The Romero Case – Through the Looking Glass

“Now if you’ll only attend, Kitty, and not talk so much, I’ll tell you all my ideas about Looking-glass House.  First, there’s the room you can see through the glass – that’s just the same as our drawing room, only the things go the other way.  I can see all of it when I get upon a chair — all but the bit behind the fireplace.  Oh, I do so wish I could see THAT bit!” Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 1: Looking Glass House.

“Tommy, get in here, I have to show you something.”

“What is it? I’m trying to get a closing package out to Cindy Donofrio for recording this morning, so we can get paid and I can get a pay check this week, it being Christmas and all.”

“You know that new case management software we bought, ‘Summary Judgment’, you have to see what you can do with it when it’s up and running with all of the facts of a real case loaded in.  They call it ‘mind-mapping’.  You can actually see and think through the case by setting up map views and screens showing the key people, places, transactions – the timeline and so on.  It works like a white board for brainstorming, but better, because you can put in these crazy links that keep related things tied together, even when you move them around on the screen.”

“You mean the software you bought.  That’s your shtick.  For a Luddite like me it’s just going to mean another pain in my ass to learn and change my work routines, before you replace it with another whizbang gizmo that is supposed to make my life easier. You know, Danny, I wish you wouldn’t be so good to me that way.  You might think about donating the money you spent on this new tech toy to what you put in my Christmas stocking this year, if you catch my drift.”

“Well, get with the new tech toy program or you’ll be getting coal in your stocking this year.”

“Why should this year be any different, Ebenezer?”

“And I suppose you’ll be wanting to take Christmas off again, Crachit?”

“That’s right.  And it sure is a shame you don’t get paid by the word like Dickens.  We both might be able to have a White Christmas for a change.”

“This is the future of case management, Man.  Come on, take a look at this.”

Dan showed Tommy a simple Mind Map of the first accident which looked something like this:

“For the first accident, you see we’ve got the argument between Carson and Julie at the house party which triggered everything, and the police investigation by Woodson which ties Carson to the A&B dw and the civil personal injury and property damage  claims through Julie.  So you see the visual links I made between them.  Inside those colored boxes — they’re called ‘adornments’- I put the text notes from the Case File that relate to those people and events in the map.  And when I want to see all of the case info stored inside these boxes I can just pop open the notes inside each of them and review what we have and what we may be missing and so on.”

“And running down the left side I put a few key notes that have info I want to be able to refer to straightaway, like the timeline,  just by clicking on them and popping them open.”

“Now take a look at this Bad Boy.”  Dan showed Tommy a second Mind Map, more complicated than the first, regarding the drug distribution case:

“You see how we’ve got the alleged drug sales to other kids at the house party and alleged distribution to Julie who didn’t pay anything for the pills, assuming any of these allegations by her are true.”

“Yeah, so what? Another pretty picture Carson can put up ‘to adorn’ his jail cell.”

“So here’s what. Watch what happens when I move this box with all of the stuff about Carson to the other side of the map.”

“Yeah, I see.  Carson is tied to the house party.  And the stuff about the house party and the drug sales moves with him.  You’re right.  That is cool.  We can’t separate Carson out from the house party in the school zone where the drugs were sold.  So we have to look for a different angle on getting him off, like maybe the weaker link between Carson and the girl Julie who was drunk or drugged up herself and whose credibility can be attacked.”

In Through the Looking Glass – Part Two we will see what Dan was thinking in setting up the Romero case Mind Maps and exactly how he used the features of Tinderbox and Summary Judgment to create them.

[N.B. I  recommend to my readers that they follow the parallel Romero case blog of Mark Bernstein (Eastgate Systems, Inc.), the developer of Tinderbox. The focus of Mark’s blog is on the mapping features and uses of Tinderbox (which are  incorporated in Summary Judgment™) for analyzing complex fact patterns that are unfolding over time.]

Stephen M. Winnick, Esq.
Winnick & Sullivan LLP
134 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472
FAX: (617)923-4575

Copyright © 2009 Stephen M. Winnick, Esq. All rights reserved.

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