"This court is now in session, everybody rise."
The bustling voices of the courtroom were silenced as the occupants stood up. Judge Taylor's gavel sat us all back down. As Tom took his seat to my left, I remembered what was at stake in this room. A man's life, and all the joy and sadness that it had yet to experience. Tom Robinson was 25, he had a wife and children. Although I had tried to keep my mind from wandering away from my current commitment, I wondered if Tom's children were here today. His wife was not, so it was unlikely. This offered little comfort, what comforted me more was knowing that my children were not present. I wasn't here today to set an example.
The proceedings had already begun. As the first official on the scene, Heck Tate, the sheriff of Maycomb County, was the first to give his testimony. While I trusted Tate and his judgment, I did not believe that he saw Tom Robinson as innocent. He fostered the same prejudice as the other white people in the courtroom. He just seemed to be the only one who was somewhat ashamed of it. I knew that Heck was a good man. And I could always see some reluctance to embrace the racism of Maycomb in him. But he was there to tell his side of the story, and so tell it he did.
"On the night of November the 21st, I was leaving my office to go home when Mr. Ewell ran in. He said to get to his house as quick as he could, that his girl had been raped. I got to my car and went out as fast as I could."
"She was pretty well beat up, I asked if Tom Robinson had beat her, and she said yes. Asked if he'd taken advantage of her, and she said yes, he did. That's all there was too it."
It was time for me to speak. I decided to make the first question the least relevant, just to start off slowly, "Did anybody call a doctor sheriff?"
Tate shifted his hands uncomfortably, "I didn't think it was necessary, she was pretty well beat up, something had happened, it was obvious."
The last part of his sentence was simply a declarative statement. But I decided to ignore this for the moment; I was still going to require information. And since Tate was the most neutral witness in my eyes, I had no doubt he would answer my questions honestly.
"Sherriff, you say that she was beat up. In what way?"
"Well, she was beaten around the head, and there were bruises already coming up her arms, she had a black eye starting-"
I was getting closer the answer I needed, but I still required confirmation.
"Her left facing you? Or looking the way you were looking?"
"Oh yes, that would make it her right eye Mr. Finch. I remember now. She was beaten up on that side of her face."
I rose from my seat, and moved to position myself between Tate and the jury, emphasizing that fact that I wanted their attention on what the witness was about to say.
"Tell me which side of her face it was again please sheriff."
"Her right side." He looked up at me, obviously not comfortable with the fact that I was bearing down on him. "She had bruises on her arms and she showed me her neck. There were definite finger marks on her gullet."
"All around her neck at the back of the throat?"
"I'd say they were all round." Tate replied.
Satisfied with the information I had for now, I returned to my seat. And noted with no surprise that Judge Taylor appeared to be going to sleep. He seemed almost like an overindulged aristocrat, who had not interest but a definite obligation to fulfill his role.
"Robert E. Lee Ewell!"
Bob Ewell rose and took the oath, then sat down in the witness chair. The state attorney, Mr. Gilmer, stood to his left and began with his unmethodical questioning.
"Now Mr. Ewell, could you please tell us in your own words, what happened on November the 21st."
Bob Ewell was dressed in gruff overalls and held his dirt stained hat in his hand. While he had obviously taken a bath before the court appearance, he still appeared dirty, outwardly to most, but also inwardly to me.
"Well, on that night," Bob began, "I was coming in from the woods with some kindlin', and I heard Mayella screamin' as I got to the fence. So I dropped my kindlin' and I ran just as fast as I could, but I ran into the fence!"
I was bemused at how he had managed to do this when the fence was in front of him in plain sight. Obviously he sought to use that as an excuse for giving Tom Robinson more time to carry out his deed.
"But once I got loose, I ran up to the window, and I seen him on my Mayella!" He pointed a stiff finger at Tom, but despite his efforts, he didn't seem sincere, the look on his face betrayed him.
The courthouse was once again filled with the sound of dozens of conversations taking place at once. Judge Taylor silenced them with his gavel.
Gilmer continued, "What did you do after you saw the defendant?"
"I done run into the house to get 'im but he run through the front door just ahead of me!" He was glaring with anger at Tom while he finished, "But I seen who it was alright! I seen him."
He calmed down, and he looked back up at Gilmer, who was sucking on his pen like a child, "And I go into the house and Mayella is laying on the floor squat. I ran to Mr. Tate just as fast as I could."
