فصل 14

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کتاب های فوق متوسط

36 کتاب | 481 فصل

فصل 14

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  • زمان مطالعه 20 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Guilty or Not Guilty?

The jury did not make a decision by seven o’clock and Judge Noose instructed them to go back to their hotel and return to the court at 9 a.m. the next day. Jake went back to Lucien’s house. He had no home, no wife, no law clerk, but at least he had some friends. Harry Rex joined them and they sat on the porch drinking beer and eating fried potatoes. They could only wait.

Jake had done everything he could.

At 9 a.m. the next day, the square in front of the courthouse was crowded again. Reverend Agee led his people as they shouted louder and louder, “Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee!” The Klan shouted back, “Fry Carl Lee!” but not as loudly as before. There seemed to be fewer of them today, and they did not seem so confident. Everyone had been talking about Jake’s final speech.

The jury arrived and began their discussion in the jury room. Jake and Harry Rex sat in the empty courtroom looking across at Buckley. By midday, there was still no decision but the crowds outside the courthouse were getting bigger. During lunch the ten thousand grew to fifteen thousand.

Carl Lee had been allowed to come into the courtroom and sit with Tonya and the others. At four o’clock, around the time when the jury had to report to the judge, they walked to one of the tall windows at the front of the courtroom. Carl Lee noticed a small handle. He turned it, and the windows swung open. Carl Lee looked at the deputy beside him and stepped forward. He held Tonya in the air and watched the crowd.

They saw him. They shouted his name and rushed to the building under him. Reverend Agee led the marchers off the street and across the square. A wave of black people pressed forward for a closer look at their man.

“Free Carl Lee!”

“Free Carl Lee!”

“Free Carl Lee!”

He waved at his people below him. He kissed his daughter and his sons. He waved and told the children to wave too. The crowd went wild.

Judge Noose asked to see the lawyers in his office. He was worried. Buckley was angry and wanted a new trial. He said that the jury could not make a fair decision with this crowd outside.

Jake laughed at him, and said that he had wanted the trial to be moved away from Clanton. It was too late now. Buckley then said that the jury should be moved to another place while they made up their minds. Jake brought out a pile of legal documents which showed that this could not be done. They had to finish this business in Clanton.

When the jury came in to report, apart from the reporters, the courtroom was solid black. The Klan had clearly decided it was not a good place to be. The jurors looked tired and unhappy.

“Have you made a decision?” Judge Noose asked.

“No, sir,” replied the head of the jury.

“Do you think you will be able to make a decision if you have more time?”

“We’ve talked about that, Your Honor. And we’d like to leave, get a good night’s rest, and try again tomorrow. We’re not ready to stop.”

Wednesday. For the first time in weeks, Jake slept more than eight hours. He had fallen asleep on the sofa in his office and he awoke at five to the sounds of the army getting ready for the worst. He had rested, but he could not stop thinking that this would probably be the big day. He showered and shaved downstairs. He then took a new shirt from its packet, and dressed himself in Lucien’s best dark blue suit. It was too short and a bit loose, but not a bad fit under the circumstances. He thought about his house on Adams Street and how Carla would feel.

For the first time in a week, he went across to the Coffee Shop for breakfast. The manager, Dell, greeted him like a lost child and came and sat next to him at a corner table. As the other customers arrived and saw him, they stopped and shook his hand. It was good to see him again. They had missed him, and they were on his side. He looked thin, Dell said, so he ordered most of the things on the menu. It felt good to be there.

He stayed for an hour and talked to people, then went across to his office. There was nothing to do except wait. He sat by the window, drank coffee, smoked a cigarette, and watched the soldiers. He thought about a quiet little Southern law office with a secretary and clients waiting to see him. Of normal things, like a family, a home, and church on Sunday mornings. Maybe he should leave these big cases to others.

When the jury arrived at 9 a.m. as usual, there were even more people than the day before. The jurors could see nothing but a sea of black faces when their bus stopped outside the court. They were scared.

In the jury room, Wanda Wornack stood at the end of the table and nervously asked for attention.

“I have a suggestion,” she said slowly, “that might help us decide this thing.”

