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When Mr. Moore was arrested for a crime he didn’t know he had committed, it was a dark and cloudy day. He had just arrived home after walking back from work along that winding path through the woods. The light, which would have usually streamed down in waves on such a summer day, was deterred by those dark, imposing clouds. It was so dark and so cloudy, that, to Mr. Moore at least, it almost felt cliché. Of course he would be arrested for a crime he didn’t know he had committed on a day with such awful weather. But, yes, he had committed a crime- or at least the men who came to arrest him seemed to be convinced of that.
They were dressed in black, of course, and walked to the house with a certain gait that indicated power. They even introduced themselves as the “authorities.” But when they told him he was to be arrested, Mr. Moore felt certain that they were at the wrong house. “Maybe it’s my neighbor you’re after, not me right?” he asked.
“Are you a Mr. Moore?”
Surely they have the wrong man. He did have a common name after all. In fact, there was another man with the same name just down the street. Maybe it was him? But nonetheless, he replied, “Yes, that’s my name.”
And so the authorities arrested him, ignoring his protests and his arguments, his claim that the man down the street, who had the same name, was probably the man they were after. After all, anyone was more likely to be a criminal than the law-abiding Mr. Moore.
“Now, listen, I’ve never committed any crime, much less something you would have to arrest me for. And what exactly is it that I’m being arrested for anyways?”
“We’ll explain that to you on the way. Now follow us.”
Mr. Moore felt that he had no choice but to oblige. After all resisting would almost surely make it worse. And he was sure that he would be able to sort out any problem that there was with the police. And so, on that cloudy day, Mr. Moore was arrested and taken away.
The police station was dark. Everything was always dark there. Imposing. Very few lights on, as if though justice was meant to lurk in the shadows and never come out into the light. But when Mr. Moore arrived at the station, he still had no reason to believe that he would remain there much longer. Again, he asked, “What exactly am I here for?”
This time he got a response. “You are here for several counts of murder,” replied the authorities in an almost bored tone, as if so many people were killed each day that it could get dull.
Mr. Moore was at a loss for words. How was he supposed to reply to such charges? He hadn’t committed any of these crimes, but they seemed convinced that he had. So Mr. Moore pleaded his innocence, to no avail. There was little more he could do as he was led down to his cell.
There was no hope left, at least for Mr. Moore. Those dark clouds which had blocked out all the light seemed to hang over him relentlessly. Convicted of crimes he hadn’t committed, and thrown into a cell to rot. But Mr. Moore still yet hung onto the hope that there would at least be a trial. After all, there was still justice. Some chance that he would be rightfully released as he very well should be. And of course, there couldn’t be evidence, could there? If he hadn’t done any of those things, surely they couldn’t have any proof of it? And so Mr. Moore hung onto the hope that his fortunes would be reversed by lucky chance.
Until that day of the trial, Mr. Moore was left in a prison cell. It may have been a nice prison cell, but Mr. Moore had never been in prison before, so he found it miserable nonetheless. Because he was a “dangerous criminal” and had committed severe crimes, he was kept away from the other inmates. Alone with no one to talk to, and no sight of a person except when someone pushed a tray of food through the cell door, Mr. Moore started to talk to himself, just so that he could hear a voice. After all, any sound, anything at all, was better than nothing.
Mr. Moore began to ponder why he was here at all? What an incredible failing by the justice system it required to land him here. Arresting someone who hadn’t broken the law, locking him up in solitary confinement, and forcing him to wait. Waiting was the worst part of it all. There was nothing to do, nothing to hold, nothing at all. The cell was a box, with blank grey walls that were so close together that Mr. Moore felt constantly claustrophobic. It felt like torture. The only objects with that cell were a bed and toilet- and that was it. Mr. Moore would lie in bed for hours, waiting, hoping, that some sanity would return to the world.
Finally, a little hope returned when the day arrived where Mr. Moore was sent to his trial. It was just across the street in fact, but at least Mr. Moore got to see some light. But it was still cloudy. How long had he been in there? At least a week… or a month? Maybe even longer, but Mr. Moore didn’t know, and didn’t care. All he knew was that it was still cloudy and there was no light.
The trial. A judge, a jury. He had a defense lawyer, someone whom he had never met before, assigned to him by the authorities, a man named Hardin. Hardin whispered to Mr. Moore not to give up any critical information when he was called up to the witness stand.
“But I’m not guilty!” exclaimed Mr. Moore.
“Sure,” replied Hardin with a wink. “You’re a good actor. We might yet have a chance.”
Mr. Moore was called up for questioning. First the authorities questioned him.
“Where were you one year ago, on the night of February 2nd?”
“Umm… I don’t remember, it was almost a year ago.”
“So no alibi?”
“Well I don’t remember.”
“Alright. Do you remember this man?” asked the authorities holding up a picture.
“No, who is he?” questioned Mr. Moore.
“The man you killed. Now, you claim not to remember him, but if you didn’t kill him why are your prints on the gun?”
“What prints? I’ve never killed anyone, and I’ve never even seen him before.”
“Why do we have multiple witnesses saying you left the scene of the crime? Why can’t you tell us where you were on that night, Mr. Moore?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know!”
This period of questioning continued for some time, but Mr. Moore did not know how to answer any of their questions. After all, he could only deny everything they said, because he did not know that any of had ever happened. But their evidence was so strong that even Mr. Moore began to doubt his innocence. And unfortunately for him, the jury had seemed convinced as well.
When it was time for his defense, there was nothing Mr. Moore could do. How was he supposed to defend himself in such a situation? He already said he hadn’t done it. They had evidence, which was too good to be denied, and he had no alibi, because couldn’t remember where he was one year ago. So the only defense put forward was when Hardin went up and made a speech about Mr. Moore’s innocence- but even he didn’t seem to believe it.
The trial finally came to a close, and the jury was escorted into a room by the authorities. Their deliberation began, but everyone already knew the verdict. The sentence came out in a little envelope, like in the movies. The judge, another one of them, another man from the authorities, read the letter:
“We, the jury, being duly impaneled and sworn, do hereby find by proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the aggravating circumstances that the defendant was found guilty of committing, do not outweigh the mitigating factors in this case beyond a reasonable doubt. We therefore unanimously find that the sentence of death should be imposed upon Mr. Moore.”
The judge paused. “The reasoning behind this sentencing is that it would be dangerous to society to allow Mr. Moore to walk freely after having committed such dangerous crimes. Mr. Moore is a danger not only to himself, but everyone around him.”
It would have come as a shock, but Mr. Moore had given up hope long ago, both his hope for freedom and his hope for justice.
He was sent back to the prison and told that he would remain there until the time of his execution, which would be in a month if things went smoothly, years if not. So Mr. Moore was again put in a cell alone with no people, no light. At least he had ample time to reflect. Too much time in fact. He began to wonder. What had he done to deserve such a sentence? What made them so convinced that he had done this? And, perhaps most importantly, why him? There were no answers, only more questions. If that trial was supposed to answer any questions and prove something “beyond a reasonable doubt,” then it had failed miserably.
The day arrived. How much time had passed he didn’t know. It might have been months, even years. The same authorities who had arrested him arrived, still wearing black, to escort Mr. Moore to his punishment, his death. The punishment for a crime he still didn’t know he had committed. On the way, he got a look outside. The sky was still covered with clouds, as they had been the last time Mr. Moore was out, but it was darker than ever.