"Thank you Mr. Ewell." Gilmer returned to his seat, and Bob Ewell made to do the same, obviously hoping to get out of the spotlight as soon as possible. As I rose to question him, he walked smack into me.
He laughed arrogantly, and the court briefly chortled. But he was not going to get away that easily.
"Would you mind if I ask you a few questions, Mr. Ewell?"
He glared at me, but submitted. "No sir." He said, returning to his seat.
I grinned, Bob Ewell practically lounged on the chair, obviously thinking that he had some modicum of an advantage. It pained me to admit it, but at that point I wanted nothing more than to smack that smile off his face. Obviously I couldn't do that, so I needed to take my chance with words.
"You were doing a lot of running that night, Mr. Ewell. You say that you ran to the house, you ran to the window, you ran inside, you ran to Mayella, you ran to Sheriff Tate. Did you, during all this running, run for a doctor?" Once again, I needed to throw him off of what I was really trying to get from him, the doctor scenario worked well.
"There was no need too, I'd seen who done it." Ewell replied, what did the doctor have to do with that?
"Now Mr. Ewell, you've heard Mr. Tate's testimony, do you agree with his description of Mayella's injuries? The black eye on her right face, the bruises to the neck..."
"I agree with everything Mr. Tate said, she was mighty beat up."
I nodded, it was time. I noticed the way that he was holding his hat beforehand, now I just needed unfaltering evidence. I returned to my desk, bringing forward a notepad and pen.
"Mr. Ewell, can you read and write?" I made it sound as if I was questioning his intelligence when I asked this, hoping that he would focus his anger on me instead of trying to figure out what I was trying to do. He looked up at me, taking the bait.
"Yes Mr. Finch," he said, his face looking like he was about to snarl, "I can read and I can write."
Nodding, I handed the pen and paper to him, "Then could you write your name please, right there?"
The audience broke into a murmur, and Gilmer tried to object, but Atticus assured Judge Taylor that he would discover the significance of this question shortly. So it was overruled.
Bob Ewell held the pen loosely in his hand. He looked at the crowd, then up at me, trying to see what I was planning. I looked back down at him, giving nothing away.
After fiddling with the pen uncomfortably for a few seconds, he wrote his name on the paper. And I let out an internal sigh; he had not realized my intention.
Handing me back the notepad as if it was money that he'd just lost in a bet, I returned to the table, looking down at the floor and smiling all the way back. "What's with that?" Ewell asked.
"You're left handed Mr. Ewell."
Bob turned angrily to Judge Taylor, knowing that he had been tricked but obviously still confused. "What's that got to do with anything Judge?"
He then broke into an amusing rant, and it was my turn to appear outwardly arrogant. "I'm a god-fearing man! That Atticus Finch, trying to take advantage of me! You've got to watch tricky lawyers like him-!"
Judge Taylor's gavel shut him up. "Quiet, sir! The witness may take his seat."
Bob Ewell returned to his seat, obviously annoyed. But I had no reason to get comfortable; the toughest witness was yet to take the stand.
"Mayella Violet Ewell!"
Mayella Ewell, a young girl, walked to the witness stand. Being a Ewell, she did not own the best clothes to wear to a court appearance, but she at least looked much more presentable than her father. Gilmer helped her to the man holding the bible, she swore on it, and reluctantly sat down on the witness chair.
"Now Mayella," Gilmer began, gently this time, "Why don't you tell us what happened?"
She was silent for a moment, but Gilmer was patient. Her mouth eventually cracked open and she spoke.
"Sir- I was- sitting on the porch and he- come along. And there's this old Chiffarobe in- in the yard and- I said you come in here boy and bust up this chiffarobe and I'll- give you a nickel."
She took another deep breath, seemingly terrified. She was certainly doing a good job at coaxing sympathy from everyone present. Even Judge Taylor seemed concerned.
She continued, "So he came on in the yard, and I go into the house to get him the nickel. And I turn around and 'fore I know it, he's on me. And I fout' him hard, but he had me around- the neck. And he hit me- again, and again. And the next thing I know, papa was in the room standing over me hollering; who done it? Who done it?"
Gilmer still had his pen in his mouth, and he rolled it between his teeth. "Thank you Mayella." He said, returning to his seat. He looked at me, "Your witness, Atticus."
