The Practice
Pro Se

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In Rod They Bash

Suffering County Courthouse. Ellenor, Hunky D.A. and Ray are in the courtroom. Judge Mantz is presiding. But I'm going to call him Judge Odo, because it's Rene Auberjonois. Any. Way. Ellenor wants to get off the case because Ray is being so damn unreasonable. Man, Ron Livingston looks really, really good in a suit. Right, recapping. Just let me wipe that drool off my keyboard so that I can continue. When Ellenor defended Ray before, he listened to her. Now, he won't take her advice or help her develop a useful defense. She can't in good conscience continue to be his lawyer. Hunky: "This is a ploy to get a continuance." Ellenor insists that Hunky knows she has a real conflict. Alan: "I know your client doesn't have a defense." The Judge hops on the argument train: "I don't care what you know. I care about Mr. McMurphy." Odo turns to his attention to Ray and asks him if he and Ellenor are having problems. Ray stands up and politely says, "Thank you for asking, Your Honour." He swallows. Staggers a bit on his feet. Then he apologizes for the fact that he gets nervous. Ellenor turns around and gives him a state-of-the-art stink-eye. Ray continues, "It's just that she wants me to plead guilty and I want my day in court." Odo: "Are you pressuring him to plead?" Ellenor says yes. She's got a duty to stop Ray from pursuing a trial that he can't possibly win. The judge insists that it's Ray's choice whether or not he wants to have a day in court. Ellenor says, "Not with me as his lawyer. We've got a conflict. Let him get new counsel." Well, Alan needs to pipe in, because he hasn't had a line in the last little while: "We're ready to today; bringing in a new lawyer will delay the case for months, maybe a year." Ray insists that he doesn't want to go back upstate today. Hell, he'll be his own lawyer and he'll defend himself. Anything to get the trial done today. Ellenor's head snaps back like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. She can't believe what she just heard: "That is a bad IDEA." In fact, Alan can't quite believe what he heard either, but damn, you know the judge is going to go for it because the music starts up on a "pro se" cue. Hunky insists that if Ray does represent himself, he'll just end up appealing, stating that they violated his right to counsel. Blah legal problems blah. Ray: "No. I can have Ms. Frutt advise me. Then, I'll waive [the appeal], which means it will be knowing." The music bleats on like a sheep that lost its flock about seventeen years ago and has been mooning for them ever since. The judge advises him not to represent himself. Ray: "But I have a right to, don't I? I choose to exercise that right."

Ellenor asks for a second. She leans over the desk and whisper-threatens, "What are you doing?" He whisper-asserts back, "I want to go to trial now, with or without you." She whisper-snarls back, "Ray, you may be nuts but you aren't crazy." He whisper-says back, "Which means my wish should be respected." She whisper-shouts, "You will be convicted." Blah no he won't, blah she turns around, blah he wants to represent himself blah. The judge orders Ellenor to assist Ray; she tries to put up a fuss. Judge Mantz insists that while the law might say Ray can act pro se, that doesn't mean that he'll let Ray go into a trial unprotected. Ellenor: "Let him get somebody else." No. He's got her. He's going to keep her. The judge warns Ray that defending himself is a "very serious step." Does he want to take it? Ray insists he does. He's been through enough trials to understand how they work, and he's sure that he can do it, with Ellenor's help. Ellenor: "I object to being forced to help a man convict himself." Only didn't she want him to plead, and wouldn't he end up convicting himself that way anyway? Blah. The judge notes her objection, makes some snarky comment about how Ellenor really objects to the fact that the client wants to make a different decision than she does, and tells them all he'll see them at eleven o'clock. Whew. Aren't we all on the edges of our seats waiting to see how this one is going to turn out?

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The Practice

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