بخش 02

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بخش 02

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی فصل

KING

Yeah, well, you know, I found where the payday is. You know what I mean?

STEVE

Yeah, I guess.

KING

You guess? What you guessing about when I’m so flat I ain’t got enough money to buy a can of beer? I need to put together a payroll crew. Get my pockets fat. F-A-T. I talked to Bobo and he’s down, but Bobo liable not to show. When he shows, he shows correct but sometime he act like a spaceman or something.

STEVE

Bobo’s not Einstein.

KING

Whatever. You don’t have to be no Einstein to get paid. All you got to have is the heart. You got the heart?

STEVE

For what?

KING

To get paid. I got a sure getover. You know that drugstore got burned out that time? They got it all fixed up now. Drugstores always keep some money.

STEVE

That’s what Bobo said?

KING

Yeah. All we need is a lookout. You know, check the place out—make sure ain’t no badges copping some z’s in the back. You down for it?

CUT TO: CU of STEVE looking away.

CUT TO: CU of KING.

KING

So, what it is?

This phrase is repeated as the camera moves farther and farther away, growing louder and louder as STEVE and KING become tiny figures in the bustling mosaic of Harlem.

Sunday, July 12th

They had scrambled eggs, potatoes, and corned beef hash for breakfast. A lot of guys don’t go to breakfast on Sunday, and the ones that do can just about eat as much as they want. The guy behind the steam table put a lot of food on my plate and gave me a smile. In here you don’t smile back at people who smile at you, so I just walked away.

They had church services and I went. There were only 9 guys in the service, and 2 of them got into a fight. It was a vicious fight and the minister called the guards. They came in and started saying things like “Break it up” and “Okay, back off.” But they said it in this calm voice as if nothing was really going on and they didn’t care if the two guys were fighting or not.

We got locked down because of the fight and we were told we had to stay in our cells until 1 o’clock. One o’clock is when the visiting hours start on Sundays.

In the cell we played bid whist and another fight almost started when one of the guys thought somebody had dissed him.

I think I finally understand why there are so many fights. In here all you have going for you is the little surface stuff, how people look at you and what they say. And if that’s all you have, then you have to protect that. Maybe that’s right.

When we got out, most of the guys drifted into the recreation area, and somebody put the television on. There was a baseball game on but it didn’t look real. It was guys in uniforms playing games on a deep green field. They were playing baseball as if baseball was important and as if all the world wasn’t in jail, watching them from a completely different world. The world I came from, where I had my family around me and friends and kids I went to school with and even teachers, seemed so far away.

I looked down in the street from the corridor leading to the recreation room. Downtown New York was almost empty on Sundays. The thousands of people who streamed through the streets on weekdays were away in their homes. I was looking for Jerry. They didn’t allow kids in the visiting area, which was funny. It was funny because if I wasn’t locked up, I wouldn’t be allowed to come into the visiting room.

At a quarter past one, some women were down in the streets calling up to other women. Then I saw my parents and Jerry.

Jerry was tiny in the street, standing on the corner. The window was screened and I knew he couldn’t see me, but I raised my hand anyway and waved to him. I wanted to tell Jerry that I loved him. I also wanted to tell him that my heart was not greatly rejoicing, and I was not singing praises.

My parents came, one at a time, and they were both upbeat and full of news about the neighborhood and about Jerry.

“Did you see him down in the street?” Mama asked.

I told her yes and tried to smile with her. Her eyes were smiling but her voice cracked. In a way I think she was mourning me as if I were dead.

They left and there was still too much Sunday left in my life.

I looked over the movie again. I need it more and more. The movie is more real in so many ways than the life I am leading. No, that’s not true. I just desperately wish this was only a movie.

Monday is the State’s case. This is what Miss O’Brien said. Monday they bring out their star witnesses.

Monday, July 13th

FADE IN: INTERIOR: COURTROOM. There is a feeling of expectation in the air. PETROCELLI, BRIGGS, and O’BRIEN are talking to the JUDGE. PETROCELLI makes a joke and O’BRIEN laughs briefly. They return to their respective tables and the JUDGE nods to the COURT STENOGRAPHER, who straightens up, ready to take down the day’s proceedings.

PETROCELLI

The State calls Lorelle Henry.

Camera swings to the rear of the COURTROOM. An Assistant District Attorney ushers in LORELLE HENRY. The diminutive 58-year-old retired school librarian is neatly dressed. She was once a beautiful woman and is still quite attractive, looking far younger than her stated age. She moves with grace to the witness stand, avoiding looking at either the jury or the defendants.

PETROCELLI

Mrs. Henry, do you remember an incident that occurred last December in Harlem?

HENRY

Yes, I do.

PETROCELLI

Can you tell us about that incident?

HENRY

My granddaughter had a cold. It was just a few days before Christmas and I didn’t want it to ruin her Christmas. I had taken her to Harlem Hospital and they said it wasn’t serious, but she was still coughing. I went into the drugstore to look for some cough medicine. I was looking over the medicines, trying to figure out which would be best for her, when I heard someone arguing.

PETROCELLI

Do you know what the argument was about?

HENRY

No, I don’t.

PETROCELLI

Then what happened?

HENRY

The store owner, Mr. Nesbitt, came over to see what the argument was about, and I heard one of the men who was involved in the argument say to him—ask him where the money was.

PETROCELLI

How sure are you that this is what he said?

HENRY (nervously)

Not that sure. It’s what I think I heard.

PETROCELLI

And what did you see during this time?

HENRY

I saw two young men engaged in an argument. Then I saw one of them grab the drugstore owner by the collar. (She grabs her own collar to demonstrate.) PETROCELLI

And then what did you do?

HENRY

And then I left the store as quickly as I could. I thought there might be trouble.

PETROCELLI

Mrs. Henry, do you recognize anyone present today in this courtroom who was also in the drugstore on the day to which you are referring?

HENRY

The gentleman sitting at that table was one of the men arguing. (She points to KING.) PETROCELLI

Let the record show that Mrs. Henry has indicated that the defendant, James King, was one of the men she saw in the drugstore on that day. Mrs. Henry, do you remember the day you witnessed the incident at the drugstore?

HENRY

The 22nd of December. It was a Monday. I didn’t want Tracy—that’s my granddaughter—missing too much school. I thought if she could get through the next day or so, she would be all right because of the Christmas break.

PETROCELLI

Thank you. Nothing further.

CUT TO: BRIGGS at podium.

BRIGGS

Mrs. Henry, did you have occasion to see some photographs of Mr. King?

HENRY

Yes, I did. At the police station.

BRIGGS

You heard about the robbery and the death of Mr. Nesbitt and you went to the police; is that correct?

HENRY

That’s correct.

BRIGGS

And the police showed you a series of pictures—would you say a thousand pictures?

HENRY

A thousand? No, maybe 30 to 40.

BRIGGS

Maybe 20?

HENRY

I think more than 20.

BRIGGS

Would you say 27?

HENRY

I couldn’t say for sure.

BRIGGS

So the truth is that the police showed you a few photographs and asked you to cooperate with them in finding a killer. Is that correct?

HENRY

More or less.

BRIGGS

More or less? Well, I want to get to the truth of this matter, Mrs. Henry. The police did show you the pictures, and they were looking for your cooperation in finding a killer? Is that correct?

HENRY

Yes.

BRIGGS

Mrs. Henry, while you were looking over the pictures, were there moments of hesitation? Were there moments when you weren’t quite sure, or did you recognize Mr. King as soon as you saw his picture?

HENRY

I didn’t recognize him at first, but then I did—the pictures look different than he does in person.

BRIGGS

So how did you recognize him if he looks different in person than he does in the photographs?

HENRY

I finally recognized him. And when I see him now, I recognize him.

BRIGGS

Mrs. Henry, were you ever given a description of Mr. King? Ever told how much he weighed or how tall he was?

HENRY

No, I was not.

BRIGGS

You said that someone said something about Mr. Nesbitt showing them where the money was, is that correct?

HENRY

That’s correct.

BRIGGS

Do you remember who said that? Was it the man you think was Mr. King?

HENRY

I don’t know.

BRIGGS

You testified in a pretrial hearing that you had some trouble testifying that Mr. King was involved in this event, is that correct?

HENRY

I have trouble testifying against a Black man, if that’s what you mean.

BRIGGS

But somehow you don’t have trouble identifying Mr. King at this time; isn’t that so?

HENRY

I think I’m doing the right thing. I think I’m identifying the right man.

BRIGGS

Did you ever identify Mr. King in a lineup?