I did not like what I was going to have to do, but I knew that it was necessary. My morality screamed at me to be tactful, but I needed to get to the point. I was fully aware of the black man seated behind me, too much was at stake for me to buy into her sympathetic pleas.
"Now, Miss Mayella. Is your father good to you? I mean, is he easy to get along with?"
"He's tolerable." She replied, shrugging her shoulders.
That was the word I was looking for, even if the jury was composed of utter imbeciles they would still pick up that reluctance and word choice. I pressed on;
"Except when he's drinking."
She glared at me heinously, but that was more than enough for me.
"When he's- riled, has he ever beaten you?"
She took the time to consider her answer. Even Gilmer, still sucking on his pen, seemed skeptical of her now.
"My pa's- never touched a hair on my head in my life," She said firmly.
Nodding, I walked to the other side of the room, closer to the jury. "So you say that you asked Tom to come and chop up a- what was it?"
"A chiffarobe," she replied, annoyed.
"Was that the first time? Did you ever ask him to come inside the fence?"
"Yes," she replied definitely.
"Did you ever ask him to come inside the fence before?"
Mayella looked like she was about to cry, she smiled unassumingly, shrugging her shoulders again. "I might of."
"Can you remember any other occasion?" Even before I finished the sentence she shook her head violently from side to side.
"You say; he caught me, he choked me, and he took advantage of me. Is that right?"
I was slowly moving closer to her, and she nodded he head just as violently as before.
"Do you remember him beating you about the face?"
Now she was starting to cry, she stared up at me, shaking her head with less aggression this time, "No, I don't- recollect if he hit me."
I stared at her, raising an eyebrow and waiting patiently for her to continue.
"I mean- yes! He- hit me. He hit me!"
The crowd began to whisper again, but stopped before Judge Taylor needed to use his gavel.
"Could you identify the man who beat you?" I asked.
"I most certainly will," she said, and pointed at Tom Robinson, "sitting right yonder."
I turned my head to look at Tom, "Tom, will you stand up please." Tom rose from his seat, "Let Miss Mayella have a good long look at you."
Mayella looked away from Tom, not saying a word. Leaning on the counter, I noticed a small glass, the perfect object to prove my next point. Picking it up, I turned back to Tom.
"Could you catch this for me please?" I gently tossed the glass towards him, and he caught it in his right hand. I walked back to him to retrieve it, and then returned to my original position. "Now then, could you catch it with your left hand please?"
Tom shook his head, "I can't sir."
"Why can't you," I asked, making it a show for the audience.
"I can't use my left hand at all. I got it caught in a cotton gin when I was twelve years old. All my muscles were tore loose."
The audience began to mumble again, and Judge Taylor's gavel promptly shut them up.
I placed the glass back on the counter and returned to stand behind the desk next to Tom. Looking at Mayella, I asked her again, slightly impatiently, "Is this the man who raped you?"
Swallowing hard, she quickly replied, "Most certainly is."
She once again smiled and shrugged, convincing no one. "I- I don't know how," she said weakly. "He done it, he just done it."
She began to sob, and I once again accosted her, reluctantly forcing myself to show no sympathy, "You have testified that he choked you and beat you. You didn't say that he sneaked up behind you and knocked you out cold. But that you turned around, and there he was."
Mayella was aghast, it was time. "Do you want to tell us what really happened?"
I did not expect her to do what she did next, and I still wonder if she was sincere or just trying to play the sympathy card again. But the tirade that she launched into made me pity her all the more. She was hopeless under cross-examination, that much was apparent, but I was confident that he had done the right thing pressuring her for answers. Her outburst nearly broke that confidence.
"I- I got something to say. And then I ain't gonna- say no more. He took advantage of me. And if you- fine, fancy gentlemen ain't gonna do nuthin' about it then you're just a bunch of- lousy, yellow, stinkin', cowards! The- the whole bunch of ya! And your- fancy airs don't come to nothin'! Your Ma'amin' and your Miss Mayellerin' don't come to nothing Mr. Finch!"
She seemed to want to say more, but simply jumped up from the witness chair and ran straight ahead, trying to get down the aisle and out the doors. Her father quickly grabbed her and settled her back down onto the chair next to her. She had buried her face in her hands and was sobbing. Guilt shot through me like a fast-acting drug, it soon faded, but I never forgot that moment. While she had tried her best to make the outburst appear general, it was clearly directed towards me with full force.
