“Over my dead body!”
— Han Solo
“That’s the idea”
Humans and aliens of the intergalactic jury, the Imperial prosecutor would have you believe that my client is a scoundrel. He would have you believe that my client is a smuggler. Indeed, he has even presented evidence that my client is a scruffy-looking nerf-herder. But I tell you this — whether you believe those claims or not is of no matter to the decision before you. That is because my client is not charged with smuggling or nerf herding. My client is charged with murder and there is one thing that my client is definitely not — and that’s a murderer.
The Empire has tried through 14 days of this trial to bury you in unnecessary facts and misdirection. They have tried to paint a picture of Mr. Solo as a cool and calculating ruffian with no heart — the kind of man who would reply to a woman’s “I love you” with “I know.”
We dispute little of what has been presented to you. Why? Because it is unimportant to the decision that you must make today. You’ve heard from a gold-plated robot that my client was rude and impetuous. But being rude does not make one a murderer. You’ve heard from a colony administrator who claims that he was an inveterate gambler. But you can bet that he’s not a killer. Heck, you’ve even heard from a little, furry, mini-bear thing that they were going to eat him before the gold guy told them not to. But being tasty doesn’t mean you’re guilty.
The only facts that you’ve heard that are of any importance at all are facts that Mr. Solo doesn’t even contest. He readily admits that he was on Tatooine on the day in question. He readily admits that he was at the Mos Eisley spaceport to meet with a potential client. He even admits that he had previously been boarded and had to dump cargo, creating a debt to the Hutts. But every single witness you’ve heard from — the hammerhead, the one-armed patron, the Jedi, the bartender — they all tell you the same thing, and it’s the same thing the defendant told you.
He was approached by the decedent, Mr. Greedo, who was armed with a blaster. The decedent then informed the defendant that there was a price on his head and that he had been hired by the Hutts — not to capture the defendant, but to kill him. After offering to take a bribe, the decedent then openly and brazenly threatened the defendant with bodily harm. In fact, he threatened him with death.
And that’s the key, ladies and gentlecreatures! Galactic law provides that if the defendant reasonably believed that he was under imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death, then he may use deadly force to defend himself. And in this situation, he has no duty to retreat because he did not initiate the situation. It was the decedent who approached him.
Certainly, the defendant’s belief that he was in imminent danger of death was reasonable. Mr. Greedo had a blaster. He had specifically informed Mr. Solo that he had been hired to kill him. And when Mr. Solo said that he would go with the decedent “over my dead body,” Mr. Greedo responded: “That’s the idea. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.”
I ask you, humanoid creatures of the jury, what other choice did Mr. Solo have? Would you not have done the same thing if you were in his place?
I would note that even if you believe that improbable, revisionist testimony of the Empire’s final witness, Mr. Lucas, that Mr. Greedo shot first, then my client is all the more obviously not guilty.
I ask you to go back into your deliberations and make sure that this is not the Empire’s hour of triumph. Don’t just try to do what is right — do or do not, there is no try. Don’t believe what the Galactic prosecutor is telling you. It’s a trap!
David Hejmanowski is judge of the Probate/Juvenile Division of the Delaware County Common Pleas Court.