My heart was heavy as I stepped into the courtroom. I knew that my case was open and shut. I had been caught in the act of committing the crime. All the evidence pointed to me. The prosecution had me in their crosshairs and was ready to pull the trigger. By my own folly I had doomed myself. I had no excuse, no hope for a hung jury, and no hope for a soft judge.
The judge thundered, “This is the case of You versus Satan. How do you plead?”
I hung my head. “Guilty, your honor.” What point was there in defending myself? I knew exactly where I stood.
Satan leered, his dry lips cracking, revealing a set of yellowed, nicotine-stained teeth. A massive file sat before him. Pages spilled out of the file and onto the floor. He opened the file and turned to the first page. His voice was smooth like oil, with hints of rattlesnake and arson. “Your honor, we have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. He has committed his crimes blatantly, with no regard for the law. He is a repeat offender, who has presumed upon the mercy of the court time and time again.”
The judge nodded. “Present your case,” he said to Satan.
“In Exhibit A you will see a photo of the defendant treating his children, his innocent children, with contempt and impatience. In Exhibit B you will see a fifteen page transcription of the defendant’s proud, arrogant, contemptuous, and even violent thoughts for a particular individual. In Exhibit C you will see a detailed record of all the times the defendant stepped on others in order to further his reputation. In Exhibit D you will see…”
The judge waved his hand. “Alright, you’ve made your point. You clearly have a significant amount of evidence implicating the defendant.” He looked at me, and as he did, shame and loathing and guilt boiled within me. I retched. “What do you have to say for yourself?” asked the judge.
“I have no defense,” I mumbled. “If you will give me a second chance, I promise to do better in the future.”
“A second chance? A second chance?!? This court has given you hundreds of chances. You have shown again and again that you are unable to stay true to the law. And do you really think that I can simply dismiss your case, as if your transgressions don’t matter? What about justice? What about the law? What have you to say about those things?”
I was crushed. Crushed by justice, crushed by myself, crushed by the law. “I’m sorry you’re honor. Deeply sorry.”
It was at that moment that someone stepped up beside me. “Your honor, I represent this client.” I turned, and was stunned to see the judge’s son standing beside me. The son strode to the bench and handed the judge a single sheet of paper.
The judge studied the sheet for a moment, then looked at the massive file presented by the prosecution. He smiled and said, “Based on the evidence presented by the defense, I am hereby ruling in favor of the defendant. I find him not guilty on all counts. All charges against him are summarily dismissed.”
Satan spluttered and protested and blathered. “Not guilty? How can you do that?”
“My son, the defense lawyer, has presented himself as pledge on behalf of the defendant. Do you have any evidence or accusation that can stand against my son? Are there any charges that fall outside of the defense?”
Satan began frantically pawing through the massive file, scanning sheets of paper and then throwing them over his shoulder. After a few moments he stopped and his shoulders fell. “No objections your honor,” he said.
The judge pulled out another document, put his signature on it, and then presented it to me. “This document hereby signifies that all charges are dismissed against you and you are legally part of my family. This document cannot be revoked, dismissed, or altered in any way. If any further charges are brought against you, refer them to this document and they will be dismissed immediately.” He looked at his son. “Any further comments.”
The son smiled. “The defense rests its case.”