Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

The prosecutor stood up and addressed the Judge. “Your Honor, now that the Mr. Barr has been found guilty of murdering Kurt Atwater, the prosecution wishes to announce its intention to seek the imposition of the death penalty, as mandated by global law.”

“Objection,” shouted the Barr’s attorney. “Global law clearly stipulates that a minimum of three murder victims are required in order to invoke capital punishment. My client has only been convicted of one.”

The Judge turned toward the prosecutor and said, “That is the law, Counselor. So, unless you have evidence that the defendant killed two more people, I have no choice but to sentence Mr. Barr to twenty five years to life.”

“Actually, Your Honor, I do,” the prosecutor replied as he held up an evidence chip. “I’d like to enter into the record a sworn affidavit from the Director of Temporal Management from Future Timelines, Inc. Attachment A to the affidavit is Temporal Report Number 2162.326.56-MJ documenting Kurt Atwater’s presumed future. It attests that had Mr. Atwater not been murdered, he would have had three children; Cory, Robin, and Alexander. They would eventually have given Mr. Atwater seven grandchildren, and eighteen great grandchildren. I could go on, Your Honor, but clearly, as a consequence of this one murder, more than twenty eight additional individuals have been deprived of their rightful life. I submit that, in essence, they were also murdered by the defendant.”

The defendant’s attorney jumped to his feet in protest. “This is ridiculous. My client cannot be held accountably for the hypothetical deaths in some imaginary future.”

The prosecutor quickly countered, “Your Honor, there is prior precedent. In the case of Cassomandi v Gressett, testimony by Future Timelines established that Gressett’s failure to attend mass on June 9, 2165 set up a chain of events that precipitated the Great Massachusetts Fire of ‘66. The evidence was admitted by the presiding Judge, and the verdict was upheld by Higher Courts.”

“Your Honor,” pleaded the defense attorney, “That was a civil case; it has no bearing in a criminal proceeding.”

The Judge pounded his gavel and ordered both attorneys to prepare briefs for his consideration. Over the next several months, the briefs were reviewed, evidentiary hearings were convened, testimony was presented, rulings were made, and the defendant was sentenced to death. Over the next several years, the sentence was appealed, and upheld, all the way to the World Ultimate Court.

On the scheduled date of the execution, the prosecutor sat among the twenty witnesses as Barr was lead into the disintegration chamber. As the seconds ticked away, the executioner covered his right ear with the palm of his hand, indicating that his telecommunications implant was receiving an incoming call. The executioner nodded his head several times. He lowered his hand and ordered the guards to escort the prisoner back to his cell. Irate at the turn of events, the prosecutor pushed his way toward the executioner. “What happened? Why is this murderer not being executed?”

The executioner motioned the prosecutor toward a quiet corner of the room. “A reprieve from the Governor. Barr’s sentence was reduced to twenty five years to life. Apparently, his attorney had Future Timelines determine what would have happened if you didn’t use the victim’s unborn children at the sentencing hearing. As it turned out, Barr would have been released after serving thirty years. He eventually married, and had two children. The Governor refused to allow the unborn children to be deprived of their rightful life by executing their father.”

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows