L. Neil Smith's
Number 352, January 29, 2006

"Another Major Dose of Smoke and Mirrors"

Pissing Off a Defense Attorney
by Geneva Lewis-Hughes

Exclusive to TLE

El Neil,

Long time since I've written you. Things in life are quite hectic this past year-divorce, new baby, new pregnancy on top of new baby... you get the idea, LOL.

I wanted to tell you my experience recently, and get an opinion from you, perhaps some advice too.

Back in August, my B/F (father of baby to be c-sectioned in 2 weeks, to be husband), Jason, and I, were running a paper route on Panama City Beach. We'd stopped at the convenience store to get drinks, and what not. As usual, we spent some time BSing with the 3rd shift guy, Donnie.

I was in the store, talking to Donnie, and Jason was in the van, when an early 20's black male came in the store. He was directly across from me, and as most people do, I casually glanced at the newcomer as he was heading up to the counter.

He wasn't looking my way, and started to lift his shirt up, reaching for a gun. I thought, oh, shit, this is nice. He dropped his shirt back down, and looked directly at me. Our eyes met briefly, and I turned back to Donnie, yapping on like I hadn't seen a damn thing. (STUPID me, STUPID me-had bad money problems before divorce, had worse after, my concealed carry gun wound up sold, leaving me naked, which STILL sucks-Note to RRND readers: Reader will willingly trade kidney, and cornea for decent firearm. Must be .40 cal or above)

Donnie replied to me, then wandered up to the counter where the guy was. The guy asked him for quarters for the vacuum machine out front. He rec'd his quarters, and went outside. There were 4 other men, same description as he, in the car. They all got out and started sucking that car out like their life depended on it.

Donnie hadn't seen a thing, there was a rather large display in his line of view. Jason, however, in the van, had seen the gun, but not when I did. Apparently, when the guy was entering the store, his too baggy pants had slipped, and he had to retrieve the gun before it fell out, adjust his pants and belt some on his lower hips before going on into the store.

When I exited the store to discuss my viewings with Jason, the police were called, and we sat and watched. The guys were major drug dealers, all felons with past weapon/drug charges, assault, etc. They found thousands of dollars of coke, crack, and the gun. The guys also admitted, after being arrested, that that HAD been their intention, to rob the store. That said and done, we had to give witness statements, and the night went on. Life continued on as normal until December, when I started getting notecards on my door to contact the sheriff's department for a subpoena (sorry, as my typical natures says, if I dunno what it's about, it ain't my business) I ignored them, until I rec'd a letter in the mail informing me Jason and I had to appear at the court reporters January 18th, or be charged with contempt of court. It mentioned the case of Javarus Taylor... I called the lawyer it was from, because I hadn't a CLUE who Jarvarus Taylor was. I wanted them to quit bugging me when I had no clue who the hell they were talking about. However, when I called, the secretary mentioned the store, and incident. I said, oh, ok... and figured what the hell, it'd give Jason and I a few hours away from home in town, we'd show up.

Now, onto the best parts...

We showed up as requested, and waited over an hour. I observed a smug looking man driving up in a Hummer worth more than the price of my organs on the black market. He had to park it away from anything else, naturally... wouldn't want to get dirt on the paint! My first reaction, and statement, that's an attorney, the defense at that... he's a slimy bastard... he was one of those that just watching him made you feel like you need a really good scrubbing down to get the residual slime off yourself.

Now that Mr. Slime was there, we could shortly get down to business... Jason went first, and I sat and waited, and was bored to death with my surroundings of "I'm nouveau riche, ain't I grand" facade.

Jason exited, and I had to wait for the court reporter to get out of the loo. Oh, I forgot to mention, the arresting officers went first for depo's. When the first one came out (nice guy, we knew him from the route) Jason'd asked him how it went. He stated that the guy was going to try and get the case thrown out. He further informed us that the group had subsequently been arrested in the months since THAT arrest, for the same things, drugs and weapon charges. Nice group. Dumb though... getting busted for the same thing that quick.

Back to the story...

I entered the room, and sat down. There were 2 defense attorneys, Mr Slimy for the guy with the gun, and one for the other defendants. The other attorney was rather pleasant, and had said point blank it was a good thing they were arrested, because they were planning on that gun getting used that night. (Not great for an atty to state, but the gun charges were only on Mr Slime's client). The prosecutor, was a woman from the DA's office, a younger woman, rather quiet.

The one defense atty as soon as I sat down asked me how far along I was. Easy answer, 9 months I told him, C-section's scheduled in a few weeks.

Questions started, nothing very interesting, just what occurred that night. I answered as they went, and when asked specific details I couldn't recall, said I don't remember.

THEN, Mr Slimy asked a question about my medical history... I said, I don't see how that's relevant, and it's none of your business. My medical information/history is MY business.

Thus started WWIII.

He asked me 15 times, and prefaced it each time with, "I can go to the judge and have you arrested for contempt and compelled to answer". About the third time I told him go for it. I'm a Libertarian, and know I still have rights. He looked at me strange for that, and continued on.

