Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Law & Order: V.I.P. Treatment

VOICE OVER: In the criminal justice system, the basic acceptable behaviors of our society are spelled out and apply to every person as a basic tenet of citizenship. Many citizens fall through the cracks, and are entitled to special handling based on their position in life. These are their stories.

Scene: The Minnesota District Attorney's office. DA Arthur Branch (Fred Thompson) paces back and forth behind his desk, fiddling with his Stars And Stripes lapel pin. Seated in front of the desk is Assistant DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), a thick file on his lap labelled Craig, Larry (Sen.).

BRANCH: Jack, this defendant is withdrawing his guilty plea.

MCCOY: (Shocked) What? You have to be kidding me!

BRANCH: You should know by now I have no sense of humour, Jack. (Adjusting flag pin again) Frankly, I think we should just dismiss the charges altogether.

MCCOY: On what grounds is he withdrawing the plea?

BRANCH: Larry Craig had been under a lot of pressure from an Idaho paper after they had investigated rumours that he's gay. He wasn't thinking clearly when he was arrested.

MCCOY: What a load of crap! Have you even read this thing? It's open and shut. The man was read his Miranda rights, had plenty of time to call a lawyer, he spoke at length with the officers, tried to influence them by pointing out he's a Senator. He read the arrest report and signed it, agreeing to enter the plea. He only made a fuss about two months later, after the press caught on. Are you telling me he was cringing in terror over this for two months before he did anything about it? The man is a member of the US Senate. They make laws, and he doesn't understand the basics of pleading guilty? It's not like he just arrived stoned and not speaking English from Mars and has never, ever watched "Law And --"

BRANCH: What Larry Craig should have known or done is irrelevant. The point here is that the man's life is going to be ruined. His going to lose his job, he's going to be a public laughingstock, and all because he was under... (adjusts flag pin again) (Note to Props: need the biggest one we can find here. May require special lighting) undue pressure from the cops.

MCCOY: What the hell is going on here? I've been here long enough to know that I'm the defender of constitutional rights, and you're the knee-jerk neocon. Why the sudden role reversal?

BRANCH: Jack, you have to understand that there are greater interests at stake here than merely enforcing the letter of the law. There's a higher principle involved.

MCCOY: What higher principle are we here to defend, Arthur, other than our system of law as established by The Constitution?

BRANCH: I'm running for President, Jack. I need to get in as much practice defending the indefensible as I can. (his flag pin falls off, breaking his coffee mug as it bounces off the desk onto the floor). But enough about Larry Craig. Let's talk about my plans for Iran...

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