HENRY

Yes, I did.

BRIGGS

Was that before or after you saw the photographs?

HENRY

That was after I saw the photographs.

BRIGGS

And how many men were in the lineup?

HENRY

I believe there were 6.

BRIGGS

Six. Only 6. Nothing further.

CUT TO: O’BRIEN sitting at the table. She looks up toward the judge and shakes her head.

O’BRIEN

No questions, Your Honor.

CUT TO: PETROCELLI.

PETROCELLI

Is there any question in your mind that the man you identified from photographs is the same man who sits at this table?

HENRY

No, there is not.

PETROCELLI

Thank you. Nothing further.

MS of BRIGGS, his ASSOCIATE, and JAMES KING.

BRIGGS (to KING)

When this guy gets on the stand, I want you to take notes. Just write down any questions you want us to ask him.

KING

Like what?

BRIGGS

Don’t worry about it. We just need the jury to know we’re challenging this guy.

PETROCELLI

Richard “Bobo” Evans, your honor.

Camera pans to side of COURTROOM, where a COURT OFFICER opens the door and leans out. He holds the door open until RICHARD “BOBO” EVANS enters. He is a big man, heavy, and ugly. His hair is uncombed, and his orange prison jump-suit is wrinkled.

BRIGGS

Your honor, could we have a sidebar?

BRIGGS, O’BRIEN, PETROCELLI and COURT STENOGRAPHER go to side of JUDGE’s bench, where they speak in whispers.

BRIGGS

Why is he dressed in a prison uniform? The prosecution is going to try to connect him to my client. With him in prison gear, that prejudices my client.

PETROCELLI

He refused to put on a suit. We made the offer.

BRIGGS

It’s still prejudicial.

JUDGE

To tell you the truth, I don’t think it’s going to make that much of a difference. This guy looks like a basket case and he’s going to act like one. I don’t want to hold the case up while you convince this guy to wear a suit. Let’s get on with the case.

BRIGGS

I’d like to establish the objection.

JUDGE

Okay, and I’ll overrule it. Let’s get going.

They return to their respective previous positions with PETROCELLI at the podium.

PETROCELLI

Please state your full name.

BOBO

Richard Evans.

PETROCELLI

Mr. Evans, how old are you?

BOBO

Twenty-two.

PETROCELLI

And are you sometimes known by another name? A nickname or tag?

BOBO

They call me Bobo.

PETROCELLI

Now, Mr. Evans, do you know the people who are seated at these two tables, Mr. Steven Harmon and Mr. James King?

BOBO

Yeah, I know them.

PETROCELLI

How long have you known them?

BOBO

I been knowing King all my life. I just met the other guy before the robbery went down.

PETROCELLI

Before we go any further, Mr. Evans, I notice that you are wearing a prison uniform. What is your current status?

BOBO

I’m doing a heavy and a half up at Greenhaven.

PETROCELLI

Will you explain to the jury what a heavy and a half is?

BOBO

Seven and a half to 10 years.

PETROCELLI

And what are you doing the time for?

BOBO

Selling drugs.

PETROCELLI

And you’ve been arrested before?

BOBO

I been arrested for (Hesitates.)…breaking and entering, grand theft auto, and one time for taking a car radio and one time for fighting a guy what died.

PETROCELLI

So the arrest for fighting a guy that died was manslaughter, is that right?

BOBO

Yeah. I got three years.

PETROCELLI

I think the record will show you got 5 to 10 years and served 3. Is that correct?

BOBO

Whatever.

PETROCELLI

Mr. Evans, can you tell me what happened on the 22nd of December of last year?

BOBO

Me and King planned out a getover and we done it.

PETROCELLI

Can you explain to the jury what this particular “getover” was.

BOBO

We hit a drugstore.

PETROCELLI

Can you tell me as much as you can about the plan and about what actually happened?

BOBO

We went over to the place and sat down on a car outside. Then we got the sign from him— PETROCELLI

Let the record show that Mr. Evans is pointing toward Mr. Harmon. Go on.

O’BRIEN

Objection!

JUDGE

Sustained. Is he identifying him or not?

PETROCELLI

Can you identify the man from whom you got the sign that everything was all right?

BOBO

That’s him, sitting next to the woman with the red hair.

PETROCELLI

Let the record show that Mr. Evans is identifying Mr. Harmon. Go on.

BOBO

So we got the sign that everything was cool. King took a hit on some crank we had and then we went in. We started a beef with the dude behind the counter. He came up with a chrome and started shouting and stuff.

PETROCELLI

A chrome?

BOBO

Yeah. A gun. Anyway, King was trying to get the gun from him and I was going for the money. Then I heard the gun go off. I looked over and saw the guy falling down and King was holding the chrome. We grabbed what we wanted and split. That was it.

PETROCELLI

What else did you grab besides the money?

BOBO

We took some cigarettes and left.

PETROCELLI

Then what did you do?

BOBO

Then we went down to that chicken joint over Lenox Avenue, across from the bridge. We got some fried chicken and some wedgies and some sodas.

PETROCELLI

Who was with you at this time?

BOBO

Just me and King.

PETROCELLI

When did you find out that Mr. Nesbitt, the drugstore owner, was dead?

BOBO

The word was in the street that night.

PETROCELLI

What happened to the money you got from the robbery?

BOBO

Like I said, we spent some of it on fried chicken and wedgies. Then me and King split the rest.

PETROCELLI

You indicated that Mr. Harmon gave you the all-clear signal so you could proceed with the robbery, is that right?

BOBO

Yeah.

PETROCELLI

And was he to get part of the money?

O’BRIEN

Objection! If Miss Petrocelli wants to testify in—

JUDGE

Sustained! Sustained! Let’s not get carried away. Rephrase the question.

PETROCELLI

Was anybody else to share in the money?

BOBO

The little Puerto Rican boy was supposed to get a taste and King’s friend was supposed to get a taste.

PETROCELLI

You said that you received a sign from Mr. Harmon. Can you tell me what that sign was?

BOBO

He was supposed to tell us if there was anybody in the drugstore. He didn’t say nothing so we figured it was all right.

PETROCELLI

And you definitely saw Mr. Harmon coming from the drugstore, as planned?

BOBO

Right.

PETROCELLI

As far as you know, was the shooting of Mr. Nesbitt accidental?

BOBO

I asked King what happened, and he said he had to light him up because he was trying to muscle him. He was an old man, but he was strong like some of them old West Indian brothers. You know what I mean?

PETROCELLI

Can you tell me how it was that you were arrested?

BOBO (embarrassed)

I sold the cigarettes to this guy—his name is Bolden, Golden—something like that. Then he sold some to a white boy and then the white boy dropped a dime on him and he dropped it on me. Once it got going it was 4-1-1, 9-1-1, 7-1-1, I guess they was dropping dimes with 800 numbers, too. Then the cops came and started talking to me. I said I didn’t know nothing about it, but then I got busted on a humble and went down.

PETROCELLI

Can you explain to the jury how you were busted?

BOBO

Man, this lame-looking brother with an attaché case come up to me and said he wanted to cop some rocks. I was so knocked out by this bourgie dude asking for crack that I slept the real deal. I laid the rocks on him and he slapped the cuffs on me. Cops don’t usually show lame. That was definitely not correct.

JUDGE

He carried an attaché case?

BOBO

Can you believe that crap?

PETROCELLI

Mr. Evans, you were promised a deal for your testimony. Can you tell us what that deal is?

BOBO

If I tell what happened, the truth, then I can cop a plea to a lesser charge and pull 10 to 15.

PETROCELLI

Are you telling the truth today?

BOBO

Yeah.

PETROCELLI

Nothing further.

CUT TO: ASA BRIGGS. He shuffles through some papers, nods approvingly, and then approaches the podium from which he will question BOBO.

BRIGGS

Mr. Evans, you admit that you were in the drugstore, is that correct?

BOBO

Yeah.

BRIGGS

You also admit that you were in the drugstore to commit a felony. Is that correct?

BOBO

Yeah.

BRIGGS

So you were in the drugstore, committing a felony—the felony in this case being robbery—and during the commission of that felony a man was killed?

BOBO

Yeah.

BRIGGS

So by your own admission, under New York State law you are guilty of felony murder, for which the possible penalty is 25 years to life without parole?

BOBO

So?

BRIGGS

And you haven’t been tried for this crime yet. So if you ever want to walk the streets again, you had better find somebody to take the weight. Isn’t that correct?

BOBO

What you saying? Am I trying to cop a plea? I just told you I was trying to cop.

