Arriving at a Verdict

In a courtroom in Oklahoma, a man was on trial for murder. While there was strong evidence indicating guilt, the prosecution had no corpse.

In the defense’s closing statement the lawyer resorted to a clever trick. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all,” the lawyer said as he looked at his watch. “In just one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this courtroom!”

The lawyer then looked towards the courtroom door, and the somewhat stunned jury followed suit. A minute passed, but nothing happened.

Finally, the lawyer said, “Actually, I made up the previous statement, but you all looked on with anticipation! Therefore, I put it to you that there is reasonable doubt in this case as to whether anyone was killed. I must insist that you return a verdict of not guilty.”

The jury, clearly confused, retired to deliberate. Only a few minutes later, the jury returned and the representative pronounced a verdict of guilty.

“But how?” inquired the defense. “You must have had some doubt! I saw all of you stare at the door.”

“Oh, we did look,” said the representative, “but your client didn’t.”

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