. Already, I had been a little worried about him having to testify, especially with English as his foreign language and all. Then he said his own attorney was extremely disappointed: the chosen jury was the worst he’d seen in his three decades practicing law. Ouch.

What was so bad about the chosen ones? Gender, education, and socio-economic status. I don’t really want to get into how those factors may or may not influence analysis and judgment, but I assume from a statistical viewpoint his attorney has a strong sense for how the votes will sway.

Based on my father’s take, he did the best he could. Among other things, she’s claiming disability. The surveillance tape shows otherwise but I’ll leave it at that. Obviously, I’m biased. But still, my father was, by many accounts outside of mine, the best OB/GYN in town. I trust that if there is a right and wrong here, he’s right and she’s wrong. But anyway, the whole thing just disturbs me.

You see, had he broken the news to me five, maybe ten years ago, I wouldn’t have even flinched. I would have completely trusted the system. I would have believed that whatever the outcome, the ruling would be fair and just. How quickly the world killed that naivety. I know better now. And so I worry. Not because of what my father will say in trial but rather what the jurors will hear. English is my native language; yet, I still cannot understand any film where English is spoken with the slightest British or Scottish or Irish accent. My father still has a strong accent: how the hell will people understand him? Even Bubbey, who has communicated with my parents regularly, frequently misses my father’s comments. Sometimes the dialog passes so quickly, it’s not even worth asking for a repeat. And this is what I fear: people won’t understand, and after a while, they’ll stop trying to understand. And then the case reduces to an English-speaking defendant vs. an incoherent foreigner. Ugh, the very thought pains me. I wish I could protect him. It’s not just about money, pride, and respect. There are so many deeper issues to consider: racism, prejudice, inequality, injustice. What is fair? What is just?

This evening as I bemoaned all of this, John revealed that he didn’t even return a call to report for jury duty. WTF??? I was pissed. First because he lied to me: he specifically told me he had called and the City said his services weren’t needed. Second, this was his civil duty. If I were involved in a case, I’d want someone like him to review the facts and make a decision. So ticked off.

Maybe I’m just being cynical about my father’s case. Maybe his attorney is wrong. Maybe the jurors will take this seriously and weigh their decisions carefully. Maybe I’m just working myself up for no reason.

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