The clerk of the court stood. "State of New Jersey v. the Honorable Donald Richards."
A bailiff walked over to the jury box and escorted Richards over to his defense team. Though his attorneys were better paid than both the public defenders and prosecutors, they were not confident of getting him released on bail due to the seriousness of the charges. His attorneys, as well as the assistant prosecutor, were all standing.
The clerk read the indictment from the grand jury. "Charges are murder in the first degree, kidnapping in the first degree, and accepting illegal campaign contributions."
"How does the defendent plead?" asked the judge perfunctorily.
"Not guilty to all charges, Your Honor," replied Richards in a proud voice.
"Let me hear from you on bail, counselors." responded the judge, marking the plea that Richards entered on a form.
"Your Honor, due to the seriousness of the charge, we ask that the defendent be held without bail. It is clear that he has the financial resources to flee this court's jurisdiction." declared Assistant Prosecutor Robert Evans.
Defense attorney Bill Mitchell attempted a rebuttal. "Your Honor, my client poses no threat to the community. In fact, he has a long history of public service and dedication. There is no direct evidence linking him to this crime. His close ties to the town indicate that he is not a flight risk."
The judge cut him off, "But the charge indicates that he is. Mr. Richards will not receive special treatment simply because he is an Asseblyman. He will be held without bail until trial. Speedy date." The hearing ended as the judge banged his gavel and Richards, head bowed toward the floor, was led back to the jail.
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The music, along with the picture of the "courthouse", is used with permission and taken from the Americana CD-ROM.