I’ve been going to church fairly regularly lately. Now that I’m going, I even listen to the message of the priest. I sit in the wooden church pews. It seems all churches that I have been to have wooden church pews. So today, sitting in a courtroom as part of my day job, I am sitting in a wooden pew. Defendants in front of me, standing before the judge and family members behind me, awaiting judgment.
As the DA quotes all the statements made by each defendant, the court gets quieter, the young men sound guiltier. Bail is requested for each based on the nature of their stated involvement. family members behind me start getting upset: one makes a loud gasp and leaves the courtroom, others are crying quietly into their tissues. Then the defense lawyers take their turn. Things start to get clearer, put into context. Lives are hanging in the balance.
I think about the wooden church pews. I can’t turn around to talk to these family members but I imagine I turn around, shake their hand and say ‘peace be with you’.