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Order In The Court!

Verdict in a Minute, from the Bailiff's perspective

By Lana V LynxPublished 12 days ago 3 min read
5
Order In The Court!
Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

“Order in the court!” I say loudly after I hear the news that the verdict is in. Everyone stands up as the judge enters the courtroom and takes her seat.

“Be seated!” I say loudly again, so that my voice carries to the farthest corner of the room. I follow the room with my gaze as everyone sits down and notice the victim thumping onto the court bench and grabbing her sister’s hand. With her other hand, she is holding her abdomen. I'm sure it still hurts, with that deep knife scar from the night her husbands attacked her. Poor woman survived the attack, but her son who had shielded her from his enraged father did not. I cannot even imagine how it is, for a mother to live with that knowledge for the rest of her life.

The defendant is looking down, shaking his head in disbelief, as if he is still wondering why he is here. I've seen too many of these violent wife beaters, never feeling any guilt of remorse.

The courtroom becomes so quiet I can hear the defendant breathing.

“I understand the jury has reached the verdict. You may bring the jury,” the judge says to me, and I open the door to the anteroom for the jurors to file in one by one. They move quickly, just as I instructed them earlier.

While the jurors are taking their seats, the defendant turns to his lawyer and asks something about the verdict. I can't hear what the lawyer says but see the defendant turn away from him, still whispering something under his nose. Neither of them seem to be too happy with each other.

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

She gets up, holding court papers. Her hand is steady and she is projecting confidence. Good woman.

“Have you reached the verdict?”

“Yes, your honor, we have.”

C'mon, judge, roll it faster, no need to stretch the drama. Although I do know that Sophia is not the one to rush things or to skip steps in the court procedure.

“Is it unanimous?”

“Yes, your honor.”

“Alright, please pass it to the clerk who will pass it to me. And you may be seated.”

It takes seven seconds for the papers to reach the judge through Linda. I know because it’s what I do in court to keep my mind busy, count the seconds.

Sophia shuffles through the papers, to make sure they are in order. The entire procedure must have taken only forty seconds, but I can't wait to see the end.

“Defendant will rise,” Sophia says calmly and waits for him and his lawyer to stand up. He stands towering over the desk, but doesn’t look the judge in the eye. A misogynist like him must master all his strength not to show contempt to a woman judge. Right now, he’s probably estimating how long it would take him to leap at Sophia and grab her by the jugular. I saw that happen once in a video of another trial, and the bailiff there was too slow to protect the judge. So the guy leaped above the bench, tackled the judge and tore a clump of her hair. I will never let that happen to Sophia. So I must stay alert. Just in case, I put my right arm on my gun. The defendant is still staring down, though.

“Madam clerk, would you please publish the verdict, starting with the first page,” Sophia instructs Linda. Poor Linda hates this part of their little game but she has no choice but to do it.

Linda starts reading the verdict out loud, citing the docket number, followed by all case references and charges. I don't notice any mistakes or stumbles, but I'm sure Sophia will.

Finally, Linda gets to the, “On the charges of aggravated assault and second-degree murder – ‘Guilty’ verdict.” Someone in the room gasps. The defendant is trying to keeps his cool, still looking down.

I see the victim sobbing quietly in her sister’s arms. Her sister is trying to console her. Poor thing, to go through such an ordeal, but at least her husband is no longer a threat to her.

Sophia is now talking again, specifying the sentencing procedure and thanking the jury for their service.

The defendant will start to serve soon too, 25 to life.

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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

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Comments (5)

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  • Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.12 days ago

    I could feel that tension of needing to be ready for some person to make that terrible move to attack - between knowing and not knowing, the possibility that may or may not ever happen. Well done!

  • Hannah Moore12 days ago

    Feels like you are skirting around the perpetrator. Is that a deliberate choice, not wanting to go there mentally? Or removing his voice? I'm curious!

  • Was it a true incident where the guy tore the judges hair?

  • Rachel Deeming12 days ago

    I like the perspective you give in this, Lana. It makes it more human somehow, eases the detachment from the proceedings. I like the way that he gives the people names rather than job titles so we see them as regular people rather than instruments of justice. Nice.

  • I love court stories! This one was great! 😇

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