The defense attorney appeared to be fresh out of law school. Typical bleeding heart liberal, dressed to the tees, hair perfectly combed, expensive briefcase, and an ego the size of the growing national debt. Never once in his life had he gotten dirt under his perfectly manicured fingernails, let alone cleaned spilled guts off a sidewalk. He must have gone to one of the Ivy League law schools on daddy’s dime. I’m sure this pussy mouthpiece had never heard of Race Williams or read a single story in FLASH FICTION OFFENSIVE or OUT OF THE GUTTER. Who the hell did he think he was fooling? He was full of crap.
I listened to his high-pitched closing argument, as the judge had instructed. “A broken home, abused by his step-father, an alcoholic mother who worked the streets for a living,” on and on he droned. Spare me. Whatever happened to ‘a man’s responsible for his own actions?’ I wanted to scream out, but I know that wouldn’t sit too well with the judge. I glanced her way, and she subtly gave me a wink. She knew what I was thinking. What a doll. “No one actually saw my client commit this heinous crime on this poor innocent girl,” the suit hadn’t missed a beat. “There is no doubt, her life was taken much too early, from us all. But, please, ladies and gentlemen of the jury; do not convict my client on circumstantial evidence. The DNA tests, although suggestive, were not conclusive. You all heard the testimonies of the doctors. And, the fingerprints, although consistent with those of my client, were never conclusively proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to match my client’s prints. The fact that my client refused a polygraph test should in no way be held against him. You heard the judge. He was perfectly within his rights to refuse such a test.
"Ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is nothing but circumstantial evidence. Remember, my client does not have to prove his innocence to the charge of first degree murder. The prosecution must prove he is guilty. And, if you listened carefully to all of the testimony presented during the last two weeks in this courtroom, then there is really only one verdict from which to choose. Let us not let our emotions stand in the way of a just and rightful verdict. Let us not compound this already tragic event with another horrible travesty of justice. A man’s life is at stake. An innocent man’s life rests in your hands. It is your decision. I know you will make the right one. Thank you.”
It was all I could do from puking right there in the juror’s chair. I looked the creep in the eye. He was smiling. My fists tightened and I gritted my teeth. How much was this charade costing the tax payers? I felt like asking the judge to clear the courtroom so that I could be alone with the so-called accused. I only needed a few minutes and I’d save the tax payers some bucks. The first punch would be to the perp’s mouth, to wipe that damn smile off his kisser and knock a few of his crooked yellowish-tinted teeth down his worthless pencil neck throat. I’d enjoy watching him gargle on his own blood, and then I’d…
“Juror number 13, you may step down.” The judge had interrupted my train of thought. “Thank you for serving as an alternate juror and for fulfilling your civic duty. The court will no longer need your services for this case.”
One of the bailiffs escorted me out of the courtroom. Before leaving the courthouse, I heard that my fellow jurors acquitted the sonofabitch. That means he’ll be out on the street, with me. That’s good. That’s damn good.
Bruce Harris’s fiction has appeared in The First Line, Pine Tree Mysteries, and
Short, Fast, and Deadly. He lives in New Jersey and reads Mickey Spillane.