Reminiscence ~DL-6 Case
They stared back at him as he walked down the hall to the lobby. Walls that usually filled him with excitement before a case started. Now, they gave him chills, the silence they held giving the air an ominous feeling.
There weren't many people; most were already in the courtroom, waiting for the trial to start. When he did pass someone, they usually took a quick glance and told their friend or family that he was the victim's son. He turned his head away every time he heard those statements.
The hall seemed to stretch on forever. At times, he stopped to stop his knees from shaking and head from spinning. Did he want to reach the door at all?
He reached the door at last, hesitant to open the heavy stone doors. Within, he could hear the gallery chattering loudly as always. Never had he been so afraid of being alone.
It didn't feel the same entering by himself, he thought, realizing that he suddenly feared having the gallery's eyes trained on him.
Eventually, he opened the door and walked towards the small steps leading to the gallery seats. As he feared, the courtroom went silent as everyone stared at him, some quietly whispering his signifance to the case. He quickened his pace, practically running up the steps. As he sat down in the emptiest row, he hung his head, grey hair obscuring his view, trying his best to ignore the people around him.
"Are you alright?" A young woman in the row below him was turned and looked at him, concern clearly written across her face. "You're..."
"I'm fine" he muttered weakly. He never thought he'd tell a lie as blatant as that in a courtroom.
Before the woman could reply, the sound of a gavel pounding silenced the courtroom.
The judge sat high up in his chair, overlooking the room, his bearded jaw moving up and down as he spoke in a calm, wise voice. "Court is now in session for the trial of Mr. Yanni Yogi."
"The prosecution is ready, Your Honor." Below the bottom row of the gallery stood the prosecutor. He was an average-looking man, most probably in his early thirties, wearing a black suit and the floral-shaped prosecutor's badge sitting on its lapel. The boy hoped he could prove the defendant guilty, for his father's sake.
"The defense is also ready, Your Honor." Across the room from the prosecutor was the defense attorney, clad in a dark blue suit and wearing the circular attorney's badge sitting on his proud chest. He looked only a few years older than the prosecutor, but the boy had heard from his father that he was a particularily ruthless attorney. Looking at the attorney's smug face, he fearfully wondered how true this was.
The judge took a quick look at both of the attorneys before speaking once again. "Very well. Will the prosecution please provide a briefing of the case to this court?"
The prosecutor nodded. "A week ago, an earthquake shook East LA, trapping the victim, his son, and the defendant within one of the courthouse's elevators." Some people took another glance at the boy, who sunk back into his seat again. "Several hours later, the victim's body was found along with his son and the defendant, who were unconscious due to oxygen deprivation.
"Our reports confirm that the victim was shot to death, with a single bullet to the heart. A gun was found at the crime scene, bearing the defendant's own fingerprints."
The gallery started chattering once again, before the judge banged his gavel once again. "Order! Order!" he commanded.
"That concludes the prosecution's statement."
The judge closed his eyes, deep in thought. "Hmm... Very well. You may call your first witness."
"As you wish, Your Honor." The prosecutor turned towards the defendant's chair. "The prosecution calls the defendant, Yanni Yogi, to the stand."
Again, the gallery chattered around the boy. The defendant slowly got up, his movements erratic and muttering something that could only be described as gibberish. He took a few steps before the bailif came to aid him. All the while, the defense attorney grinned devillishly, the image forever burnt into the young boy's already fragile mind as he looked away in fright.
Moments later, the defendant stood at the witness stand, still acting oddly. The judge raised an eyebrow at his behaviour.
"Mr... Yogi, was it? Are you quite alright? You remind me of my brother on New Year's Eve..."
"Fine... grey beard... hahaha court yellow..." Yogi continued to mumble utter nonesense, sending the courtroom into silence for a few minutes.
The judge turned to the attorney. "Mr. Hammond, is there a problem with your client?"
Again, Hammond's smug smile returned to his face, sending a cold chill down the boy's spine.
"As you can see, Your Honor," Hammond replied, "The defendant is in no condition to testify."
