"All rise," the bailiff announced with the slightest hint of a Russian accent, causing the last of the excited voices to shut off.
Papers shuffled and chairs scraped the floor as the courtroom took to its feet.
"Superior Court of the state of California, County of Hatafutte, Department 64, the honorable Judge Jones presiding, is now in session
For a few moments, everyone was silent. When no judge entered the room, they began to murmur to each other, exchanging confused glances.
"Ah, he appears to be
running a bit late," the bailiff said with a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "Please be seated."
From outside the courtroom, there came a loud banging noise and then the stomping of footsteps, accompanied by a few hastily shouted greetings. Then the doors of the room flew open and in walked a man who was gnawing furiously on a hamburger.
In appearance, he looked much too young to be a judge. Messy blond hair flopped across his forehead, and his blue eyes glinted boyishly behind his glasses (the only things about him that indicated intelligence.) He chattered in cheerful apology as he made his way to the front of the courtroom, his long, black judge's robes trailing behind him.
"Where were you?" the bushy-browed prosecution attorney hissed as the judge passed. "Do you know how late you are?"
Judge Jones shot him a grin. "Chill, cupcake; I'm here now, aren't I?"
The attorney spluttered furiously. "Please be sitting now, and coming to order," the bailiff sang to the court cheerfully.
"I'm going, I'm going," assured Judge Alfred F. Jones, taking his seat at the comfy, squashy armchair on the judge's bench.
As Alfred adjusted himself, setting down papers and organizing his area, the bailiff stood up again, casting a menacing aura in the courtroom with his presence.
"May I be having your attention, please?" he said through his accented voice, while smiling threateningly. "Good day, ladies and gentlemen. I am Ivan Braginsky, and I will be serving as your courtroom bailiff today. As bailiff, I would be liking to go over several rules. There will be no eating or drinking allow-"
THWACK! "Mr. Braginsky, there will be no need to go over all those boring rules!" chortled Judge Jones somewhat breezily, his gavel in one hand, and his hamburger (that he was still working on) in the other.
The hand that held the gavel was also noticeably inching towards his extra-large soda protectively.
The bailiff gave a hesitant little cough, smiled again, and sat down at his desk.
"So," prompted Alfred, slouching back into his large chair, and swiveling around in it, "People v. Oxenstierna blah-blah, he's being charged on count one, second degree murder, blah-blah-blah
Introductions, counsel?" He propped his feet onto the gleaming surface of his desk, which elicited murmurs of disapproval from the spectators. However, a glowering smile from the bailiff quickly shut them up.
Internally cringing at the lack of professional mannerism that Alfred was using to run his courtroom, Arthur stood up, and announced, "Good day, Your Honor, and ladies and gentlemen of the court. For the people, I am Arthur Kirkland." He sat down, ramrod straight in contrast to Alfred's lazy posture, and waited for opposing counsel to introduce himself.
Silence. The spectators started to murmur amongst themselves again, and Ivan the bailiff gave a cough. Judge Jones loudly slurped at his soda.
"Defense?" he asked after a lengthy sip.
"Mmm," the defense attorney mumbled, "just five more minutes Lovi
I have a huge case tomorrwha-?" He raised his head up out of his arms, shook it once, then shook it again in dazed disbelief. "Oh, mierda! Lo sien-eh, sorry, Your Honor!! Ah, um
Oh! For the defense, yo soy, er, I am Antonio Fernandez Carriedo!" he trilled rapidly in a Hispanic accent, totally caught off guard.
Arthur could already tell that he had won the case. What attorney in his right mind would sleep during introductions? And Carriedo had already broken an unspoken, sacred rule of the courtnever apologize to the judge. Not even in Spanish.
It didn't hurt that Arthur was also on considerably 'friendly' terms with Judge Jones, either.
"Thank you, Mr. Carriedo
Are there any preliminaries that need to be addressed?"
"Yes, Your Honor," the prosecution attorney said, standing up. "The people have brought two exhibits: a map of the Hidekaz International music festival, and a diagram of the victim, Tino Väinämöinen's, body and stab wound. We have shown them to opposing counsel, and they have no objection. We ask that they be marked Exhibits A and B, respectively."
