Thursday, September 11, 2008

042: The People of the United States V. Charleston Charge

Breaking the fourth wall: I tried to do something different with today's segment. I think it turned out all right.

How should Charleston plead?
Guilty: o votes
Not guilty: 3 votes
Insanity: 0 votes


Washington, DC
(Date removed)

The above-entitled matter came on for oral argument before the Supreme Court of the United States at 11:14 a.m.

DHARMA H. LAWSON, ESQ., Washington, DC; on behalf of the Petitioner.
JAMES SWIFT III, ESQ., Detroit, MI; on behalf of the Respondent.

(11:14 a.m.)

CHIEF JUSTICE JOKAVICH: We'll hear... who are you? You, the second stenographer.

PLAYER ONE: I'm typing this for the Internet!

CHIEF JUSTICE JOKAVICH: I'm afraid that's not allowed, son. Bailiff, take away his computer.

(I am going to use sneakily Anderson's phone to text the trial to myself, and I will transcribe it later. I apologize if it's not courty enough for you, but I suck at texting.)


MS. LAWSON: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court: Charleston Charge is--

CHARLESTON: Don't I have to say what I plead?

CHIEF JUSTICE JOKAVICH: Order! Order! This whole case is highly irregular, and so you will have to bear with us as I attempt to make sure this farce of a trial continues apace. The only things Mister Charge are actually charged with are illegally emigrating from the lost city of Uhld and gross vagrancy. Mister Charge, how do you plead?

CHARLESTON: Not guilty. I may have been a vagrant, but I was a clean vagrant.

CHIEF JUSTICE JOKAVICH: Fair enough. Miss Lawson, the floor is yours.

MS. LAWSON: All of my arguments are for the other things Mister Charge was charged with. If it pleases the court, I shall continue acting as if he was still charged with these things.

CHIEF JUSTICE JOKAVICH: Highly irregular, but I'll grant it.

MS. LAWSON: Thank you. First and foremost, how do you explain the fact that you are in these photos?

CHARLESTON: I have no idea why I am in those photos, and if I'm not charged with this--

MS. LAWSON: Just answer the question, Mister Charge.

CHARLESTON: I don't know. Wasn't I supposed to take an oath?

MS. LAWSON: I'll ask the questions here. The photos, Mister Charge. Explain them.

CHARLESTON: I told you, I don't know anything about the photos. It's obvious they were faked, since look, that guy? The one who's been torn in half? He's standing right there. Oh my god, that one is my lawyer. I knew I had seen him before.

MR. SWIFT: I object!

CHIEF JUSTICE JOKAVICH: What do you object to?

MR. SWIFT: The other lawyer is woman! Lawyering is a man's job! Her job is to get under this desk and--

CHIEF JUSTICE JOKAVICH: Mister Swift, I will not have such sexist behavior in my courtroom.

MR. SWIFT: How about this sexist behavior?

CHIEF JUSTICE JOKAVICH: Mister Swift, please step off of your desk and pull your pants back up. No one wants to see that, and was this not already a farce of a trial, I would have you escorted from the courtroom. Miss Lawson?

MS. LAWSON: Thank you, your honor. I call Joseph "Scoop" Griswald to the stand. Mister Griswald, how do you explain these pictures?

MR. GRISWALD: The darnedest thing. One minute, I was on my way to South Carolina, following my pal the Moonman Marauder, and the next I was back in Detroit with a camera full of pictures. No one else seems to know anything about where I took the pictures or anything.

MR. SWIFT: I object!

CHIEF JUSTICE JOKAVICH: Mister Swift, please. There is nothing in Mister Griswald's statement to object to.

MR. SWIFT: He's lying.


MR. SWIFT: I think it's staged. Rehearsed. Besides, I want to call my witness.


MR. SWIFT: I call Land Captain to the stand! That's right, everyone gasp! All right, you Communist bastard, what do you know about these photos?

LAND CAPTAIN: I'm not a Communist, sir. I know nothing about the photos.

MR. SWIFT: I know you're lying. A man might hang if you don't tell the truth.

LAND CAPTAIN: I'm not lying.

MR. SWIFT: So you're putting Charleston Charge up a creek without a paddle. That's all, your honor.

F'HAAT TOHTOA: Hold everything! I have come with damning evidence!

CHIEF JUSTICE JOKAVICH: I was expecting this. Hello, Mister Tohtoa. What do you have?

MISTER TOHTOA: I have here a signed certificate of naturalized citizenship belonging to one Charleston Charge, and signed testimonials from several people detailing that he was a model homeless citizen.

CHIEF JUSTICE JOKAVICH: I'll allow it. Jury, go make your deliberations.

JURY FOREMAN: We're pretty sure he's not guilty, your honor.

CHIEF JUSTICE JOKAVICH: Wonderful. This court rules in favor of Charleston Charge.


Swift came up to Charleston after the trial amid the media circus that had surrounded the newly-innocent man. It was a very unorthodox trial, and had succeeded in making Charleston an instant media darling. Swift invited Charleston out for a celebration. Charleston pondered this for a moment, and wondered if he should go.
Should Charleston go celebrate?

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