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Just Cause January 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, People.
34 comments

Wikipedia ~ Lawyer

“I don’t care what the judge said.  No way am I going to convict him.  He and his family have been through enough already.”

Charlie grabbed the pitcher and poured a glass of water, sloshing some over the side of the glass.

Swiping the water off the conference table with his hand, he continued, “I would do exactly the same thing if anyone did that to my wife.  That animal deserved to die.”

Joe jumped in.  “Even if the guy deserved it, that’s not a defense.  We can’t continue to exist as a civilized society if everyone who has a gripe against someone takes the law into his own hands . . . ”

“A gripe?!” said Allison.  “Give me a break!  That fucker raped and tortured the defendant’s wife for hours while the defendant was forced to watch.  As long as animals like that are roaming the streets, we cannot claim to be civilized.  Sam did what any decent husband would have done.   Not Guilty.”

“We can’t do that,” Steve said.  “We took an oath.  We agreed to follow the law.  You heard the judge.  We have no choice.  He’s guilty.”

“Yeah, I heard him . . . and you heard me,” said Charlie.  “I am NOT going to convict him of murder.  I don’t care if we sit in this room deliberating for the next 12 months.  You will NEVER get me to change my mind.  That fucker, as Allison put it so well, deserved to die.  That’s a sufficient defense for me.  I vote to let Sam walk out of here a free man.”

Other jurors sounded in on one side of the debate or the other.  Then Sue turned the tables by asking, “What about the psychiatric testimony?”

“What about it?”

“Well, the psychiatrist said that people can *snap* with less provocation than this, right?”

“Yeah, so?”

“Well, if Sam *snapped* that’s temporary insanity.  We could find him not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.”

“We could . . . except that Sam testified that he knew what he was doing, he knew that it was against the law, and he did it any way.”

“Yeah, Sam didn’t leave us much wiggle room.  It’s almost like he wants us to find him guilty.”

“You’ve got a point.  Maybe he feels guilty about mowing the guy down with his car as the bastard left church.”

Cal snickered, “Perfect timing for a hypocrite like that.”

“Wait.  Back up.  Didn’t the judge say we could accept or reject ANY of the testimony?”

“He sure did.”

“Even undisputed testimony?”

“Yup.  Hey . . . I see where you’re going.  If we reject Sam’s testimony that he understood what he was doing, we can conclude that he was temporarily insane at the time of the accident.”

“Exactly!  He’s not a psychiatrist . . . what does he know?”

Joe looked around the room, “You’re all determined to let this guy walk?”

Everyone nodded, except Steve.

Joe nodded in Steve’s direction, “What say you?”

“I’m not sure.  The judge expects us to find him Guilty based on the law he gave us.  But . . . ”

* * *

The Courtroom stood at silent attention as the jurors filed into the jury box.

Barney O’Grady sat at the prosecutor’s table chewing on a pencil.  Sam Williams, the defendant, stared down at his hands.   His attorney, Jack Riley, attempted to read the jurors faces.

Several jurors glanced Sam’s way.  Usually a good sign.  Not always.

After the preliminaries, the Judge looked at the foreman, “Has the jury reached a verdict?”

“We have, Your Honor.”

“What say you?”

“We, the jury, find the defendant Not Guilty.”

“So say you all?”

“So say us all.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

What say you?  Did the defendant have “Just Cause” to do what he did?  Did the Jury?