Suddenly she had their complete attention.

“I thought of something last night when I couldn’t sleep, and I want you to think about it too. It may be painful. It may make you search your heart and take a long look at your soul. But I’ll ask you to do it anyway. And if each of you will be honest with yourself, I think we can finish before midday.”

The only sounds came from the street below.

“Good. This is what I want you to do. I want you to pretend with me for a moment. I want you to use your imaginations. I want you to close your eyes and listen to my voice and nothing else.”

They closed their eyes. They were ready to try anything.

At around eleven o’clock, the phone rang in Jake’s office. It rang again, and Lucien answered it. He listened, then put the phone down.

“What is it?” Harry Rex demanded.

Jake sat up and looked at Lucien. The moment had arrived.

“The jury is ready.”

“Oh my God,” Jake said.

“Listen to me, Jake,” said Lucien. “Stay calm. Be careful what you say.”

“That’s strange advice coming from you, Lucien,” Jake replied.

“I’ve learned a lot. If you win, be careful what you say to reporters. Make sure you thank the jury. If you lose …”

“If you lose,” Harry Rex said, “run as fast as you can, because those people out there will bring down the courthouse!”

“I feel weak,” said Jake.

When Jake entered the courtroom, Carl Lee was already there, sitting at the defense table. Gwen and Lester had tears in their eyes. The children were confused and scared.

Judge Noose came to his chair and sat down, and the courtroom became totally silent. There was no sound from the outside. Twenty thousand blacks knelt on the ground and prayed. There was perfect silence inside the courtroom and out.

The door from the jury room opened, and it seemed like an hour before the first juror came out with tears in her eyes. Jake dropped his head. Carl Lee looked ahead at a painting on the wall above Judge Noose’s seat. The jurors slowly took their places. They seemed scared. Most had been crying. Jake felt sick. The head of the jury held a piece of paper.

“Ladies and gentlemen, have you made your decision?”

“Yes sir, we have,” he answered quietly. His voice shook as he spoke.

“Hand it to the clerk, please.”

She took it and handed it to His Honor, who studied it.

“It is technically in order,” he finally said.

One juror was crying, the only sound in the courtroom. Other jurors held handkerchiefs to their eyes. The crying could mean only one thing to Jake.

Noose looked at Carl Lee.

“Will the defendant please rise.”

Jake’s client stood up slowly. Jake closed his eyes and stopped breathing. His hands shook and his stomach ached.

Noose handed the paper back to the clerk of the court.

“Please read it, Madam Clerk.”’

She unfolded it and faced the defendant.

“On each of the charges against him, we the jury find the defendant not guilty, by reason of insanity.”

The courtroom exploded. Carl Lee turned and ran to where his children were sitting. Tonya and the boys reached forward and held him. Gwen screamed and burst into tears. She buried her head in Lester’s arms. People stood on the seats and shouted “Praise the Lord!”

Jake felt nothing. His only movement was a weak smile in the direction of the jury. He wanted to cry, but just sat at the defense table trying to smile, unable to do anything else. From the corner of his eye he could see Buckley removing files and important- looking papers, and throwing them all into bags.

A boy ran between two deputies and out of the door, shouting “Not guilty! Not guilty!” to the crowd waiting outside.

Judge Noose looked at the lawyers. “If there is nothing else, this court will now close. As I have heard nothing to say that Mr. Hailey is now insane, he is free to leave this court.”

Carl Lee stood in the middle of his family. They had their arms around him, and everyone was crying and shouting “Praise the Lord.” They gathered round Jake and held him and said they loved him.

The reporters began firing questions at Jake. He held up his hands, and said he would make no comments now. But there would be a conference in his office at 2 p.m.

Buckley left through a side door. The jurors went back to the jury room to wait for the last bus ride to the hotel. The reporters crowded round Carl Lee.

“I just want to go home,” he said again and again. “I just want to go home.”

After the dancing in the square outside the courthouse had ended, after the thousands of happy supporters had all gone home, Jake, Harry Rex, and Lucien went to Lucien’s house and ate a mountain of pork and vegetables.

