Posted by: Michelle Knoll | November 26, 2010

My Day in Court

I am ushered into the courtroom, up to the front, and told to stand in front of the judge’s bench.  My defense attorney is seated at a table to my right, the prosecuting attorney is seated at a table to my left.  The courtroom is empty, except for those two, the bailiff, the judge… and me.

I am handcuffed.

The silence in the room is deafening.  I dare not make a move, or a sound.  I look only at the floor in front of my feet.

I am frightened.

Judge: Mr. Prosecutor, if you would state your case, please.

The prosecuting attorney rises from his chair and approaches the bench.

Prosecution: It’s an open and shut case, Your Honor.  She was there, she did the deed.  There are witnesses to the situation.  You’ve seen the evidence… I believe you have it in front of you.  I don’t see any reason to delay giving her the full penalty for her actions.

He then turns toward me, and leans over to whisper in my ear with a sickening voice, “May God have… ‘mercy’… on your soul, you lying, filthy, scheming, wicked excuse for a female!”

My attorney jumps to his feet.

Defense: I object, Your Honor! He’s harassing my client!

Judge: Mr. Prosecutor…. sit down, please.

Prosecution: (Addressing the judge) As you wish.  (Addressing me in a low sneering voice) Liar…

Defense: Your Honor!

Judge: (bellowing) ENOUGH!

The judge’s voice sounds like thunder in the small courtroom.  I start to tremble.

The prosecuting attorney finally reaches his table, and sits down in his chair.  The silence invades the room once again.  I shift on my feet, ever so slightly.  My back is hurting from the tension I feel.

Judge: Well, we know why you are here.  I’ve read the charges.  I’ve seen the evidence.  What do you have to say for yourself?

Me : (my voice shakes) I…  (I swallow and try to think) Your Honor… I…

The prosecuting attorney jumps to his feet.  I can hear his footsteps on the wooden floor as he comes around the table and approaches the bench again.

Prosecution: Your Honor!  I object to this!  She’s not going to tell the truth!  You know she won’t!

Judge: Mr. Prosecutor, that remains to be seen.  Take your seat.

Prosecution: I won’t stand for this!  This is pointless!

Judge: SIT…  DOWN!

The judge slams his gavel down, and I jump at the sound.  Still, I keep my head bowed.  I really don’t want to look around.  A tear rolls down my cheek.

The prosecuting attorney mumbles something, and walks slowly back to his chair.

Judge: Young lady, I believe I asked you a question.

Me: Yes, Your Honor.

Judge: Well?

Me: I… (my voice is still very shaky, and not very loud) I… made a mistake, Your Honor.  It’s my fault.  I made the choice.  I accept the realization of my mistake.  I am the guilty one.

Judge: You’re guilty?

Me: Yes, Sir.  I am.

Judge: I see.  Is that all you have to say?

Me: No, Your Honor.

Judge: No?  Well, then!  Out with it!

Me: I plead for mercy, Your Honor.  I plead for mercy with this court.  What I did was wrong, and I ask for forgiveness…  in Jesus’ Name…

Judge: What?  What did you say?

Me: Oh… I said, in Jesus’ Name…

I hear the squeak of the judge’s chair.  He is staring at me.  I can feel it.

Judge: REALLY?

The silence envelops the room again.  I hear the sound of a pen against paper.  The judge must be writing something.

Judge: Mr. Defense Attorney, what do you have to say for your client?

I hear a chair scoot against the wooden floor, so I know my attorney is rising.  Next I hear his slow, relaxed footsteps.  As I glance to the right, I see his feet approaching.  He comes to stand next to me, and places his hand on my shoulder.

Defense: Your Honor, I know that my client has done wrong, and she recognizes that she has done wrong.  Yet I also know something else about my client–

From behind me I hear a huff, and then the sound of a hand slapping a table.  A chair scoots back against the wooden floor with a screech, and once again, footsteps approach from my left.

Prosecution: (with a sneering voice) Oh, here we go!  Yes, plead the mercy of the court!  Make it look like such a sob story!  She did the wrong, but she didn’t mean to!  How ridiculous!  How absurd!  I can’t believe what I’m hearing!

Defense: (with a calm yet firm voice) Look, there are things going on here that you know nothing about–

Prosecution: (his voice rising) Oh, yes! Let. Me. Guess!  It was her father’s fault!  Or, no, maybe it was her MOTHER’S fault!  That’s it!  Let’s blame the parents!  Let’s blame society!  Let’s blame the town she grew up in!  Come on!  This is outrageous and YOU KNOW IT!  Stop wasting my time!  She needs to be locked away!  FOREVER!

My attorney mumbles “I’ve had it” and walks away from my side.  I can hear his quick stride as he walks across the room.  I then hear low voices, and I realize he is talking to the bailiff.  There is discussion which sounds like disagreement, and then I hear him say sternly, “Give them to me!  NOW!”

Judge: Mr. Defense Attorney…

Defense: (walking back across the room toward me) Just a minute, Your Honor, if you please.

My attorney is now back at my side, and I realize he has the keys to the handcuffs.  With agitated motion, he works the key in the lock, and finally wrests the handcuffs from my wrists. Taking the cuffs in his right hand, he hurls them at the prosecuting attorney.

Defense: (with authority) She’s NOT going with YOU!

