A Designation of Innocents- part two

for part one, click here

 

“They ARE children!” screamed an observer.

“Mr. RITTENOUER!” yelled the Judge over the clamoring crowd, hammering his gavel.

Pointing at his opponent, the prosecutor was almost screaming. “He is trying to lead the jury to–”

The Judge pounded his gavel over and over, then rose from his chair. “Quiet! Quiet in the court!”

The room buzzed like a jostled hornet’s nest.

“I WILL HAVE QUIET!” came the thunderous voice of the judge with the sound of the gavel clacking away, settling the crowd into a murmur, a whisper, then silence.

When the room was still, the judge, red faced and eyes shining with fury, leaned forward, planting both fists on the top of the bench. In a calm but hard voice, he said to Rittenouer, “I am a heartbeat away from holding you in contempt, councilor. If you continue down this line of questioning, I will have you removed from this court and thrown in jail, do you understand me?”

Rittenouer was staring off in thought, not looking at the judge. He fished a pen from his coat pocket then glanced up with a polite smile and said, “Yes, your Honor, sorry, no further questions.” With that he turned, walked back to his desk and sat down, shuffling papers that lay spread out in front of him.

The defendant, Walter Feldt, was seated next to him. His eyes stared at nothing, straight ahead, just as they had been doing throughout the trial.

A loud noise broke the silence as the prosecuting attorney shoved his chair back. With long, quick strides he hurried to the witness box. “Dr. Kelb,” he said, “would you say that the procedures used by the murder victim to carry out his–”

“Objection,” said Rittenouer from his desk without raising his eyes. While writing, looking from one paper to another, he said, “It has not yet been established that a crime has been committed and therefore the use of the word ‘murder’ is presumptive and inappropriate.”

The prosecutor rolled his eyes and continued. “Dr. Kelb, would you say that the sworn duty, procedures, and legally sanctioned responsibilities used by the man who was possibly murdered were in any way painful to those designated for termination?”

“Well, uh . . . there’s really no way to–”

“Doctor Kelb,” the prosecutor interrupted, “let me re-phrase the question. Is there any substantiated proof that those slated for legal termination would suffer any–”

“Objection,” said Rittenour, looking up, a paper in one hand, a notebook in the other. “It has not yet been determined that the deceased was murdered and therefore cannot be considered as yet a ‘victim’ of any crime.”

The judge glared at Rittenouer, who held his gaze with a blank stare.

“Objection sustained,” said the judge.

Rittenouer went back to his papers.

The prosecution looked down and shook his head. “Is there any substantiated proof that the deceased, at any time in his prior termination duties, caused any physical pain to those scheduled for termination?”

Kelb started to speak, but emitted no words as his eyes drifted around the room.

“Doctor?” prompted the prosecution.

Kelb brought his eyes back to the prosecutor, then responded. “No,” he said. “There isn’t any proof, but I–”

“Thank you, Doctor, now with regard to the subjects for which the deceased was responsible, would you say that he was carrying out his duly appointed and obligated legal duty when he engaged in the termination of those subjects?”

“Objection, your honor,” said Rittenouer, eyes glued to one of his papers. “The witness has no expertise in legal or constitutional matters.” He started scribbling something down as he spoke. “His answer would be merely speculative.”

“Overruled.”

Rittenouer’s hand stopped writing and his head shot up, his pen halted on the page. “Your honor, the witness is a doctor, he has no training whatsoever in–”

“Objection overruled,” repeated the judge, then turned to Kelb. “You will answer the question.”

Rittenouer smiled, then went back to writing.

Kelb looked from the Judge back to the prosecutor. “Uh, I’m sorry, did he–”

“Was the deceased in fact carrying out his duly appointed responsibilities to the state, to the people, as per his job description in the area of his delegated, licensed and state issued authority?”

“Well, I–I think . . .” stammered Kelb.

“It’s a simple question Doctor,” whined the prosecutor, “was the deceased doing what he was not only legally permitted and licensed to do, but also ethically bound to do by his employer?”

The man sat for a moment. Then responded in a low voice. “Yes.”

“I’m sorry Doctor, what was that?

The man cleared his throat then said in a full voice, “Yes.”

The prosecutor spread his hands. “Yes he was . . .” he prompted, leaning his forehead toward the witness.

“Yes, he was doing as he was bound to do.”

“Thank you. Do you think he was in any way defying any law or statute of this our great-”

“Objection!” said Rittenouer.

“I withdraw the question, your Honor. Dr. Kelb, is it your opinion, as a certified physician and head of medical studies at the Herrgard Bio-Medical Institute for Research, as well as overseer of procedures at that same facility, that the deceased was in any way committing any actionable offense, or even infraction, for which he could be reprimanded by his superiors when he carried out his duty to terminate those subjects that were deemed terminable?”

“No, but there’s–”

“Thank you Doctor, that will be all for now.” The prosecutor turned and headed back to his desk.

“But there’s more than just-”

“The witness will answer only that of which he is asked,” said the judge. He looked up at Rittenouer. “Any further questions, council?”

The courtroom was quiet as all eyes looked to the defense attorney.

Rittenouer was shuffling papers back and forth across his desk, searching for something. After a moment, he raised his eyes to the judge. With a smile, he said, “No, your honor,” then looked back dow at his papers.

The judge glared at Rittenouer for a second, then turned to Kelb. “You may step down.”

Dr. Kelb quietly rose, made his way down from the witness stand and walked back to his seat.

About the Author

Joe Keck is a writer of horror, thriller, suspense, and other fiction, some poetry and music, with the occasional op-ed piece on current events, politics, and theology. Although born in Oklahoma, he was taken to Los Angeles when he was an infant, or as his mother described, "the ugliest little thing I've ever seen", and raised there on the West Coast. He considers himself to be far superior to most on the artistic merits of film and literature, seeing the vast majority of such to be well below adequate. He has four novels and many short stories to his credit, and hopes to one day have them published, promising to hold critics like himself in harsh derision. He's currently restoring a Jason 35 sailboat and plans to sail the world, writing horror stories, and marveling at the illustrative works of the Creator and His Divine story-telling imagery. You may Find Joe's Website at http://www.joekeck.com/

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