The Accused /May Justice Prevail: A Soliloquy

                                      The Accused 
I'm pretty sure I just plagiarized some ideas from two Stephen King films, and a Dale Launer film, but I'm referencing them now, so they won't have to sue me...LOL. 
In hindsight, after writing this, I realized some minute, yet powerful elements from The Green Mile, and The Shawshank Redemption. My take is a little different, but nonetheless inspired by those two great films. The sparse comedic moments are reminiscent of My Cousin Vinny, another great movie.
The concept: What if, for once, a guilty offender didn't pull out all the stops to save his morally bankrupt, wretched hide, but took full responsibility for his actions instead?
Sometimes, when the iron is hot, you just gotta write...
Now, on with the "show".

 "The Accused /May Justice Prevail: A Soliloquy
                        (a one-act play)
courtroom scene:
      (Voices chattering loudly)
Bailiff: All hear, all hear, please stand as the right-honorable Judge Hendrecksen takes the bench!
    (Tribunal members stand to their feet)
Judge: You may be seated. 
    (Courtroom sits) 
Judge: Bailiff, what is next on the docket?
Bailiff: Your Honor, it's the "State vs The Accused"
Judge: Will the Defendant please stand?
     (Defendant stands)
Judge: The record states that at your pre-trial hearing, you entered in a plea of no contest, with extenuating circumstances. Do you wish to change your plea at this time?
The Accused: No Judge, I do not.  
Judge: Let the record state, The Accused chooses to retain his plea.
    (Gavel bangs on podium)
Judge: Then let the trial commence. Sir, I see you have no Trial Attorney representing you. Legal counsel provided by the state can be assigned to you, or do you wish to serve as your own counsel?

The Accused: Your honor, I respectfully decline. I'll be my own counsel, and if it pleases the court, I humbly request that the jury kindly be removed, that I might have the opportunity to address you personally regarding these charges leveled against me.

