Previous | Next | Moral
Episode 74, originally published 28-Nov-97
The custody court is assembled and awaits the judge's ruling on the admissibility of Glenn Houserman's evidence. The judge takes a final glance at some notes he has made and then begins. "Very well, then, we'll proceed. As you realize, the situation involving this evidence Mr. Houserman has given is quite complex. However, I've done a full search of the state's records and I believe the appropriate precedents exist for me to make an appropriate ruling." Cricket raises an eyebrow as Danny digs his hand into her arm. "What does that mean?" he demands to know with the same caveman-like passion he's demonstrated throughout the trial. Cricket shakes her head. "I don't know. Danny, I did a database search a day ago and there were no appropriate precedents that I could find--I had thought the judge would be free to make a ruling based on his own judgment."
The judge eyes Danny and Cricket and says, "If you're finished chattering, I'm prepared to rule." Cricket blushes. "Sorry, Your Honor. My client was just--" "Trying to remove your arm out of some sort of displaced anger--yes, I've noticed that, too." "He's just concerned about his son," Cricket says. The judge nods sadly. "Yes, well, I'd be concerned about his son if I thought the case were going your way, too, counsel. But fortunately for that precious little boy, it looks like your client getting custody is becoming more and more of a remote possibility." Cricket's jaw drops as the judge looks up and addresses the full court. "I hereby rule that the testimony of Mr. Houserman be stricken as inadmissible. I cite as precedent State of Wisconsin vs...." He consults his notes. "Enitsirhc Tnias," he says uncertainly. "Or however it's pronounced." "Also, State of Wisconsin vs. Tekcirc, and finally State of Wisconsin vs Gub."
After a moment of stunned silence, Cricket rises and says, "Objection, Your Honor." "You object to the use of precedent?" "Quite the contrary, Your Honor. But I doubt those cases exist. Look what they have in common." "The judge looks at them. That they are all unpronounceable?" "No, your honor. It's just a hunch, but I bet if you look closely you'll see they were all presided over by a Judge Ittolamor Sillyhp." [Author's note: Judge Ittolamor Sillyhp first appeared in Episode 69 (Come and Get It).] The judge looks down for a moment and then nods. "Yes. So?" he asks. "So they are made up." "If they are made up, then how could you know the judge's name?" "Because, your honor, I'm familiar with judge Sillyhp's work--do you notice that Ittolamor Sillyhp is Phyllis Romalotti spelled backwards?" The judge shakes his head. "Counsel, one cannot be familiar with the work of a judge who does not exist." Cricket says, "But Your Honor, it's not just the name of the Judge. What about Enitsirhc Tnias, Tekcirc, and Gub. Those are all my name spelled backward." The judge raises his hand like a traffic cop. "Enough. This has just gone from silly to ridiculous. Now obviously, you hold some sort of grudge against this Judge Sillyhp's work--I HOPE only because of some coincidental name similarity with the respondent in this case, and not some more deep seated race hatred for Judge Sillyhp--the name sounds vaguely Indian to my ear. Now, I would not like to report you to the bar for taking an unprofessional attitude in this matter, so please, take your seat and cease objecting on the basis of any form of anagram." Cricket glares at Phyllis, who smiles innocently.
Cricket addresses the judge again. "Your honor, I did a search for cases such as the ones you have cited and found no such cases." The judge says, "Well, that's understandable--these were only reported this morning." "This morning?" "That's right." "Doesn't that sound just a little bit convenient?" "Life moves on, Counsellor. History and precedents are made every day--why not yesterday?" "Yesterday? So this isn't part of some formal record yet?" "No, but it's a very reliable source." "What source?" "The World Inquisitor." Crickets eyes roll. "Your HONOR!" "You wish to impeach your own witness by suggesting that his publication is less than reliable?" "No, but your honor, come on. It has been shown that Phyllis Romalotti is a computer WHIZ. She could have planted that story in the Inquisitor." Phyllis stands and says, "I object, your honor!" The judge waves her down. "You're not permitted to object, Mrs. Romalotti. But it's ok, I understand your concern."
The judge turns to Mr. Houserman. "Can you speak for the World Inquisitor on this matter?" Glenn Houserman stands and says proudly, "Indeed I can, sir." "Well? How did that story get in there? Do you think Mrs. Romalotti could have broken into your computers?" asks the Judge. "No, sir!" he says. "Glenn," Cricket whispers, "you can't know that!" "Yes I can," he whispers back. Then he says to the court. "I bought those stories, your honor." "Aha!" says Cricket. "From whom?" the Judge asks. "From Mrs. Romalotti." "And why was that?" "Because they were news, Your Honor. Anything relating to a juicy story like this trial is of interest to the World Inquisitor." "So you bought the story even knowing it would impeach your own testimony?" "I'm a man of honor, sir," Glenn says proudly. "If the truth hurts, that's the way it is. But at the World Inquisitor, we have a motto--" "Yes, yes, I'm sure you do," the judge says, cutting him off. Cricket whines anew, "Your honor, don't you see what's going on? Mrs. Romalotti has made up these stories about the precedents and attempted to influence this case." "But it sounded so sincere," Glenn says. The judge shakes his head. "Ms. Williams, I'll leave it up to you--I can either rule summarily that Mr. Houserman's testimony will not be admissible, based on precedent published in the World Inquisitor, which you have previously stipulated to be a fine upstanding source of news staffed by men of great character, OR I can observe that Mr. Houserman's judgment about news is questionable, doubt these new stories containing the precedents I cited, admit Mr. Houserman's testimony, and then ignore it because you have impeached the credibility of your own witness." "Judge!" Cricket whines.
