This will give away my anonymity to astute readers, but several months or a couple of years after the “Beltway Snipers” were caught, I tried a case in Henrico County that peripherally involved them. Basically, my client had been involved in a car wreck that caused him to endure serious and permanent head aches. The defense hired a psychiatrist to testify that my client was not injured. When their expert was interviewing my client, my client made the mistake of telling him that he enjoyed guns, and owned a .223 assault rifle, similar to the one used by the “Beltway Snipers.”
Well, the defense tried to introduce that fact into evidence, in an attempt to make my client look like a gun nut. That fact was really irrelevant to any issue in the case. I duly objected and requested that the judge not allow it to be introduced into evidence, on the grounds that it was irrelevant, and that any slight relevance was outweighed by the prejudicial effect, especially since the “Beltway Snipers” had only recently been caught. The judge overruled my motion, and allowed the evidence of my client owning the gun to come into evidence.
After we obtained a crappy verdict, I appealed to the Supreme Court and they set the verdict aside. Their decision was only about the second time in history that the Court set aside a decision like that because of “abuse of discretion” by the trial judge (I’m sure that is a slight exaggeration–but it does not occur very often, certainly not often enough). The end of the story is that we re-tried the case and got an even worse verdict. Ahhh, the joys of being a lawyer. I worked my ass off for 5 years and got not one red cent from that case!
The Times Dispatch has a good retrospective. I still remember the hair standing up on the back of my neck as I filled up my car just off I-95. While carefully looking in all directions, wondering where the shooter might be hiding. One shooting in Ashland occurred less than 10 miles from where I was living back then. A report went out to be on the look out for a white work van with Maryland plates. I immediately saw one at the local Wendy’s. Then I noticed that about every 5th vehicle on the road that day was a white work van. The cops made a huge bust a couple of miles from my office, thinking that it was the sniper. It was only some “undocumented potential immigrant” who was promptly deported. Children’s sporting events were cancelled, people lived in fear, and innocent citizens were killed and maimed. I’m glad that son of a bitch is going to fry. In my opinion he has lasted too long since the killings. I’d love for somebody to explain to me why he shouldn’t.
Ponderosa in Ashland, VA 10/19/02
p.s. DARN! He’s not “gonna fry”, he is to be lethally injected. Too bad his victims didn’t get to live an extra seven years and get to choose the method of their killing.
I can’t speak for others, but as for me, life is not as enjoyable as when I was younger. Christmas morning used to be a time of wonderment; now it is just another day. I used to love hunting rabbits, pheasants, ducks and geese, and especially deer. Now I can take it or leave it–the only fun is telling stories the night before over a beer, and spending time with my son who still enjoys it. I used to live and die to fish, now I fish once or twice a year, if that. Too much hassle.
I used to love to travel, anywhere, any time. I still remember the day that I just took off in the morning as a 17 year old, and traveled over half the roads in Michigan (it seemed) and still got back in time to play soccer that evening (back then we only played soccer to get in shape for upcoming two a days in football). On a lark, with no preparation and only $40 in my pocket, I began hitch hiking out west (summer of 1977), destination unknown. I made it all the way to the pacific ocean and back, with 20 cents left in my pocket (but that is another story). Now? Hassle, and a chance to get constipated and a stiff neck.
Some of the best times of my life were spent golfing with buddies. Now, I wake up sore for the next week and it ain’t worth it. Sports of any kind, but especially football, basketball, softball and tennis, I just loved, but now they just don’t appeal to me any more. The main outlet for my fierce competitive drive is poker with the boys. Don’t get old!