The judge has returned to the courthouse and the community has reassembled inside. No one is standing while the judge makes his way to the desk. Hear ye, hear ye, Bizarro Court is now in session. The judge asks if the jury has reached a verdict. Charles is slow to rise as he mentions that they have not reached a verdict on both counts. Murmuring ensues. After restoring order, the judge asks what the jury has accomplished. They reached a guilty verdict on the assault charge, which should come as no surprise to Larabee who admitted he hit Andy, but he still makes a face that looks like this :-( only with more grizzle and bigotry. The jury is still deadlocked on the barn burning verdict, causing Larabee to smirk. He smiles at Matt, but Matt looks like he wants to gut the defendant.
The gallery is all abuzz with the latest developments, so the judge threatens to clear them out if they don’t quiet down. He asks what the breakdown of votes is and Charles reports 11 guilty 1 not guilty. Is Henry Fonda on the jury? The judge thinks for a moment before saying “may I ask the identity of the dissenter?” No, your honor, I don’t think you may. Before anyone can call for a mistrial, Joe Kagan speaks up and says he is the one. Larabee is just as surprised as the gallery as he looks over at Matt, who still wants to do awful things to Larabee. The judge restores order once again before making his next statement. “Mr. Kagan as a member of the colored race you’re pretty much accepted in this community?” Kagan says he is, causing the judge to conclude that “in my experience you’re the first negro to serve in judgment on a white man, perhaps it’s all gone to your head.” God forbid the use of jury nullification in this kangaroo court.
OH! And then the judge continues to suggest that Kagan’s gone totally drunk with power and is acting completely irrationally. Kagan coolly explains that he doesn’t like Larabee any more than anyone else in the courtroom but that even though there is probable cause that Larabee started the fire, no one saw him do it. How DARE you bring reasonable doubt into the jury room, Mr. Kagan?! Seriously, what sort of screwed up legal code is this judge operating under? He asks if Kagan could possibly be dissuaded from his stance, but Kagan says no way. Justice Bullshit decides that the only sensible thing would be to excuse Joe Kagan from the jury and replace him with someone who will provide a twelfth guilty verdict so that the judge can get to his four o’clock golf game. Charles and Doc Baker exchange a “WTF?” glance, but don’t intervene, probably for fear of being banished to some foreign country or thrown into a well.
Joe Kagan agrees to being excused, but decides to make a speech first. The judge says that Kagan already had his say, which is bullshit. Before things get ugly, Reverend Alden rises and asks for Kagan to speak. The judge agrees to let Kagan speak but not to waste any time. Kagan then makes a speech about how the Larabees in the world need to get with the times and get over their hate. Also, even though Mr. Larabee is a despicable person, he should be treated equally under the law as everyone else, regardless of personality or skin color. Yay equal protection arguments! Kagan goes on to equate convicting a man unfairly with lynching, which makes me wonder what white guy wrote this script. Seriously, those two concepts are not on equal footing. That’s like equating the Holocaust with a fender bender. Hester-Sue is in the gallery and is moved by Kagan’s words, so perhaps I’m just being overly critical.
Everyone in the gallery seems to be taking Joe Kagan’s words to heart, but the judge still excuses the juror. He walks towards the back of the gallery and puts his hand on Hester-Sue’s shoulder. Charles selects another juror. As the new juror takes his seat, the judge says “since we already have eleven guilty verdicts, it would save time and trouble if you simply announced what yours is.” Are you kidding me? Charles? Reverend Alden? Nels? Why is everyone sitting on their hands about this bullshit process? “No,” a voice cries out. Finally! It’s Andy, who walks up to the front saying that there was something he didn’t say in his testimony. “Young man,” Justice Bullshit says, “anything you have to say must be considered irrelevant unless you...lied in your testimony.” Andy is all “What?” before explaining that he might have caused the fire. Andy explains that he left a lantern on the corral post the night of the fire and the wind might have knocked it over after he left. Larabee jumps on this and says that the fire must have happened that way. Justice Bullshit asks if Andy found the lantern, and the kid said he found it in the ashes. Andy goes on to say he held back on this testimony because he wanted Larabee to be punished, but Kagan’s words taught him that justice is more important than vengeance. It takes a while for the judge to process that concept, but he eventually allows it. Andy rejoins his Pa in the gallery.
The judge asks Larabee to rise. Now that Andy has presented his full story, reasonable doubt now exists beyond a reasonable doubt (NOT the standard of measurement, I might add) that Larabee did not cause the fire. For the assault charge, Larabee has to pay Jonathan Garvey the amount his crop would have sold for at the original co-op price. Larabee says “no fair!” which really ticks off Justice Bullshit. He warns Larabee that the sentencing phase isn’t over, so he should use any further objections very carefully. Larabee shuts up, and with that the court is adjourned.
As the gallery clears out, Mrs. Larabee and her sons are pondering over what just transpired. They eventually get up and leave while Larabee remains standing in the front of room. Mrs. Larabee turns to look at her soon to be estranged husband. He turns back and decides to take the high road. “I didn’t need no nigger defending me! I didn’t need nobody!” I guess the high road is closed for repairs.
New Laura Ingalls Wilder Themed Books Coming This Fall - *COMING IN SEPTEMBER* *A must-read companion to the Little House books* 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthday. Her beloved Lit...
2 months ago