Judge Dowd’s Show

When Judge Dowd entered the courtroom, all rose to honor him. After he was seated, the all-clear was given to the people to be seated.

Everyone was there. The butcher, the baker, even Mrs. Larsen, who made the candles she sold in the general store. Everyone knew she would be there. She had already decided Manuel Gonzalez’ fate, or at least her opinion of it, to the entire town and those visiting.

Isobel Gonzalez was there. She sat directly behind David Bergman, the lawyer she had retained to help get Manny free. He had already met with Manny to go over his plan.

Lastly, the deputy brought in Manny. He wore cuffs, which were attached to leg irons. He found it very difficult to walk. He managed to cross the room, in front of everyone, without falling, and took a seat next to Bergman.

Judge Dowd clamped down on his unlit cigar, pounded his gavel, and declared, “This trial is now in session!” He looked at Manny. “Manuel Gonzalez, you are charged with robbing, kidnapping, rape, and murder. How do you plead?”

Manny looked back at Isobel, who was in tears and making the sign of the cross. He then looked at David Bergman, who simply nodded at him. “I plead innocent, your honor,” he declared.

Judge Dowd was lambasted by his plea. His jaw dropped, almost allowing the cigar to fall from it. Dowd quickly recovered, chomping the cigar, nearly severing it felt n two.

“Did you not ride with Eliot Gray?” Dowd asked.

“Your honor,” David Bergman spoke up, “Riding with Eliot Gray is not a charge. If you have evidence that my client has done any of these things, let’s hear them. But I just want you to know, if you are going to use the church incident against my client, I am prepared to present witnesses, who were the hostages themselves, who will testify that Manuel Gonzalez is the sole reason that they are alive today.”

This statement caused a general stir among the good citizens in attendance. Mrs. Larsen rolled her eyes and huffed. Dowd had to hammer his gavel to bring the courtroom back to order.

“They will testify, Judge Dowd,” Bergman went on saying, “That my client protected Sister Eleanor Whitman from being raped and killed by the likes of Ethan Hawkes.” Judge Dowd’s eyes narrowed as he eyed the Sister. “They will testify that Manuel Gonzalez hid young Jo Murphy from the clutches of the others in the Silver Hand gang, who did not even know the young girl was in the church until Manuel bargained for her release on exchange for the Doctor. They will testify that my client protected even the Doctor, keeping him from harm.”

The courtroom was silent. Could Manuel Gonzalez actually be innocent? Dowd looked at Bergman. A cross look came to his face. “What about the other train robberies and murders the gang was involved in,” Dowd asked.

“Present your case,” Bergman challenged. “Give your evidence that my client was involved in any specific incident.”

Dowd frowned, taking the abused cigar from his mouth. He was backed into a corner. Dowd was relying on the victims to point the finger in Manny’s face and declare him guilty. He looked at the strong face the Sister was promoting. He knew the truth behind that face. If he were to convict a man, who protected a grown woman and a thirteen-year-old girl from being raped and murder, he may as well hang up his gavel.

Dowd looked back at Bergman. “Counselor! Approach the bench!”

Bergman walked to the Judge. “Yes, your Honor!”

“Your client admits to riding with the hand?”

“Yes sir,” Bergman admitted. “But was only there to seek revenge upon Raymond Starr for killing his parents. In other instances, he protected the victims.”

Dowd ran his hand through his thinning hair. He couldn’t pursue the guilt of a man who is made to be a hero and still be a good guy himself. Which meant, no hanging!

Judge Dowd sighed. “I’m prepared to dismiss the charges on one condition.”

“Which is?” Bergman asked.

“Because your client rode with the Hand,” Dowd pronounced, “he is prohibited from carrying any firearm.”

“Judge Dowd,” Bergman replied, “from the moment you dismiss the charges, my clients life will be endangered.”

Dowd clamped on his cigar and ran his hand through his hair. This was not turning out the way he envisioned. “The only way I’ll allow him to carry a gun,” Dowd returned, “is if he becomes a law man. He can hunt Starr down the right way.”

“Can I have a moment with my client?”

Dowd nodded. Bergman briefly went to Gonzalez, speaking so low that only Manny heard him. Manny shook his head in the affirmative.

“Your honor,” Bergman affirmed, “my client agrees.”

“Charges are dismissed! Bergman, I need to see your client after the wedding I’m about to perform,” Judge Dowd proclaimed, causing a great ruckus in the room. Many of the people cheered. Isobel grabbed Bergman, passionately kissing him. Mrs. Larsen saw it and huffed, looking at another woman, who stood up, walked to Isobel, and bitterly said, “So you’re his new whore!”

Neither Isobel or Manny could fully understand what had happened, they shared a confused look between each other.

“Isobel? ¿Qué hiciste?” Manny asked.

“Amo a este hombre.” Isobel reported to Manny.

“Este hombre esta casado.” Manny responded back to her, a concerned look upon his face.

Isobel looked at the woman, then to David. She had given herself to this man. Her face contorted as she began to cry. Hiding her face from shame, Isobel turned and ran out of the courtroom.

Manny looked at Bergman. Sorrow was in his eyes. That which he had worked so hard for in the Hand camp, he could not prevent while being locked up. “Whane aye haff a badge, watch your step!”

OOC: Sorry for the length!

< Prev : Lead The Way Lady Friend Next > : Rejoining the Reoprter