The following day in court both attorneys gave closing arguments. They stated their positions and their opinion of what they had felt they had proven in court. The defense attorney told the jurors that Dr. Liar did nothing wrong and that he should be found not guilty. He described me as someone who was faking my injuries; however, he didn’t explain the reasons why. He just kept describing me as an individual who wasn’t very intelligent and who was trying to use Dr. Liar as the reason I was in pain.
Our attorney gave his best speech of the trial. He was angry at many of the rulings by the judge and how the defense seem to get their way. He discussed that I was a woman with pain in my left arm when I went into the operating room and when I left the operating room I was a woman with a spinal cord injury and pain down my entire right side of my body. He explain all the lies by the defense, including Dr. Liar not being board certified. He told them that Dr. Liar was lying before I went into the operating room. He asked the jury to think about why Dr Liar would withhold the spinal cord injury prognosis from us for a year and a half. He also talked about the misleading information given by the so-called expert witnesses. It was a very moving closing argument and I felt so thankful to have an honest attorney speaking on my behalf.
I wanted to stand up and hug all members of our team and thank them for their patience and for their fighting spirits. Each one of them believed in our cause and for that I will always be grateful. They gave so selflessly of their time and I hope they keep fighting for the good guys and for what is right. With all the selfishness in the world today we need more people who are honest and who are willing to follow their heart.
The next 15 minutes were filled with the judge reading ‘rules’ to the jurors. She dismissed them and added that their lunches would be in the jury room.
We decided to go to lunch since we didn’t know how long the jury would take to finish their deliberation. We went to a local restaurant our attorney had found and had already become friends with the owner. Just as our food was being served, our attorney’s cell phone rang. The jury had deliberated for a total of 30 minutes and were ready with a verdict. Shocking. We were all stunned.
‘Honestly Trying’ was posted on February 9, 2011:
It had been a very long week and a half ~ sitting in the courtroom waiting for “a jury of my peers” to return with the verdict was probably only five minutes, but it felt like an eternity. My attorney and very dear friend looked at me and said “Look at their faces to see if they look back,” Wise words from an experienced attorney.
Sitting at the table in the courtroom with my husband by my side, I felt as if the past few years of my life had just flashed before me. All I could think about was that my future was in the hands of 12 strangers. Twelve people who didn’t really know me, my husband, family and what had taken place during the last five years. Even though they had heard about my experience in detail, how could they completely understand? How would they know how hard I had worked to try to regain a sense of normalcy or to regain control of my life? Would they be able to truly understand all the appointments, medication, physical and mental therapy and the shock to my self-esteem and more importantly, to my body? What about the pain that I lived with each and every day? Didn’t they understand that we had been lied to by doctors and that the very same doctors were lying to them. Could they see through the dishonesty? Did we have anything to worry about? We had the truth on our side. The legal system is meant to protect the innocent, but does that mean it will protect the honest?
I could feel my hand gripping my husband’s hand tighter and tighter. My father, who attended the trial, was also in the courtroom. When I glanced over, I would see him rocking back and forth. I decided that we all have our own coping mechanisms, but at that point and time I couldn’t fathom what helped me cope? What helps prepare you for a situation that you never thought you would experience? I was friends with an attorney – not a client of one (or in my case, two). I never really thought about depositions, discoveries or testimonies. However, I had a crash course on all aspects of a trial and the gut-wrenching details that go with it. When I began this stage of my life more than two years earlier, I never would have dreamt of being in a courtroom.
As the jury foreperson stood and read the verdict, time seemed to move so slowly. What was probably only minutes felt like hours. And, at the same time, it felt as if we were moving in slow motion.
As the jury walked in they did not at me or my husband. They looked directly at Dr. Liar. I got a very sick feeling. The jury foreperson was a woman who looked as if she was going to deliver her baby at any minute. The judge asked her if the jury had reached a verdict and she stated “yes, your honor, we have.”
And with that, she stated “We the jury find the defendant NOT GUILTY.”
All I remember from that moment on is that the large courtroom didn’t seem so big. The walls began to close in around me. I don’t remember what I did. We were standing as the verdict was said, but I believe I fell back into my chair. When I looked up I saw Dr. Liar and his team ‘high-fiving,’ smiling, laughing and celebrating their win in front of the judge, jury and all of us. I did think that it was a little inappropriate to see someone celebrate at your expense. Were we fooled by the jury members ~ some of whom were asleep during much of the testimony? Many thoughts go racing through your mind wondering how this could have happened. What would people say – we had so many people pulling for us who knew that we just couldn’t lose? Although at that moment I couldn’t talk, think, speak or even breathe.
I looked at my husband and he knew…I needed to get out of there. And it needed to happen fast. My husband didn’t care about the rules or the ethics of the court. As soon as the jury and judge left the courtroom, he grabbed me, my coat, gloves, cane and escorted me out of the building using a private entrance. I know I cried in the elevator all the way down the three floors and I am certain he did too. I couldn’t talk and I don’t know how I was able to put one foot in front of the other. How could they have found Dr. Liar NOT GUILTY?
We made our way to the car and as we sat there we were unable to feel anything. Numbness. In fact I could have sworn that my heart wasn’t beating. I felt nothing. Emptiness. Sadness. Hurt. Loss. Somehow my husband was able to drive to pick up my father and our attorney friend. We had driven together. Once they were in the car we learned that my Dad and attorney/friend had spotted the jury foreperson hugging Dr. Liar in the parking lot as well as other members of the jury shaking his hand as if he was a celebrity. Did Dr. Liar know the foreperson? Was his wife friends with her? I guess we would never know? And, at this point, it didn’t matter since there was nothing we could do.
Our other attorney and his staff had left and we were told that he was so upset he couldn’t talk to me. In fact it would take both of us months to talk and it took a speeding ticket received by my daughter to force us both to finally have a telephone conversation where we talked about the case. But the wounds were still fresh, open and we both were still very hurt and upset and found it painful to talk about. I had experienced heartache in the past; however, it was a loss of a loved one or a dear friend — grief. This pain was different and hurt like no other pain I had ever felt.
The drive home with the four of us was heart wrenching. So much time, money and hard work had gone into our case. So many people cared and helped carry our mission through…and for what…a not guilty verdict? It literally made me sick. It was a long drive home and as soon as I got home I ran to the rest room and threw up. I have no idea how I waited more than an hour. One of life’s mysteries.
My mom and dad, always seeing the good in every situation, took us out to dinner and we even ordered celebratory drinks. Why? What were we celebrating? The trial being over? That we fought a good fight? That we survived? That we told the truth? I’m not sure, but it sure was the best tasting drink I had ever had and for a brief couple of minutes that evening, I wasn’t so focused on the day’s events.
A few days later my wonderful husband took me away to a bed and breakfast we both love. A much-needed escape. However, our hearts were broken and there was nothing we could do to make them heal. Now what…do we appeal? Should we just drop it and move on and salvage what we had left? I mentally and physically didn’t think I had it in me. And, when we tried to talk about anything to do with the case, we couldn’t. I think it was in that beautiful Shakespearean-inspired bedroom in a quaint little town in Pennsylvania where we decided without even talking, what we needed to do. Somehow we both knew…and it just felt right.
©My Unplanned Life and http://www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com, 2011.