Scene #7: “Sophie’s Monologue” written by Sophie Goldberg

WHILE YOU WERE AWAY – A play by the Fall 2015 Documentary Theatre Class (RCHUM 334)

Scene #7: “Sophie’s Monologue” written by Sophie Goldberg

I’m a federal criminal prosecutor,
so most of my cases are dealing with
somebody who violates a federal law.
I’m one… of many…
who decides what charges
should be filed.
I go out and meet with
all the witnesses and then
we go to trial and try the case.
One of the biggest challenges…
I’ve been taking on
a lot of robbery cases lately
and when you take a case
to court
that is similar to TV
people expect it to happen
just like it does on TV.
We start with 36 jurors
And we can eventually cut it
down to 12.
We have to educate them
to make sure
we aren’t getting people
who are biased.
The myth is that the prosecution wants
people who are biased….
anyway,
in TV land a crime happens,
it’s investigated,
somebody is arrested, there is a trial
and it all takes 46 minutes.
Cut and dry. Black and white.
In real life it could
take 3 months or 12 months
or anything in between.
Cases go to trial because they
aren’t black and white like that.
If it’s a bad case, if I already know what
the objective outcome will be,
I ethically should not be filing the case.
I try to sort out the differences in the way stories
Are recounted.
I gather the details.
What kinds of details? I guess
it all depends on
what kind of case it is,
the questions you ask…
A bank robbery case,
the teller: what were you doing
when the person came in?
What were they wearing?
Did they have facial hair? Details.
Any unique clothing…
Did the person have gloves on or not?
Did they touch anything?
Did they touch
the counter or the door?
my job is to be objective,
but you know what,
I’m not a machine,
so I’m sure I’ve had some biases
uhhmm but I don’t know what they are
and I can’t answer that question because I don’t know,
human nature.
I would like to think
I don’t racially profile
or discriminate or anything like that,
but my biases come more
when I’m selecting a jury.
Like I said, we start with 36 people
and cut it down to 12.
And I can cut someone for any reason.
constitutionally it cannot be based on race,
religion, sexual preference, things like that, but there
are some people that I don’t want
on my jury.
When I’m prosecuting I
usually don’t want
a clergy member, or a social worker.
I’m saying somebody
did something wrong
I don’t want somebody
so forgiving on my jury
if I’m trying to prosecute.