Dream of: 07 July 1997 "The Most Appropriate Word"

Just as Carolina and I were leaving a restaurant, a man stepped in front of me and blocked my path. A scuffle ensued and I ended up hitting the man several times. After I had succeeded in clearing our path, we left the restaurant and went home.

Once we arrived at the house where we were living, I picked up a newspaper which had just arrived. I was shocked to see, in large headlines on the front page, my name, "Collier", and that I was being sought by the police in connection with the fight at the restaurant. I also saw that the second part of the newspaper had a similar headline as a continuation of the story. I looked at my watch and saw that it was 6:20. We had left the restaurant at 5:20, so that meant the story had been written in less than a hour. As I glanced over the story, I saw several inaccuracies which tended to put the blame for the fight on me. I was quite angry that the reporter who had written the story couldn't even get the facts right. But I was mostly concerned that the police would arrive any moment to arrest me. I figured the police had already been to the house and had left when they had found that I wasn't here. But now they would probably return at any time. I might be able to hold out in the house; maybe the police wouldn't force their way in. But then I realized they would probably have an arrest warrant and therefore be able to enter the house to search for me.

I needed to find somewhere to go. I thought about simply turning myself in. But I disliked that idea because I was unsure I would have enough money for bail. The bail would probably be around $100,000. If I hired a bailbondsman I would probably have to put up $10,000. I would never get that money back. And I really didn't want to pay $10,000 for a crime I didn't commit. It seemed obvious to me that if I would have a trial I would win. My obvious defense was self defense and I felt sure I would be able to prove my case. But I would still be losing the $10,000 and I didn't want to do that.

***

I was still trying to figure out what to do. I had come to the courthouse and was now walking around the halls on one of the upper stories. I ran into several women whom I knew to be lawyers and I began talking with one, a slightly plump black woman dressed in her beige suit. I began telling her of my case, and finally I asked her if she could do me a big favor and call the police to find out how much my bail was. I didn't want to call them myself. She indicated she might be willing to make the call, but first she asked me if I would give her a kiss. I really didn't want to kiss her, but I so much wanted to know what my bail was, I bent my head toward her and kissed her on the lips, barely opening my mouth. The kiss only lasted a few seconds and when we stopped she turned and headed toward a telephone on the wall.

***

I was in the courtroom where my case was being handled. I had finally decided to confront the matter head on. I was surprised to see that many people who knew me had shown up in the courtroom to support me. I was surprised to see Wheat there, nattily dressed in a gray suit. I knew Wheat and I hadn't seen each other in a long while after we had fallen out. I approached him and patted him on the shoulder, expressing my gratitude that he had come to support me. For an instant I thought I might ask him to defend me. But then I decided that even though I was grateful that he had come, I wasn't particularly impressed by his skill as a lawyer, and I should seek someone in whom I had more confidence. And that was my task at the moment – to find a good lawyer to defend me. However I soon found that task already taken care of. A female lawyer who resembled Claire Kincaid (the name of the character of a female prosecutor played by the actress Jill Hennessy in the television series "Law and Order") had been appointed as my attorney. I was pleased to learn this. I was quite impressed by her skills and I thought she would do a good job.

She stepped up to the judge's bench and I stepped up with her. The judge was a black-haired man (not more than 40 years old). I might have met him before but I couldn't place him. Since I was also a lawyer, I felt as if I was allowed to step up to the bench. The issue we would first discuss would be my bail. But I was still upset about the idea of posting bail because I knew it was going to cost me a lot of money. So I interjected that I would be willing to have the trial right now. It seemed my case had become a cause celebre and therefore it might be possible to move the case up to the present. Besides, having the trial now would be a good tactic because it might be difficult for the other side to quickly produce the evidence against me. However I was surprised when the judge said that if that was what I wanted, the trial would begin immediately. I didn't even consult my lawyer but told the judge that that was what I wanted. I also told him that I wanted to present my own defense and he agreed to that. I was glad I had a good lawyer, but I felt confident that I could best handle the case myself, and she receded into the background.

As people began shuffling around the courtroom in anticipation of the case beginning, I looked around to get my bearing. I saw the jury box and realized I would need to focus on that. I needed to figure out where to stand in the courtroom in order to have the best use of the jury box.

***

Trial argument had begun in front of the judge. A verbal free-for-all went on for about an hour, with me, the other side and the judge all arguing vigorously with each other. There were no rules or niceties, just each side arguing and screaming at each other. The judge finally conceded that there was no evidence against me. I repeated the phrase "no evidence" over and over in my arguments. But the judge seemed to think the trial could proceed even without evidence. I was frustrated and bewildered. The idea that the judge thought it might be possible to convict me without any evidence seemed to go against everything I understood about the justice system. Nevertheless none of my arguments moved him, and he was ready for the trial to proceed. In a short lull I spoke to someone on the side of the room, and said that the word I most wanted to use in my arguments was "fuck" to express my distaste for the whole affair. I could think of a variety of different ways to employ the word. But I knew I needed to refrain from the use of that particular word, and just try to argue my case the best I could without it.

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