Judge Taylor's gavel finally came down, silencing the courtroom. I turned around and found Bob Ewell glaring at me with hatred I had never seen before in my life. It seemed as if every fiber of him wanted to jump up and beat me until I was dead. I forced myself to stifle this thought. And Judge Taylor asked me if I had anything more to say. I shook my head and returned to my seat.
"My Gilmer?" Judge Taylor glared at the shocked and embarrassed lawyer as he stood up.
"Uh- the state rests judge." He said, sitting down again.
"Tom Robinson, take the stand."
I stood up, and so did Tom. He walked over and swore one the bible. Sitting in the witness chair, I walked up to him, staying a respectable distance away and admittedly being gentler than I was with Mayella.
"Tom, were you acquainted with Mayella Violet Ewell?"
He nodded, "Yes sir, I had to pass her place going to and from the field every day."
"Is there any other way to go?"
Tom shook his head, "Nones I know of."
"Did she ever speak to you?"
"Why yes sir. I'd tip my hat when I go by. Then one day she- asked me to come inside the fence to- bust up a chiffarobe for her. She gave me a hatchet and I broke it up. And then she said, I reckon I'll have to give you a nickel won't I? And I said, No ma'am, there ain't no charge. Then I went home."
So she was perfectly complacent with Tom calling her Ma'am, but not myself? Tom looked up at me.
"Mr. Finch that was way last spring. Way over a year ago."
I nodded, "And did you ever go on the place again?"
Looking around uncomfortably, Tom nodded, "Yes sir."
"Well I- went lots of times. Seems like- every time I passed by yonder, she'd have a little something for me to do. Chopping kindling and totin' water for her."
I acknowledged this. But I had to get down to the wire.
"Tom, what happened to you on the evening of November 21st of last year?"
Tom's voice cracked, as if he was about to cry. "Mr. Finch- I was going home as usual that evening. When I passed the Ewell place, Miss Mayella was on the porch like she said she was. And she said for me to- come there and help her a minute. Well, I- went inside the fence and I looked around for some kindling to work on." He shrugged, "but I didn't see none."
His voice was becoming shakier; it pained me to see any man like this. "And then she said; come in the house, there's a door that needs fixin'. So, I follows her inside and I- looked at the door and it looked alright. And she shut the door."
There was mild whispering from the crowd when this he said this. I was beginning to predict how this story would end up, and the only conclusion that I could draw made me pity Mayella more than I had ever pitied anyone before.
Tom continued, "So I asked, Miss Mayella, where are the children?" He swallowed hard, "She said it took her a slap year to save seven nickels so they could go into town and get ice cream. They were all out."
I considered this carefully, it seemed too lucky that all the children were out on the day of the rape, leaving her alone with Tom. From what I could see and the way she was acting, Mayella looked as if she was stubborn and self-centered. Why did she have such a sudden change of heart and decide to use money she had saved for over a year for something as trivial and short-lived as ice cream?
"And, then I said, why- Miss Mayella that's- right nice of you to treat them like that. And that I- best be going, there's nothing fo' me to do. But she said yes there was, an' I asked her what and she told me to step up and that chair down yonder and get the box off the top of a chiffarobe."
Tom appeared to be in shock, he looked mortified; his mouth was wide open, trying to get the words out. The tears were beginning to well in his eyes, but I maintained eye contact with him, I needed his story.
"So- I climbed on top of the chair, and I was reaching fo' it just like she asked me, then the next thing I know she- she grabbed me round the legs, Mr. Finch."
His skin shined with sweat as he forced himself to continue. "I was so scared. I hopped down from the chair and it toppled over. That was the only piece of furniture disturbed in the whole room, Mr. Finch, I swear, 'fore god."
"And what happened after you turned the chair over?"
Tom glanced around the room, first at me, then at the jury, and then somewhere in the crowd. He seemed unwilling to continue. I did not want to prolong the man's suffering, but if they were to stand any chance of winning this first case, he would have to co-operate.
"Tom, you've sworn to tell the whole truth."
He stared back up at me again.
"Will you tell it?"
He was starting to shake now. But he managed to get the words out. "I got offa' the chair and- I turned around and she- she sorta' jumped on me. She hugged me around the waist, she reached up and- kissed me on the face."
He was shaking his head in denial and fear. "She said she'd- never kissed a grown man before, and she might was well kiss me. She said for me to kiss her back, and I said, Miss Mayella, let me out of here. I tried to run. And then- Mr. Ewell, cussed at her from the window..."