"Wh-what do you mean?" The judge's eyes bulged in surprise, while the prosecutor gasped in sudden shock.
Hammond took a quick glance at the prosecutor, before turning back to His Honor. "As Mr. Ford has told the court, the three people in the elevator were deprived of oxygen. One possible side effect of oxygen deprivation..." he grinned once again, "Is insanity."
Everyone else in the room gasped in shock, including the victim's son. Meanwhile on the witness stand, Yogi's muttering began roaring out garbled sentences. Thankfully, the gallery's nervous talking mostly drowned them out.
Prosecutor Ford quieted the courtroom.
"E-even though the defendant can't testify... we must continue the trial!"
Hammond shook his head in disagreement. "That's impossible.
"Other than the three who were in the elevator, there is no other known witness. The victim's son was already questioned, but he couldn't remember anything specific enough." The boy remembered being questioned by an officer about two days ago, and indeed, he didn't remember much about what occured in the elevator.
Ford hung his head in disbelief. "No-no..."
Across the courtroom, Hammond grinned at the prosecutor's defeat. He turned to the judge. "Your Honor, the defense would like to plead insanity." He said this in a proud, condescening tone.
"Well..." His Honor took another look at Yogi, who was still mumbling to himself and making odd gestures. "I'm afraid that is the only conclusion that can be drawn.
"With no witnesses to testify, no decisive evidence, and the defendant's sanity diminished... There is no proof to convict the defendant. The defense's plead holds.
"The court hereby finds the defendant, Mr. Yanni Yogi...
The court is adjourned."
He ran out of the courtroom. Some people realized who he was, but he dashed past them before they could question him.
Around an empty corner, he panted and pondered.
How could Yogi be innocent? He was the only person in the elevator with them... If only he could just remember, what happened that day...
That defense attorney... He's a liar. He knew that only Yogi could have fired the bullet that was causing the boy so much pain. And yet he still defended him...
The boy punched the stone wall so hard his hands turned red. He was sobbing, but it didn't bother him.
It was so unfair... How his father's killer could just get away with it. Injustice...
"Please, calm yourself."
"Y-you're..." Standing in front of him was the prosecutor that his father faced in his final case the week before. "You're Prosecutor von Karma... You faced against my father last week." He wiped away some of his tears, afraid von Karma would scold him for crying.
"So you remember." The prosecutor looked at him in a serious, but non-threatening manner. "Your father, he was a brilliant man... I'd go as far as to say he was as great as myself."
The boy remembered; von Karma hadn't lost a case once in his forty years as a prosecutor. Such a feat earned him the title, "Prosecutor God".
"Father... He came vlose to winning, didn't he?"
"Hmph... Yes, I'd have to say he put up a better fight than I'm used to." There was a hint of anger in his deep voice, but only slightly.
"Th-then why are you talking to me now? Don't you have some sort of grudge?"
"A grudge?" The prosecutor let out a short laugh. "Oh no, boy. As attorneys, we know to respect each other.
"But today, you witnessed it yourself. That attorney, Robert Hammond... He let your father's killer to get away with the deed. Surely, you must know he was the true murderer?"
"Of course I do!" He shouted louder than he meant to, feeling a bit embarassed in the process. "There was no one else there who could've done it. All three of us were trapped there..."
"And that is why I've come to offer you my tutelage."
The boy gasped in surprise. "You... wish to teach me?"
Von Karma raised his head, in a way that showed the wisdom he had from all his days in court. "A prosecutor is someone who convicts criminals. We make sure they get the sentence they deserve, and never let them slip by our fingers. Truly, we are defenders of the law, and the world at large." He turned to the boy. "If you were to become a prosecutor, no criminal would ever get by the law, even Mr. Yogi."
"But, my father was a defense attorney..."
"So he was. But would he not want you to avenge his death? Convict his killer? If you were to become a prosecutor, I assure you, one day you'll avenge him.
"So, will you take up the offer?"
He pondered this for a moment,before nodding reassuringly.