"Is that true, defense?" Alfred asked through a mouth full of hamburger. Antonio nodded in response. "Defense has no objection to the use of these exhibits in trial."
"Yes, Your Honor," Arthur said, standing once again. "The prosecution offers to waive a reading of the stipulations."
"Defense has no objection to this," Antonio responded.
Are the people now ready to deliver their opening statement?"
"Yes, Your Honor," Arthur repeated once more. He stood, and strolled the short distance from the prosecution's table to the podium located between his and opposing counsel's table.
"May I proceed?"
Alfred nodded, feet still on the table, arms relaxingly placed behind his head as he prepared to listen to Arthur's opening.
Arthur turned towards the jury box, waiting a few moments until he was certain that everyone's attention was on him.
"On the evening of April 2nd, 2011, an innocent life was stolen," he began, making strong eye contact with his stunning emerald eyes with all the members of the jury. "Tino Väinämöinen was found in a pool of his own blood, blood that was gushing from a deep stab wound. The evening of his death, Mr. Väinämöinen was known to have attended the Hidekaz International music festival with his close friend, Eduard Von Bock, whom you will hear testify today. Upon seeing this horrendous sight, Mr. Von Bock immediately dialed 911, and Detective Ludwig Beilschmidt, whom you will also hear from today, arrived at the scene along with the paramedics, who pronounced Tino dead. His body was sent to chief coroner Dr. Lukas Bondevik, who will testify about the experiments he performed during the autopsy of the victim's body, and the conclusive circumstantial evidence. Dr. Bondevik tested that Mr. Väinämöinen's wound pattern was an exact match to the serration of a Belarusian 440 knife, the same type of knife that the defendant," here, Arthur paused to glance accusingly at Berwald, "was using. This knife was later 'coincidentally' stolen." Arthur paused to let the information sink in.
"Dr. Bondevik will also tell us that he found fibers, black, Swedish polyester fibersfibers that 'coincidentally' were identical to a shirt that the defendant was wearing the day of the festival, which he had also attended. This shirt was also 'coincidentally' incinerated the very next day, when Detective Beilschmidt went to interview the defendant. Upon searching his car, Detective Beilschmidt also discovered that the defendant's car had also been
"Ladies and gentlemen, by the end of this trial, the people are confident you will see through the deceptions and falsities that the defense will try to put out, and the people will prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
Arthur retook his position at the prosecution table, waiting for the judge to carry things on.
"Thank you. Would defense like to deliver their opening now, or save it until the prosecution rests their case?" Alfred asked, directing his words towards Antonio.
"Hmm? Oh, now would be fine, Your Honor!" He shuffled through his large suitcase, pulled out a couple of papers, then made his way to the podium, tripping once.
Arthur resisted the urge to laugh triumphantly.
"May I proceed?"
Alfred nodded, with his eyes closed.
Antonio coughed slightly and sent an endearing smile in the jury's direction before beginning.
"Tomato sales are up an average of 12% from last year nationally. In California, we sold nearly double what we had been selling five years ago. In Nevada
The Spaniard slowed to a stop and squinted at his paper, muttering what the entire courtroom must have been thinking. "That doesn't sound like what I wrote this morning
Arthur snorted from his seat. He'd written his opening this morning? Defense didn't have a chance.
Antonio's face broke into a smile again, and he gazed reassuringly around himself. "Oh, I see, this is Lovi's report on tomato sales! I must have grabbed the wrong papers by accident." He scratched the back of his neck nervously. "I suppose I'll just have to make something up in the meantime, won't I?"
He sent an apologetic smile up to Alfred, whose eyes fluttered open. "What? Er, yeah, totally, you can say your opening when defense goes." he laughed good-naturedly.
Antonio beamed. "Gra - I mean, thank you, Your Honor." He stood there for a few more moments before moving with a start. "I guess I'll go sit now, won't I?"
He shuffled back to his table and took a seat.
" drawled Alfred, "is the prosecution ready to call their first witness?"
"Yes, Your Honor," Arthur said, standing up yet again, "prosecution would like to call Eduard Von Bock as their first witness."