Raymond Townsend, a handsome young prosecutor stands before twelve jurors. Raymond’s suit fits him perfectly, and his white shirt and blue tie accentuate his pearly white teeth and sparkling blue eyes.
“So ladies and gentlemen, when you look at the evidence in this case, with the Defendant being caught with almost four pounds of ecstasy.”
Raymond points to his table, where four square shaped bundles lay.
“And these drugs are physically strapped to his body, and he’s caught at customs returning from his trip to Amsterdam…”
Enthralled, the Jurors look glassy eyed at Raymond, almost as if he were a God.
“Then you must find him guilty.”
Raymond points to Stan Bladsill, a tattoo ridden, grungy looking middle-aged Defendant. Sitting next to him is Peter Baggett, known as “Pistol Pete” to his friends, few though they are. Baggett looks like a shot out middle-aged criminal defense attorney barely hanging on to life. The Jury stares at both of them angrily.
“To do anything else would be simply throwing the law, the evidence, and any sense of justice out the window.”
Raymond walks back to the prosecution table and sits down. Judge Bill Anderson, a silver haired, distinguished looking judge, peers down sternly at Pistol Pete.
“Mr. Brewster, you may present your closing argument.”
“Yes sir, just one moment.”
Pistol Pete whispers in Bladsill’s ear.
“I think we should ask for a recess.”
“No way man. I want this to be over with.”
Pistol Pete looks worried. “I’m just saying, I could talk to the prosecutor about a plea bargain for less than ten.”
“I can’t go to prison, you feel me?”
“I know but that jury’s gonna’ hang us. Look at ‘em.”
They look at the Jury, who look like angry villagers with torches. Bladsill looks at Pistol Pete.
“You said if I gave you five hundred bucks, you’d make sure I wasn’t convicted.” “But-”
“If you don’t get me outta’ this, I’m goin’ to the bar and complain!”
Pistol Pete looks horrified.
“But one more client complaint and I’ll be disbarred.”
“Then earn your money.”
The Judge looks at him impatiently.
“Come on counsel. The Jury’s waiting.”
Pistol Pete looks up at him.
Pistol Pete looks around and sees the Court Reporter giving him a smug look. Pistol Pete thinks a beat, then rises. He walks over to the Prosecutor’s table and picks up a bundle of drugs. He walks over to the jury, casually tossing it back and forth between his hands.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the most important thing to remember about this case is that ecstasy, though illegal, is a harmless drug.”
Pistol Pete tosses the bundle from his right hand to his left hand sharply. He deliberately misses it and it flies hard into the eye of the Court Reporter. It hits him with a loud THUNK!
The Court reporter screams “Ahhh” and bends over in pain.
The Jury looks at Pistol Pete with a toxic brew of disgust and outrage. Infuriated, the Judge looks at Pistol Pete.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we need to take a short recess while we attend to this sudden medical crisis caused by Defense Counsel.”
Pistol Pete shrugs his shoulders innocently and looks around.
Later that day…
The Court Reporter sits in his chair with his fingers on his stenotype. He has a bandage over one eye. He looks very pissed off. So does everyone else except Pistol Pete and Bladsill, who hunker over to each other and whisper.
“I thought that would work.”
“Taking out the court reporter.”
“What would that accomplish?”
“No court reporter, no trial.”
“But I want a not guilty!”
“I promised you wouldn’t be convicted. I never promised you an acquital.”
“You always gotta’ read the fine print.”
“We never even had a contract.”
“It’s a figure of speech.”
“Well, whatever you’ve got in mind, do it fast.”
The Judge looks down at them impatiently.
“Counsel, continue your closing argument, now!”
Pistol Pete looks at the Judge.
Pistol Pete gets up and walks over towards the jury. He picks up a bundle of drugs. The Jury winces slightly and they lean back. He looks at them and smiles innocently. He thinks for a moment, then sets the drugs back down. The Jury relaxes.
“What I was trying to say, ladies and gentlemen is that ecstasy is not a dangerous drug.”
Raymond whispers under his breath, but loud enough for the jury to hear “Unless you’re holding it.”
