In my first trial, in 1996, I represented a non-profit corporation that owned a hot springs and property. An original founder/director considered the property his, and 15 years after forming the nonprofit he tried to put the property back into his own private trust (illegal!). The members of the non-profit went to court and had him removed as a Director, and the judge ruled that the non-profit owned the property. About three weeks after the decision, this man fraudulently made a deal with a supposed religious group that enabled the owner to stay on the property.
The sale was made to appear as a “good faith sale.” Under the law, if an innocent party comes along and there is no way to discover the true owner of property, the law will protect the innocent buyer. This supposed religious group was headed by a two-time ex-felon, previously convicted for fraudulent real estate transactions. The group was very interesting--claiming to be a sovereign nation, having phony international insurance companies and banks, selling offshore island that were under water, etc.
During the trial, I sat next to the ex-felon, the main defendant. On the first day of trial, I told him that my prayer was that the highest outcome emerge from the trial. My private daily meditation and prayer for the trial was: Thy Will Be Done, and this removed so much stress from me that I was relaxed and confident for most of the trial, knowing that the truth would be heard. A few days later I told the defendant that this trial was like God suing God (for me, recognizing that we both have aspects of God, speaking to the unity within us). He was surprised by these statements, but felt my sincere friendship and began to talk to me sometimes more than to his own lawyer!
I joked with him throughout the trial and befriended him, for a couple of reasons. One was to live the higher truth that we are all one, and demonstrate that this trial, this play of duality, was not as significant as our basic human/spirit connection. Another result of this personal connection was that I was able to talk to him directly, without going through his attorney.
There was a time during trial when the case almost settled (his wife refused to come to court, the judge issued an arrest warrant for her, and if she did not come the judge probably would have defaulted them and given us an easy win. I was able to talk to him and had a good chance to settle the case. Nothing came of it -- his wife finally appeared at trial, made a bad showing and helped our case, and the trial went onward. However, having the rapport with him made the trial days much easier. Even though I would grill him on the stand, and do what my work to introduce the facts and testimony into trial, on a larger level we were brother souls caught up in an earthly play, with lessons and growth opportunities for both of us.
During the trial, I worked to maintain a relaxed, courteous, respectful, truthful attitude, and this also had a postive effect. The other attorney was quite devious, would say almost anything to win a point, and within a few days had lost credibility with the judge. This approach -- my daily meditation, asking for spiritual assistance, connecting with the “opposition” as fellow human beings, and holding to a more meditative and credible presence in the courtroom, were the ways that I brought a holistic and successful end to the trial.
Should a person of spirit, of God, go to trial? I think of the “trials” that many holy people have gone through. Jesus challenged the conventional religion of his time, and taught his truth despite threats and eventual persecution. At his hearing before Pontius Pilate, he could have simply said the ‘right things’, denounced his beliefs, and been released. He did not- - he stood for truth and his beliefs, and accepted the outcome. Sometimes, in order to stand for the truth, to stand for the light, for oneness, for healing, for the Earth, for our beliefs, we come into contact with an adversarial system. Even if we apparently ‘lose’ on the Earthly level, I believe that it is important for us to simply do what is right.
We all have the yearning for truth within us, the feeling of right and wrong, of what justice means. At times it may be appropriate to walk away from an issue, to “turn the other cheek.” At times, it may be appropriate to go before the community and speak for truth and justice. That decision is completely internal, a decision that each of us comes to in our prayers or meditations. Either way, if it is done with respect and compassion, we feel better within and can inspire others.