The Beav according to Beav

Still crazy after all these years.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm not leading THAT witness!

Today, I got to see a Court Martial. It took pretty much the whole morning. No more than that because the accused pled guilty. So, they spent 90 minutes essentially going over the incidents in detail so the judge could satisfy himself that the accused knew what he was admitting to and that he was indeed guilty according to his story.

Then, the judge says "we'll take a 15-minute recess and return for sentence." I figure this has just gotten really short - he'll take 15 minutes, come back in, sentence the guy to this, this, and that, and we're outta here. Nope. Turns out, sentence is where the "trial" really happens in a case like this. Essentially, here are the character witnesses, the extenuating circumstances, the "I was neglected as a child" stuff. Now the lawyers get to do their lawyer things.

They introduce many sheets of paper as evidence. Defense objects to some of them. Prosecution objects to some others. Prosecution calls someone to the stand; defense objects to virtually every sentence he utters. (Counsel literally hovered over his seat because he knew he'd be standing to object very shortly.) Then, after another 15-minute recess, closing arguments.

Having been a forensics nerd in school (no, not Quincy...look it up), I had much appreciation for the process. I actually wanted to applaud when Defense finished his closing, though it didn't do him much good: kid got much closer to what Prosecution was calling for than what Defense was (rightfully so, to this not-completely-unbiased observer).

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3 Comments:

  • At 3:58 PM, Blogger Soo Mi said…

    Considering that a court martial is a function of government, exactly how did you get the impression that the event in question would be a simple matter?

    Haven't you been employed by said government long enough to have that naivete crushed out of you?

    :) Good post!

     
  • At 6:46 PM, Blogger Beav said…

    A valid point. But I'd never been to a court martial before, the case was about as cut-and-dried as is possible. [shrug] You'd be surprised at my level of naivete sometimes.

     
  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger Soo Mi said…

    Even if 'false hope' is all you have left, you still are left with something.

    :P

     

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