He’s been overseeing and judging many different criminal cases before today, but this is one of the few times he’s been struck by indecision. It’s a big problem, because the right choice seems so obvious, but the juries are insisting otherwise.
They insist the man before them is guilty, and normally it would have been easy to strike a verdict in favour of the majority, but there’s something about this man that sets him on edge – an edge he has no desire to walk across, lest he loses the delicate balance that’s settled his hands.
This man makes him feel that there’s no such thing as middle ground, his comfort ground: the ground that allows him to sleep on at night instead of feeling overly responsible or guilty at the possible condemnation of an innocent person.
The labelled criminal remains silent, and he still says more than all the lies spouting out of his accusers’ mouths. It’s clear that the man has made many enemies, and he’s impressed that this man isn’t dead yet. But the self-proclaimed juries cry out for blood to be spilled, and even if it’s not right, he has to go with the majority vote now doesn’t he? For the sake of the greater number of people? For the sake of his own safety?
They’re all good reasons, he reasons, and he declares his decision as a question. Appropriate, for this particular trial.
He washes his hands in a basin of cold water. But it smells like blood, and it still feels like he’s just committed murder.