As I’ve said before, I’m a fan of technology in the courtroom, today more so than ever. The device which saved my client’s bacon may’ve differed from the usual litigation tools, but it couldn’t have proved more effective. Just ask my adversary if you don’t believe me.
A court scheduled a hearing this morning on an ex-husband’s petition to modify custody for his three-year-old child. I represent the former wife. Arguing that her full-time employment had resulted in lax supervision, the husband urged the court to award him sole custody, to be assisted by a qualified, live-in nanny. Though total B.S., the petition caused me considerable angst, since anything can happen in a courtroom, and I knew the loss of her child would devastate my client.
This morning, my adversary appeared before the Judge without the petitioner. The lawyer claimed the man had telephoned last night to advise of a delay in his travel plans. He’s been out of the country on business and was scheduled to return yesterday; however, the airline canceled his flight, and the next available one isn’t until late this afternoon. Consequently, my adversary asked for a continuance due to factors outside his client’s control.
I’m sure the Judge would’ve granted the request. But before he ruled, my client tapped me on the arm and showed certain images she’d called up on her iPhone. She also whispered some details which weren’t readily apparent from the photos alone.
Borrowing the device, I approached the bench and shared with the Judge and my adversary the same images and clarifying remarks my client had imparted. The perturbed Judge in turn asked opposing counsel to respond. Plainly caught by surprise, the lawyer opted to cover his own ass, swearing he had no knowledge of the matters displayed. Without further ado, the Judge dismissed the husband’s custody petition for failure to appear and sent us home.
So, we won the day, thanks to technology in general and the iPhone — and Facebook — in particular. Once he hears the news, the petitioner undoubtedly will kick himself for his stupidity in a) neglecting to “unfriend” his ex-wife on Facebook and b) posting such extensive evidence of his “business” trip to his Facebook wall. The Judge didn’t appreciate the absence of any commercial activities from the plethora of photos posted by the husband, the majority of which displayed the man lounging poolside at a Caribbean resort, dining lavishly, and taking in the Ocean view from his high-rise hotel balcony. Even more, the Judge frowned upon the plentiful images of the husband arm and arm with his travel companion: an obviously intoxicated, bikini clad bimbo, whom the pictures depicted sipping cocktails morning, noon, and night. Standing alone, the photos seemed damning enough. Combined with my client’s explanatory addenda — that the bikini clad bimbo was none other than the husband’s proposed full-time nanny — they told the Judge everything he needed to know.
A romantic vacation with anyone qualifying as one’s significant other.