The Law Is A Ass #436: Is Green Arrow Not Guilty By Reason Of Inanity?
I’m sick of it!
I’ve spent the past three weeks writing about the Arrow episode “Docket No. 11-19-41-73” and like Popeye said, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” No matter how long it takes, I’m going to finish with “Docket No. 11-19-41-73” today. Even if I have to write about it from the beginning all the way to the SPOILER WARNING! at the episode’s end.
Dramatis personæ: Oliver Queen: the defendant charged with vigilantism, murder, and the assorted mayhem from the past 5 seasons of Arrow. Alexa Van Owen: prosecutor. Jean Loring: defense attorney. Judge McGarvey: corrupt judge in the pay of crime lord Ricardo Diaz who wants McGarvey to be sure and get Ollie convicted. Me: the lawyer trying to make sense out of this entire mess; I’d have had an easier time reading tea leaves in a coffee plantation.
So far 6 witnesses have testified. 4 committed perjury by saying Ollie isn’t Green Arrow; one honestly didn’t know, and one said Ollie was Green Arrow. With me so far? Good. Now try to keep up, because this is where the episode really starts to get silly.
A surprise witness dressed as Green Arrow crashed through the skylight of the courthouse and claimed he was Green Arrow. The witness testified he was Tommy Merlyn, a character we all thought had died back in Season One. Tommy testified he faked his own death so he could serve Star City as the Green Arrow and that Ollie was not the Green Arrow.
As we know Ollie is Green Arrow, we also know Tommy perjured himself. As Jean Loring also knew Ollie is Green Arrow, she suborned the perjury. As Judge McGarvey didn’t know who was Green Arrow, he ordered Tommy arrested. Whaddya know, the corrupt judge was the only person doing the right thing here.
Team Arrow rescued Tommy as he was being transported to jail. That’s when we learned that Tommy Merlyn wasn’t Tommy Merlyn, he was Christopher Chance, a master of disguise for hire who Ollie hired to impersonate Tommy Merlyn and testify that he was Green Arrow. So even “Tommy’s” testimony he was Tommy Merlyn was a lie.
It was perjury within perjury. A veritable Russian nesting doll of courthouse lies, except that with this one each time you went down a layer, the lies got bigger. That last layer of lies wasn’t just perjury, it was an actual fraud upon the court. Was no one on Team Arrow paying attention to the fact that fellow team member Mr. Terrific’s jacket had “Fair Play” written on it?
Alexa called Laurel Lance as a rebuttal witnesses. Diaz gave Laurel his file on Chris Chance and instructed Laurel to expose Chance and testify that Ollie was Green Arrow. But Laurel was starting to second guess her devil’s bargain with Diaz. So she – all together now – perjured herself. She testified Tommy Merlyn, not Ollie Queen, was Green Arrow.
Closing arguments followed. Along with the usual nonsense that Hollywood thinks makes for an effective closing argument, Alexa also informed the jury that Team Arrow intercepted the police escort taking “Tommy Merlyn” to jail and freed him. Which was improper. Closing arguments are supposed to summarize the evidence introduced in trial. They’re not allowed to add new facts which were never introduced into evidence like Oliver Queen has a vast network of operatives who freed Tommy Merlyn; you must convict him so that so that he can’t head up that network anymore. Of course, considering that the living incompetence that was Jean Loring didn’t object to this improper argument, I guess I can forgive Judge McGarvey in not striking it.
The verdict came in some time later, how many minutes or hours, I didn’t know. Nor did I care. I was just glad that this trial was almost over.
The jury found Ollie guilty. Jean Loring then asked the judge to grant a motion for judgement not withstanding the verdict and overrule the guilty verdict because it wasn’t supported by the evidence. Several people have asked me whether there is such a thing in trials and, in true lawyer-like fashion, I answered; yes and no.
Yes, there is such a thing as a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. No, Jean Loring wouldn’t have requested one. The JNOV is used in civil trials, not criminal trials.
(Yes, I know the acronym JNOV doesn’t match up with judgement not withstanding the verdict. That’s because lawyers don’t call the motion by its English name. That would be too easy. We use the Latin Judgement Non Obstante Verdicto, because we’re lawyers, damnit!)
In a criminal trial, defense counsel wouldn’t ask for a JNOV, instead counsel would move for a judgement of acquittal. So the criminal motion has a different name but argues the same thing; the evidence in the trial didn’t prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the judge should overrule the guilty verdict and find the defendant not guilty.
Judge McGarvey, who was in the pay of Ricardo Diaz remember and charged with making sure Ollie was found guilty, granted the motion. He ruled that because some witnesses testified Ollie was Green Arrow and some testified he wasn’t, the conflicting evidence didn’t prove Ollie’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He found Ollie not guilty and ordered Ollie released.
I actually agreed with the judge’s decision. I thought the conflicting evidence created enough reasonable doubt that the jury should have found Ollie not guilty. I also applauded McGarvey for his courage in standing up to Diaz’s orders and making sure justice was done.
Turns out it wasn’t Judge McGarvey at all. It was Chris Chance disguised as Judge McGarvey. Team Arrow incapacitated McGarvey and planted their operative in his place to make sure that the trial ended with the proper result. The proper result here being that the man who actually was Green Arrow so actually was guilty of all the crimes charged in the indictment was found not guilty through perjury and multiple frauds upon the court. So, yay(?) justice triumphed.
Wait, did I say fraud upon the court. Oops— my bad. It wasn’t a fraud upon the court. It was literally a fraud as the court.
Now right about this time, with Team Arrow celebrating its clever victory, I was actually saying to my TV – yes, I know they couldn’t hear me, but sometimes things are so stupid that extreme measures are called for – “Uh, guys, you might want to stop celebrating and go find Judge McGarvey. You know that Diaz is going to kidnap and kill the judge because “the judge” double crossed him, don’t you?”
But they didn’t know. Or didn’t care. Either way the result was the same. Diaz kidnapped McGarvey and killed him.
Which is sad. If Team Arrow had thought through the logical repercussions of their machinations, they would have realized that if they just followed Judge McGarvey, they could catch Diaz in the act of kidnap and attempted murder. Not only would they have saved the judge’s life, they would have had actual evidence of a federal offense – kidnapping – which they could have taken to the FBI. Then Diaz could have be arrested and prosecuted outside of the Star City justice system, which he controlled. If Team Arrow had done that instead of taking a victory lap, they would have had an actual victory.