Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Now What?

A few weeks ago I took my family the long way along the Gulf Coast road toward Panama City and 30A for Spring Break. Leaving what had been ritual of interstate travel to peek-a-boo through the pine trees on the left to the Gulf of Mexico and slow down through oyster towns. Apalachicola then Port St. Joe we began to realize that the more that we drifted toward the vacationing masses that either fatigue had set in or some version of “enough already”. The family discussions around what we were not able to do this time last year. First trips from home to the store where you would return to a scene from Silkwood scrubbing all of the cooties off.

Remember the looks in people’s eyes that you would encounter peering over those homemade masks? Some people you recognize, some you don’t, some you hope don’t recognize you. Post handshake, pre knuckles, don’t even think about a hug phase.

Over the past year, I have had a few thousand discussions with attorneys. (as if Covid isn’t bad enough) you may say. Not that the legal community is unique to the types of discussions. After the sourdough, podcast, and binge-watching, honey-do, catch-ups, and maybe during, people have had a lot of time to determine what they are willing to tolerate and not tolerate. We have witnessed some of those manifested publicly and tribally over the past year, but more internally.

Is now the time to retire, change or stay the course, hard left, walk away, double down, slight pivot, retrench, go all in? What does next look like? The overwhelming sense of ideas conjured, bubbled up, and waiting to burst, now retreating to reality or that first real step to next.

Living in Florida, we have not been immune, but also have very little point of reference to the whims of some other parts of the country. For the most part, mask, distance, but stuff is open and has been. Listening to people in virtual lockdown for a year I fear what the world will look like as they emerge. Strong people with a great deal of pain and anxiety that will need to find a way out of the body. Can’t even think about a trip to Europe when a trip to their favorite restaurant fills them with dark dread. Some will need to mourn, some already have, and the good book says that there is a time and place for all of it.

Walking around Seaside where The Truman Show was filmed, you get the feeling like we are in that last part of the movie. A reality, probably a new one is out there, but we have been stuck in this one for what seems like forever. The in-between. We all will have our turn to walk through that door. Look at what is in front, and what is being left behind. Some will celebrate that, some won’t.

When it fades to black what are you going to do when asked, “Now what?”

Andrew Wilcox, President, Wilcox and Hackett, LLC, Andrew@Wilcox-legal.com, 850-274-7849


12 comments:

  1. Who Can Be Charged For Contempt Of Court?




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    Valerie was a witness to a violent attack and was scared to get involved at all. Nevertheless, she had been the person who called the cops and got the perpetrator arrested. She agreed to testify in a criminal trial. Unfortunately, she got cold feet when the time came to sit on the witness stand. She refused to be sworn in as a witness during the criminal trial. Although Valerie got nervous, she was still obligated to testify after having made legal statements and agreeing to appear on the witness stand. Her refusal to being sworn in as a witness during this criminal trial is enough to rise to the level of contempt of court under PC 166.


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    A judge orders witnesses to corporate fraud, Rhea and Frank, to stay away from each other until the criminal trial is concluded. This court order was issued to prevent any witness tampering and/or conflict of interest, which included talking about the on-going trial with one another. Frank was romantically interested in Rhea and decided to ask her out anyway. She agreed and they went out to lunch together. Unfortunately, they revealed details about the trial and were overheard by several people, including a journalist. Their conversation also involved conjecture about the case, assumptions that were voiced without supportive evidence to back it. Simple actions like this can result in contempt of court charges under PC 166. Especially when the judge specifically outlined the terms of the court order and they had initially agreed to follow them. Rhea and Frank violated the court orders for failing to stay away from each other and for talking about the trial in a public place where their discussion was easily overheard.

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