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February 3, 2015 by J_R_Heaney

The following poem “Symphony” was written to help me illustrate my perception that the judicial process is not always as attentive to the rights of those entangled as it should be. Having cases and cases to sort through can make it difficult for actors in the justice system, like prosecutors, to allocate enough time and resources to properly determine guilt and innocence. The judicial system is overloaded in many districts that push incarceration as a means to fight crime; this means cases are pushed through at a faster pace; assuming guilt is often faster than proving innocence. For some defendants, their fates are ‘predetermined’ and their sentences unfold like a symphony; “guilty until proven innocent” is an assumption that we tragically see time and time again.


Prosecutor strides up

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury”

Grips the podium

And begins.

A symphony unfolds

Clarinets sob shrill cries

“The suspect’s innocent, my son’s a good boy!”

But this piece is already written

Trumpets scream out

Drown the cries


And the drumbeats grow louder.

Gavel strikes the cymbal

20 years sentenced in a grand crash

The prosecutor sways in rapture,

The symphony concluded.


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