I know the prosecuting attorney caught the cuffs, because I don’t hear them crash on the wooden floor.  I then hear him mumble something in response to this action.  The deafening silence once again fills the courtroom, as the prosecutor returns to his seat.  I am shaking in fear, but I rub my aching wrists where the cuffs had been.

Judge: All right, Mr. Defense Attorney.  Back to my question.  What do you have to say for your client?

I hear my attorney breathe in deeply, and he places his hand on my shoulder again.

Defense: As I was saying, my client knows she has done wrong.  She’s confessed it! And yet, what the prosecuting attorney does not know, or is not willing to accept, is that I have taken care of this wrongdoing.

Judge: You have?

Defense: That’s right, Your Honor.  I have.  I have paid the price for her mistake.  This deed she’s done… it’s covered.

The prosecuting attorney jumps up from his chair once again, and quickly appears to my left.

Prosecution: WHAT?!?!?

My attorney steps forward, in front of me, to face my accuser.  I can hear the prosecuting attorney huffing and spurting, as if he’s in a fit of temper.  His feet are moving around almost as if he’s dancing in place.

Defense: Yes, I paid for it.  I served time for this incident.

Prosecution: Well, buster, you’d better have some proof of that!  This court demands PROOF!

Suddenly, I hear movement.  Something catches my eye.  I look up just barely high enough to see that my attorney is pushing his sleeve up his arm.

Defense: You want proof?  You want proof??  Alright, HERE’S YOUR PROOF!

My attorney thrusts his arm forward, to reveal a large hole in his wrist.  It is about 1 inch in diameter, and is filled with scar tissue, the result of a terrible injury.  I look up far enough to see the glare in my attorney’s eyes.  His jaw is set, as he faces the prosecuting attorney.  His eyes are like fire.  He is breathing heavily, like an angry animal in a fight.  I look over at the prosecuting attorney, who is frozen in his place, with eyes like a frightened rabbit.  My attorney is the first to speak, and his tone is menacing as he addresses the prosecuting attorney.

Defense: Take.  Your.  Seat.

I continue to watch my attorney, even though I know the prosecution has backed away.  My eyes are fixed on him, as he calms himself, pushes his sleeve back down his arm, and comes back to stand at my side.

Judge: I believe you were trying to say something, Mr. Defense Attorney?

Defense: (sighing) As I was saying, I have paid for her mistake.  It has been paid for, in full.  I believe, Your Honor, if you look at the evidence before you, you will find documentation that verifies this to be the case.

I hear papers rustling, so I know the judge is looking through the paperwork he has, to find the documentation my attorney is talking about.  I hear him talking softly, almost imperceptibly, so I realize he is reading over something.  I cautiously look up at my attorney, who looks back at me… and smiles.

Judge: Ah!  I see!  Yes, it’s all here.  Very good, very good.  It says here you  endured physical punishment as well as serving time, for this deed she did.  Excellent.  That will make my judgment all the mor–

I hear noise behind me at the prosecution’s table.  He is on his feet again.  I hear the sound of a stack of papers being thrown down on the table.

Prosecution: Oh… my… word!  This trial is a joke!  Why am I even here?  Will SOMEBODY please tell me why I’m even here?

I look at my attorney again, and the smile is slowly growing on his face, as if he knows something.  He looks over at me and motions for me to not say anything or make any moves.  I then realize, he does know something.  He knows what is about to happen.

A low rumble is beginning in front of me, at the judge’s bench. It gets louder and louder, and suddenly…

Judge: (roaring) YOU, Mr. Prosecutor, were the one who called for this trial!  YOU were the one who had the charges drawn up!  YOU were the one who accused this woman of wrong doing!  How DARE you insult MY courtroom with your insolent behavior!  How DARE you waste MY time with your LACK of professionalism!  YOU didn’t even take the time to investigate all the evidence!!  I should have you hauled out of here on your EAR!!!

A long pause and the same deafening silence once again fills the room.  I can tell from the movement I hear in front of me, the judge is trying to calm down, but he is very, very agitated.

Judge: As a matter of fact, I think I will have you removed.  BAILIFF!

Prosecution: What???  You’re CRAZY!

Judge: LEAVE MY COURTROOM!

Prosecution: I’m NOT leav–

Judge: NOW!!!!

Prosecution: FINE!!!  You’re all crazy!  IDIOTS!! ALL OF YOU!!!  I should have known this trial would be rigged!  You can’t trust ANYBODY around here!!

I look back to see the prosecuting attorney throw his papers into the air, and stomp out of the courtroom, slamming the door on his way out.  I turn back to my attorney, to see what will happen next.  A sigh is heard from the bench. The silence that has invaded the courtroom before has returned.  But this time, it is filled with peace.

Judge: I can’t wait until he is finally and completely disbarred.

Defense: Amen to that.

Judge: Yes, Son.  Amen to that.

Defense: So, Your Honor, what is the judgment of this court?

Judge: Well…. since time has already been served for the charges that were brought before me — which means the prosecution really doesn’t have a case — and since…  (his tone suddenly changes to one of amusement)… the prosecution doesn’t seem interested in dealing with the… um…  idiots… in this courtroom, I hereby demand that all charges be dropped immediately, and consider the defendant… NOT GUILTY.

The gavel lands on the bench with a CLAP as I gasp, and began to weep tears of joy.  My attorney looks at me with a glad smile, and hugs me.  I hug him back in return.

Defense: (whispering in my ear) I told you to trust Me.  I always win.

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