“It’s a travesty, that’s what it is!” Green Arrow shouted as he paced back and forth in front of Raleigh’s desk. “It’s a blasted miscarriage of justice! No, no, it’s worse than that. It’s a wholesale rape and pillage of the entire justice system!”
Raleigh sat behind his desk, hands clasped, watching the archer rant and rave. “Are you done?” he asked finally.
Red-faced and livid, Green Arrow sank into a chair. “Yeah, I’m done.”
“I’m the first one to admit that Jimmy Cockburn is a slimy weasel that personifies every pejorative joke ever made about my profession,” Raleigh said.
“But?” Green Arrow prompted, raising an eyebrow.
“But… he has a point. The rules of evidence are in place to protect the innocent. They can’t be thrown out on a whim. Do that, and you open the door to America becoming a police state.”
Green Arrow glared at the young district attorney for a long minute, then said, “Raleigh, do you know what annoys me the most about you?”
“That I’m right?” Raleigh offered.
“Bingo,” Green Arrow said. “But we can’t let him get away with this! There has to be a way to establish my identity to the satisfaction of the court.”
Raleigh let out a long sigh. “Unless you Justice Leaguers carry identification cards, I really don’t see how.”
Green Arrow’s eyes lit up. Slowly, revelation spread across his face like a breaking dawn.
“Raleigh — Raleigh, you magnificent bastard, that’s it!”
“Counselor, you have had twenty-four hours to prepare your case,” the judge reminded from the bench.
“I have, Your Honor,” Raleigh said confidently.
“Are you prepared to establish your witness’ identity to the satisfaction of this court?”
“I am, Your Honor,” Raleigh said. “And to that effect, I wish to call a surprise witness, if it please the court.”
Cockburn stood up. “Your Honor, this flies in the face of the concept of discovery! Mr. Raleigh cannot–”
“In case you hadn’t noticed, Mr. Cockburn,” the judge said sternly, “I’m the one wearing the black robe. I’ll decide what Mr. Raleigh can and cannot do. Mr. Raleigh, call your witness.”
“Thank you, Your Honor. I call to the stand, Superman.”
Every head in the court turned in the direction of the doors. A tall, muscular man in a blue and red costume walked proudly into the courtroom.
“Your Honor, I object!” Cockburn sputtered. “How — how do we know that’s the real Superman?”
Without a word, Superman lifted the entire juror’s box and all twelve jurors over his head with one hand.
“Shall I rule on that, Mr. Cockburn,” the judge asked, “or would you prefer to retract your objection?”
“I — I retract it,” Cockburn said weakly. Superman nodded and set the juror’s box down.
“Bailiff, swear the witness in,” the judge said. Superman approached the bailiff, who hesitated before handing him the Bible. To the young bailiff, it was obvious that asking Superman to tell the truth was like reminding Santa Claus that it was better to give than receive. But the formality was done, and Superman took the witness stand.
“Mr. Superman,” Raleigh began, “how long have you known Green Arrow?”
“Over ten years,” Superman said. “He joined the Justice League of America shortly after it was formed, and we have worked together as members of that group ever since. We have worked together on separate cases where no other hero was involved as well. He has saved my life, and I his, on more than one occasion.”
“So it would be fair to say that you know Green Arrow very well?”
“Certainly. I’d know him in an instant.”
“And is Green Arrow, the man you’ve known so long and so well, in this courtroom today?”
Superman smiled. “Certainly. That’s him right over there, at the prosecution table. Hello, G.A.”
“Hiya, Supes,” Green Arrow called out. “Got that ten bucks you owe me from the Superbowl bet?”
Superman chuckled. “You’ll have it next week, I promise.”
“Nothing further.” Raleigh stepped away from the stand and walked back to the prosecution table, winking at Cockburn as he passed. Cockburn was looking very distraught.
“Cross?” the judge asked.
“I — have no questions for this witness,” Cockburn said weakly.
“The witness is excused,” the judge said. “And thank you, Superman, for taking your valuable time to testify here today.”
“Not at all, Your Honor,” Superman said with a smile. “Anything for the cause of justice.” All eyes watched the man in blue walk out of the courtroom.
“In view of the preceding testimony,” the judge said, “I am satisfied that the prosecution’s star witness is, in fact, Green Arrow. His testimony will stand as given.”
“Thank you, Your Honor,” Raleigh said. “The prosecution rests.”
“Mr. Cockburn,” the judge said, addressing the harrowed defense lawyer, “you may begin your case.”
Cockburn rose, and tried to compose himself. “Your Honor — that is — at this time, my client wishes to change his plea to guilty and throw himself on the mercy of the court.”
“What?” the mousy-looking man seated at the defense table screamed, leaping to his feet. “You back-stabber! You said you’d get me off!”
“Look, Lou,” Cockburn said in a fierce whisper, “it’s gone awry! There’s nothing I can do now! You’ll just have to–”
“Like Hell!” Lou seized his attorney with his left arm around the lawyer’s throat. The bailiff drew his gun, but to everyone’s surprise, Lou flung out his right arm, and a lightning bolt shot from beneath his sleeve and struck the gun, stunning the bailiff.
“I knew I was smart to keep this hidden!” Lou snarled. “All right, everyone, I’m gettin’ outta here, and if anyone tries to stop me, Cockburn gets it!”
Green Arrow leaned back in his chair and smiled as Lou crab-walked backward, dragging a mewling Cockburn.
“Green Arrow, do something!” Raleigh said in a fierce whisper. “He’s going to kill Cockburn!”
“Would that be so bad?” Arrow asked. Raleigh only glared at him. “All right, all right, I was just kidding. Sheesh.” Green Arrow snatched up his bow and, in an eyeblink, had an arrow drawn and aimed at Lou. The villain pointed his right arm directly at Cockburn’s head. “Put that away, Green Arrow, or the lawyer gets electro-shock therapy the hard way!”
“Sounds like a good start,” Green Arrow said, “but OK.” He made a move of putting his bow aside, moving it out of alignment with Lou. But when the arrow was aimed at the floor, Green Arrow released the bowstring. The arrow zoomed into the corner of the courtroom, ricocheted off the joint of the walls and floor, and arced into the air. Striking the steel seam of the ceiling-panels, it caromed down and ripped past Lou’s right sleeve before burying itself in the floor. Lou gaped at his torn sleeve and the sparks showering out of it.
“M-my lightning device!” he stammered. “Ruined! I–” Just then, Lou looked up in time to see a green-gloved fist plowing into his face.
“Defendants smuggling super-weapons into court,” Green Arrow muttered. “Who’s the bailiff around here — Bull Shannon?”
“G-Green Arrow!” Cockburn stuttered. “I — you saved my life! H-he was going to kill me!”
“Yeah, he was,” Green Arrow agreed. “The guy you were trying to put back on the streets. Makes you think, doesn’t it?” The archer let a silent beat pass. “Nah, then again, it probably doesn’t. Your kind never does.”