   (Courtroom voices gasp)
   (Prosecutor shaking head in disbelief)
   (Gavel bangs rapidly)
Judge: Order in the Court! 
Sir, this is highly unusual and provocative. Do you realize what you're asking?
The Accused: Yes sir, I do. 
Judge: Very well, your request is granted, but just get on with it.
The Accused: YesI willMight I speak plainly, Judge?
Judge: Yes, you may.
The Accused: Thank you, Your Honor. In the interest of a true and fair Justice, I stand here alone. Although not prudent, it is my choice to do so. 
Sir, I own what I've done. Every minute of everyday, I own it. I think about it, dream about it, and I agonize over it, wishing with all that is within me that I could undo what I've done.
I stand here alone today, just as I was alone the day I killed dear Mr Johnson, his lovely wife, and their two beautiful children. I was neither inebriated, nor impaired in any form or fashion, but, be that as it may, a great wrong was done. A wrong that I truly feel must be set right today.
Judge, you say that my being here, without counsel, or representation, is unusual and provocative, and I agree. But please let me explain, and I will then humbly accept whatever sentence you deem fitting for the crimes I stand accused of.
Judge: (*sarcastically*) So you say!
   (Courtroom laughs)
The Accused: I stand here today, as I've stated, alone. Far too many times, a guilty person, or persons will stand before a court of Justice, with a jury of their peers, to ascertain their guilt, and to decide whether or not the State has presented enough factual evidence to properly convict the Accused, only to be given an unfair reprieve due to some legal technicality, loop-hole, or outright blunder.
Judge: (*visibly angered*) Sir! If you think this ploy will gain you, as you say, an "unfair reprieve" you are sorely mistaken!
The Accused: No, your honor, this is neither a ploy, nor the last ditch effort of a desperate man. Were I to retain counsel, certain unpleasant facts would inevitably come to light that I feel would unfairly taint the minds and emotions of the jury, and of Lady Justice herself.
Judge: You are speaking nonsense, young man! 
The Accused: Perhaps, your Honor, perhaps.
     (Courtroom laughs)
Judge: (*frustratingly*) This is your last warning! I do not abide foolishness in this court, and if you try to have this declared a mistrial, I'll hold you in contempt, with extreme prejudice
Be forewarned, I'm watching your every move.
The Accused: I understand, your honor. Might I proceed?
Judge: You may.
The Accused: As I said before, certain unpleasant facts would no doubt be introduced...
Judge: So, this is about damage-control then?
The Accused: No, Judge, it isn't.
Judge: (*curiously*) Then what is it about?
The Accused: It's about Justice. May I continue?
Judge: Carry on, then.
The Accused: These facts I mentioned, are my history of mental illness..
Judge: (*Interrupting*) Hold on just a minute. If you're mentally ill, then it's within your rights to be properly evaluated, then judged fairly, based on the evaluations and recommendations.
The Accused: I understand, your Honor.
Judge: (*unsure*) And you're decline the offer of expert evaluations?
The Accused: Yes Sir, I do, emphatically.
Judge: Continue..
The Accused: Thank you.
    (Gavel pounds)
Judge: Hold on, I object!
The Accused: Judge, you can't object!
   (Courtroom breaks out in raucous laughter)
Judge: Yes, of course. you're right. But do you understand? This is not a game, there are no do-overs here.
The Accused: Yes, I'm very well aware.
Judge: Fine, but it's your neck that you're hanging.
The Accused: (*Continuing*)...For decades, guilty people have paraded about every "reason", excuse, and fallacy for why they should be judged lightly, or worse yet, exonerated.
Judge: And what's wrong with that? The Justice system, while not perfect, still affords every man a right to leniency.
The Accused: What's wrong with THAT??
Judge: (*excitedly*) Yes!!
The Accused: (*ANGRILY*) What's wrong with that, is that upper-class rapists, pedophiles, murderers, drug traffickers, and all manner of evil doers go on trial, get sentenced, and do two years at Club Fed, while the poor who run afoul of the law get the maximum punishment! Do you call that FAIR?
Judge: I never said the system was perfect.
The Accused: No, you didn't.
Judge: Then what's your PROBLEM ??
    (Loud gasping from court members)
The Accused: My problem?
Judge: Yes, YOUR problem!
The Accused: My problem, since you asked, is everything!
Judge: Everything?
The Accused: Yes, EVERYTHING!
    (Courtroom snickering preposterously)
Judge: (*Bangs gavel violently*) Order! I'll have ORDER in MY court!! I've had enough of this foolishness now. Are you finished?
The Accused: No Judge, I'm not.
Judge: Then let's move it along. 
But first, let me state for the record, (*sarcastically*) "Counselor", that you have a FOOL for a client!
   (Court watchers gasp in amazement)
The Accused: (*Flatly*) Duly noted, your Honor.
Judge: Carry on..
The Accused: You asked what I'm tired of. I've been in lockup for eight months now, and in that time..
    (Prematurely injecting)
Judge: Oh! You're tired, and you want to go home now, is that it?
   (Scattered laughing)
The Accused: No, that's NOT it. I'm right where I deserve to be!
   (Crowd murmurs)
Judge: Then what's the problem?
The Accused: The "problem" is that nearly everywhere I look, I see the very dregs of society, the few who do actually serve time, living like kings! They have special meals delivered to their cells, while the rest in general population eat rancid, diseased food in a mess hall, where everyday they have to fight for their lives, or die trying.
The problem is, the real criminals in life have cable tv, free college, gym privileges, more free time than a man needs, and no responsibilities, or accountability to speak of. 
These repeat offenders are afforded the very hallmarks of those with a privileged upbringing, while those who are poor and weak are left to lick the crumbs from their tables of plenty.
Judge: (*maliciously*) So, I'm to understand, you're speaking today for all those poor poor felonious individuals who were judged guilty, as if they were the very martyrs of innocence?
The Accused: No, your honor, I'm speaking on my own behalf.
Judge: You're STILL a fool!
    (Bystanders laughing)
The Accused: Maybe so, but you asked a fair question, and yet you'll not allow me to properly answer that question.
Judge: (*exasperatedly*) Then ANSWER the DAMN QUESTION!!
  (silence in courtroom)