After about the 15th time, the prosecutor stepped out of the room with me to discuss it. She said I should just answer him, but that it was my choice.

We entered the room again, went back on record. The prosecutor said, "I want it on record that I stepped outside with Ms Hughes, and advised her to answer the question, but that she has the right not to answer it." At which point a suddenly livid Mr Slime bursts out, "You told her she had a RIGHT not to answer?!!!" She told him she couldn't force me to answer the question. A few minutes of indignation from Mr Slime, and he returned to his questioning...

STUPID shit, he was... after about the 7th time in a row of him asking the SAME question I'd heard 15 times previously, with the SAME tag line about compelling and contempt of court, I finally snapped... I said, "NO?! REALLY?! I heard you the first 15 times, thank you, and the answer is still the same. It's NOT your business. My medical history/conditions are not relevant to this case." Thus went another tirade from him over the same subject....

He asked various ways about my medical information, and I kept giving various answers with NO in them. I told him at one point, gee, didn't he know that that was the point of all the HIPAA mess? Medical information privacy?

Eventually he decided to REALLY annoy me. He asked if I, then changed it to Jason or I, had we used, or been using illegal drugs, or alcohol any time the day/night of the incident. I sat there looking at him dumbstruck for a minute. I finally got out, "I was PREGNANT. Of course not!" He looks at me and says, "Oh, I didn't know you were pregnant at the time." I looked at him and said, " That was the FIRST question when I came in here, how far along I was... what? You can't count back nine months??" At this point, both the other attorneys had severe issues with coughing and choking...

We went on, he asked if I knew, had known, or had talked to the defendants either before or after the incident. At this point, I was more than a little irritable after being badgered for over an hour... my response, "No, unlike defense attorneys, I don't make a habit of socializing with that kind of person.". To which he burst out, What, BLACKS? Which pissed me off. I dropped my voice and very quietly, and carefully enunciated, "No. Not blacks, people who are busted frequently for drugs and weapons. It has nothing to do with color. My daughter is mixed, thank you." After this, the prosecutor slipped, and a snort came out, while the other defense atty was holding his hand over his mouth pulling his lips downward from the grin he had.

It went on, he tried asking a few more times, and we went thru the same, none of yours.... Finally he said he was done, that he'd have me in jail for contempt of court, blah blah. The prosecutor asked him if he was going to finish asking his questions, he got smart, and told her no, that he couldn't because I wouldn't answer his question regarding my medical. She told him that it was ONE question, and not that important, that he needed to finish asking his questions, if he wanted the answers. He refused, and she told him that if he chose that, that we may not be available for another deposition in the future, and he needed to be aware of that.

I stood up to leave, and he demanded I sit down... I looked at the prosecutor, and she looked at him, and told him he'd TOLD me to go... He stated he wasn't thru, he had a few more questions.

So I sat back down, rather irritated to put it mildly. He started asking had I ever been convicted of anything. No, I haven't. Then he changed it, had I ever been even ACCUSED of anything, whether I pled not guilty, guilty, or even had adjudication withheld and my record expunged. I looked at the prosecutor, and said, queried because, I thought if you had adjudication withheld and the record expunged, it was no longer on your record. After batting it back and forth with Mr. Slime for a minute, I finally just burst out, YES, god forbid, a DECADE ago when I was 18, bad checks. Are you thrilled yet?

After that, he dug thru his papers for a minute, wanting to know ANY name I'd ever been known by, including nicknames... THEN actually had the testicular fortitude to ask again about my medical. To which he got the same response, and he made his threats again. Whereupon, I informed him, fine, go for it. That'll look real good on the local news, attorney attempts to jail pregnant woman for believing her medical information is her private business. I also told him I felt I should speak to some of my libertarian friends regarding the issue, and get some other intelligent CONSTITUTIONAL based opinions.

He turned rather strange colors of reddish purple and never said anything. Having verified that he was FINALLY done, I asked for his name. He informed me it was on the subpoena I rec'd. I told him, sorry, didn't get one, only rec'd a letter and I have no clue where it went. He refused to give his name. The prosecutor answered for him, Russ Ramey. I asked her how to spell it, and he popped out with the spelling, rather testily.

Whereupon, I began my exit, with him still proclaiming he'd have me in jail for contempt, blah blah.

I know this is VERY long and drawn out, but I hope you've made it thru it... any opinions, ideas, or who I should talk to??

I ask you, because, I respect you.... and I know from previously having spoken with you by email, you're not just a "famous" person, you're a REAL one, LOL. (A real AND intelligent one at that! Hard to find these days)


Geneva Lewis-Hughes

Merry Angel Animal Rescue
Merry Angel Animal Rescue, located outside Chipley Florida. A 501(c)3 Non-Profit No-Kill animal rescue/shelter dedicated to abused, neglected, and abandoned animals. Site features Online Adoption Profiles, Virtual Adoption Page, and Pet Memorials. 100% Non-Profit, 100% No-Kill. merryangelanimalrescue.org

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