Friday, October 26, 2007

Day Five - Fred is Freed

Philip Munger: My blogging colleague, Fred James, has been freed from the potential witness list. You'll be reading more of him now. I left my legal pad with the entire week's notes on a counter in the 2nd floor men's room of the courthouse this afternoon. Hopefully, I'll get it back on Monday.

I had to work this morning, so was only at the trial in the afternoon. I commented yesterday that John Henry Browne's take on Alaskans may be deficient. I also said he hadn't yet committed any irreversible errors that might alienate him from the jury. I'm still working on that premise, but I find the dumb-ass query he made yesterday regarding the quality of legal help available to Alaskans in-state to have been one that unintentionally skirted the edge of the ice.

Whether Browne underestimates the ability of a blue-collar jury of Alaskans to sift through all this shit or not is yet to be seen. I know from thousands of examples in my life here, that local knowledge counts, and that if you navigate into any waters, trails or unknown territory here without experience, you're at a disadvantage. Note to John Henry Browne - there is no Cicely, Alaska.

I came to Alaska in 1973 to get away from artists whose personalities I perceived to be incomplete and whose lifestyles were too urban, indoor and sedentary for me to contemplate for my own future. They were my peers. Most were more intelligent than me IQ-wise. But most couldn't survive for a few days without the default urban support system, that I felt was deeply flawed and dangerous to rely upon. I fled.

Many times since, I've failed in one arena or another because I wasn't practical enough to compete with people less intelligent, but more savvy then me. I've learned enough to respect such people, study them, approach them and befriend them if there was a chance of convergence on one or more levels.

I developed a theory I'll call the PQ Theory. Essentially, it is this:

Take a person's IQ Test score. Set it aside.

Put him through a series of simple survival tests like:
making coffee
cleaning up after himself
knowing when to ask for directions
tying a knot
starting a fire
not freaking out about having to do this

I call the results of this set of simple evaluations DQ Tests - The Density Quotient.

Subtract the DQ from the IQ.

The result is the person's PQ - Practicality quotient. Many Alaskans' PQs are far higher than our nation's average PQ. By a lot. That's a large part of why I love this place so much, and am fascinated by the makeup of the Kohring Jury.

When Judge Sedwick reminded Counsel Browne that there were only eight minutes to go before he dismissed the jury early for he weekend so they might return home, I moved to where I could watch the jurors for the remaining time.
Browne didn't quite hurry the affair up at that point - he's very good, very experienced. But he forgot what little decorum - false as it had been - toward ex-Veco chief Allen, and began treating Allen almost like a cypher.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but in those last seven minutes, Browne lost any ground he may have made during the past two days, as he became more inattentive, and the jurors paid total attention to everything going on around them. Browne didn't seem to notice this.

He's misunderestamated our common Alaskan. Kohring would have been tens of thousands ahead by now had he hired somebody like Weidner instead. Weidner, an Abraham Lincoln scholar, would know this jury like Abe knew his Civil War Presidential cabinet by now.

Bottini was excellent in his examination of Bill Allen. His obvious humanity toward a man I despise shook me up a little. Thanks to Priscilla Horner for sharing her morning notes with me after the afternoon session.


Robert said...

Not sure of the math on your PQ formula.


Hence a higher DQ results in a lower PQ. This might work if the DQ test was like golf, the lower the score the better. ie the more "dense" a person is the higher his DQ.

So the real question is what is your estimate of the PQ's for Vic, JHB & the Fed prosecutors.???

jerry said...

love to see this discussion! It’s great to see you all working through the issues and also, it’s great to see recommendations for testing. In the end, it’s what your actual users do and prefer that should be your biggest driver in making these decisions.

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