Rough Justice

The trails of covering the Irvin case

Which is why it was bizarre, and needless, for Alvarez and his sidekick, court coordinator David Lozano, to work so hard to alienate members of the media. While Alvarez did his love-hate thing, Lozano--a downright hateful little fellow with an obvious Napoleon complex and a face that can't quite seem to grow a beard--constantly berated and threatened reporters for no apparent reason other than to be the Big Man in Charge (which is exactly how he treats lawyers and court clerks, I understand).

"You all asked me to be here at 8:15--and it's 10 to 9," Lozano told a handful of us on the morning of July 3, as he stood in front of the courtroom doors, almost trembling with rage as he held a box of media badges. "You be here at 8:15, or you don't get a badge."

Lozano, who had never been asked any such thing, then stormed off with the badges--a kid with his toys. He got himself so twisted in a knot that he not only refused to hand out the badges, he wouldn't let those of us who couldn't get a badge from him go into the courtroom.

When about five of us had assembled--and it was clear that Lozano's underwear was too wadded up for us to be able to move forward in a timely and adult manner--I went looking for him back in his office. Sure enough, there he was, standing in the middle of his office, his hands in his pockets, looking down at the carpet, sulking and stewing, sulking and stewing.

"Um, could I have my badge now," I said nonchalantly, all too aware that I was dealing with a very uneven fellow.

"You need to go back and wait outside," Lozano said.
"Why?" I said.
"Because those are the rules," he snapped.
"Well, then, can I go into the courtroom?" I asked.
"No, you don't have a badge," he said.

"Well, the badges are right here," I said, pointing to the box of badges on his desk. "So can I have mine?"

"No, those aren't the rules," he said, really angry now. "You have to live by the rules. This is my court. And the judge's court. You people think you can inconvenience me every day. Well, that's not the rules."

I opened my mouth to say something. But that was a bad move. "You just leave kindly, or I'll have a bailiff remove you," he said loudly, as I began noting the conversation in my notebook. "And you can put that in your magazine, and then I'll give them my version."

Sure, call us anytime, Dave. Just don't touch any sharp knives.

--Laura Miller

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