Gabriel, The Civil Rights Lawyer’s Tale

by Mark Kodama


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Letter from the Birmingham Jail

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

George Bernard Shaw

Prologue:

The Advocate

Gabriel, a civil rights lawyer, gazed out the window. His brown face wore an easy confident smile. His black leather suitcase carried his file for a case he had in Las Vegas. A gold cross pendant hung from his neck and lay against his black turtleneck sweater. His black mirrored sunglasses hid his eyes. He wore a gray flannel suit without a tie.

Bus Driver: Let us listen to stories of heroes,
And their solitary quests for justice.
Of moral men of law courageous.
Their fights against their racist foes,
And the bitter harvest bigotry sows.

Nelson Mandela and Thurgood Marshall,
Lincoln and Cicero, great lawyers all,
Gandhi and Roy Wilkins of the NAACP
Lawyers are central to our being free.
Oh, fair voiced Calliope,
Favor us with epic poetry.”

Gabriel: Because of their high positions
But not their competence,
They made wrong decisions,
With absolute confidence.
To acquiesce to it,
Is to accept it.

I’m a trial lawyer with little renown,
I take cases, most mundane, some profound.
I do well but I am not a fount of gold
The meaning of my work is of most import I’m told.
I cannot win every case I must confess;

But I’m clever, work hard and do my best.
My enemies are smart and work hard too.
It would be easy if they weren’t shooting at you.
I know the local judges, lawyers and rules.
I survived the intellectual hazing of law school.

If you do not know the rules of evidence,
Your client may have a dire consequence.
When trying your case, present it with style.

Be friendly but serious and wear a confident smile.
Present your opening and closing emotionally
And appeal to the jurors logically.
Ethos, pathos and logos are our tools of the trade,
The rules of rhetoric that Aristotle made.
The great Roman lawyer Cicero used to say:
Movere, docere and delectare.

Be a master of rhetoric,
An expert in courtroom politics,
Speak to jurors in words they understand
With the lofty ideas of leaders grand.
Be a student of the mind
And someone that cares,
And I think you will find
You will have a certain flair.

Laws are made and enforced by men
And it is up to them to administer them.
And it is up to men you see,
To make justice a reality.
Justice is only an idea,
That must be fought for.”


One thought on “Gabriel, The Civil Rights Lawyer’s Tale

  1. Pingback: The End of Gabriel’s Tale – Peaks Journal

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