The Practice
Inter Arma Silent Leges

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Even the jury objects

Suffering County Courthouse. The eyewitness is on the stand. She's an older woman with short brown hair. Blah she heard screaming, blah middle of the night, blah she knew something wasn't right, blah opened her door, blah she saw Darryl blah. Helen turns and points to the defendant, and just for clarification, asks, "This man right here?" Yes. Mrs. Eyewitness: "He was dressed ratty, like a bum, and he didn't smell too good either." How close was she that she could actually smell him? Helen asks if Darryl said anything to her, to which she responds, "No. But as soon as he saw me he ran for the stairs." Is she absolutely sure? Yes. She's very, very sure.

Eugene gets up to do his cross-examination. He asks if the witness knew the victim. Well, not personally, but she'd sure seen Linda around. Eugene: "Ever talk to her?" No. Meaning she didn't know her voice and couldn't recognize her scream. The eyewitness assumed it must have been her; it came at the time she was killed. Eugene starts in on the Darryl-insisted part of his questioning: Does she know any black people? Does she have any black friends? Of course, Helen objects. Of course, Kittleson says, "Mr. Young!" Blah what are you doing blah. He's laying a foundation. For what? Eugene says, "If I could be allowed to proceed, I'll get there." The judge tells the witness to answer the question. No, she doesn't know any black people that well. Eugene: "But you know for sure that it was my client, even though you saw him for just a moment from down the hall." Mrs. Eyewitness deadpans, "Well. I don't know for sure. It could have been somebody else that looks exactly like him, I suppose." Kittleson smirks. Eugene thanks her and says he has nothing further. Yeah, except he needs to go wipe the egg off his face, and he might need a ten-minute recess for that. Kittleson tells the witness she can step down. The jury flutters. Kittleson calls, "Ms. Gamble." Helen sort of half-leans as she stands up: "The Commonwealth rests."

Then Kittleson calls on Eugene, who says, "The defense calls Dr. Donald Siedman." Helen bounces up as much as her brittle bones will allow, "Oh! You've got to be kidding!" Now, wouldn't she have gotten a witness list before hand? Wouldn't she have known that Eugene was going to call this guy? Have had to prepare for the cross-examination? What the hell is the moral outrage for? Honestly. Blah bad continuity blah, oh, and "yawn" too, just for the hell of it. Eugene snaps, "Look, if I can't put on a defense, why don't we just lynch him?" Helen argues that Eugene is trying to make the case about race. Eugene yells, "Move to strike!" Like a true disciplinarian, Kittleson calls both screaming children to the bench. Oh. The. Music. It's making me sleepy. Very sleepy. In a minute, I'll be in a coma, watching the world just pass me and thinking, "How boring can they make this episode?" Honestly. I'm the guy Alanis Morissette hides in for the duration of Dogma. Blah contempt blah outburst blah who is Dr. Siedman blah. Helen tells the judge that he testifies that white people can't tell one black man from another. Again, Helen would have been notified what Eugene's course of defense would be. Then, even if he were adding a new witness, she'd be notified. Why do we always have to have these ridiculous eleventh-hour arguments in front of the judge in open court? Has DEK noticed that a little subtlety goes a long way? Oh, right. DEK. Subtlety. What was I thinking? Chalk it up to the holiday jitters. Okay, back to the trial. The music ticks like a grandfather clock. Eugene tells Kittleson that the doctor is an expert on cross-racial impairment of eyewitnesses. Blah rejected by other courts, blah Eugene gave no notice, blah race is not an issue; blah if he can't have the witness, blah emergency appeal, blah mistrial blah. Judge Beautiful gives Eugene a cold, hard stare: "You may call Dr. Siedman." Helen barks, "You're letting him run your court." Ouch. That wasn't the right thing to say (at all) as Kittleson hisses, "I run my court, Ms. Gamble." She says that if the doctor is a "buffoon," she'll instruct the jury to disregard him.

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The Practice

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