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Reverse Justice

Story by Simon Nguyen

The story took place many years ago in Paris, France. At that time, the city was terrorized by a menacing serial killer. As with most serial killers, this one was arbitrary in his killing, leaving both the police and the public stumped as to who he was or what his true intentions were. For months, Paris was looking like a deserted place. People were afraid to leave their homes and most of the shops were closed. Fortunately, the police soon got a break. The killer was apprehended at the scene of his latest crime.

The evidences against the suspect were overwhelming. His fingerprint matched perfectly with those found at the scenes of the other killings. He even verbally admitted to being the perpetrator. It seemed as though it was only time before the killer will be sent off to the guillotine. 

Things would get a bit more interesting, however, when Paris’ most famous and successful attorney agreed to represent the suspect in the trial. Nonetheless, most people were unconvinced that the famed attorney will be able to acquit the suspect. The evidences against him were just too devastating, they thought. But the negative sentiments did little to sway the attorney, who had never lost a single trial in his illustrious 20-year career, from tackling this difficult case.

After weeks of preparations, the trial officially started. Surprisingly, most of the deliberations were tame. The defense attorney seemed lethargic, failing to deliver any compelling arguments on his client’s behalf. This was in contrast with the prosecutor, who did a great job appealing for a conviction. His passionate final deliberation was greeted with thunderous applause and a strong collective approval from friends and families of the victims.

It was now time for the defense attorney to deliver his final deliberation, and he started with a bang. He immediately declared his client to be innocent of all charges, on the basis the crimes he had been charged with did not even exist. He even asserted that the victims were alive and present in the courtroom. His comments caused quite a pandemonium.

When the judge was about to flag him for his absurdity, the attorney quickly followed up his claim with a dramatic revelation. Gesturing his hand toward the entrance, he claimed the victims were standing there. All eyes quickly turned toward the door. The victims, however, were no where to be seen.

At that very moment, the attorney showed a sly smile of satisfaction and began to reveal the true reason behind the commotion. He cited the single most famous clause in legal history as the reason why his client should be acquitted. According to the law, a person can only be convicted of a crime if and only if his guiltiness is beyond a reasonable doubt. Since everyone turned toward the entrance after he asserted the victims were still alive, he argued, it proved that his client’s guiltiness was not beyond reasonable doubts. If the crowd was totally convinced that the suspect was guilty and his victims were dead, they would not have looked. Upon hearing the explanation, everyone in the courtroom realized they had all been duped into becoming involuntary actors in a brilliant scheme.

The attorney's astute maneuver put the jury in a serious conundrum. If the jurors follow their hearts and do what is right which is to convict the killer, they would create a precedent that could seriously undermine the foundation of the law. If they abide to the law and acquit the killer, they would shake the confidence of the people on the effectiveness of the legal system. Sensing hesitancy among the jurors, the judge called for a court recess.

An hour later, the court reconvened and the jury was asked to deliver its recommendations. In a stunning fashion, the jury found the suspect guilty of all counts of first-degree murder. The verdict left the defense attorney absolutely baffled. He unleashed a strong tirade against the verdict and threatened the jury with retribution. The judge quickly took control of the court and ordered the lawyer to stop his antics, so he can explain the reason behind the verdict.

The jury found the suspect guilty on the basis that while people were looking at the entrance, the killer did not. This proved that he was the perpetrator, since only the real killer would know for sure that his victims were dead, and thus effectively superseded any other arguments and considerations. Upon hearing the explanation, the attorney was completely stunned, as he realized he had been defeated by his own ruse. 

In a world full of injustice, it is nice to have a happy ending.

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