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    Saturday, September 30, 2023

    OPINION: Don’t say no to yes?

    I don’t eat out a lot and I am afraid I am a little out of practice in picking up a check.

    This became obvious to me recently when I lost my lame, credit-card-poised attempt to “share” a group check between two of us.

    The winner, a friend who is a lawyer, explained, as he glanced at my card as some kind of useless prop, that the lawyer who mentored him said to always accept a win when you score it.

    Don’t say no to yes, he schooled me. You won, he suggested I should have understood. I’m picking up the check. Don’t keep insisting when you’re already ahead.

    Take your wins and move on.

    No doubt this is advice more often proffered to lawyers than journalists, who, by nature are supposed to be relentless, sometimes not even recognizing a yes when it hits them over the head.

    I also may not be the most stubborn person in my stubborn family, but I hold my own. Stubbornness can help make you say no to yes, even when it should be clear that yes was a clear win.

    Around the same time, as I was reevaluating all the unfortunate times I may have said no to yes, another friend told me the fascinating story about the time he once punched the guy who had a secret affair for many years with his wife.

    It was an insult and affront to his son, though, not the affair, that prompted the assault, and he eventually told a judge that he wanted a jury to hear his story and find him innocent.

    He insisted on seeking a jury trial even after the judge generously offered to wipe his record clean if he stayed out of trouble.

    “You won. Accept it,” a lawyer standing nearby in the courtroom whispered in his ear.

    Don’t say no to yes, the lawyer suggested. Forget the jury trial.

    Also around the same time I stopped in at Superior Court in New London, where State Pier critic Kevin Blacker was asking a judge for a jury trial in the case in which he is accused of painting some street signs pink in protest.

    He was prepared to say no to a plea deal instead of yes to a nolle or no prosecution of the charges.

    He wants to make his case to a jury that painting some extraneous street signs pink, a traditional color of protest in New London against government overreach, is less serious than so much of the official wrongdoing at the scandal-engulfed Connecticut Port Authority.

    He’d also like to learn more about why his arrest on erroneous felony charges was carried out and botched by the elite Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad.

    Blacker is getting married Saturday, another good reason not to say no to a plea deal and avoid a jury trial that could lead to some jail time.

    But Blacker seems to have a good sense of when to say no, I want a jury trial, and yes, I do.

    May the lucky couple live happily ever after.

    And may Blacker get a good, sensible jury.

    This is the opinion of David Collins.

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