BRIGGS

And we know who you are, don’t we? You’re the dope dealer and the thief who could see a man killed and then go over to a fast-food place and have a nice meal. That’s who you are, right?

BOBO

I didn’t have nothing to eat all day.

BRIGGS

So after you killed Mr. Nesbitt—

BOBO

I didn’t kill him.

BRIGGS

As far as this jury knows, you are the only man who admits being in the drugstore when Mr. Nesbitt was killed. You admitted to planning the robbery. You also admitted to taking the cigarettes, and you admitted to being there when Mr. Nesbitt was lying on the floor of the store he had worked so hard for. But now you blame somebody else for the killing to get a break for yourself, isn’t that right?

BOBO

I think King was high or he wouldn’t have shot the dude. He didn’t have to shoot him. He’s the cause of me being in this mess.

BRIGGS

Not you? You didn’t want to do the stickup?

BOBO

Man, later for you.

BRIGGS

Nothing further.

JUDGE

Miss O’Brien?

O’BRIEN (from her chair)

Mr. Evans, when did you have a conversation with Mr. Harmon about this robbery?

PETROCELLI (smiling)

Perhaps counsel wants to approach the podium?

O’BRIEN stands and goes slowly to the podium, looking at her notes.

BOBO

I didn’t have a conversation with him. He’s King’s friend.

O’BRIEN

So let me get this straight. What was Mr. Harmon supposed to do if there were cops in the drugstore?

BOBO

Give us a signal.

O’BRIEN

And what was that signal to be?

BOBO

Something to let us know there were cops in there.

O’BRIEN

And if there were no cops in there, what was he supposed to do?

BOBO

I don’t know.

O’BRIEN

You said you planned the robbery with Mr. King. Didn’t he tell you?

BOBO

I thought King had it hooked up. He told me he had everything straight.

O’BRIEN

You testified that you did not have a gun when you entered the drugstore. Is that correct?

BOBO

Right.

O’BRIEN

How did you know—how do you know now—that the gun that was used was not brought into the drugstore by whoever it was you were with?

BOBO

King said he didn’t have no gun.

O’BRIEN

So you’re relying pretty much on what you’ve been told about this robbery. Is that correct?

BOBO

’Cept what I seen.

O’BRIEN

And what you saw was when you were actually involved in the holdup?

BOBO

That’s right.

O’BRIEN

Did you ever talk to Osvaldo?

BOBO

I said a few words to him.

O’BRIEN

You told him that he had better participate in the crime or you would hurt him?

BOBO

He wanted in.

O’BRIEN

But he testified that the only reason he was involved in this stickup was that he was afraid of you.

BOBO

I wouldn’t bring anybody into a serious jam unless they wanted to be there. You can’t rely on nobody that don’t want to be there.

O’BRIEN

When you were in the drugstore—and you have admitted being there—did you see anyone else in the store?

BOBO

I didn’t see the lady.

O’BRIEN

But you know now that a lady was in the store. Is that correct?

BOBO

Yeah.

O’BRIEN

How did you find that out, from Mr. King?

BOBO

Detective told me.

O’BRIEN

King told you about the plans, or what he wanted you to know of them. The police told you about the witness. Are you sure you were there?

BOBO

I told you I was there.

O’BRIEN

As a matter of fact, your deal depends on your admitting you were there, doesn’t it, Mr. Evans?

BOBO

Yeah.

O’BRIEN

Did you talk to Osvaldo after the stickup?

BOBO

No.

O’BRIEN

Did you talk to Mr. Harmon?

BOBO

No.

O’BRIEN

How about the money? Weren’t you supposed to split the money up?

BOBO

When we found out the guy was dead, we decided to lay low.

O’BRIEN

Who is the “we” who decided to lay low?

BOBO

Me and King.

O’BRIEN

Thank you; nothing further.

CUT TO: PETROCELLI, adjusting her glasses.

PETROCELLI

Prior to the robbery, just before the robbery, what were you and Mr. King doing?

BOBO

Just before we went in?

PETROCELLI

Yes, just before you went in, what were you doing?

BOBO

Waiting for him to come out.

PETROCELLI

Who are you referring to when you say “him”?

BOBO

Him, that guy sitting over there.

PETROCELLI

Let the record show that Mr. Evans is referring to Steve Harmon. Nothing further.

O’BRIEN

(Stands quickly.) But you had not spoken to Mr. Harmon prior to the stickup?

BOBO

Naw.

O’BRIEN

And you didn’t speak to him after the stickup or split any money with him?

BOBO

I told you we decided to lay low. We would have given him his cut later when things cooled down.

O’BRIEN

Did that time ever come?

BOBO

I don’t know what King did.

O’BRIEN

But as far as you know, there was no money given to Mr. Harmon.

BOBO

I don’t know what King done.

O’BRIEN

Nothing further.

CUT TO: MS of JURORS from STEVE’s point of view (POV). One JUROR, a middle-aged man, looks directly toward the camera for a long time. The camera then moves away as if STEVE has turned away from the accusing stare.

PETROCELLI

The people rest.

FADE OUT.

FADE IN: Concentric colorful circles and hurdy-gurdy music: A hustling, bustling CARTOON CITY comes alive on the screen. Then a small CARTOON MAN, dressed in an old-fashioned night-gown, looks out of his window.

CARTOON MAN (shouting)

The people rest!

On-screen all CARTOON CHARACTERS stop, cars screech to a stop, and then everybody sleeps. The people are resting.

CUT TO: INTERIOR: COURTROOM.

JUDGE

I’ll take motions this afternoon after lunch. The defense can start its case the first thing in the morning. It’s a nice day out, and we’ll adjourn and give the jury the rest of the day off unless somebody has an objection.

We see the JURY leave, then the various parties leave in turn. We see MRS. HARMON come over and talk to O’BRIEN. STEVE’s MOTHER is disturbed as a COURT OFFICER comes over and stands near STEVE.

FADE OUT.

Tuesday, July 14th

Miss O’Brien came to see me this afternoon. She looked tired. She said that Bobo’s testimony hurt us a lot and that she had to find a way to separate me from King, but King’s lawyer wanted to make sure the jury connected us because I looked like a pretty decent guy. She talked to me for almost an hour. Several times she patted me on the hand. I asked her if that meant that she thought we were going to lose the case. She said no, but I don’t believe her.

I am so scared. My heart is beating like crazy and I am having trouble breathing. The trouble I’m in keeps looking bigger and bigger. I’m overwhelmed by it. It’s crushing me.

It is a nice day on the outside. On the street below, people walk in what looks like a crisscross pattern across the narrow streets. There are yellow cabs inching along. On the corner there is a cart that sells food, frankfurters or sausages I guess, and sodas. People stand around buying what they want, then move away. It looks like something I would like to do, move away from where I am.

Tomorrow we start our case, and I don’t see what we are going to do. I hear myself thinking like all the other prisoners here, trying to convince myself that everything will be all right, that the jury can’t find me guilty because of this reason or that reason. We lie to ourselves here. Maybe we are here because we lie to ourselves.

Lying on my cot, I think of everything that has happened over the last year. There was nothing extraordinary in my life. No bolt of lightning came out of the sky. I didn’t say a magic word and turn into somebody different. But here I am, maybe on the verge of losing my life, or the life I used to have. I can understand why they take your shoelaces and belt from you when you’re in jail.

Miss O’Brien made me write down all the people in my life who I love and who love me. Then I had to write down the people who I admire. I wrote down Mr. Sawicki’s name twice.

Mr. Briggs will present King’s defense first. Miss O’Brien will go second, but she says she has to be careful because if she says anything that makes King look bad and Mr. Briggs attacks her, it will look bad for me.

“We can use some friends,” she said.

When she left and I had to go back to the cell area, I was more depressed than I have been since I’ve been here. I wish Jerry were here. Not in jail, but somehow with me. What would I say to him? Think about all the tomorrows of your life. Yes, that’s what I would say. Think about all the tomorrows of your life.

When the lights went out, I think I heard someone crying in the darkness.

FADE IN: INTERIOR: COURTROOM: DOROTHY MOORE is on the stand. She is a brown-skinned, fairly pleasant-looking woman. She looks sincerely at ASA BRIGGS.

BRIGGS

And what time do you remember Mr. King coming to your home that afternoon?

MOORE

Three thirty.

BRIGGS

And you’re sure of the time?

MOORE (confidently)

I am quite sure, sir.

BRIGGS

Nothing more.

PETROCELLI

Mrs. Moore, how often does Mr. King come to your house?

