Much Like Ricky Martin, I Must Share My Truth
Judge Carroll: What just took place in this courtroom was a mockery of jurisprudence, an open and egregious assault on the rule of law. And I hold all the participants equally responsible.
How very meta.
There is something I have not shared with you, faithful readers, through our years together. Something I didn't feel comfortable opening up about, because of the way society tends to judge people like me. The jokes, the scorn -- in some circles they are unrelenting. People question my choice, my direction, the peers I surround myself with. It's often all too much to bear. But propelled by the last few episodes of General Hospital, I am empowered to tell you the truth about my real life. It's something some of you may have suspected based on my prior rants, but I wasn't ready to be fully honest with you back then, in the dark days of the mid- to late-aughts. So here goes.
I am....a lawyer.
In fact, I used to be a criminal prosecutor.
And I watch General Hospital. I'm sure you understand why I am therefore convinced that this show is going to kill me, via rage-induced aneurysm.
I do not expect soap operas to be legal documentaries. I understand that many things about trials, including aspects I geekily adored, do not translate as interesting onscreen. So the fact that shows, even very good ones, must fudge the details a bit is totally understandable. The fact that crappy shows have to do so even more is also a concept I accept. (Partly because I am a bit of a masochist, and I figure if I willingly watch crap then it should really insult my intelligence on as many levels as possible.) But I am assured by other, non-lawyer viewers (including the esteemed Mallory, who has seen every episode of Law & Order and SVU ever but is not technically admitted to the New York bar) that the liberties GH takes with the simplest of legal concepts are beyond what we as a crappy-TV-show-watching public have graciously agreed to accept and are obvious even to those fortunate enough not to have law school loans roughly equivalent to some small countries' GNPs.
Let's start with just a few of the basic legal principles this show -- which is shot in Los Angeles and therefore has access to a bajillion attorneys (many currently in search of work!) that it could easily consult about such things -- has massacred in the last couple of days alone:
- Prosecutors don't get to talk to defendants who are represented by counsel. That leads to little inconveniences like being disbarred. In fact, attorneys in general can't speak to represented parties. It's not an especially twisty concept to grasp.
- Jurors aren't allowed to know and have clear opinions about the defendant or other witnesses at the trial. Perhaps the GH showrunners took "jury of one's peers" a bit too literally? They do tend to misunderstand lots of other basic ideas. You know, like "quality television programming" and "misogyny is bad."
- Jurors also don't get to stand up and say that they are biased and won't find the defendant guilty, and remain on the jury. These kinds of thing would interfere with the right to an impartial jury, which isn't really one of the important rights, I guess, unless you think stuff in the constitution has any particular significance. (It also violates my equally important right not to be forced to roll my eyes so hard that I give myself a migraine. That right is only in my state constitution, though, so obviously it's less important.)
- Judges don't get to "stipulate" to random shit a juror spouts out, especially something like "the defendant and the witness clearly hate each other." Finger-gunning the judge is also frowned upon. Some people have actually advocated for the abolition of finger-gunning in all circumstances. I am a fan of those people.
- Witnesses aren't allowed to testify as if it is fact about what other people thought. This is called "speculation," and also "something that requires ESP."
- Prosecutors don't get to have bizarre enunciation patterns and smile at the most inappropriate times. Okay, there are no rules against those things per se, but my god Dahlia Salem makes some acting choices that should be illegal.
I can't keep listing these things out, because it will be boring for you and will contribute to my rapidly rising blood pressure. There is only so much Ketel One a girl can drink on a worknight, after all, especially when you know what they say about the alcoholism rate among attorneys. (I have not seen statistics, but I suspect it is even higher among the thousands of us who are both attorneys and soap bloggers.)
So there you go; you know my truth. I am a fortunate lawyer. I am a less fortunate lawyer-moonlighting-as-soap-blogger, because I have to watch this effing show.