The Jurors snicker and look approvingly at Raymond. He winks at them and looks back at Pistol Pete smugly. Pistol Pete looks around anxiously.
“I mean, really, what’s the difference between ecstasy and say, marijuana, or alcohol?”
Raymond covers his mouth and coughs “Twenty years”.
The Jury looks at Raymond and chuckles. Pistol Pete looks at the Judge to see if he’ll take any remedial action. The Judge smiles and condescendingly motions for him to continue.
“I mean, shouldn’t it be up to the individual to decide what to put into their own body?”
Pistol Pete walks over and grabs the American flag out of its stand. He picks it up and waives it around vigorously. Jurors lean back and shield their faces.
“When you think about it, it’s downright un-American to prosecute someone for pursing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Pistol Pete waives the American flag at Raymond and lacerates his arm with the sharp, pointy end. Raymond collapses in agony.
Raymond grabs his arm in pain. Blood spills out from his blue suit. His now red face contorts in pain. The Jury gasps and several jump down to help him. The Judge looks like he could leap off the bench and strangle Pistol Pete.
“What in the hell do you think you’re doing?”
“It was an accident!”
Raymond looks painfully at Pistol Pete.
“You did that on purpose!”
“I swear Judge, I was just trying to make a point.”
The Judge looks menacingly at Pistol Pete.
“The court will stand in recess, yet again.”
Pistol Pete looks at him innocently. The Judge’s eyes narrow. Pistol Pete looks at him and smiles casually.
Later that afternoon…
Raymond sits with his arm in a sling. He looks incensed. So does the Jury. So does the Court Reporter, who glares at Pistol Pete with his one unbandaged eye. The Judge stares daggers at Pistol Pete and Bladsill, who sit conspiring at counsel table. Pistol Pete shakes his head in disbelief.
“Damn these government employees are tough.”
“So what are we gonna’ do now? Take out somebody else?”
“I think the Judge is wise to that bit. We’re gonna’ have to think outside the box.”
Pistol Pete looks around. He looks at the Court Reporter’s stenotype. He thinks for a moment. He looks at Bladsill.
“How fast are you?”
“Pretty fast. If cops are chasing me. Why?”
“Because when I say the word pomegranate, I want you to jump up and take that stenotype. Then throw it through the window.”
“We’re thirty feet off the ground. That thing ‘ll be demolished.”
“What’s a stenotype?”
“That thing the court reporter’s typing on.”
“Who’s the court reporter?”
“The one typing on the stenotype.”
Bladsill looks at him blankly.
“The one I hit in the eye with your dope. We can get a mistrial”
“But I don’t want a mistrial. I want an acquital.”
Pistol Pete looks at him. He thinks for a moment, then snaps his fingers.
“Then grab all that dope and throw it out the window too.”
“Won’t I get in trouble?”
“We’ll worry about that later. But you’ll get twenty years if we finish this trial.”
The Judge bangs his gavel with a SMACK!
“Counsel finish your closing argument right now!
Pistol Pete stands up and smiles.
“Yes sir. And just for the record, I sincerely apologize for the unfortunate incidents with the court reporter and the prosecutor.”
Pistol Pete looks at the Jury
“I just hope that each of you good citizens will not take this out on my client.”
The Jury looks at him as if he were half rat, half cockroach.
“Now, in summation of the state’s case I submit to you that there simply is too much circumstantial evidence to find probable cause that my client even remotely did a writ of habeas corpus. It’s simply all hearsay.”
The Judge, Prosecutor, and Jury all look at each other confused.
“You could no more convict my client than a pomegranate.”
Pistol Pete looks at Bladsill anxiously. Bladsill looks tranquil and smiles at him.
“I say, you could no more convict my client than you could a pomegranate!”
Pistol Pete looks at Bladsill, who smiles and nods.
Bladsill stops smiling, looks at Pistol Pete, then the Prosecutor, then the Court Reporter, then back to Pistol Pete. Bladsill jumps up, runs to Raymond’s table and grabs the drugs.
Raymond looks at Bladsill in horror. “Hey, you can’t touch that!”