MOORE

About twice a month. He’s my cousin.

PETROCELLI

Do you remember the purpose of the visit?

MOORE

He was just dropping by. He saw a lamp that he thought I might like and he brought it by. We talked about Christmas coming up.

PETROCELLI

He bought the lamp for you?

MOORE

Yes, he did.

PETROCELLI

Do you remember if he was working at the time? Did he have a job?

MOORE

I don’t think so.

PETROCELLI

And still he took his money to buy you a lamp. You remember how much the lamp cost?

MOORE

No, I don’t.

PETROCELLI

But that was nice of him, wasn’t it?

MOORE (subdued)

I think it was.

PETROCELLI

And you like him a lot, don’t you?

MOORE

I wouldn’t lie for him, if that’s what you’re saying.

PETROCELLI

Before this visit, when did you last see Mr. King?

MOORE

I guess a few weeks before that. I don’t know the exact date.

PETROCELLI

What kind of work was he looking for?

MOORE

Just a job. I don’t know.

PETROCELLI

Does he have a driver’s license?

MOORE

I don’t know.

PETROCELLI

You really don’t know a lot about your cousin, do you?

MOORE

I know I saw him that day.

PETROCELLI (condescendingly)

And what do you do for a living?

MOORE

I do day’s work, but I wasn’t working that week, because I had hurt my ankle. I went to the doctor that Monday, and you can check that.

PETROCELLI

You don’t have to verify what you were doing, Mrs. Moore. Did anybody see Mr. King at your home on that day?

MOORE

I don’t think so.

PETROCELLI

Do you still have the lamp? The lamp Mr. King so kindly bought for you?

MOORE

It broke.

PETROCELLI

Should I take that to mean you no longer have the lamp?

MOORE

They don’t make things to last anymore. I think it was made in Korea or someplace like that.

PETROCELLI

Again, should I take that to mean that you no longer have the lamp?

MOORE

I don’t have it now, but I did have it.

PETROCELLI

Yes, of course. Thank you. Nothing further.

CUT TO: GEORGE NIPPING on stand. He is about 50 and wears wire-rimmed glasses. He speaks precisely and generally makes a good impresssion.

BRIGGS

Mr. Nipping, do you know, as a matter of fact, if Mr. King is right-handed or left-handed?

NIPPING

He’s left-handed. I know that because when he was a kid, I went out and bought him a glove, a baseball glove, and I had to take it back because he was left-handed.

BRIGGS

Have you ever known him to do anything of significance with his right hand?

NIPPING

No, I’ve never seen him use his right hand for anything.

We see STEVE writing on a pad.

CUT TO: The pad. O’BRIEN is writing a note under STEVE’s question, which reads “What’s that about?” She writes: “The wound was on the left side of the body, which might mean that the shooter was right-handed. It’s a weak argument.” BRIGGS

And for the record, how long have you known Mr. King?

NIPPING

I’d say about 17 to 18 years.

BRIGGS

Thank you.

CUT TO: NIPPING on stand facing PETROCELLI.

PETROCELLI

Have you ever seen Mr. King shoot a man?

NIPPING

No, I haven’t.

PETROCELLI

So when he shoots a gun, you don’t know what hand he uses. Is that right?

BRIGGS

Objection!

PETROCELLI (ignoring objection)

If Mr. King was struggling with someone and the gun happened to be on the right side, do you know what he would do?

NIPPING

No, I don’t.

PETROCELLI

Nothing further.

CUT TO: FILM CLASS. MS of MR. SAWICKI.

SAWICKI

There are a lot of things you can do with film, but you don’t have an unlimited access to your audience. In other words, keep it simple. You tell the story; you don’t look for the camera technician to tell the story for you. When you see a filmmaker getting too fancy, you can bet he’s worried either about his story or about his ability to tell it.

CUT TO: INTERIOR: ROOM where lawyers meet with their clients. SPLIT SCREEN: One side is O’BRIEN, pacing nervously. On the other side is STEVE, sitting.

O’BRIEN

You’re going to have to take the stand—look at the jury and let the jury look at you—and say that you’re innocent. I know the judge will tell the jury not to infer anything if you don’t take the stand, but I believe that the jury wants to hear from you. I think they want to hear your side of the story. Can you handle it?

We see STEVE nodding in the affirmative.

O’BRIEN

The prosecutor’s strongest point against you is the connection between you and King. She has Bobo admitting to being in on the robbery and his link to King. You’ve told me you know King. I don’t know why you’ve chosen this man as an acquaintance, but it’s going to hurt you big-time if you don’t manage to get some distance between you and him in the eyes of the jury. You’re going to have to break the link. He’s sitting there looking surly. Maybe he thinks he’s tough; I don’t know. I do know you’d better put some distance between yourself and whatever being a tough guy represents.

You need to present yourself as someone the jurors can believe in. Briggs isn’t going to put King on the stand. That helps you, but when he sees us separating you from him, he’s going to realize that his client is in trouble.

STEVE

How do you know he won’t testify?

O’BRIEN

King made a statement to the police when he was arrested. He said he didn’t know Bobo. But the prosecution can prove that’s a lie. So if he takes the stand, they can use his own statements against him and he’s cooked. If you don’t testify, you’ll just make the tie between you and King stronger in the mind of the jury. I think you have to testify. And the way you spend the rest of your youth might well depend on how much the jury believes you.

STEVE

That woman said that King was with her.

O’BRIEN

Right, but Petrocelli didn’t even bother with a lengthy cross-examination. Did you notice that? She dismissed Mrs. Moore with her tone of voice. A cousin who likes him testifes that he was with her. Big deal. Against all the evidence against him, it doesn’t count for very much. His lawyer is going to rely on his closing argument to win the case, and I don’t think that’s going to be effective unless he’s very, very lucky. Cases are won on closing arguments only on television, not in a real courtroom.

SINGLE MS: We see STEVE nodding, but he is looking down. We see O’BRIEN looking at him, studying him closely. She sits down and takes a deep breath.

O’BRIEN

(Puts a paper cup on the table.) Okay, Steve, now stay with me. We’re going to play a little game. I’m going to take this cup and place it on the table. Then I’m going to ask you some questions. When I like the answers you give me, I’ll leave the cup facing up. When I don’t like the answers, I’ll turn it upside down. You figure out what’s wrong with the answer you gave me. All right?

STEVE

Why? (O’BRIEN doesn’t answer. Then we see STEVE nod his assent.) O’BRIEN

Did you know James King?

STEVE

No?

CUT TO: O’BRIEN turns the cup down.

STEVE

Yeah, casually.

CUT TO: O’BRIEN turns the cup up.

O’BRIEN

When was the last time you spoke to him before the robbery?

STEVE

Last summer?

CUT TO: O’BRIEN turns the cup down.

STEVE

I don’t know for sure. I mean, he’s not like a guy I talk with a lot.

CUT TO: O’BRIEN turns the cup up.

THEN: The camera moves farther and farther away from the pair. We see another prisoner and lawyer enter the room. We don’t hear O’BRIEN’s questions or STEVE’s answers but we see O’BRIEN turning the cup.

FADE TO BLACK.

FADE IN: INTERIOR: CELL at nighttime: We barely see the outlines of the inmates, 2 of whom are sleeping on the floor.

VO (INMATE 1)

The prosecutor said I was lying. I wanted to ask her what she expected me to do when telling the truth was going to get me 10 years.

VO (INMATE 2)

When they got you in the system, it ain’t time to get all holy. You in the system, you needs to get out the system.

VO (INMATE 1)

What’s the truth? Anybody in here knows what the truth is? I don’t know what the truth is! Only truth I know is I don’t want to be in here with you ugly dudes.

STEVE

Truth is truth. It’s what you know to be right.

VO (INMATE 2)

Nah! Truth is something you gave up when you were out there on the street. Now you talking survival. You talking about another chance to breathe some air 5 other guys ain’t breathing.

VO (INMATE 1)

You get up on the witness stand and the prosecutor talks about looking for truth when they really mean they looking for a way to stick you under the jail.

VO (INMATE 3, in a cry for help)

I’ve spent half my life in the joint, man. Where’s my life? Where’s my damned life?

We hear the toilet flush as scene ends.

CUT TO: INTERIOR: JAIL. STEVE is dressing for court. We see him checking out his hand, which is slightly swollen.

CUT TO: STEVE sitting in back of van. He holds his hands out in front of his face. They are shaking.

CUT TO: STEVE on stand.

