Solar eclipse

Federal judge refuses to delay trial because witness wants to see eclipse; quotes Star Trek while denying request

A federal judge in Tampa, Florida, denied prosecutors’ request to delay a trial due to Monday’s total eclipse.

The Washington Post reported that a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) agent wanted to postpone court proceedings because he had prepaid for an eclipse trip. However, Judge Steven Merryday ruled that the trial, surrounding a felon illegally possessing a firearm, must convene despite the star witness’ plans.

“The solar eclipse is no longer mysterious, supernatural, foreboding or ominous,” the federal judge wrote Friday. “An eclipse is just another astral event, precisely predictable since the day the Babylonians discovered the governing formula.”

Judge Merryday also took the opportunity to include lyrics from Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain’’ in the 3-page order, which can be read in full below. He later cites the 1970s hit when curtly denying the Justice Department’s motion.

“When an indispensable participant, knowing that a trial is imminent, pre-pays for some personal indulgence, that participant, in effect, lays in a bet,” he wrote. “This time, unlike Carly Simon’s former suitor, whose ‘horse, naturally, won,’ this bettor’s horse has—naturally—lost. The motion is denied.”

The Post noted that Judge Merryday also paraphrased a famous line from Star Trek, writing “on this occasion, an Assistant United States Attorney boldly moves (where no AUSA [Assistant United States Attorney] has moved before) to postpone a trial because an agent…has pre-paid the cost of visiting the zone of ‘totality’ of a solar eclipse that will occur on August 21.’’

[Featured Image: Pixabay/Buddy_Nath]