“You look very silly,” Harry Rex said to Jake.

“Shut up, Harry Rex,” Lucien said. “Let him enjoy his finest hour.”

“He’s enjoying it. Look at that smile.”

“What should I tell reporters?” Jake asked.

“Tell them you need some clients,” Harry Rex said.

“Clients will be no problem,” Lucien said. “They’ll be waiting on the sidewalks asking to meet you.”

They drove back into town in Harry Rex’s old Ford. As they passed a row of houses on the right, Jake asked him to stop. Harry Rex pulled off the road and parked under a tree. Jake got out, looked around the front yard, and walked onto the porch. He knocked on the door.

A man asked who was there.

“I’m Jake Brigance, and …”

The door flew open and the man came out and took Jake’s hand.

“Nice to meet you, Jake. I’m Mack Loyd Crowell. You’ve done a good job. I’m proud to meet you.”

Jake shook his hand.

“You looking for Wanda?” Crowell asked.

“Well, yes. I was just passing, and I remembered her address from the jury research.”

“You’ve come to the right place. She lives here, and I do too most of the time. We ain’t married, but we go together. She’s lying down resting. She’s pretty tired.”

“Don’t wake her,” Jake said.

“She told me what happened. She won it for you.”

“How? What happened?”

“She made them all close their eyes and listen to her. She told them to pretend that the little girl had blond hair and blue eyes, that the two rapists were black, that they tied her right foot to a tree and her left foot to a fence post, that they raped her repeatedly and swore at her because she was white. She told them to picture the little girl lying there, begging for her daddy while they kicked her in the mouth and knocked out her teeth, broke both jaws, broke her nose. She made them imagine two drunk blacks pouring beer on her like that and laughing. And then she told them to imagine that the little girl belonged to them - their daughter. She told them to be honest with themselves and to write on a piece of paper whether or not they would kill those men if they got the chance. And they voted on it. All twelve said they would do the killing. Twelve to zero. Wanda said she’d sit in that jury room until Christmas before she’d vote that Carl Lee was guilty, and if they were honest with themselves, then they ought to feel the same way. They agreed with her.”

Jake listened to every word without breathing. He heard a noise. Wanda Wornack walked to the screen door. She smiled at him and began crying. He looked at her but could not talk. She wiped her eyes and looked at him, and shook the hand he held out to her.

A hundred cars were parked east and west of the Hailey house. The long front yard was packed with vehicles, children playing, and parents sitting under trees. Harry Rex parked and a crowd rushed to greet Carl Lee’s lawyer. Lester held him and said, “You’ve done it again!”

Carl Lee came out and they shook hands and smiled at each other, both searching for words. They put their arms round each other. The crowd clapped and shouted.

“Thank you, Jake,” Carl Lee said softly.

At two-thirty, Jake sat at his desk and talked to Carla on the phone, while Lucien and Harry Rex drank beer. He told his wife he would leave in three hours and be in North Carolina tomorrow. Yes, he was fine, he said. Everything was OK. It was all finished. There was a crowd of reporters in his conference room, so she shouldn’t miss the evening news. He said he loved her.

Tomorrow, he’d call Ellen.

“Why are you leaving?” Lucien demanded.

“You’re stupid, Jake, just stupid,” Harry Rex shouted. “You’ve got a thousand reporters waiting for you and you’re leaving town. Stupid, just stupid.”

Jake stood up. “How do I look?”

“Pretty stupid if you leave,” Harry Rex said.

“Wait for a couple of days,” Lucien said. “This is an opportunity you’ll never have again. Please, Jake.”

“Relax. I’m going to meet them now, let them take my picture, answer a few questions. Then I’m leaving town. I’ve got to talk to my wife. I’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”

“You’re crazy, Jake,” Harry Rex said.

“I agree!” said Lucien.

Jake looked in the mirror, straightened his borrowed tie, and smiled at his friends.

“I love you two. I really do. And hey! I got paid nine hundred dollars for this trial, and I plan to share it with you.”

They emptied the last cans of beer and followed Jake Brigance down the stairs to face the reporters.

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