Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Platypus-ian Closing Arguments - Finally

It's almost over. The trial of Hans Reiser is almost at a much anticipated and long overdue end. Prosecutor Paul Hora will finish up his rebuttal closing arguments tomorrow morning and then the judge will give the jury instructions and then....let the deliberations begin!

Naturally, there had to be just a bit more hilarity before this thing was over. Defense attorney William DuBois is sticking with his "my client is a platypus" theme and continued to project images of platypi on a screen in the courtroom. (I'm assuming he also continued referring to said platypi as "Hans", just so we don't forget that "platypus" = "Hans". While that's very considerate and thorough, I doubt anyone is going to forget that "platypus" = "Hans". Ever.)

Mr. DuBois did add an element to his description of Hans and that was that Hans is "an eccentric". And just so everyone would be clear on his definition of "eccentric", he projected onto the courtroom screen a page from Wikipedia that discusssed eccentricity, telling the jury, "I wanted to know what that was." So he read the following from the page,""This behavior would typically be perceived as unusual or unnecessary, without being demonstrably maladaptive." After that, Du Bois added, "Whatever that means." Wait. What? HE doesn't know what that meant, but he's reading it to the jury and expecting them to know what it means? Dude, back to platypus. Back to platypus!!

He continued with "Eccentricity is contrasted with "normal" behavior, the nearly universal means by which individuals in society solve given problems and pursue certain priorities in everyday life. For people who consistently display benignly eccentric behavior, there is a label: 'eccentrics'." He then stopped reading and told the jury, "Prosecutors say he isn't normal. I'll stipulate to that. He's not normal. I'm sorry Hans," he said to the platypus Hans. (Look, nothing is normal about this whole ordeal! Not Hans! Not Mr. DuBois! And certainly not the freakish platypus! NOTHING is normal. They should all be apologizing to us not each other!)

He then began to wrap up his argument by putting Hans in the not-so-favorable light that he has been known to do throughout this trial. He said, ""You may dislike him -- that would put you in the majority of people who know him -- but he didn't commit the crime." (You know, maybe I'm eccentric, but I might be starting to actually like Hans. I'm definitely not liking this defense or this defense attorney, however.)
Then Mr. Hora began his rebuttal arguments by stating to the jury what I had mentioned the other day. He told them that the platypus, while definitely odd looking and odd acting, also has that little spur on it's hind foot that has a poison venom in it that the platypus can use to attack other creatures. That clearly implied that "weird lookin' " doesn't necessarily equal "not able to kill something". He, unlike Mr. DuBois, did not feel the need to apologize to Hans. Shocking.

I have no idea how this jury is going to go on this one when they finally get the case. But I think that I know this much: I think that this jury is composed of at least twelve people and how ever many alternates that are, simply stated, the twelve-plus most patient people on this planet. To have had to sit through this for five months (thank God the platypus factor only became involved within the past week), to have had to sit and pay attention to this for five months, to have had to sit there and pay attention to this and not know that it would end up being five months and not know how long it was going to be at all and not know when (or IF) it was EVER going to come to an end....to be able to a) actually sit there, b) pay attention, and c) not hang yourself before it reached this point, well, that my friends, is the behavior of saints. And when those saints come to a verdict, whatever that may be, should be accepted and respected, if for no other reason than the ones I just stated.

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