O’BRIEN

Mr. Harmon, did you act as a lookout for the drugstore robbery or check out the store so that a robbery could be safely committed?

STEVE

No, I did not.

O’BRIEN

Mr. Harmon, did you discuss with anyone that you would act as a lookout or that you would check out the store?

STEVE

No, I did not.

O’BRIEN

Mr. Harmon, were you in the drugstore owned by Mr. Nesbitt, the victim, on the 22nd of December of last year?

STEVE

No, I was not.

O’BRIEN

Are you sure in your mind that you know what a lookout would do?

STEVE

Yes, I am.

O’BRIEN

One last question. Were you in any way involved with the crime that we are discussing here? To make it clear—were you, in any way, involved with the holdup and murder that occurred on the 22nd of December?

STEVE

No, I was not.

O’BRIEN

Nothing further.

CUT TO: PETROCELLI riffling through papers. She stops occasionally, looks toward STEVE, and nods. PETROCELLI leans back in her chair and visually confronts STEVE for a long beat. Then she gets up and goes to podium.

PETROCELLI

Mr. Harmon, do you know James King?

STEVE

I know him from the neighborhood.

PETROCELLI

You talk to him much?

STEVE

Once in a while.

PETROCELLI

Once in a while. When was the last time you spoke to him before the robbery?

STEVE

I don’t know exactly, but it was during the school year.

PETROCELLI

Didn’t you speak to him in December?

STEVE

I don’t think so, but I might have.

PETROCELLI

Which is it? You don’t think so or you don’t remember?

STEVE

Both. I mean, I might have spoken to him, but we don’t talk about anything important enough to remember.

PETROCELLI

What do you talk about?

STEVE

Usually I see him in the playground. Maybe he’d say something like “Those guys can’t play ball,” stuff like that.

PETROCELLI

“Those guys can’t play ball.” Did you ever see him play ball?

STEVE

I don’t remember seeing him play ball.

PETROCELLI

You having trouble remembering what you’ve seen?

STEVE

No, but I’ve seen a lot of ball games. I watch a lot of ball games.

PETROCELLI

Are you nervous? Do you want to take a few minutes?

STEVE

No.

PETROCELLI

You talk to Bobo sometimes?

O’BRIEN

Objection. We’ve been referring to the witness as Mr. Evans.

JUDGE

Sustained.

PETROCELLI

Have you spoken with Mr. Evans?

STEVE

I might have said “Hi” to him. I’ve never had a conversation with him.

PETROCELLI

You ever talk to Mr. Cruz? Osvaldo Cruz?

STEVE

Yes, he’s about my age. I’ve talked with Osvaldo.

PETROCELLI

What did you talk to Mr. Cruz about?

STEVE

Same thing, mostly. About playing ball, or the weather. Or what’s going on in the neighborhood.

PETROCELLI

Did you hear Mr. Evans’s testimony that—let me put it this way—you heard Mr. Evans’s testimony that you came out of the drugstore just before the robbery. Is that right?

STEVE

I heard his testimony.

PETROCELLI

And are you saying it was just a coincidence that you were coming out of the store at that time?

CUT TO: FLASHBACK of O’BRIEN turning over the cup.

CUT TO: STEVE on witness stand.

STEVE

I don’t know exactly when the robbery happened, but I know I wasn’t in the drugstore that day.

PETROCELLI

So Mr. Evans was lying?

STEVE

I don’t know what he was doing, but I know I wasn’t in the drugstore.

PETROCELLI

You heard Mr. Cruz say that you were supposed to go in and “check the store out” for cops. Is that right?

O’BRIEN

Objection! I believe the testimony was that Mr. Cruz was told that was the case.

JUDGE

Do you want the testimony read back?

PETROCELLI

I’ll withdraw the question as framed. Mr. Harmon, do you remember Osvaldo saying that he understood you to be the lookout?

STEVE

I heard him say that.

PETROCELLI

And according to you, Mr. Cruz was lying, too?

STEVE

No, somebody could have told him that, but I know I wasn’t there.

PETROCELLI

Then he must have lied, is that right?

O’BRIEN

Objection. The prosecution is soliciting an argument.

PETROCELLI

Withdrawn. Mr. Harmon, you say you weren’t at the drugstore anytime during the day of the robbery. Perhaps you would tell us where you were.

STEVE

I don’t know exactly where I was when the robbery took place. Most of the day I was going around taking mental notes about places I wanted to film for a school film project.

PETROCELLI

Well, if you don’t know exactly where you were, can you tell me anyone who might know where you were?

STEVE

I don’t even remember where I was. When the detectives asked me where I was, I couldn’t even remember the day they were talking about. They didn’t ask me about it until weeks later.

PETROCELLI

Then how do you remember—what did you say?—taking mental notes for a school film project?

STEVE

I know that because I was planning to do the film of my neighborhood over the holidays.

PETROCELLI

Getting back to Mr. King. Would you consider yourself a friend of his or an acquaintance?

STEVE

An acquaintance.

PETROCELLI

Mr. Cruz, friend or acquaintance?

STEVE

Acquaintance.

PETROCELLI

Mr. Bobo Evans, friend or acquaintance?

STEVE

Acquaintance.

PETROCELLI

So you’re acquainted with everyone involved in this robbery, is that— BRIGGS

Objection! She knows better than that! She knows better than that!

JUDGE

Sustained. The jury will disregard the last question. There is no one who was involved in this affair until the jury makes that decision. And yes, Miss Petrocelli, you do know better.

PETROCELLI (satisfied)

Nothing further.

We see STEVE stand shakily and head back to the defense table. He looks out onto the onlookers and sees his parents. His MOTHER forces a smile and his FATHER makes a fist and nods emphatically. We see STEVE sit down, start to pick up a glass of water, and have to put it down because his hand is shaking so badly. O’BRIEN crosses to the desk and writes on the pad in front of STEVE. We see what she has written. It says “TAKE DEEP BREATHS.” O’BRIEN

The defense calls George Sawicki.

CUT TO: CU of GEORGE SAWICKI.

O’BRIEN

Mr. Sawicki, do you know the defendant sitting at this table?

SAWICKI

I’ve known Steve for three years. He’s been in my film club.

O’BRIEN

Can you give us your opinion of Mr. Harmon’s work?

SAWICKI

I think he’s an outstanding young man. He is talented, bright, and compassionate. He’s very much involved with depicting his neighborhood and environment in a positive manner.

O’BRIEN

Do you consider him an honest young man?

SAWICKI

Absolutely.

O’BRIEN

When he says he was taking mental notes for a film, would that be a film for your club?

SAWICKI

Yes.

O’BRIEN

Nothing further.

CU of MR. SAWICKI. He starts to leave the stand but is then held up by the JUDGE.

CUT TO: PETROCELLI.

PETROCELLI

You said you’re a teacher in Mr. Harmon’s school. Do you live in his neighborhood?

SAWICKI

No, I don’t.

PETROCELLI

So although you want to vouch for his character, isn’t it fair to say that you don’t know what he does when he goes to his neighborhood and you go home to yours?

SAWICKI

No, it’s not. His film footage shows me what he’s seeing and, to a large extent, what he’s thinking. And what he sees, the humanity of it, speaks of a very deep character.

PETROCELLI

What was he doing on the afternoon of December 22nd? Did he show you a film of that day?

SAWICKI

No, he did not.

PETROCELLI

Do you feel that the ability to make a film means that someone is honest?

SAWICKI

It is my belief that to make an honest film, one has to be an honest person. I would say that. And I do believe in Steve’s honesty.

PETROCELLI

As a matter of fact you like him quite a bit, don’t you?

SAWICKI

Yes, I do.

PETROCELLI

Nothing further.

O’BRIEN

Harmon rests.

BRIGGS

King rests.

CUT TO: STEVE lying on his cot, soaked with sweat. He tries hard to catch his breath. He turns his head to the wall. He lifts one hand and lets it slide slowly down the pale-green wall.

CUT TO: INTERIOR: COURTROOM: CU of JAMES KING. He looks around awkwardly as BRIGGS sums up his defense.

VO (BRIGGS)

So what do we have? We have a man who admits to being part of a robbery accusing another man. And why is he making these accusations? The prosecution would have you believe that bringing Mr. Evans, this “Bobo” character, here, is the result of good police work, which gives Mr. Evans the chance to demonstrate what a great citizen he is. But isn’t the truth of the matter that the only reason he’s here is because the police have him on a criminal matter, and have offered him a deal if he comes here and implicates someone else? Isn’t that the real story?

