Dr. Joss keeps it interesting

Dr. Joss is led in by the court officer, and stands in the middle of the courtroom to be sworn in.

This guy looks the part, 60 something wire rimmed glasses, white mustache. He looks like he was born in his jacket and tie, and probably wears them on weekends saying “I’m just more comfortable this way”. His CV is entered into evidence.

He greets Juarez with a smile, and throws one to the jury box. I could see him getting me to spill my guts, an insightful “why do you think you did that?” would get me to some amazing insight about a grudge I’m bearing from 1972.

His PhD is from SUNY Buffalo, but he carries the arrogance of a Harvard man, he’s never met anyone as smart as him, and proof of that is that people often have different opinions.

He responds to every question with confidence, and elaboration.

Juarez asks “did you perform any actuarial studies to evaluate John?”

Of course the answer is “yes, I did” – this little dance is like saying “I hear it is going to rain”, we all know where it is going, but they have got to follow the steps.

“And, what actuarial tool did you use?”

Wait, wait let me guess “The Static 99R”

“And what was John’s score?”

“He scored a 6” Dr. Joss is getting tired of waiting for the questions, he wants to expound, he’s got this down, and he’s ready so he continues without waiting for the question “this puts him in the category of highly likely to re-offend.”

Juarez doesn’t spend too long on the Static 99 – she knows Schmidt has skill pulling that apart. But she does let Dr. Joss get to the diagnosis. “Did you develop a diagnosis for John?”

Joss never sticks to one word – it could be “yes”, but from him it is “Yes, I did” with head motion, the chin is lifted a tiny bit during the comma between the “yes” and the “I did”. This time he waits for the next question.

“And what was that diagnosis?”

We wait to hear “Paraphelia NOC”, but Joss has a surprise for us. “Sexual Sadism.”

To show why the sadism diagnosis, Joss describes John’s hitting each of the women in the 1982 incidents. They were hit with a rock, and tied up. Joss tells us about a babysitter with whom John would play ‘captor’. I sure hope my fantasies and games from being 8 years old never make it to a witness stand. Joss adds a note from the Bridgewater files about a staff member who was leaving, John liked her and said “I’d like to tie you up and keep you here”. I’m fairly sure I’ve said similar things to friends whose company I was enjoying.

Then Joss gets to the stun gun in the car. Everyone has said this gun was for defense, after John had been robbed, but Joss wants us to think of this as another sign of the sadism.

Joss does nothing to destroy my reasonable doubt, he adds a new diagnosis to the mix, and proves his diagnosis with facts that can all be explained in other ways. Juarez leaves him to Schmidt’s hands.

Schmidt’s walk to the podium is quick and eager, she doesn’t drop her glasses or papers, but it’s a near miss. Glasses on, microphone adjusted, and big smile. She’s ready to have fun.

She pulls us through the Static 99 – once again making the psychologist point out ways in which it is not a relevant tool in this case.

She attacks the relevance of the stun gun as evidence of the sadism pointing out that John never used it. Joss explains that because the prostitute had agreed to the conduct in question the use of the stun gun was not necessary. Wait a second Joss – if John’s a sadist, wouldn’t he be using the gun just for the fun of it not because he needs to?

With a firm “No further questions your honor” Schmidt walks back to the defense table much more organized and deliberate than her approach to the podium. Can Juarez save this witness on rebuttal? It’s getting late in the day.

Juarez strides to the stand, and asks Joss to define sadism. We learn that it is involves sexual excitement from suffering, including humiliation of the victim. I don’t know where she hoped to go with this, perhaps she’s playing the odds, that this will reach some of the jury.

That makes it a day, a long one, but I’ve still a few miles to go before I sleep, another dash across downtown, and back to my desk for an hour of putting out fires. Fortunately, there are no real ones, and I’m on the Subway by 6 PM.



3 thoughts on “Dr. Joss keeps it interesting

    • I’ve got to get back to this, it is a pleasure to write it, but life always gets in the way – your encouragement makes it more likely I’ll get a writing session in this weekend. I’m really looking forward to describing deliberation.

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