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Stranger than fiction: A one act play, and a true story.

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Post by ltollefs on Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:28 pm

Tuesday, April 23, 2019: Court Room #10, Ciudad de Guzman...

Cast:

Expert Accident Assessor (EAA)- witness for the defence - the bad guys
Prosecutor for the State of Jalisco (Pro) - the good guys

Scene: EAA called to stand, gives damning testimony. Pro then proceeds to cross examine...

Pro: "To reiterate: You are a witness for the defense, yes?"

EAA: "Yes, I am a witness for the defense"

Pro: "Thank you. In your previous testimony you told us that using this "K-factor" formula (apparently an actual formula  used by The Ford Motor Company), you determined that the defendant was traveling at 84 KPH. Is this correct?"

EAA: "Yes."

Pro: "By applying this K-factor to the 27 meter skid mark produced by the defendants car, you determined that she was traveling at 84KPH?"

EAA: "Yes, that is my finding."

Pro: "84 KPH? Which is 44 KPH faster than the posted legal speed limit for that section of the highway, is it not?"  

EAA: "Um, Yes, it is."

Pro: "My understanding is incomplete, but am I correct in assuming that without application of the K-factor formula which is not required by law, the resulting calculated speed at which your client was traveling would be somewhat slower?"  

EAA: "Yes."

Pro: "Thank you. Now would you please explain how it is that these two vehicles actually collided?"

EAA: "It is my opinion that the rider of the motorcycle, as a result of excess speed, did cross into the path of the Toyota that was involved in the accident"

Pro: "Is it true that in your investigation you could detect no apparent indications as to the speed of the motorcycle: no photos, no witnesses, no physical evidence; no skid marks?"

EAA: "That is the case, yes."

Pro: We have seen here today photos of the accident's aftermath - primarily the resulting debris - that clearly show that the impact occurred on the southbound lane of the highway: the lane on which the motorcycle was traveling. How do you reconcile this with your previous testimony?"

EAA: "The debris that resulted from the accident was carried by the wind and by it's own momentum into the far lane on which the motorcycle was driving."

Pro: "All of it?"

EAA: "Yes."

Pro: "The laws governing the use of motor vehicles on the highway in question demand that a vehicle which is preparing to cross a solid line, and the concomitant lane which is reserved for oncoming traffic, come to a full stop and proceed only when safe to do so. Is this your understanding?"

EAA: "Yes, that is my understanding."

Pro: "Could you please explain how the defendants vehicle, after having skidded to a full stop, as is mandated by law, proceeded, still skidding, into the path of the oncoming motorcycle for which all the evidence points to as having been in it's rightful lane?"

EAA: "-"

The End.

It was an interesting day, and this is just part of the fun had by all. Except for maybe the defendant.
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Post by espíritu del lago on Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:58 pm

Unbelievable! Do they have to pay?
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Post by ltollefs on Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:53 am

The defendant was found guilty, of course, and thanks very much to her own witness, but the penalty phase of the trial isn't until next week. She can, and likely will, appeal. After almost 2 years of a very frustrating process, one that I wish on no one, just getting to a verdict of guilty feels like we won a lottery. I like to think that this trial will spawn a few jokes regarding the "K-factor" defense.
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Post by espíritu del lago on Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:17 am

What is K factor? We're you the one hit?
Please keep us updated.

https://www.cafepress.com/+must_go_on_round_ornament,1824107625

The show must go on.
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Post by ltollefs on Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:38 am

Yes, I was the one who got whacked. The K-factor is a formula that gets applied to a skid mark to determine the speed of the vehicle that produced that skid mark. The apparent magic in the formula is that it supposedly takes into consideration the lag time between when the brakes are initially applied (slowing the vehicle however slightly) and the point at which the wheels stop spinning, producing the skid mark. It is completely subjective in a non-laboratory environment. The number of factors involved such a determination in a real world scenario render the result mere guess work, and so said the judge. The real magic, however, was the shear entertainment of the whole show. ...and watching the point at which the rather smarmy defense lawyer realized her case just went down the toilet. If experiencing a touch of schadenfreude is a sign of a diseased personality, then color me sick.
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Post by espíritu del lago on Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:53 am

Wow!
Schadenfreude. Color me sick too! I love that word.
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Post by Problem Child on Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:37 am

So this was a true story but translated from Spanish to English?

