Friday, September 24, 2004

A great guy has gone to be with the Lord. Name: Albert Kirkland, court crier for the Kershaw County Courthouse. The State newspaper has the story here.

Albert was a short stout black man with a great head of white hair, and every time court convened, he was the one who said ALL RISE! in that Judgement Day bellow of his. He was friendly and courteous to everyone he knew and I think I can honestly say everyone who knew him liked him. You couldn't not like him.

Two memories about Albert will always stay with me from my occassional service on the courthouse beat for the Chronicle-independent. One was this long trial that had recessed for supper. The attorneys went to a nice restaurant, the jurors were feted at Shoney's, and I don't remember where I went, but when I came back I saw Albert at the trunk of his car, making a sandwich. I guess it seemed like the courthouse class system distilled to its essence.

The other memory was a mid-1980s trial, held when child molestation hysteria was at a fever pitch, in which a perfectly decent father of two had been framed by a lying little twelve-year-old bitch -- and if you had been there, that would be your opinion too. Luckily for the defendant, he had a crack defense team -- Bill Byars, now a Family Court judge, quoted in the story, and Rolly Jacobs -- who took the girl's testimony, broke it down, and fed it back to her until she puked. Byars later told me that before he gave his final deliberation to the jury, his defense team met together, and they invited Albert to join them. Albert delivered a first-class crackerjack prayer to the Almighty to deliver this poor unlucky wretch from the hell this jailbait had prepared for him. The jury convened and justice prevailed.

Blessed in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

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