This I Believe

Danny - Pembroke Pines, Florida
Entered on March 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that not only do the law and the legal system shape the world, but the world itself is like a courtroom. Everyone has their own role to play, whether it is by choice or by fate. From my perspective, the legal system can either help or hurt the people involved. Just like the world can seem like a friendly place at times, and at other times, a lonely prison. As for me, I simply believe in justice for all.

It might seem obvious at this point, but I want to be a lawyer. I’m sixteen and I’ve considered this idea for awhile. In middle school, a few of my classmates and I participated in a mock trial. This was my first chance to see a legal battle for myself. Of course, it was only a “mock” trial, but I was still excited. I remember my teacher carefully assigning our roles in class: defendant, witness, judge….and I was the defense attorney. I couldn’t be happier. I envisioned myself years later in a real courtroom. Already, it seemed like I’d found my calling – to defend. I believed in it.

Today, I also believe in the importance of the prosecutor – the counterpart to the defense attorney. I once despised this position because their job is to prove the guilt of the defendant, regardless of the circumstances. Going back to that mock trial, I still remember that particular “prosecutor.” In my mind, he was my “enemy” in court. In order to prove my client’s innocence, I would do whatever it took to outsmart the prosecutor. It wasn’t really about justice, but rather winning an acquittal for my client.

One thing that truly made me question the whole system was the verdict in that trial. The members of the jury declared a “hung jury” verdict. I was in shock. A hung jury? A stalemate? What I wanted was closure, and it wasn’t there. I wanted to scream, in the immortal words of Al Pacino, “You’re outta order! This whole courtroom’s outta order!”

Since then, I’ve grown up… just a little. Not too long ago, I learned about a close relative of mine who was taken advantage of for money. He had been conned by someone who profited from false business deals. Looking back, if it was that con artist on trial, instead of a fellow student, would I still defend him? Can I truly see myself years from now defending clients who may very well be guilty? Can I really provide justice for all?

The reason I believe that the world is just one trial is that the con artist, while never found guilty, was never acquitted either. Simply put, there is a “hung jury” until court is once again in session. The law makes sure that justice will always be served and one day, so will I. Defender or prosecutor, I want to do my part to change the world one trial at a time. And this I believe.