Friday, November 21, 2008

INTERMISSION: THE LAW IS AN... WELL, YOU KNOW



You want the truth. You can't handle the truth! Because the truth is that I've been asked to provide expert testimony in a proceeding involving the profession I occasionally make money at. Me. Expert testimony. How scary is that? Unfortunately, the hearing is this Monday, so I've got a bit of cramming to do before then, which means lite blogging for a few days.

The Catechism makes the distinction between a common law, which is "a rule of conduct enacted by competent authority for the sake of the common good", and God's moral law, which is "the work of divine Wisdom. Its biblical meaning can be defined as fatherly instruction, God's pedagogy. It prescribes for man the ways, the rules of conduct that lead to the promised beatitude; it proscribes the ways of evil which turn him away from God and his love... There are different expressions of the moral law, all of them interrelated: eternal law - the source, in God, of all law; natural law; revealed law, comprising the Old Law and the New Law, or Law of the Gospel; finally, civil and ecclesiastical laws." The hierarchy of the various expressions of the moral law is notable as it often calls Catholics to oppose otherwise legal actions because we (cliche or not) must ultimately answer to a higher authority.

Alas, my case involves only a lowly civil matter regarding financial matters, not some dramatic situation where I'll get to invoke said higher authority or fling a pocket knife into a table to save the life of someone falsely accused or anything like that. Oh well, at least it should be a more enjoyable experience than the one time I was summoned for jury duty. During the screening process (after a seven hour wait) I was asked two questions: "Are you self employed" and "where do you attend church"? After answering yes to the first and giving the name of my Catholic parish for the second, I was promptly sent home. So, was it the fact that I have to pay the IRS that 15% self-employment tax or the fact that I'm Catholic which made me unfit to sit in judgment of a wife-abuser? They never told me. Guess they thought I couldn't handle the truth.

3 comments:

germangreek said...

The last time I was called for jury duty, the prosecutor worked through his questions including one intended, I guess, to detect possible hostility to law enforcement. He asked us if we'd ever been ticketed or arrested, and if so, "were we treated well?" I volunteered that I had been ticketed years earlier, and as to whether I was treated well, I replied that "I was treated ... justly." He must have liked that response, because after that, when a juror was replaced, he would ask the new prospect if he'd been treated "...justly?"

Anonymous said...

Well, expert testimony is reason enough, I suppose. Still, if it were merely jury duty, I wonder what the response would be if you said you'd really prefer not to serve 'cause you have to write a movie review of "Zardoz" from a Catholic perspective?

I had the jury duty process recently & I was very grateful not to be questioned, 'cause I discovered I had an immediate, visceral dislike of one of the lawyers. And I had the epiphany that having taught rhetoric will probably excuse me from a jury the rest of my life; what lawyer would want someone on the jury who could show other jurors how they'd been manipulated?

I won't be with my parents for Thanksgiving, which is too bad, because as a teenager we watched the Sunday B-movie on TNT or TBS faithfully. Quality time together, seeing William Shatner fight mutated tarantulas taking over a town or Godzilla fight Whoever. I hope your holiday visits include more "culture" than mine this yr!

Xena

EegahInc said...

Wow, that was dull. Nobody even bothered to show up and cross examine me. And I was really prepared after watching years of court room dramas. No wonder they pay you to show up.