The Accused: (*weakly*) I'm tired, your Honor... so very tired.
Judge: (*acerbically*) And so am I now!
   (Laughter erupt from spectators)
   (Gavel banging)
Judge: (*kindly*) You're tired, I'm tired, we're ALL tired, son.
The Accused: But not the way I am. And not for the reasons you suppose. I'm tired from so many years of watching the poor-in-spirit dragging themselves from one day to the next, working like dogs, when they're able to find a job, hoping for a break that will turn everything around for them, only to be kicked to the curb time and again.
I'm tired of seeing the wicked prosper, while many of God's children suffer in silence and hunger, many without a roof to call home. The longing to be free from so much worry and concern...
Judge: (*paternally*) Son, this is a court of law. These things you speak of cannot be dealt with...
(Defendant interrupts)
The Accused: Yes Judge, I understand. But if you'll allow me a little latitude, I'll get to my point as quickly as I can. I just need you to hear the details in order to have all the facts, so you may judge me rightly.
Judge: (*Kindly*) Son, I sense that you're getting to a very important point, so I'm going to grant you some leeway, but please get to your point.
The Accused: Thank you, your honor. In truth, my spirit is worn, weary, and despite any notions you may have, the reason I'm here is because of the horrible thing I've done to Mr Johnson and his family. I am repentant, and I only wish for Justice to remove her blinders for a time and hand down a sentence worthy of the crime committed.
    (Confused expressions in courtroom)
Judge: One last time young man, I must stress your need for knowledgeable counsel before you go any further.
The Accused: I appreciate your concern Judge, but I've thought long and hard on this matter, and I'll not be dissuaded, but thank you for your consideration .
Judge: (*Lamenting with Resignation*) Very well son, it's your trial to conduct in whatever way you choose.
The Accused: Your Honor, the Old Testament prophets preached God's "Eye-for-an-Eye" teachings, and while Love eventually superseded that, I believe that in some circumstances, it still holds true. I'm not speaking regarding any possible enemies, but of myself.
Judge: (*Unsure*) Yourself?
The Accused: Yes, (*sighing*) myself. Everyday I live and breathe the life that I so recklessly stole from the Johnson's. I live, knowing that they will never see their children grow up, graduate high school and college, and embark on a life of their own, with an eventual family of their own.They will never see their grandchildren, or their grandchildren's children. 
When I was a young man Judge, I stole many things. The things I stole, I was able to return if I chose to do so. When I grew up, I refrained from stealing, yet here I am, guilty this time of stealing something which can never be returned, human lives, and the futures they would have had.
This is a burden that I carry silently, but find that I cannot..
Judge: (*Interrupting compassionately*) Son, this is, I say again, a court of LAW, not one of humanity, and I can only judge on matters of...
The Accused: (*Breaking in*) Yes, I'm well aware of that your Honor. For the things I've done, both past, and present, I'm sorry. My only wish today, is to settle the accounts rightfully. My soul cannot live it's life any longer, knowing what I've robbed that poor family of.
Judge: (*Curiously*) And what are you asking of me, young man? You requested the jury of your peers to be set aside. But, what are you wanting from me? ...Forgiveness?
The Accused: No, kind Sir. Forgiveness is available freely from God, but presently I am unworthy of such a thing. What I humbly request is to be released from my misery, to pay, in some small way for my crimes.
Judge: (*confused*) Released? As in pardoned?
The Accused: No, Father, that would not be right. I beg that you would release me from this wretched life I've made a mess of. 
I've squandered all that you and my Mother have so generously given me. I've laid my hand to hard work for many years, and yet haven't two pence to rub together. 
I've also failed, and laid to waste my own family, my wife and children, in so many ways that I fear not even my Guardian Angel could keep track of my many offenses. I've lived an entirely unfulfilled life, despite my righteous upbringing.
All I ask, dear Father is one last kindness.
Judge: Butto what end, my beloved son?
The Accused: The chance to right my egregious wrongs, Father. The time has come that I must pay for my offenses, measure for measure, so to speak. 
Although there were four lives extinguished, and the potential for many more, I have only one life to give in return, and the time for pure Justice is nigh. Pleas of restitution cry from beyond the grave, and these voices I must answer to.
Judge: And what would you have me do, my only son?
The Accused: .....Let me go Father. Let the swiftness of Death visit me forthwith, and let your memories of me be that of someone you wouldn't be ashamed to own. This burden in my soul cries out for Justice, and I cannot ignore it any longer.
Judge: (*Pleadingly*) ...But, it was an accident! Accidents happen, and are nothing more than that. There was no premeditation, no malice, and no motive. 
And what should I say when God himself questions me regarding this matter?
The Accused: (*Compassionately*)...My Dear Father, tell Him that you, with a heavy heart, did what needed to be done, to the best of your abilities, in the very worst of circumstances.
Tell Him that Justice cried out for itself, but that it was meted out with Mercy.
Judge: (*Tears Streaming Down Face, Sobbing*) I don't know if I can...
The Accused: Then tell Him you gave one of His very least a slice of charity that he was not worthy of...
Tell Him...that my soul was wrenching in agony and inconceivable sadness over the things I've done. 
Tell Him...That despair became my portion, and you graciously relieved me of my burdens in the most kind, and humane way possible. 
Tell Him...that you gave me everything I needed to succeed in life, that you taught me by being a perfect and blameless example.
Tell Him...that I'm sorry for all of my mistakes, blunders and failings, and that this is the only way my soul can reconcile itself in light of the lives I've taken, and the sins committed.
Judge: (*Crying Uncontrollably*) ...Son
The Accused: (*Tears Streaming*) Tell Him...I know you did everything right, that none of this is your fault.
Tell Him...of the sadnesses of your own heart this day.
Tell Him...I'm grateful for everything you've done for me.
Tell Him...I'm thankful for every kindness He's shown me.
Tell Him...there was just no other way.
Please Father, just...Tell Him.
Author's Notes/Comments: 

 The concept: What if, for once, a guilty offender didn't pull out all the stops to save his morally bankrupt, wretched hide, but took full responsibility for his actions instead?

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