President's Page by Jeff Rose
The word that seems to best describe this upcoming summer is ‘uncertainty.’ For many of us, COVID pushed a huge volume of cases to late summer and early fall. Will they actually go? Criminal jury trials are going forward in the 20th Judicial District, but there’s still significant limitations on the number of juries that can be seated each week. When these restrictions ease, we’ll see all of the Court’s divisions switch to criminal dockets to start clearing out the backlog of cases because of constitutional speedy trial requirements. We (and our clients) are left to wonder if our settings will get bumped, if our preparation expenses will be for nothing, and how long we’ll really have to wait before we know something more certain. No one really knows.
With vaccination rates at their peak, many of us also look forward to summer vacations. Air France just announced summer flights direct from DIA to Paris. We can travel to Europe, really? Is that 3”x4” piece of cardstock with “Pfizer, Batch No…” handwritten-in really going let us travel (mine is fancy – it’s stamped “Wal-Mart”)? Are we really going to social distance throughout the entire airport only to walk down a three-foot-wide jetbridge with 200 of our newfound biological trading partners?
As my thoughts look inward to my cases and my summer plans, I have to remind myself that on April 20, 2021, a Minneapolis jury convicted a white police officer for the murder of George Floyd. The reality that this verdict – in 2021 – is one of the first major convictions for police violence against a person of color, is hard to comprehend fully. I think of the number of victims of police violence that we’ve mentioned in newsletters and announcements this past year, compared to the number of indictments and convictions.
I’m reminded of the role we have as lawyers in our society and the difference, however small and incremental, we can make to help the moral arc of the universe bend a little bit more towards justice.