Does it really surprise anyone that a man who is capable of robbing a drugstore, and he has admitted to doing just that, who then sells the loot from the robbery, and he has admitted to that, and who is caught with drugs, and he has admitted to that—then tries to get a lighter sentence by testifying against another person? Isn’t his character, if you can call it character, clear? Hasn’t he proven by his own admissions who he is? What he is?

Camera pulls back from POV of JUDGE. We see only MR. and MRS. HARMON on one side of COURTROOM, a few strangers on the other side. The COURTROOM is nearly empty. The camera pans to COURT CLERK, who is going through mail. Then to court STENOGRAPHER, who takes down proceedings. Then to COURT OFFICER, who is nodding, close to sleep.

BRIGGS

What I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is that Mr. Evans made the mistake of selling the cigarettes he stole during the robbery. Did he do the shooting? I don’t know. But naturally he says he didn’t do it. If he had sat up there on the witness stand and said he did the shooting, he would never have been offered the deal he got. The only way out for him is to look around and find somebody else to accuse. And that’s precisely what he did. He could have picked anyone else in the neighborhood. Half the young men of that age group are either unemployed or underemployed. He happened to pick Mr. King.

The State did not produce one witness to the murder. They produced one witness, Miss Henry, who said she saw Mr. King in the store. Where was her mind at the time? According to her testimony, it was on the health and wellbeing of her grandchild. Could she have made a mistake? Evidently she has. Not that she did not see someone in the store, but whom did she see? She was taken to the police station and given a set of photographs. From these photographs she picked, at police urging, Mr. King. But she didn’t pick out this photo from a thousand photographs, or a book of photographs or even 50 photographs. She was shown a handful of photos and asked to pick one. Later, when she had to pick someone from a lineup, what was she doing? Was she picking out the man she saw in the drugstore, or was she picking out the man the police had given her in the photographs? That’s for you, the jury, to decide. We heard Mrs. Moore testify that James King was at her house at the time of the incident. Shall we assume that every person who is related to an accused person is going to lie? I don’t think so. The prosecution, Miss Petrocelli, paraded in front of you a bunch of admitted criminals, people who have participated in stickups, buying and selling stolen goods, you name it. She has asked you to believe them. Then she asks you not to believe Mrs. Moore, who has never committed a crime in her life. Think about it. If you met these people on the street, which would you believe, which would you trust?

As for Osvaldo Cruz, he is putting as much distance between himself and this crime as possible. All he was supposed to do was to stand outside and push a garbage can in front of a potential pursuer. But there wasn’t a pursuer, because Mr. Evans and whoever he was with—if indeed he was with anyone else—made sure of that. And think about this: Lorelle Henry, who seemed for all the world like a decent, law-abiding human being, testified that she was sure that there were 2 men in the store, 2 men involved in the robbery. And we have 2 men who have admitted participation. I submit to you that there’s no need to go beyond these two when you look for the perpetrators of this crime. Ultimately, what this case is about is whether you believe people who are admitted participants in this crime and who are saving their own hides. If you believe, as I do, that their positions, their stated characters, so taint their testimony that everything they say is well within the area of reasonable doubt, then you have no choice but to find Mr. King not guilty. And when you walk away from the sorry testimony of the State’s witnesses, you have nothing else from the prosecution. Nothing else. Ladies and gentlemen, at the beginning of this case the prosecutor spoke of monsters. She not only found them, but she has brought them here to testify for the State. I have faith in you, and faith in the American judicial system. And that faith leads me to believe that justice in this case demands more proof than you have seen in this case. I believe that justice demands that you reject the testimony of these men, consigning their stories to the area of deep doubt. I believe that justice demands that you return a verdict of Not Guilty. Thank you.

CUT TO: POV of JURY. Camera will follow O’BRIEN as she paces from one side of the JURY to the other. Behind her we see the prosecutor’s table and the 2 defense tables. Beyond that we see STEVE’s MOTHER, sitting on the edge of her seat.

O’BRIEN

First, I would like to thank you for your patience in this trial, and for your attentiveness. It’s been clear to everyone involved in this case that you have taken an interest in these proceedings and have brought your minds and hearts to the testimony. I would like to beg your indulgence while I review that testimony.

The most important testimony, the reason we’re here, is the Medical Examiner’s statement that a murder was committed. A man is dead. But nowhere in the Medical Examiner’s testimony does he indicate who was responsible for that murder. That is for you to determine. It is an awesome responsibility. It was testified that the gun belonged to the victim. So we can’t trace gun ownership back to the murderer. What can we trace as to the guilt or innocence of my client, Steve Harmon?

The State doesn’t even suggest that he was in the store during the robbery. It doesn’t suggest that it was his gun that was used. The State does contend that somewhere, sometime, Steve got together with someone and agreed to participate in this robbery. On the stand Steve admitted to having seen Mr. Evans on the street in his neighborhood. Hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people have seen Mr. Evans in the streets of Harlem. Perhaps hundreds of thousands of people. That doesn’t make any of them guilty of a crime. The State did elicit from Steve that he spoke to Mr. King about basketball. The conversations were short, and without substance. At no time did the State establish any conversation between Steve and anyone else about a robbery. Think about that for a minute.

Without a plan that says that Steve entered an agreement with the robbers, what would he be charged with? Talking about basketball in the streets of Harlem? Does that now constitute a crime? Not in any law journal that I know about. The State also presents Mr. Evans’s testimony that he “understood” that Steve was to check out the drugstore to see if it was clear. Oh, really? The State brought out a witness, one who everyone agrees has no reason to lie, Lorelle Henry. Miss Henry said that she was in the drugstore when the robbery began. If someone was to make sure that the drugstore was clear, he or she made a bad job of it. Remember, it was the State that proved that the drugstore wasn’t clear. And do you remember the signal that Mr. Evans said he received? He said that Steven came out of the drugstore and didn’t signal that anything was wrong. In other words, there was no signal. What is the significance of this? Well, if there were a signal, a thumbs-up sign, for example, we might expect someone in the vicinity to have noticed it. Not only did no one without a stake in this case see Steve Harmon giving a sign, Lorelle Henry, a retired librarian, did not see him in the store either. And tell me, how many young black men went into that drugstore that day and walked out without making a signal? Were they all guilty of something?

Do you remember Mr. Evans’s testimony that they stopped for a “quick bite” after committing the crime? And who stopped for the quick bite? Do you remember? Let me read to you from the testimony of Mr. Bobo Evans. (O’BRIEN picks up notes, adjusts her glasses, and begins to read.) Mr. Evans: We took some cigarettes and left.

Ms. Petrocelli: Then what did you do?

Mr. Evans: Then we went down to that chicken joint over Lenox Avenue, across from the bridge. We got some fried chicken and some wedgies and some sodas.

Ms. Petrocelli: Who was with you at this time?

Mr. Evans: Just me and King.

(SHE takes off glasses and looks at jury.) Where was Steve Harmon, the alleged lookout man? Why was there no testimony that Mr. Harmon received part of the loot from this “getover”? The only person we know who profited was Bobo Evans, and we know he made a profit because he sold the cigarettes!

Mr. Briggs has already suggested that the major reason for the testimonies of Mr. Evans and Osvaldo Cruz was self-interest. They were brought here not to answer for their participation, but for the sole purpose of testifying against others. They both understand that the deal they get depends on their convincing you that other people are implicated. Mr. Evans suggests that he believed what the “shooter” told him about someone else checking out the store. But let’s look at the reliability of Mr. Evans’s testimony. A robbery was committed; a man was brutally killed. The killing here is the key to what these proceedings are about, not the stolen cigarettes, and you understand that. But still Mr. Evans goes around selling the cigarettes that connect him with the crime! Did he think that was a clever move? Or is this a shallow, gullible man who doesn’t think about very much of anything? Who among us can watch a man die in a drugstore and then go out for a quick bite a few blocks away? Is this a man whom we can trust to tell the truth about anything? I don’t believe him. Do you?

