Lance Sonorus, who self-identifies as “a guy who knows everything,” left a courtroom in shock and shackles this week after a jury found him guilty of assaulting an elderly man with a milkshake.
“I don’t get it,” Sonorus muttered, contemplating his sentencing from a local jail cell.
I researched my case on the internet for months. I posted several pressing questions to Reddit. I even pirated a copy of the Federal Rules of Evidence so I would know how to introduce stuff. And I’m still guilty? What went wrong?
“Hey bro,” came a voice from the next cell. “Who was your lawyer?”
“Me,” replied Lance.
A chorus of laughs erupted down the cellblock. “Bro,” sputtered the voice in the next cell, “Everyone in here knows you don’t represent yourself in a court case! That’s what lawyers are for! Only an idiot would try to represent himself in a court case!”
“But I can’t afford a lawyer,” sputtered Sonorus. “I’m still paying off my Gender Studies degree, and my job at Sonic doesn’t give me enough sustainable income to live plus hire a lawyer.”
“So you didn’t even ask the court to appoint a lawyer for you, dog?” another voice piped up.
“No,” Lance sneered. “It’s 2019. Public defenders don’t make enough money to hire lawyers themselves. Plus you have all the world’s knowledge on your cell phone. You can literally look up anything you want at any time. Why would I even waste time with a lawyer?”
“Told y’all fools education didn’t make your smarter,” a gruff voice remarked near the cellblock door.
“Sickboy’s got a point bro,” the prisoner in Cell 3A said. “He dropped out of the fifth grade to sling dope full time and when cops give him a hard time his vocabulary drops to one word: ‘Lawyer.’ It’s the only thing he ever says around cops. Your dumb ass probably spoke to the police, didn’t you, college boy?”
“They said if I just told them what happened and was truthful about it, nothing bad would happen.” Lance said after a long pause. This admission left A Block ringing with laughter for minutes.
“Oh wow, homie. Cops lie all the time! They can say and do pretty much anything to get you to talk, college boy! That’s why you keep your mouth shut and only say you want a lawyer when they talk to you, dog!”
“Except you never tell them ‘I want a lawyer, dog,’, dog.” the man in 6A said. “You wouldn’t believe what happened to my cousin when he tried that.”
“So what’d you do that got you in here, college boy?” the guy in the cell next to Lance asked.
“I was arrested for…” Lance started but was quickly interrupted by shouts of “SHUT UP, MITCH!” from other inmates.
“Holmes, you don’t talk to Mitch the Snitch in here” remarked 3D after the voices died down. “He rats to the screws on the regular hoping to get time shaved off his stay. How’d your fancy education not teach you to keep your mouth shut around Mitch the Snitch?”
“I didn’t know he was Mitch the Snitch until two minutes ago,” Lance replied.
“You got plenty of time to learn the ropes around here, bro,” 5A quipped.
“Yeah, I’m kinda bummed about the guilty verdict, but I won’t let it get me down,” Lance said with something of a smile. “I’m going to hit the library first thing in the morning and figure out what I can do during sentencing that will help me out.”
“Library? Really? Bro. Seriously, that’s funny. This is County, not “The Shawshank Redemption,” giggled Mitch the Snitch. “You’re in the system now. Books are only good in here for rolling papers.”
That night, Lance Sonorus went to sleep with one eye open knowing for the first time since he graduated from college that he knew a lot less than he originally thought.