The strangest things can happen in a courtroom. And you never know what lessons you can learn from trying a criminal case. Consider the following true story from my early days as a state prosecutor.
As a young prosecutor, I once helped another Assistant D.A. try a case. The other Asst. D.A., Bob Smith, had agreed to make the opening statement to the jury. I sat and watched at the prosecution table. Sheriff's Deputy Clarence Jones served as court security officer that day. Deputy Jones sat in front of the judge's bench, a few feet to the right of where Bob stood, at the lecturn, while Bob made his opening statement. Bob was well into his remarks when I noticed that Deputy Jones had written something and appeared to be sliding a notepad out onto the desk in front of him. He appeared to be trying to push the pad into Asst. D.A. Bob Smith's line of sight. Finally, the notepad must have caught Bob's eye, because, in a pireoutte worthy of actress Natalie Portman in The Black Swan, Bob turned away from the jury box, mid-sentence, zipped up his pants, and then immediately swiveled back to continue his opening statement! Bob never became disheveled and never skipped a beat! He completed his opening statement without further incident. I was impressed! We ultimately won our case!
Can you guess what Deputy Jones had written on the notepad? He had simply written, "Hey, Dumb A**, your fly is open!"
As a young prosecutor, I learned several lessons from this incident. For instance, I learned that, no matter what happens, (even if your pants are falling on the ground), a trial lawyer should always remain cool, calm, and collected. Finally, I also learned that smart trial lawyers always check their flies before entering a courtroom!