In going over my notes last night, I ran into a question. It’s the prosecutor’s job to bring all of the participants in a crime to justice, and so Miss Petrocelli has brought everyone she believes might have been involved to this courtroom. But why, if Steven Harmon is innocent, would Mr. Evans want to hurt him? That bothered me quite a bit. But then I thought again about who Mr. Evans was. He had no problem at all in sticking up an innocent man, Mr. Nesbitt. You watched him testify. Did he seem at all bothered by the fact that he had left a man dead? To Mr. Evans, all Mr. Nesbitt represented was a “getover.” That’s what Steve Harmon is to him as well. Mr. Evans—Bobo—is perfectly willing to leave Steven Harmon lying on a floor or wasting away in a jail cell. The only thing that Steven Harmon is to Mr. Evans is another “getover.” Finally, let us come to the character of Steve Harmon. (We see O’BRIEN stop and get a drink of water. Then we see her walk next to STEVE.) I want you to think about his character as opposed to that of the witnesses for the State. You saw him on the stand. He answered the questions openly and honestly, as would any other young person of his age. Miss Petrocelli asked him if he was nervous. Do you remember that? The implication was that if he was nervous, it meant that he had something to hide. I submit to you, the jurors in this case, that you, too, would have had a degree of nervousness. He’s on trial for his life! He’s facing the possibility of spending his entire youth behind bars! Under the circumstances I would have been shocked if he were not nervous. The State paraded before you witness after witness who, by their own admission, testified either to get out of jail or to prevent themselves from going to jail, or, in the case of Mr. Zinzi, to prevent himself from being sexually molested. Think of Steve Harmon’s character as opposed to that of Bobo Evans. Compare Steven Harmon to Mr. Zinzi, another of the State’s witnesses. Compare him to Mr. Cruz, who admitted taking part in this crime, who admitted that to become a member of his gang, he had to slash a stranger in the face.

Is there reasonable doubt as to Steve Harmon’s guilt? I think the doubt was established when Lorelle Henry did not identify Steve as being in the store. It was reinforced with every witness the State brought to the stand.

It’s up to you, the jury, to find guilt where there is guilt. It is also up to you to acquit when guilt has not been proven. There is no question in my mind that in this case, as regards Steve Harmon, guilt has not been proven. I am asking you, on behalf of Steve Harmon, and in the name of justice, to closely consider all of the evidence that you have heard during this last week. If you do, I’m sure you’ll return a verdict of Not Guilty. And that will be the right thing to do. Thank you.

MS: PETROCELLI from POV of JURY. Behind her we see the prosecutor’s table and the two defense tables. We see the two defense lawyers watching intently. Neither STEVE nor KING is directly facing the camera.

PETROCELLI

I would also like to thank you for your attention in this trial. The defense has just given you its version of the facts in this case, and now it is the State’s turn.

Let me start by refocusing this case. The defense wants you to go into the jury room thinking that this case is about the character of Mr. Zinzi, who testified that he heard a story about someone who stole cigarettes. It is not about his character. The defense wants you to think that this case is about the character of Mr. Bolden, who bought cigarettes. It is not about his character. The defense wants you to consider the character of Osvaldo Cruz. But this case is not about whether Mr. Cruz is someone we would invite to a party or have as a friend. The defense wants you to dwell on the character of Richard “Bobo” Evans. He is not a nice man, they are saying, and so you should discount his testimony. But this case is not about the character of any of these witnesses. This case is about a crime that was committed on the 22nd of December in which an innocent man, Alguinaldo Nesbitt, was brutally murdered. I don’t know what kind of man Mr. Nesbitt was, but I know he did not deserve to be killed in his store, left on the floor while his killers snacked at a fast-food restaurant. This case is not about the characters of Zinzi, Bolden, Cruz, or Evans; it is about Mr. Nesbitt’s right to live, and to enjoy the fruits of his labor. It is about the right we all have to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is the contention of the State that no one has the right to deprive us of the precious gift of life. It is the contention of the State and it is also the law of the land.

A lot has been said about the motivation of some of the witnesses. They testified, according to the defense, only because they were given a break in their sentencing. Therefore, the defense would have you believe, their testimony is somehow made false. Well, let’s reexamine their testimony and find out.

CUT TO: CU of JUDGE. He is taking notes.

CUT TO: MS of PETROCELLI from JUDGE’s POV.

Mr. Bolden testified that he received stolen cigarettes from Mr. Evans. We know that the cigarettes were stolen from the drugstore. José Delgado, the drugstore clerk, testified that the cigarettes were stolen. In other words, Mr. Delgado verifies Mr. Bolden’s testimony. Did he get a break in sentencing? Or was he simply telling the truth? Did you notice that none of the defense lawyers questioned the character of the clerk or even mentioned it? They want you to forget him.

Mr. Evans testified that he was actually in the drugstore, taking an active part in the robbery. No one has questioned that. He also places Mr. King in the drugstore with him on the 22nd of December. This testimony was backed up by Lorelle Henry—Lorelle Henry, who had gone to the drugstore to get medicine for her grandchild. Did she get a break in sentencing? Or was she merely telling the truth? When the defense talks about character, they carefully skirt around the character of Lorelle Henry.

Mr. Evans also testified that when he arrived at the scene, he saw Osvaldo Cruz there. This testimony was verified by Mr. Cruz. Yes, I was there, Mr. Cruz testified. Yes, I was part of this robbery. We have three witnesses to the fact that James King was in the store on the 22nd of December: Mr. Evans, Mr. Cruz, and Ms. Henry.

Mr. Evans testified that they did not have a gun but intended to take Mr. Nesbitt’s money by force of muscle. He said that Mr. Nesbitt produced a gun that he owned. You heard the City Clerk testify that the gun used to kill Mr. Nesbitt was registered to him. Did the City Clerk, who verified Mr. Evans’s testimony, get a break in sentencing? Of course not. Did the defense attack his character? No, the only thing they could do was to sit and listen to the truth.

Another fact that the defense did not choose to deal with is the sale of cigarettes. The sale of cigarettes to Mr. Bolden, a fact never seriously challenged by the defense, along with the verified theft of cigarettes from the drugstore, also suggests that Mr. King was present in the store during the robbery and murder. Mr. Briggs, the attorney for James King, suggests that Mr. Evans was in the drugstore by himself, or perhaps with Osvaldo Cruz. But Lorelle Henry identified Mr. King as the man she saw in the drugstore. Here is a Black woman, uneasy about her role in identifying a young Black man, who still had the courage to testify before you and to positively identify Mr. King. Mr. Briggs’s theory simply does not work. What does work is the State’s theory of what happened, verified by all of the witnesses. Mr. Harmon gave the all-clear signal, and Bobo Evans and James King went into the store to rob Mr. Nesbitt. When Mr. Nesbitt tried to defend himself, the gun was taken from him and he was shot by that man, sitting right there (She points to King.), and killed. Ms. O’Brien suggests that if Mr. Harmon had actually cased the drugstore for the robbers, he would have seen Ms. Henry. In other words, he would have been a better lookout man. Well, maybe he hasn’t had much experience in helping to rob drugstores. Should we feel sorry for him? For that matter, are Mr. King or Mr. Evans so accomplished in their criminal activities? This was a botched robbery in which the perpetrators actually took very little money and a few cartons of cigarettes. And, oh, yes, the life of a good man, Alguinaldo Nesbitt.

If anybody does not believe that Mr. King was in the store, if they believe that Osvaldo Cruz, Lorelle Henry, and Bobo Evans are all lying, that the sale of the cigarettes to Mr. Bolden means nothing, then they should find him not guilty. I don’t think that is possible. If anybody looking at this case believes that the store was not cased, that Mr. Harmon just “happened” to be at the drugstore, although now he says he doesn’t remember where he was, then they should find him not guilty. I don’t think that is possible, either. The truth of the matter is that Bobo Evans participated in a crime with Mr. Cruz, Mr. King, and Mr. Harmon.

They are all equally guilty. The one who grabbed the cigarettes, the one who wrestled for the gun, the one who checked the place to see if the coast was clear. What would have happened if Mr. Harmon had come out of that store and gone over to Mr. King and said, “There’s someone in the store”? Perhaps they would have gone someplace else to carry out their “getover,” or maybe they would have just called it a day and gone home. Steve Harmon was part of the plan that caused the death of Alguinaldo Nesbitt. I can imagine him trying to distance himself from the event. Perhaps, in some strange way, he can even say, as his attorney has suggested, that because he did not give a thumbs-up signal, or some sign to that effect, that he has successfully walked the moral tightrope that relieves him of responsibility in this matter. But Alguinaldo Nesbitt is dead, and his death was caused by these men.

Mr. King’s attorney wants to distance Mr. King from the murder by attacking the character of the State’s witnesses. But the fact of the matter is that Mr. Evans is an associate of Mr. King. If he had chosen priests and Boy Scouts as his companions, I’m sure we wouldn’t be here today. But Mr. King cannot distance himself from the fact—the cold, hard fact—that a man is dead because of him.

