“All rise!” the judge enters the chamber taking his seat, the bailiff continues, “You may be seated” to the few scattered spectators. The judge nods to the bailiff mumbling softly, “first case.”
“Your honor, the first case is the people versus George Bailey. The state alleges George Bailey; a resident of Bedford Falls, New York is guilty of the following charges. It is alleged that George Bailey knowingly embezzled funds from the Bailey Brothers Savings and Loan. It is further alleged that George Bailey did knowingly set up a private, unlicensed charity trying to cover losses from the Bailey Brother’s savings and loan.
George Bailey is also charged with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, as well as public intoxication. On the night of December 24, George Bailey was involved in a bar brawl at a local eatery known as Martinis. The state will prove that Bailey had been drinking heavily, before being ejected by the management. George Bailey had previously driven his vehicle into a tree then argued incoherently with the property owner, before abandoning the vehicle.
George Bailey also struck a police officer in the commission of his duties, before fleeing the scene. It was at this point Mr. Bailey in a drunken rage assaulted a local bridge tender, so frightening the poor man, he ran off into a snow storm. A witness had seen George Bailey running down the middle of Main Street shouting, “Merry Christmas” at the top of his lungs, disturbing the peace and creating a public nuisance
The judge asked, looked away from his blackjack, “How does the defendant plead?”
A teenager rose from the desk, “Your honor, he said straightening his clip-on tie; I have been appointed as Mr. Bailey’s public defender. Mr. Bailey pleads “not guilty” by reason of temporary insanity. Your honor, may I approach the bench?”
“Your honor, trust me, he’s nuts. Full tilt Bozo, know what I mean? I’ve known my client for over 20 minutes and he’s speaking incoherently about bells and angels. He claims to have this friend he calls Clarence. When I asked him where Clarence is now, he told me he’s an angel… that he helped Clarence get his wings! If you ask me, when the snow melts, we’re gonna find Clarence.”
The judge looked back at his computer screen, “I’ll take your recommendation under advisement, we should play a few hands, I mean, hear more evidence before I make my ruling. Is the prosecutor ready at this time?”
“Yes, your honor. George Bailey had operated his savings and loan scam, targeting low-income borrowers for years and when it all began to unravel Bailey snapped. In a sworn deposition, Mr. Henry F. Potter, a director on the board of the Bailey Brothers Savings and Loan said he’d become aware of Bailey making no documentation loans to a Ms. Violet Biggs. Mr. Potter has sworn that he became alarmed by the events at Bailey Brothers, because of the company’s history of financial irregularities and the co-mingling of funds
Ms. Biggs has since disappeared and apparently left town, a warrant has been issued for her arrest. Once George Bailey’s scam had been discovered, Bailey became erratic, first verbally abusing his wife and children, and then a public school teacher over the phone. It was at this point, Mr. Bailey claimed he was being haunted by the spirit of a man dead over two hundred years, he calls Clarence Oddbody.
Mr. Bailey and his accomplice then headed for Martini’s looking for more to drink, but not before first slamming his automobile into a tree. In the police report, the tavern owner a Mr. Giuseppe Martini had asked the defendant, “Why do you drink so much Mr. Bailey.” Nick the bartender, claimed Bailey had ordered drinks but had no money to pay at which time he threw them out, however the establishment is not pressing charges at this time.
Bailey then returned to town when a patrolman became alarmed at his erratic behavior. The patrolman tried to subdue the suspect when Bailey struck him in the face, eluding the officer and disappearing into the night. Bailey and his accomplice next appear at a local toll bridge at which time, in his intoxicated condition the defendant either fell or jumped into the river. The bridge tender a county employee, offered the pair shelter in the toll office. He’s sworn under oath the two were talking about getting more to drink and obtaining money. The un-named accomplice then claimed he was dead and asserted that Bailey had never been born. It was at this time the bridge tender; fearing for his life fled the bridge office in terror.
At the time of his arrest George Bailey was having a Christmas party, oblivious to all pending charges against him. There was singing and alcohol being served with baskets of ill-gotten loot scattered around the room. The suspect admitted that some of the proceeds had come from Giuseppe Martini’s Juke box. Your honor, at this time the prosecution rests.”
“Is the defense ready at this time?”
“Your honor, I believe it is possible my client might have suffered a head injury in the auto accident, leaving him in a delusional state. I ask again, that he be placed in a psychiatric hospital for evaluation.”
“Now, now, now, you just wait a minute here.”
“Shh, Mr. Bailey, let me handle this.”
“I won’t be quiet; Clarence taught me the importance of life. He showed me why I shouldn’t throw away my life over money problems.”
“Shut up Mr. Bailey, you’re killing us here!”
“No, no, no, I want these people to know, angels are real! Clarence is real! He showed me what the world would be like, if I’d never been born. See then I found Zuzu’s petals in my pocket and knew I was alive again. He gave me a copy of Huckleberry Finn; he couldn’t do that if he wasn’t an angel. Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings! My little six-year-old daughter taught me that!”
The gavel thundered, “I bind the defendant over for a full psychiatric evaluation at the state hospital.”
“But every time a bell rings an angel get his wings! Mary, Mary! Clarence you gotta help me Clarence!”
The Judge banged his gavel again, “Yeah, and every time a gavel bangs, somebody gets locked up.”
The public defender asked, “Does this mean I won? Wow, it’s a wonderful life!”