[Feedback PLZ?] Suspicions Of Mages: Act 1, Scene 1
Trying to write a courtroom scene to set the stage for my novella, Suspicions of Mages, and was wondering if I could pick ya’lls brains for feedback. I’m trying to end up with the defense motioning for a mistrial because James (the protagonist) used magic to obtain evidence without a warrant or notifying the defendant of their Fifth and Sixth Amendment Rights. This better sets up what had been a rather shallow conflict between James and Captain Day’d Foosche and as the primary motivation for James to do exceptionally well on the next case (the main story)
I’m just worried that the scene is too much…drama and not enough real legal wrangling. Anything helps!
July 23, 2014 – Philadelphia, PA
The crowed court room buzzed with restrained anticipation. It was fifth day at trial for the alleged serial killer, S’han Maklan and the defense was wrapping up its case. The jury was set to deliver their deliberations by that afternoon. The evidence was strongly in the state’s favor, but the defense had hinted that it still had one ace in the hole.
Maklan sat calmly in front of the judge, the orc’s hulking frame barely contained within a tailored Armani suit. His council, a fat man in his late forties with flowing robes and beard, was a stark contrast to the tall, thin, and stern looking platinum haired elf from the DA’s office.
The judge, who was a rather unremarkable looking human in his late fifties, entered. After taking his seat, he nodded to the defense to begin.
“Would Officer James Holman please come to the stand?” the man asked as he strode towards the bench.
James sighed mentally as he stood. This wasn’t going to be good. Pulling his pony tail tight, he walked through the gallery to the witness box, his tan duster draped over one arm. Along with his long red hair, his confident stride marked him as young, but the lines around his eyes hinted at a tough career.
“Could you state your name please?” The man asked after James had been sworn in.
“James Alexander Holman.”
“And could you tell the court what it is you do, Officer Holman?”
“I am a police officer with the Philadelphia Police Department, out of the borough of Wisteria.”
The old man nodded. “And what relationship do you have with my client?”
“It was my division that originally detained him for questioning.”
The old man paced back and forth for a moment, as if letting the tension build. “Based on what evidence did you detain my client?”
“At first he was acting suspicious. Officer Seto—my partner—and I noticed him while undercover on an unrelated assignment. He seemed ill at ease when he entered the diner, constantly looking around while he waited for a table.”
“So you observed him?”
“What then warranted chasing him over twelve blocks? Surely the fine detectives at Philly PD have more important things to do than break cover to chase out-of-work-middle-aged-minorities.”
“Objection!” The Assistant District Attorney said, getting up. “Relevance?”
The old man looked at her with a barely contained sneer. “I am just trying to establish what motivated Officer Holman to chase down my client.”
The judge waved dismissively and the elf took her seat again. “Continue.”
The defense flashed the judge a smile and looked back to James. “Well detective? How did you move from suspicions to arrest?”
James considered his answer carefully. It felt like the courtroom was holding its breath. “As I said, the first thing that struck me was his attitude. Something about it was just off. I kept watching him out of the corner of my eye and that’s when I saw it. His aura. It was a sickly yellow-green color, the same color of the magic that had been seen at the murder scenes in the area.”
“So you are a Mage then?”
“Yes, on my mother’s side.”
“And your ability?”
“I can sense magic and see auras.”
“And you acted on information discovered that way.” The man’s voice trembled. “You used magic to obtain information on my client, correct?”
James could feel the trap close around him. He knew from day one this had been their plan all along. They would have never called him otherwise. “I did.”
“Information you used to connect him to the six murders that had, until then, no suspect and no motive. You, all by yourself, concluded that my client was responsible.”
There was a general outcry from the gallery and it took several moments for the judge to regain order in the room.
The old man turned to the judge. “Your honor, I ask that this case be dismissed on the grounds that the state’s prosecution was built on evidence unlawfully collected from my client in violation of his Fifth and Sixth amendment rights. The rest of the people’s evidence, without this unethically obtained connection, is purely circumstantial and could easily incriminate myself or the DA just as easily as my client.”
There was more outcry and it took twice as long for order to return.
“I will consider your motion. The court will take a short recess to deliberate.”