BTW: I do love the bottom tag that IMO is sadly true.

"Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it."
Malcolm X

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Post by ltollefs on Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:55 am

Yes, the proceedings were conducted entirely in Spanish, as one would expect. We hired a certified court translator - this was not optional - who, while a bit pricey, was superb at keeping me apprised of content of all the testimonies and the back-and-forth between the two teams of lawyers, etc (if anyone requires such a service, I'd be happy to pass on her contact info).
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Post by Problem Child on Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:11 pm

How much did it cost to get "justice"?

So this was before a court (no jury)?

Some jurisdictions in Mx are transitioning to the American style of trials while others still do it by paper questions and jue judge doesn't see the parties so he can evaluate their demeanor in giving testimony, etc.

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Post by ltollefs on Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:01 pm

Cost? None to me. My insurance covered it all. Justice? What's that?

The process is conducted in two phases. Phase one: The two sides present evidence, with both the plaintiff and the accused present, and the judge decides if there is sufficient cause to proceed to trial. During this phase the plaintiff and accused are not engaged in any way: We just observe. This is a very protracted procedure; in our case, 1.5 years. Phase two: The trial. Conducted before a different judge who has no knowledge of the previous proceedings. During the trial evidences are again produced, and witnesses and plaintiff are examined/cross examined. The defendant can speak if they chose to do so, but open themselves to cross examination if they do. All proceedings are before a single judge, no jury.

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Post by Problem Child on Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:11 pm

ltollefs wrote:Cost? None to me. My insurance covered it all. Justice? What's that?

The process is conducted in two phases. Phase one: The two sides present evidence, with both the plaintiff and the accused present, and the judge decides if there is sufficient cause to proceed to trial. During this phase the plaintiff and accused are not engaged in any way: We just observe. This is a very protracted procedure; in our case, 1.5 years. Phase two: The trial. Conducted before a different judge who has no knowledge of the previous proceedings. During the trial evidences are again produced, and witnesses and plaintiff are examined/cross examined. The defendant can speak if they chose to do so, but open themselves to cross examination if they do. All proceedings are before a single judge, no jury.


Similar to a Preliminary Hearing NOB in a criminal case. I understand there can be discovery (written questions from either side to the other) and mayb a deposition.

I know, takes forever and a day.

I wish they had that Lakeside.

Was that auto insurance that paid for your attorney?

I love to learn.

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Post by espíritu del lago on Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:14 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong but Mexico goes by Napolionic law. Si?
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Post by ltollefs on Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:17 pm

Problem Child wrote:
Was that auto insurance that paid for your attorney?

I love to learn.

No, I misspoke. We paid for our lawyer.
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Post by ltollefs on Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:34 pm

espíritu del lago wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong but Mexico goes by Napoleonic law. Si?

Napoleonic law is being phased out in favor of a new system that is supposedly more immune to corruption and collusion (as I understand it). The process we endured is part of the new system. I can't give it a ringing endorsement however, as part of the process is to sequester the plaintiff and any witnesses not currently on the stand during the examination/cross examination of other prosecution witnesses. I was present for the defense witness's testimonies. Which sounds reasonable except for the fact that the plaintiff has no way of knowing what evidence is being presented by the prosecution in his/her defense. Until my translator leaned over and whispered "guilty" in my ear, I was convinced we had no better than a 50/50 chance. The prosecution clearly didn't put a premium on communicating with us little people.
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Post by espíritu del lago on Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:04 pm

"The prosecution clearly didn't put a premium on communicating with us little people."


Same in the USA, unless you have deep pockets.
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