When you take a train from Penn Station to Long Island, you expect the train to be there on time.
When you go to the movies, you expect the movie to start on time (besides the previews).
When you go to your doctor, you'd like to be seen on time, but you know from prior visits and low expectations that the doctor will likely keep you waiting.
When your mechanic promises when your car will be ready, you have an expectation of what will happen when you arrive to pick up your car.
When you are at trial, you expect the judge to start on time.
This is especially true when the trial judge comes out and tells everyone in the courtroom that we will be starting trial each day at 9:30 a.m.
He tells this to the jury.
He tells this to the attorneys.
He tells the court stenographer.
Everyone knows when trial is supposed to begin.
Each day the jurors make a herculean effort to get to court by 9:30 a.m.
They have to travel from their homes and then get on the security line at the courthouse in order to get upstairs to their assigned courtroom.
The attorneys know what they have to do in order to get to court by 9:30 a.m.
The litigants have to figure out how to get to court by that time as well.
Now, everybody has an expectation of when court will start each day.
Hopefully, in the first few days, court actually starts on time.
But, midway through the first week on trial, there's a delay.
The jurors have arrived.
The attorneys have arrived.
The litigants are in the courtroom.
The court reporter is in the courtroom.
The court officer in the courtroom.
The judge's clerk is in the courtroom.
The ONLY person missing is the Judge.
The one person who is needed to proceed forward.
The one person who controls what happens in the courtroom.
Where is he?
Why is he late?
Is he stuck in traffic?
Did he take the day off?
Did he call in sick?
"What's going on?" you ask your lawyer.
Your attorney quietly laughs.
He senses your frustration.
He acknowledges that the judge promised to start on time each day.
But your attorney knows better.
Your attorney is a courtroom veteran.
He knows how the trial process works.
He knows that there's real time and then there's 'court' time.
He knows that the judge must often deal with other cases on his calendar.
There are times the judge will be in the middle of negotiating another case and then have to try a different case.
He knows the judge may get sidetracked with handling legal issues on another case that may cause delay in your trail.
You lawyer calmly tells you all this.
There may be one morning or one day each week where there is no trial.
That's because the judge must attend to his other cases on his docket.
The judge must deal with motions and conferences, even though he is actively engaged in your trial.
If the judge is delayed one morning, when he does arrive, he will likely apologize to the jurors and give a brief explanation that he was attending to another case that needed his attention.
To learn more about trial delays and why they happen, I invite you to watch the video below...