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Geneticorps Vs. Friday This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "All rise. The Supreme Court of the United States is now in session." The nine black-robed judges made their way toward the elevated bench where they sat. The hum of computer screens was the only noise that could be heard as the Chief Justice cleared his throat, preparing to speak.

The justice was old. His eyes were tired but full of wisdom. His career was at its twilight and he knew that this case would be one of his last. For the past fifty years he had been a judge and had presided over many controversial cases, but this one, by far, was the most difficult.

Glowing on the computer screen were the first words in the lengthy decision of the court which he was about to read. He hoped they had come to the correct verdict for he knew that this decision would have an enormous impact on Mr. Friday and everyone of his status.

Because of the complexity of the case, it had been almost two months between the opening statements and this moment. It was the longest case the Supreme Court had heard in over thirty years. However, this was short compared to fifty years ago, before computers had been installed in the courts. For instance, a computer with an electronic ear had replaced the stenographer and judges could call up information from any previous case with the touch of a button. There had even been rumors that computers were being developed to replace judges altogether.

Looking up from his computer monitor, the judge gazed at the defendant. Mr. Friday was seated behind a table next to his attorney. He had a solemn expression on his face and was stiffly sitting upright in his chair. He seemed out of character in his grey business suit. He stared forward blankly as if he was pre-occupied with something while his lawyer absentmindedly shuffled through papers waiting for the verdict to be read.

The judge began to speak. "By the end of the twentieth century, only the bare essence of computers and electronics had been explored. Only with the discovery of the Tellastic effect and the further advancement in super conductors did the true era of electronics begin. When computer hackers first emerged in the 1980's, laws were passed pertaining to computer privacy."

He paused for a drink of water and then continued. "I have seen many cases involving the new technologies that have been invented, but this case represents a landmark in the legal and ethical rules of computer use.

"Mr. Friday was an ordinary menial laborer at the GenetiCorps research center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, working on maintenance when he accidentally discovered a new strain of rice that grows extremely well in arid conditions. When he filed for patent rights on the rice, which he believed could save famine stricken areas from starvation, GenetiCorps argued that the patent rights belonged to them. Mr. Friday's attorney disagreed.

"The case was heard in a lower court but through appeals it eventually reached this courtroom. Mr. Friday's attorney contended that even though his client was working for the GenetiCorps laboratories at the time of the discovery, his contract does not require him to turn over all patent rights to GenetiCorps.

"The lawyers working for GenetiCorps asserted that even though Mr. Friday had made the breakthrough himself, he had been operating under the supervision of GenetiCorps at the time. It seemed only natural to them that all patent rights go to the GenetiCorps company."

Up to this point, the judge had only reiterated what the listeners knew only too well. It was now time for the final decision to be read.

"We have spent long hours deliberating over this enigmatic case. We all knew that our decision would be the basis for new legislation concerning this issue. In addition, this decision will influence the public's outlook on this matter.

"You all know that this case is much more than a simple patent dispute. It will affect the rights of a sizable portion of the population." Mr. Friday's lawyer smiled.

"The eight other justices voted four in favor of Mr. Friday and four against. My vote, as Chief Justice, was the tie breaker. The Chief Justice paused and the courtroom was deathly silent.

"This court decides in favor of Mr. Joseph Friday." With this, chaos broke out in the courtroom and many people began to clap.

Mr. Friday turned his head and focused his gaze on the justices. The light from above gleamed on his metallic face. The hiss of his pneumatic pump could be faintly heard as he stood up. "Thank you, Mr. Justice. You have done a great service for my people, and your people," he said in his electronic voice and began to walk out of the courtroom.n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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