Bladsill turns and runs over to the court reporter, and grabs his stenotype. The Judge jumps up and bangs his gavel. “Stop that man!”
Two Bailiffs rush in with guns drawn. They fire a barrage of shots. After a dozen misses, one finally hits Bladsill as he clears the window. Bladsill, the drugs, and the stenotype all crash out the window. The room is filled with smoke from the volley of gunfire.
There is a huge CRASH! and a car alarm goes off. The Judge, Raymond, the Bailiff, and several jurors rush over and look out the window. The Bailiff looks at Raymond.
“Counselor, isn’t that your BMW?”
Raymond exhales and looks at the ceiling.
“It sure broke that guy’s fall.”
Pistol Pete sits innocently at counsel table looking at papers. As the smoke from the gunfire drifts to the ceiling a fire alarm turns on, followed by the ceiling sprinklers. The Judge, Raymond, the Bailiff, and the Jurors look at Pistol Pete, who still sits innocently at counsel table reading a file as the water falls on him from the ceiling.
Much later that day…
The Judge sits wet and angry on the bench. The Court Reporter sits wet and angry in his chair, without the absent stenotype. Raymond sits wet and angry with his arm in a sling. The irate, wet Jurors stare at Pistol Pete.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, grudgingly I am going to declare a mistrial and a judgment of acquital in this case.”
Pistol Pete beams. Raymond looks incensed.
“If I could think of anyway around it, I would. But we have no evidence, no record of the trial, and now, no Defendant.”
Pistol Pete looks triumphant.
“However, the good news is that the Defendant did survive the fall and the gunshot wound to his shoulder.”
The Jury murmurs.
“And I assure each of you that he will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Pistol Pete rises.
“And Judge, I will let the court know if the Defendant chooses to retain me for any future charges.”
The Judge looks at him, infuriated beyond description. He looks at the Court Reporter.
“Let’s go off the record.”
The Court Reporter looks at the empty space once occupied by his stenotype.
“The record’s all over Main Street, Your Honor.”
The Judge looks at Pistol Pete.
“Listen you son of bitch, if it’s the last thing I do, I’ll have you disbarred, tried, convicted, and sent to prison.”
Pistol Pete looks at him calmly.
“I’m sure once the dust settles, you’ll find this was all just a big misunderstanding.”
The Judge throws his gavel at Pistol Pete, who ducks. It flies past him and hits a framed oil painting of a statesman-like Judge hanging on the wall. The painting falls to the ground and breaks.
The Judge hesitates for a moment as Pistol Pete looks at him calmly. After a few beats, the Judge storms off the bench in disgust. The Jury starts to file out. Pistol Pete watches them as they stroll past him.
“Thank you for your service.”
The Jurors ignore him and angrily walk away. Raymond collects his books and files, all of which are soaking wet. Pistol Pete walks over to him.
“Better luck next time, Raymond.”
“Don’t talk to me.”
“Come on, don’t be a sore loser.”
Pistol Pete puts his hand on Raymond’s shoulder. Raymond winces in pain.
“You ever touch me again, and-”
Pistol Pete raises his eyebrows, anticipating a possible criminal threat.
“Never touch me again.”
Raymond storms off. Pistol Pete watches him leave. When he’s out of sight, Pistol Pete walks over to the broken window. He looks down and shakes his head. He reaches in his coat pocket and pulls out his cell phone. He dials and listens.
“Honey, guess what? I won my trial.”
“No, I really did. I thought maybe we’d go to Arby’s and celebrate.”
Pistol Pete picks up his soaking wet file.
“Yeah, it was a really tough case.”
“No, the law was against us.”
“No, the facts were against us too.”
“Nah, the Defendant was a total scumbag.”
Pistol Pete looks down through the broken window.
“In the end, it all went out the window.”
He picks at the broken glass as he listens.
“Okay, see you at eight.”
Pistol Pete closes his cell phone. He looks at his file folder. He thinks for a beat, shrugs his shoulders, then tosses the file out the window. He watches it fall for a moment, then smiles and walks off.