through time, true justice was sometimes hard to come by, depending on which side
of the law you were standing. Net worth of the accused, the brilliance or ignorance
of the lawyers involved, and the ineptness of the arresting officers often determined
the outcome. The truth was sometimes distorted by the slightest effort or figure
of speech, just enough to tip the scales of justice one way or another. Here are
a few examples:
A scruffy, hard-looking defendant will usually appear in
court with a fresh shave and haircut, blue suit, white shirt, necktie and freshly-shined
shoes. One such transformation left the defendant's mother distraught as she did
not recognize her son, believing she was at the wrong trial. Only after he spoke
to her did she settle down.
Courtroom theatrics by lawyers would fill
volumes, often testing the temper of the presiding judge. One old-time courtroom
dictum stated, "When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the facts
are against you, pound the table."
An interesting courtroom drama was recently
reported in The San Angelo Livestock Weekly during an interview with an old-time
Texas Ranger named Bob Favor who spent 34 years as a law officer. During the interview
he told of the many escapades he experienced in his career, some were dangerous
and others outright comical. There were a few habitual criminals he arrested so
many times they actually became friends of a sort.
One of Favor's favorite
stories came about when he arrested a man who had burglarized several car dealerships.
Along with the arrest was plenty of solid evidence in hand leaving little doubt
they had the right thief.
When trial day came, a jury of 12 men was seated.
The defendant entered the courtroom followed by a beautiful, well-endowed woman
with a babe in arms. He was very attentive as he helped her be seated right in
front and facing the jury box. All assumed it was the defendant's family.
the day the baby cried occasionally and the woman unbuttoned her blouse so the
baby could nurse. It seemed each time the prosecutor was presenting damaging evidence,
the nursing would begin again, thus diverting the jurors attention from the facts
to the tranquil domestic scene right before their eyes.
The defendant was
eventually acquitted, released and left town immediately. Later after a few victory
cocktails, the defending lawyer admitted the woman at the trial was not the man's
wife. In fact, they did not even know each other. The woman had been hired to
play the part, right off nightclub row in Fort Worth where she worked as a stripper.
The baby had been borrowed from one of her friends.
Now, the ploy was
successful no doubt as the defendant went free. Evidently the domestic courtroom
act met the decorum of the bench as the judge did not intervene. Can we really
say it was a "justifiable distraction" and that justice was truly served?
2 , 2010 Column © Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew"
is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164,
by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears weekly.