Sunday, July 15, 2012

Judge-attorney spats hinder trial

A highlight – or lowlight – of the recently completed trial of two Sterling Heights men convicted of terrorizing teens who broke into one of their homes was the constant friction between circuit Judge David Viviano and defense attorney Robert Elsey.
Elsey is a very good defense attorney, but he can be very long winded and often meandered off the main issue during arguments.
Viviano at times tried to show the err of Elsey’s ways and simply didn’t seem to appreciate Elsey’s methods. But Elsey wasn’t a receptive student.
The verbal spats contributed to the trial lasting much longer than expected.
Viviano more than once asked Elsey a yes or no question, and Elsey replied with a diatribe.
At one point, Viviano mentioned complaining to the Attorney Grievance Commission when Elsey tried to question a witness referring to personal letters by a witness. Elsey had failed to show them to the prosecution and was slow to admit using them.
For his part, Elsey wasn’t happy with many of Viviano’s legal rulings.
But in the end, their debate didn’t get personal. At the end of one contentious day, Elsey told Viviano (not sarcastically), “Have a good day.”
“You, too,” Viviano replied.
Maybe you can add “the courtroom” to the adage, “All is fair in love and war.”


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