The Practice
Judge Knot

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Judge Thyself

Suffering County Courthouse. Judge Of The Week, Month, Year, Lifetime, Could-Be-King-Except-Rod's-Got-That-Sewn-Up Fleming presides. Say it with me, people: "Of course he does!" Because…why? Because this show is contrived -- that's right, you all get an A for your abilities to call this show less than eight minutes into the hour. Any. Way. Helen's got Officer Chen on the stand. We are starting mid-testimony. Helen qualifies something the officer said about ending up at "the defendant's house." She asks, "Can you describe what transpired?" He knocked on the door and announced his presence. Apparently, Cassell's girlfriend answered the door and said he wasn't home. Chen requested permission to search the premises, and the girlfriend granted his request. He says, "I did a protective sweep of the common area and then I heard someone talking down the hall." Helen leads him on: "And then, at that point?" Chen: "I approached with my weapon drawn, pushed open the door, and entered." Helen asks if anyone was inside. Chen glances toward the judge, blushes a bit, and then admits that it was the television -- Politically Incorrect, to be exact. ["Very subtle, ABC. Not." -- Sars] In the corner of the room, right there in plain sight, was a box filled with bricks of cocaine.

Bobby gets up for his cross-examination. He strides toward the defendant. Fully capable of walking, he is so back in the saddle. Yawn. Good to see that Lindsay's hug really did cure him of all his ills. Bobby: "You say you heard the television." Chen confirms that he heard someone talking and that he thought it might be the defendant. The Emperor's hands swing together like an intricate piece of clockwork, ready to chime at any second, just narrowly missing one another. He says, "Did you hear anything else, a band playing, laughter from an audience?" Nope. Chen just heard talking. Bobby says, "You opened the door and this is when you saw the television?" Ah, wrong again; the television was actually in another room. So, in fact, there was no talking from this room after all. Bobby reminds the police officer that despite the fact that there was no talking, he still entered the room and continued with the search. Now, here comes the kicker: "And you say it was Mr. Cassell's girlfriend who you say consented to the search?" Chen stutters. Where is she? The cops can't find her. So she can't testify. Rod feels good. He sufficiently shut this case down. Bobby immediately asks Judge God -- I mean, "Judge Fleming," to dismiss the charges because of Fourth Amendment problems. Helen, of course, counters this argument. Rod contends that the girlfriend never gave consent, and that Officer Chen has made up the whole story. Helen and Bobby argue about the fruit of a poisonous tree. In the middle of their picture-perfect debate, Judge Holier-Than-Thou interrupts, first by saying, "Thank you, counsel, well-argued!" Like it's a kind of adult pep rally and not a court of law. And then continuing, "The line between issues of fact and law here is a hazy one, is it not?" At first, Bobby thinks that Judge Altars-Down-In-Front is actually talking to him, but alas, it was a rhetorical question. Of course it was, the old blowhard continues, but "I'm not entirely certain that a ruling would even be appropriate at this juncture, without the benefit of additional evidence that might arise at trial." Honestly, if I weren't typing, I would have tuned out hours ago. "I think we could all benefit from more time, but the defendant is entitled to a speedy trial and a speedy trial he should get." Blah jury selection, blah trial date set blah.

Helen's Home Of Hangover Pain. Helen gulps down a glass of water while swallowing some aspirin. Aw, she drank too much -- isn't she cute? There's a knock at the door, and a man who looks a lot like Ron Silver enters. He announces, "Greg Mitchell. U.S. Attorney's office." Helen cracks, "You guys recruiting door-to-door these days?" He half-laughs. And then gets down to business: "It's my understanding that Judge Fleming left the ball in the air this morning. You never know with these suppression issues." Then he half-smiles. Helen: "Since when does the U.S. Attorney's office take an interest in a state possession case?" She gives her head a jaunty shake. Which, if she were truly hungover, would have hurt like the dickens. He retorts, "Actually, I can think of a couple dozen federal cases we'd like to pawn off on you." I don't really understand that line. He's not answering her question. He's not telling her anything. He's not even cracking a joke. And if that was a joke, it was certainly not funny. Helen wants Greg to get down to business.

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The Practice




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