Yesterday, I was set for trial in the 180th District Court.
I showed up right around eight o'clock to make sure I had everything ready and set up, even though I had been told by the prosecutor that my case wasn't the first in line to go to trial. As everyone who practices in the CJC knows, just because your case isn't the first one "up" for trial, you can easily find yourself in front of a jury panel at the blink of an eye.
While I was killing time in the courtroom, waiting to find out whether or not my case was going to trial, I thumbed through the court's docket to see who else was set for trial that day. The defense attorney on the first case up was a man named Esteban "Steve" Pena. An attorney I would later realize that I knew in passing, but not by name.
I did recognize his name yesterday, however.
The reason I had known the name was because it had been posted on the Harris County Criminal Lawyer's Association website that Steve Pena had passed away over the weekend.
It was a sobering thought to realize that an attorney set for trial in front of me wouldn't be in court that morning because he had died. It was even more sobering when I realized that Steve Pena was a year younger than I am. When I saw his picture posted in the hallway of the 185th District Court today, I did remember who he was. He was a nice guy, who was always very pleasant to deal with.
As I mentioned earlier, I didn't know Steve other than to nod and say "hello" in the courtroom, but I do wish to extend my condolences to his widow and his family. If any of you knew him and want to say something in the comments section, I hope you will.
And although I didn't know him, I think he definitely provided us all with the reminder that life can often times be unexpectedly short.
You should appreciate it -- love it -- live it well.