Tom's eyes bulged, he looked like he'd just ingested poison and it was now taking effect. I wondered if re-living the event trigged this every time he thought about it. If so, I knew this man's life over the last year had truly been hell.
When he didn't continue, I asked, "What did he say?"
He looked to the people in the crowd, then up to the Negro balcony. His eye's stopped and he stared at the same spot for a few seconds. I didn't turn around, and kept my eyes on his.
"Mr. Finch, I don't think it'd be appropriate to say."
"Tom, we need to know."
Looking back to me, he finally said it, "He said, you goddamn whore, I'll kill ya."
The murmuring from the crowd jolted Judge Taylor up from his slumber and he angrily slammed his gavel to silence them again. Tom looked as if he had calmed down, almost as if the worst part was over. Why did he care so much about that one line? Was he still fostering a fondness for Mayella that it hurt him to even think of her being assaulted?
Whatever Tom's thoughts were on, mine were on tactics. If Bob Ewell had really said that, I'd be able to make a sound case for him beating Mayella. It made sense in my head, and I was already building my concluding speech at that point. If I only knew how in vain it would be.
"I don't know what happened after that, I was running so fast I- I don't know what happened."
I nodded, and remembered that I was a lawyer. And I had to ask Tom the standard superfluous questions.
"Tom, did you rape Mayella Ewell?"
He slowly shook his head, "I did not sir."
"Did you harm her in any way?"
"I did not- sir." He barely got it out. Tom seemed as if he would break down any second and run down the aisle the same way as Mayella. I nodded again and returned to my seat.
Now was Gilmer's turn.
"Mr. Robinson, you're pretty good at busting up Chiffarobe with one hand aren't ya?" Immediately picking up the condescending tone, I knew that this cross examination would be nothing but closeted uncouthness.
"I'm sure that you're strong enough to choke the breath out of a woman and knock her to the floor."
"I never did that, sir." Tom replied, shaking his head sheepishly.
"But you're strong enough to?"
"I reckon so, sir." I was pleased that he didn't lie, but Gilmer was asking the right questions. Questions that I was afraid he would ask. Not that they would effect the truth in any way, but that they would give the jury and the people the rebuttal-the excuse, they were looking for.
"How come you were so anxious to do that woman's chores?"
"It looked like she- didn't have no one to help her."
"With Mr. Ewell and seven children on the place? You done all this choppin' out of sheer goodness boy?" he chuckled, "You a mighty good fella' it seems. Did all that for not one penny!"
"Yes sir." Tom replied, "I felt right sorry for her."
I tensed, sitting right still. The audience did not mutter a word. Tom had just said something that had undoubtedly shocked everyone in the room. As I stared at him from the safety of my desk, I internally sighed. Gilmer of course, took full advantage of it. He walked towards Tom, and stared down at him. Tom looked straight ahead, impassive. He realized what he'd just said.
"You felt sorry for her? A white woman?"
He rolled the pen in his teeth again.
"You felt sorry for her?"
It was time for me to give my closing statement. The audience hushed themselves as I got up and stood center stage. It hadn't taken me long to decide what I was going to end on. Like a debate, a court case can be made or broken by the closing remark of either party. I fully committed myself to making this rebuttal count; I had waited for this moment. While the presentation of evidence was important, the summary, paired with just the right tone of voice, would be of even more importance.
I took a breath, like I always did before I would fire a shot from a rifle, and began:
"To begin with, this case should never have come to trial. The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place. It has relied instead upon the testimony of two witnesses," I indicated Bob and Mayella Ewell, "Who's evidence has not only been called into serious question by cross examination, but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant.
"There is circumstantial evidence to indicate that Mayella Ewell was beaten, savagely, by someone who led almost exclusively with his left." I almost looked at Bob,
"And Tom Robinson now sits before you having taken the oath with the only good hand that he possesses, his right."
I turned back to Bob and Mayella, and briefly considered the next part of my statement, but it had to be said. "I have nothing but pity in my heart for the chief witness of the state. She is the victim of cruel poverty and ignorance." Especially ignorance. "But, that pity does not extend so far as to her putting a man's life at stake, which she has done in an effort to get rid of her own guilt. I say guilt gentlemen, because it was guilt that motivated her."
