Criminal logo

Delivering The Verdict

Verdict in a Minute, from the Forelady's perspective

By Lana V LynxPublished 15 days ago Updated 13 days ago 3 min read
Delivering The Verdict
Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

“Order in the court!” comes clearly through the wall. We are in an anteroom adjacent to the courtroom, but the walls are thin and I can hear how everyone there shuffled into silence.

“Be seated!” was the clue for our final act. I am a little nervous but I try to keep calm by reminding myself that I am almost done with my civic duty.

I can now hear soft steps of the judge entering from her chambers and taking her seat. The courtroom becomes so quiet I can hear the judge's chair squeaking a little when she shifts.

“I understand the jury has reached the verdict. You may bring the jury,” the judge says. We enter the room one by one to take our seats.

I am the first, so while the other jurors are quickly moving to their seats, I look at the defendant. He turns his head to his lawyer and mumbles something quietly. After his lawyer answers briefly, he turns away, still whispering something under his nose. I hope it's a prayer, even though it won't help him now. But he will have a lot of time to pray.

Once the jury is seated, the judge looks at me and says, “Madam Forelady, would you stand for me?”

I get up, holding the defendant's fate on paper in my right hand.

“Have you reached the verdict?”

“Yes, your honor, we have.” I hope my heart does not break through my chest. I wonder if everyone can hear it pounding like I do. I wonder why? - It's not me who is on trial. "Vicarishame"*** is a new word for this I heard somewhere.

“Is it unanimous?”

“Yes, your honor.”

It really was. The case was clear as day: the guy went into rage, stabbed his wife in the abdomen and killed his son who stood between him and his mother trying to protect her. No juror needed to be convinced, we just went over the evidence again, following the procedure. I counted the votes, we waited for the paperwork to be filled out to sign it, and that was it. We were done in less than three hours.

“Alright, please pass it to the clerk who will pass it to me. And you may be seated.” I sit in relief: my job here is done and I can now watch what happens.

It takes some seconds for the papers to reach the judge’s hand. The clerk here does not waste hers or anyone else's time. We've seen it in the efficiency with which she prepared the paperwork on the case.

The judge shuffles the papers, studying them. The entire procedure must have taken only about half a minute, but it must feel like eternity for the defendant, waiting on the verdict. Or his victim, who is sitting not too far from me, leaning on her sister and holding her abdomen. That deep wound must still hurt.

“Defendant will rise,” the judge says calmly and waits for him and his lawyer to stand up. He stands up, oh boy he is tall and buffed, looming over the desk like a tower. I picture him running around their house in rage, hitting and kicking his wife. She stood no chance against him and the only reason she is still here is her son who gave his life for her. Poor woman, I don't know how she is going to live with this for the rest of her life. Parents are not supposed to survive their children.

“Madam clerk, would you please publish the verdict, starting with the first page,” the judge says. I catch a smile of slight resentment on the clerk's face. This is probably the least favorite part of her job.

Nonetheless, she starts reading the verdict out loud, citing the docket number, followed by legalize I don’t understand. Well, I'm not a lawyer, after all, and I understand the case enough to make the right judgement.

Finally, I hear the pronouncement, “On the charges of aggravated assault and second-degree murder – ‘Guilty’ verdict.” Many in the room gasp quietly. The defendant has no expression on his face, looking down.

I see the victim breaking down in her sister’s arms, who whispers something gently into her ear trying to console her. While the verdict is fair and I'm sure what she hoped for, no one can give her back her son.

The judge is now talking again, saying something about the sentencing and thanking the jury for our service.

It was hard, because after all it's a person's fate we were deciding. But we did our service right. The murderer will get what he deserves, 25 to life.

***Here is the story defining Vicarishame, with other embedded stories as examples.


About the Creator

Lana V Lynx

Avid reader and occasional writer of satire and short fiction. For my own sanity and security, I write under a pen name. My books: Moscow Calling - 2017 and President & Psychiatrist

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (3)

Sign in to comment
  • Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.13 days ago

    I saw what you did there with vicarishame! Another great piece to this series!

  • Oooo, I love how you brought vicarishame into this!

  • Hannah Moore15 days ago

    Interesting. I found this one easiest to engage with. Perhaps the slight remove makes it less aversive.

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.