The judge sighs as it's obvious Cricket will not respond. Finally he says, "Personally, I found Mr. Houserman quite credible and I very much enjoyed the stories I read this morning." "Thank you, Your Honor," Glenn says. The judge smiles and goes on talking. "I therefore stand by my earlier ruling that the precedents I cited earlier are factual, and that the Mr. Houserman's prior testimony will be stricken from the record. Now, Ms. Williams, your star witness seems to be a no show. The testimony of Mr. Houserman has been ruled inadmissible. Your case is looking very weak... I would accept a motion for a summary judgment in favor of Mrs. Romalotti." Suddenly, Danny slams his fist on the table and says, "No way, Judge. I will NEVER allow that BITCH to have control of my son. Never. Never! NEVER! If I have to kidnap him and carry him away to Canada and never give a concert here in the US again, I'll see to it that Phyllis NEVER gets custody!" Cricket whispers "Danny!" as if to tell him this hasn't served his case, but it's too late. The judge is pounding his gavel.
"Mr. Romalotti. The CBS censors may recently have approved the unfettered use of the word `bitch' as daytime fare, but *I* still find it offensive. I rule as a formal matter that it is not representative of good family values and I direct the court stenographer to enter a black mark in the formal record next to your name. Furthermore, as tempting as I find your gracious offer never to give another concert in this country, I am forbidden by my oath of office from being influenced in so personal a way. I therefore recommend that Ms. Williams remove her arm from the reach of Mr. Romalotti's reflexive clutching so that I may issue this ruling without fear that her forearm will be further bruised." Cricket retracts her arm from the table and replaces it with a rolled up World Inquisitor. The judge proceeds. "The court hereby awards custody of that precious little boy to Mrs. Phyllis Romalotti." Danny reflexively grabs out as if to clutch Cricket's arm and say "What does this mean?" but his fingernails sink into the rolled-up paper. "Hey! Ouch!" he says as his fingers crunch into the hard roll of the paper where he'd expected the soft flesh of Cricket's arm. "What the--?" he mutters. "It means," explains the judge, that you have lost. Your case is over. You are too violent and you don't get the child." "No!" Danny exclaims. "I won't accept this," he continues. "You're questioning my right as judge to do this?" the judge says. "Damned right I'm questioning it," says Danny. "There's no way in hell I'm going to let you or anyone near my son." The judge waves the bailiff over in Danny's direction. "Bailiff--have this man locked up until he can behave like an adult." Cricket says, "Your Honor. That's cruel and unusual punishment--you have no proof he will ever act like an adult." The judge sighs. "You have me there, counsel. Well, all right, just get him out of my sight for a few minutes while I get out of here, ok?" She nods.
Danny is taken forceably into the next room. Cricket enters and sees him there. "Danny, calm down. It's over. There's nothing more to be done." Paul enters and looks to Cricket. "Ready?" "Ready for what?" He pulls out two plane tickets to Tahiti. "Our trip...?" "Paul, I can't leave Danny while he's in this state." "Come on, Chris. It's over. There's nothing more to be done." "No, Paul--I can't. I'm sorry." Paul shrugs and walks back out; the camera follows with him as Lynne walks up. "Lynne, have these tickets cancelled." "Cancelled?" "Unless you can work some sort of magic. 'Cuz Chris isn't going." "Funny you should mention magic," she says. "What's that?" he asks, only half paying attention. She pulls out a pencil and waves it like a magic wand over the tickets. "Now look again at them." He opens the tickets and reads. "They're made out for you and me." "I didn't ever really think Chris would go." "You are something else, Lynne. You know, I really could use a vacation..." "Then let's go! I promise I have plenty more tricks up my sleeve." Lynne says, smiling proudly. Paul nods. Then he adds, "Oh, and Lynne, I want you to give yourself that thousand dollar a month raise you mentioned last week." "Really?" she says. "Absolutely. You deserve every penny of it." They exit together.
That's all for this episode.
Hope you learned something.
Don't miss Episode 75!
If you missed any older episodes, see the index.
Feedback, good or bad, is always appreciated.
Page created and maintained by
Kent M. Pitman.
Copyright 1997, Kent M. Pitman. All Rights Reserved.