Mr. Harmon wants us to look at him as a high school student and as a filmmaker. He wants us to think, well, he didn’t pull the trigger. He didn’t wrestle with Mr. Nesbitt. He wants us to believe that because he wasn’t in the drugstore when the robbery went down, he wasn’t involved. Again, perhaps he has even convinced himself that he wasn’t involved.

But yes, Mr Harmon was involved. He made a moral decision to participate in this “getover.” He wanted to “get paid” with everybody else. He is as guilty as everybody else, no matter how many moral hairs he can split. His participation made the crime easier. His willingness to check out the store, no matter how poorly he did it, was one of those causative factors that resulted in the death of Mr. Nesbitt. None of us can bring back Mr. Nesbitt. None of us can restore him to his family. But you, you twelve citizens of our state, of our city, can bring a measure of justice to his killers.

And that’s all I ask of you: to reach into your hearts and minds and bring forth that measure of justice. Thank you.

CUT TO: EXTERIOR: COURTROOM. The doors of the court are closed as the camera nears it. The door is pushed open and we see the INTERIOR of the COURTROOM. We see the JURY turned toward the JUDGE, who speaks in a quiet, almost fatherly manner. We hear his voice as the camera seems to settle down on a seat. STEVE, sensing that a friend has arrived, turns and tries to smile at MR. SAWICKI but cannot manage it through his nervousness.

We look around the COURTROOM as the JUDGE’s voice drifts in and out.

JUDGE

If you believe that Mr. King was a participant in the robbery, whether he actually pulled the trigger or not, you must return a verdict of Guilty. If you believe…(Voice fades out.) CUT TO: Stuart portrait of George Washington on right wall.

CUT TO: New York State flag. Then: American flag.

CUT TO: Motto over desk.

JUDGE

…that Mr. Harmon did go into the store with the purpose of…(Voice fades out.) without regard to who actually pulled the trigger… CUT TO: Wall mural.

CUT TO: JURY.

CUT TO: CU of JUDGE.

JUDGE

Then you must return a verdict of Guilty of felony murder.

Camera, from POV of STEVE’s MOTHER, swings wildly around the room, stopping momentarily at those symbols that fill the COURTROOM. Throughout this time the last words of the judge are repeated.

JUDGE

Then you must return a verdict of Guilty of felony murder.

Then you must return a verdict of Guilty of felony murder.

Then you must return a verdict of Guilty of felony murder….

FADE OUT.

FADE IN: STEVE in CELL. For the first time JAMES KING is in the cell with him. KING leans against wall, still dressed in the clothes he wore at the trial.

KING

How you doing? You scared?

STEVE

Yeah. You?

KING (subdued)

Naw, ain’t nothing to it. If the man wants you, he got you. Ain’t nothing to it, man.

GUARD

Hey, we got a pool going. I bet you guys get life without the possibility of parole. The guys on the next block think you’re going to get 25 to life. You guys want in on it?

CUT TO: STEVE. He looks away, then buries his face in his hands.

CUT TO: GUARD. He is smirking.

GUARD

That a yes or a no?

CUT TO: Two YOUNG MEN, handcuffed together, being led to the next cell. One looks terrified. The other is putting on a show of bravado.

GUARD

You guys treat me nice, and I’ll put in a word for you up at Greenhaven. Maybe I can get you a boyfriend that’s really built.

CUT TO: STEVE in the MESS HALL. He avoids looking at KING. There is a shoving match down from where he sits. An inmate reaches over and takes STEVE’s meat with a fork. STEVE looks up and sees the taker looking at him menacingly. He looks down at the tray.

CUT TO: STEVE in CELL. Outside the cell there is a clock on the wall with a wire guard over it. The second hand moves slowly.

CUT TO: INMATES enjoying a domino game as if they are far away from the prison, in some friendly setting.

Friday afternoon, July 17th

Last night I was afraid to go to sleep. It was as if closing my eyes was going to cause me to die. There is nothing more to do. There are no more arguments to make. Now I understand why so many of the guys who have been through it before, who have been away to prison, keep talking about appeals. They want to continue the argument, and the system has said that it is over.

My case fills me. When I left the courtroom after the judge’s instructions to the jury, I saw Mama clinging to my father’s arm. There was a look of desperation on her face. For a moment I felt sorry for her, but I don’t anymore. The only thing I can think of is my case. I listen to guys talking about appeals and I am already planning mine.

Every word that has been said in court is burned into my brain. “Steve Harmon made a moral decision,” Ms. Petrocelli said. I think about December of last year. What was the decision I made? To walk down the streets? To get up in the morning? To talk to King? What decisions did I make? What decisions didn’t I make? But I don’t want to think about decisions, just my case. Nothing is real around me except the panic. The panic and the movies that dance through my mind. I keep editing the movies, making the scenes right. Sharpening the dialog.

“A getover? I don’t do getovers,” I say in the movie in my mind, my chin tilted slightly upward. “I know what right is, what truth is. I don’t do tightropes, moral or otherwise.” I put strings in the background. Cellos. Violas.

GUARD

King! Harmon! You got a verdict! Let’s go!

CUT TO: COURTROOM, now fairly crowded. O’BRIEN is talking to JUDGE. She finishes and sits down next to STEVE.

O’BRIEN

They got a verdict this morning. They’ve just been waiting for the Nesbitt family to arrive.

STEVE

What do you think?

O’BRIEN

They have a verdict. I hope it’s one we want to hear. No matter what it is, we can continue your case. We can appeal. You okay?

STEVE

No.

JUDGE

Is everybody here? Is everybody here?

CLERK

I think so.

JUDGE

Prosecution ready?

PETROCELLI

Ready.

JUDGE

Defense?

CUT TO: CU of O’BRIEN.

O’BRIEN

Ready.

CUT TO: CU of JUDGE.

JUDGE

Bring in the jury.

Very LS as WORDS roll slowly over the screen as in the beginning.

This is the true story of

Steve Harmon.

This is the story of his

life

and of his

trial.

(We see the jury members taking their places in the jury box.)

It was not an episode that he expected.

It was not the life or activity that he thought

would fill every bit of his soul or

change what life meant to him.

(The JUDGE has read the verdicts and hands them to the CLERK as GUARDS stand behind the DEFENDANTS.) He has transcribed

the images and

conversations as he

remembers them.

The color begins to fade as the JURY FOREMAN reads verdicts. Two GUARDS begin to put handcuffs on JAMES KING as color changes to black and white. It is clear that the JURY has found him guilty. We see KING being taken from the COURTROOM.

We see JURY FOREMAN as he continues to read.

CUT TO: CU of STEVE’s MOTHER. We see her desperately clasping her hands before her, her face distorted with the tension of the moment, then suddenly, dramatically, she lifts her hands high and closes her eyes.

CUT TO: The GUARDS who were standing behind STEVE move away from him. He has been found not guilty. STEVE turns toward O’BRIEN as camera closes in and film grows grainier. STEVE spreads his arms to hug O’BRIEN, but she stiffens and turns to pick up her papers from the table before them.

CUT TO: CU of O’BRIEN. Her lips tense; she is pensive. She gathers her papers and moves away as STEVE, arms still outstretched, turns toward the camera. His image is in black and white, and the grain is nearly broken. It looks like one of the pictures they use for psychological testing, or some strange beast, a monster.

The image freezes as last words roll and stop mid screen.

A Steve Harmon Film

December, 5 months later

It is five months since the trial, almost a year, minus a few days, since the robbery in the drugstore. James King was sentenced to 25 years to life. Osvaldo was arrested for stealing a car and sent to a reformatory. As far as I know, Bobo is still in jail.

My mother doesn’t understand what I am doing with the films I am making. I have been taking movies of myself. In the movies I talk and tell the camera who I am, what I think I am about. Sometimes I set the camera up outside and walk up to it from different angles.

Sometimes I set the camera up in front of a mirror and film myself as a reflection. I wear different clothes and sometimes try to change my voice. Jerry likes to use the camera, and I let him film me, too. Whatever I do pleases my mother, because I am here with her and not put away in some jail.

After the trial, my father, with tears in his eyes, held me close and said that he was thankful that I did not have to go to jail. He moved away, and the distance between us seemed to grow bigger and bigger. I understand the distance. My father is no longer sure of who I am. He doesn’t understand me even knowing people like King or Bobo or Osvaldo. He wonders what else he doesn’t know.

That is why I take the films of myself. I want to know who I am. I want to know the road to panic that I took. I want to look at myself a thousand times to look for one true image. When Miss O’Brien looked at me, after we had won the case, what did she see that caused her to turn away?

What did she see?

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