Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

Here Comes the Judge



I find myself a big fan of layers. Bundled in jacket upon jacket, with gloves on my hands and a cap on my head and headphones over my ears. I set off to walk the Watters Creek Trail near our home. I walked for a bit over two hours, until just I before noon. I saw 14 species of birds. I liked the little foraging White-Throated Sparrow:










I also liked the Northern Cardinals:





Then I went home and took Beatrice for a walk. We liked the American Crows in the park:



I drove to Parker Road Station in Plano. I caught the 1:28 p.m. train to downtown.
As I waited for the train, two folks sought to panhandle me for 50 cents. I pushed back against the effort as I do not want to encourage train panhandling. The couple proceeded, unperturbed, to search the nearly-empty train for change that had fallen in the train. I felt that curious mix of shame and rectitude that arises from upholding one value (not encouraging folks to beg on train platforms) while failing to uphold another (the value of giving fifty cents to people when asked on principle). As we pulled out from the station, a set of teens missed the train because they did not get the button pushed to open the door. I wish I had realized they would make that mistake, as I should have helped from the inside.

I read a science fiction novel on my ereader as the train rolled the over twenty miles to downtown Dallas.

The train got me to the West End stop by 2:10. I went to Subway Sandwiches behind the courthouse. A cheerleader competition must have been in town, as a team was finishing up and another team was arriving during my time there.

A bit before three I went to the courthouse. The security guards let me in. A woman organizing the Mock Trial event led me upstairs to the second floor, a huge training room.

There I sat as many dozens of lawyers gathered. Many of them had been judging morning mock trials, while some were, like me, arriving to judge the third round.

A goodish bit after the appointed time of 3:00 p.m., the training began. A lawyer led us through how to judge the mock trial, which was not about winning or losing the case but about how to evaluate the counsel and witnesses.

Soon enough they led us into a courtroom, where we judged a trial. I was one of three lawyers in the jury box. A fourth lawyer presided over the trial and ruled on evidentiary matters.

The two high school teams, known only to us by letter designations, tried their case. The trial was based on a pre-set story in which the witnesses' testimony was pre-arranged. We lawyers had little grading sheets to use while judging. We gave points for each task.

I really enjoyed the trial. The kids on both sides had worked hard and did a great job. In particular, the kids playing the witnesses were stellar.

The trial lasted until 6 p.m. or so. Then we went back to the training room to tabulate our scores. The three grading judges, of whom I was one, determined the same winner. We also picked the best advocate unanimously. I picked a different
"best witness" than the other two lawyers did. All in all, we had a good time.

I walked back to West End Station to catch a train back to Plano. I got on the Green Line first, to get out of the cold. I got into a discussion with an Elvis impersonator with a guitar. Elvis talked professional football with me rather than
music.

My wife and I dined on grilled mahi mahi at Rockfish Cafe, and now we are watching a movie from 1946 about an Irish boy in Scotland. I got a replacement cable in the mail for my main Linux laptop which replaces a cable which worked best only when one set one's mouth correctly.
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