Day of Dread, Part Six

Continued from Part Five

Snyder walked into the courtroom in his khaki dress uniform and at sat down at the table next to Captain Merle.

Merle said, “I requested two enlisted men be on the jury. They might be more sympathetic than the officers.”

Snyder stared up at the jury table, spotted Baby Huey’s ugly mug, and glared at Merle.  “What are you trying to pull?”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Hewitt’s on the jury. That palooka beat me as part of my interrogation.”

 “We’ll get that straightened out.” Merle  walked to the balding major at the prosecution table and spoke to him inaudibly.

The major glared at Colonel Dread. “What the hell do you and your friend think you’re trying to pull? I want that boy to hang, not to have this overturned because we had a ringer on the jury!”

Dread snarled. “Do you know what this Eagle means?”

“Yeah, that you’re subject to court martial. If you’re anything less than cooperative, you will be in need of Captain Merle’s services. Is that understood?”

Dread nodded.

Merle returned to the Defense table. “No problem. Hollerman will have Hewitt removed, and we’ll delay the case until tomorrow after some preliminary matters are taken care of.”

An elderly colonel entered the courtroom wearing a black robe.

The bailiff said, “All rise, the Court Martial of Specialist A. L. Snyder is now in session, Colonel Lance Appel presiding.”

The entire courtroom rose.

The judge took his seat.  “Be seated. Major Hollerman, Captain Merle, are you read to proceed?”

Major Hollerman said, “Your honor, if it pleases the court, we will not go to trial. An serious error was made. The prosecution just learned that Sergeant Hewitt was involved in the arrest and therefore would not be suitable to serve on the jury.”

Judge Appel said, “Sergeant Hewitt, is that correct?”

Sergeant Hewitt shrugged. “I examined him, but I don’t know if he’s guilty.”

Hollerman smiled. “While the Prosecution is sure Sergeant Hewitt is completely unbiased regarding the men he flogs, in the interest of the appearance of justice, we move Sergeant Hewitt be dismissed.”

Merle said, “Defense has no objection.”

Judge Appel said, “Sergeant Hewitt, you are dismissed.”

Hewitt stood and saluted.

Judge Appel said, “A replacement will be assigned. The trial will commence tomorrow.”

Major Hollerman said, “One thing further. On review of the accusation Colonel Dread submitted, the prosecution would like to move to dismiss the third item in the complaint.”

The judge, Merle, and the members of the jury turned to the third page of the complaint.

Hollerman said, “Given that Donovan the Steward encouraged enlisted soldiers to contact his helpline, contacting it could not be insubordination. The prosecution hence moves for the dismissal of count three.”

Merle smiled. “We have no objection.”

The judge said, “Count three is dismissed. If there’s no further business before this court, we’ll stand in recess until tomorrow morning.” Judge Appel slammed his gavel.

Snyder glared at Merle. “Why weren’t you making these motions?”

“Hollerman always does that.”

“So he can impress even the enlisted men of the jury with how fair he is.”

“Well, he is fair. And he does well with juries. He’s never lost a case.”

Cheery. “Has he always had you as his opponent?”

“Now look. I’ve won plenty of cases when not facing Hollerman. He’s very good, and he always makes sure everything is done properly and that there are no grounds for appeals.”

And I got the President of his fan club as my attorney. “Maybe I’ll represent myself.”

Merle chortled. “Anyone who represents themselves has a fool for a client. It’ll be tough to get you off, impossible without counsel.” Merle paused. “Do you know Dr. Boulet?”

“Yea, she’s gotten me on her couch.”

“We’re scheduled to meet with her in an hour. She’s a fantastic expert witness and could blow Hollerman’s case apart.”

Snyder perked up. “Thanks!”

An MP approached.

Snyder sighed. “Guess I get to go change into my jail uniform now.”

He and Merle followed the MP out of the courtroom and into the hall.

Sergeant Kendall approached them. She said, “Can I speak to the prisoner?”

Continued Next Thursday

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