I was standing right in front of the Jury now, talking directly to them. "Granted, she's committed no crime, she has merely broken a rigid and time honored code of our society. A code so severe that anyone who breaks it is hounded from our midst, is unfit to live with. She must destroy the evidence of her offense."
I moved to stand next to Tom. "But, what was the evidence of her offence? Tom Robinson, a human being. She must put Tom Robinson away from her. Tom Robinson was to her a daily reminder of what she did. What did she do? She tempted a Negro, she was a white woman and she tempted a Negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable. She kissed a black man, a strong, young Negro man. No code mattered to her before she broke it."
I stared directly at Mayella, "But it came crashing down on her afterwards."
There were a few seconds of silence as I let everyone take this in. I figured that if the audience was as callous as the rest of our society, they would need some time to process it.
"The witnesses for the state, with the exception of the sheriff of Maycomb County, have presented themselves to this court with a cynical- confidence, that their testimony would not be doubted. Confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption, the evil assumption, that all Negros lie, that all Negros are basically immoral beings and that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women."
I shook my head, and waved a dismissive hand in the direction of Bob and Mayella. "It is an assumption that one usually associates with minds of their caliber, which is a lie in itself, gentlemen. I do not need to point that out to you."
I gave another silent treatment for them, staring at each of the twelve members of the jury individually, speaking directly to their faces. "And so, a quiet, humble, respectable Negro, who has had the unmitigated temerity, to feel sorry for a white woman, has had to put his word against two white people's." I spat the last two words out. "The defendant is not guilty! But somebody in this courtroom is."
I had decided to temporarily appeal to them from my point of view, hoping to abolish the thought that I was being abhorrent to the court or the system. "Gentlemen, in this county our courts are the great levelers. And in our courts all men are created equal. I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the courts and our jury system, that's no ideal to me, that is a living, working reality. I am confident that you gentlemen will review, without- passion, the evidence that you have heard, come to a decision, and restore this man to his family."
I tried to stop myself from saying what I said next. But if I had to gather everything I wanted to say to them and compact it into the least offensive thing, what I said would be the mildest. "In the name of God, do your duty."
The Jury was impassive.
"In the name of God, believe Tom Robinson."
I gave them all one long, final look, letting them all know what I thought using just my face and eyes alone. After I was done, I returned to sit back down next to my client.
The Jury was out for almost two hours. In a way, I was relieved. But I still had a persistent image in my head. I was sure that my speech had jolted them, but I doubted that it affected their inner prejudice. Perhaps they were all in that room, trying to reason with themselves and each other, lying to try to abolish their guilt and make it look like they tried hard to save Tom, when in reality they knew what they were going to do from the start.
The twelve members of the Jury had quickly shuffled in and taken their seats. Tom was brought out and sat next to me once again.
"The court's now in session, everybody rise."
Judge Taylor took his seat at his pedestal and everybody was seated again. "Gentlemen of the Jury, have you reached a verdict?"
"We have your honor." The head Juror replied.
Judge Taylor turned to Tom, "May the defendant rise to face the Jury."
Tom stood up.
"What is your verdict?" the judge asked.
"We find the defendant guilty as charged."
Just like that.
Just like that, I lost my confidence in the court system. Just like that I questioned what I was doing sitting here in front of these... men. Just like that the hypocrisy and lies had slapped me in the face where they once mockingly tickled. I had lost cases before, but never had I been so personally affected as to reconsider my whole life and what I was doing. I knew that the man standing next to me now was unlikely to survive another trial, but even as Judge Taylor dismissed the Jury and Tom was being taken away, I tried one last time to salvage what little hope remained.
"I'll go to see Helen first thing tomorrow morning," I said to Tom, "I told her not to be disappointed, we'd probably lose this one." I said that to myself as much as to him. But he didn't look at me, and he didn't respond.
He just stared at me. There was nothing on his face, pure nothingness; I could tell right away what he was thinking.
He'd given up, he'd stopped caring.
And that caused the last bit of hope in me to implode.
I just turned around, went back to my desk, and gathered up my things. There was nothing more for me to do here now.
I heard the sound of shuffling. And I concluded that the Negro balcony was being vacated, but as I stole a quick glance up, I noticed that they were all upstanding.
It was of no concern to me now however, I had failed, and that was all that mattered at the moment.
Looking back one more time at the empty Jury box, I walked down the aisle, and exited the courtroom.