This content has been archived. It may no longer be relevant
Barn sour is a term used by horsemen to describe a horse that doesn’t want to leave home, presenting resistance or complete refusal if you try to ride him away from his comfort area.
Horses become barn sour for various reasons – usually human error in handling or training, not understanding how the horse’s mind works.
As a herd animal, the horse prefers to be with his buddies. He may be reluctant to leave them unless he is well-bonded with the human who is leading or riding him.
Link to the rest at EquiMed
While growing up on ranches and farms (“ranch” in the Mountain West = “farm” in the Middle West), PG often heard his father use the term, “barn sour.” Contra the definition above, PG’s father applied it to horses, cattle and many other domesticated animals. (Pigs, the most intelligent farm animal, are their own separate thing entirely.)
Basically, per PG’s father, when an animal was barn sour, it was failing to thrive because it had been locked inside a confined space for too long and needed to get out in the open air where it could talk to its buddies.
PG decided he was barn sour from being confined to his Coronavirus hermitage for too long. Mrs. PG is always excellent company, but still. So, PG arranged a lunch with a small group of attorney buddies yesterday. (Nobody was contageous, the restaurant had half its tables and booths blocked off, etc., etc.)
We had a wonderful time and (typically for attorneys) talked up a storm. PG learned that nobody likes Zoom Court, but it does fulfill legal requirements and can move some cases along the path to conclusion.
However, Zoom jury trials have not been approved locally, especially in criminal cases where, in the United States and elsewhere, the accused has lots of constitutionally-guaranteed rights and appellate courts will reverse and remand for a new trial if those rights are infringed, sometimes by even a teeny-tiny bit.
The authors of the US Constitution made no mention of Zoom trials (at least in writing).
One of our number, a small woman who prosecutes sex crimes, including sex crimes involving juveniles, has three back-to-back jury trials scheduled as soon as flesh-and-blood judges and juries can come back to the courthouse. In PG’s experience, judges and attorneys (on both sides) dread trials involving sex crimes. A bloody auto accident damages trial is easier to deal with emotionally.
For those who have not experienced the misfortune of practicing law, a criminal jury trial is a legal proceeding in which the defendant’s constitutional rights are most carefully protected. One misstep by whoever is acting on behalf of the state or federal government trying to send bad guys and bad gals to prison and it is quite probable that a mistrial will be declared by the judge.
A mistrial means that the trial has to start all over again from scratch with a new jury. Given how much time jury trials take and how crowded criminal dockets tend to be in many places, a new trial may not be possible for several months. If the victim of the crime has testified before a mistrial is declared, the victim has to tell his/her terrible story all over again in a public trial and has several weeks or months to anticipate doing so.
Defense attorneys (who are ethically obligated to put forth their best efforts on behalf of their clients, regardless of what their personal feelings may be or whether they have advised their clients to accept the offer of a plea bargain instead of taking their chances at a trial before a judge and jury that could easily result in a more severe penalty) are almost always happy to have a mistrial (they’re the ones who will make a motion for a mistrial unless the judge decides one is necessary on her/his own) because witnesses may move to distant lands for good or bad reasons and, sometimes victims tell the prosecuting attorney/district attorney/state’s attorney that they can’t stand the idea of sitting in court talking about the worst day of their lives again.
On many more than one occasion, a mistrial results in a plea bargain on better terms (from the defendant’s perspective) than any plea bargain offered by the prosecutor prior to the mistrial or that a judge is likely to order if a jury deems the defendant to be guilty.
Another factor is that, despite careful preparation on both sides, it is quite possible that surprises will happen during a trial. Witnesses will say surprising things when a lot of strangers, including an intimidating judge, are watching them or something different than what they told counsel during a pre-trial meeting them to go over their testimony, etc., etc.
PG provides this lengthy explanation to provide a bit of perspective about the pressures his friend who prosecutes sex crimes is feeling. PG understands from other attorneys that she is a fierce courtroom presence who is noted for meticulously dotting her legal i’s and crossing her legal t’s (a practice which ultimately results in her having to conduct fewer trials than she would if she weren’t so good at her job.)
Usually, this woman’s criminal trials are separated by at least a few weeks, so the specter of carefully preparing for three jury trials in a row with little time in between each would be intimidating for anyone.
However, in the fashion of almost all social gatherings of attorneys which PG has attended, the lunch conversation consisted of talking shop in a light, witty and intelligent manner that certainly lifted PG’s spirits and, he hopes, those of the other attendees as well.
The lingering effects of lunch beat back barn sourness for PG for a few hours, which was fortuitous since he had a great many complex tasks to complete.
Which is why he didn’t have the time to post yesterday.