It’s the order he likes about the law

Published 1:23 am Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Growing up, my brother and I would sit in my parents’ bedroom watching TV, as “Law and Order” played out in front of our eyes.

That was all I needed to get hooked on courtroom dramas on the tube.

I experienced a real-life court-room drama Monday afternoon in a trial at the Covington County Courthouse.

The defendant, former Andalusia Police Officer Roderick “R.C.” Covington, was accused of harassing two 22nd Judicial Drug Task Force employees in an incident in January 2013. The employees were DTF Assistant Commander David Harrell and secretary Amanda Hart.

Soon after the trial started, I knew I was in for a good show.

The prosecution, led by Houston County District Attorney Doug Valeska, and the defense, led by defense attorney Jim Parkman of Birmingham, were firing on all cylinders as they presented the case to the jury in opening arguments, and questioned witnesses left and right, objecting when need be. In their closing arguments.

I was busy typing for a short time and couldn’t really watch their work unfold, but I made the glimpses I got count.

Whether it is the banter between witness and attorney or the court process, I really can’t put my finger on what I like the most. I’m a follower of procedure, so I guess it’s the process. I love the order.

Valeska and Parkman each had their own way of conveying emotion to the jury when they wanted to stress a point in the case.

For Valeska, it was pounding his hand hard on the jury section wall.

For Parkman, it was bringing his hands in the air and making his voice sound serious when needed.

Both presented good cases.

After closing arguments, I was asked how I think it would turn out. I really didn’t know, but had an inkling that Covington would be found guilty on one of the two charges of harassment.

However, justice had a different outcome.

Twelve Covington County residents found Covington not guilty of both charges on appeal, which prompted a quiet, but audible response from the crowd.

You see, what makes this such an interesting case to me, is that Covington was found guilty in October 2013 of the charges against him. He appealed about a month later.

The trial on appeal mainly focused on Covington’s use of the “F word,” and what, if any, sort of reaction were to come from the word usage.

The trial dealt with how the law interprets the use of obscene language and the response that is evoked.

“The law requires specific intention,” Houston County Circuit Judge Larry Anderson said about the law.

When I heard that, I told myself that I’d have to look into that more closely because I found it quite interesting.

The judicial court system in our country is a beautiful thing. It’s something that all should experience as a spectator.

I even told my boss that I can easily spend all day in a court room. She agreed.

If you have a little time during the day and know of a trial going on in the courthouse, it’s worth the effort to watch the process unfold.

It’s something you’ll become addicted to like me and that TV show.