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The Verdict Will Be Covered

Verdict in a minute, from a court reporter perspective

By Lana V LynxPublished 10 days ago Updated 10 days ago 3 min read
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The Verdict Will Be Covered
Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

I’m sitting on a bench in the hallway, near the courtroom I’ve spent every morning in for the last three months, covering a domestic violence trial, trying to come up with the lead for my story: “A domestic violent abuser receives a (not) guilty verdict…” or “After a (???)-hour deliberation, the jury issues a (not) guilty verdict in the domestic violence case”? The second version sounds more active and forceful, so I’ll probably send that one in.

There’s movement in the hall and whispers of the verdict. It’s been only three hours since the jurors went into deliberation. A unanimous verdict?

“Order in the court!” I hear the bailiff’s deep voice. That’s my cue to go back. I enter the room almost at the same time with the judge, as everyone stands up, waiting for her to take the seat. Throughout the trial, she showed herself as an impeccably professional and fair judge.

“Be seated!” the bailiff says loudly again. I look over the room as everyone sits down and notice the victim slumping onto the court bench and grabbing her sister’s hand. With her other hand, she is holding her abdomen. Must be for support and easing the pain of that deep stab wound from the night her husband attacked her. She survived the attack, in contrast to her son who had shielded her from her enraged husband. He will have to live for the rest of his life with the knowledge that he’d killed his own son. Although judging how narcissistic he is, he may not even regret about it.

The defendant is looking down, shaking his head. Disbelief?

The courtroom becomes so quiet I can hear the tip of my pen squeaking while I’m frantically taking notes.

“I understand the jury has reached the verdict. You may bring the jury,” the judge says and the bailiff opens the anteroom door for the jurors to enter. They move quickly and efficiently.

While the jurors are taking their seats, the defendant turns to his lawyer and asks something. I can only hear the word “verdict.” I can't hear the lawyer’s response but see the defendant turn away from him, still whispering something under his nose, with a smirk on his face.

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

The Forelady gets up, holding the court papers, I hope with the verdict.

“Have you reached the verdict?”

“Yes, your honor, we have.”

“Is it unanimous?”

“Yes, your honor.”

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

I scribble my notes. It takes seven seconds for the papers to reach the judge through the clerk. I know because that’s how long it usually takes me to write a complete sentence by hand.

The judge studies the papers. The entire procedure must have taken only forty seconds, but I can't wait to see the end.

“Defendant will rise,” the judge says calmly and waits for him and his lawyer to stand up.

He gets up slowly with a slight contempt on his face, but doesn’t look the judge in the eye. He has a large frame, broad-shouldered at about 6’4”. It could have been so easy for him to kill his wife, who is hardly 5’6”. I picture again in my mind how his son stood between them, which cost him his life. The defendant is staring down now.

“Madam clerk, would you please publish the verdict, starting with the first page,” the judge instructs the clerk.

The clerk starts reading the verdict out loud, citing the docket number, followed by all case references and charges. As a journalist, I cannot help noticing that she stumbles a couple of times, but quickly corrects herself and moves on.

Finally, she gets to the, “On the charges of aggravated assault and second-degree murder – ‘Guilty’ verdict.” I take a note of the victim collapsing and sobbing in her sister’s arms. The defendant is trying to stay calm, still looking down.

The judge is now specifying the sentencing procedure and thanking the jury for their service.

My job is here done, just need to file a story ending with “25 to life.”

juryguiltyfiction
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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

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (4)

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  • Hannah Moore8 days ago

    There is a very writer like balance between functionality and empathy here.

  • Well done! It is interesting here that this is the only account of the sound of the pen... which actually makes Psychological sense because every other perspective you've told probably would block out that sound completely, while the journalist is focused on that. It's a tiny detail, but I love it!

  • Oooo, from the POV of a journalist, I loved it! Also, please correct me if I'm wrong but I feel there's something wrong with this sentence, "The courtroom becomes I can hear the tip of my pen frantically taking notes."

  • Andrea Corwin 10 days ago

    Guilty Justice!!

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