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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old January 20 2013, 07:01 AM   #1
Dale Sams
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Some "Court Martial" notes.

First, some recusing matters. The prosecution is the defendant's ex-girlfirend/lover/whatever?? What the...TNG manages to avoid it in "The Measure of a Man", but here it's just crazy.

Even worse: The President of the Court has vowed to break the defendant, I can only assume he's appointed three other judges with the same ambition.

Now another matter, Sam Cogley. Kirk's only chance is a crazy lawyer who cross-examines no witnesses, has no objection to the prosecution's INSANE implications that Kirk acted out of malice. And when The President of the Court is starting to worry that this is looking TOO much like a railroad job....Cogley says, "I'd like to skip all this preliminary shit and get to the most damning piece of evidence...THAT APPARENTLY I HAVEN'T SEEN, AND HAVE NO DEFENSE FOR."

And afterwords, to Kirk: "Well, that was crazy. Did you see that?? That was crazy. Man. Computers don't lie. Did you know they were going to actually show that? Wow. I can get you to change your plea you know. Cause....shit...did you see that??? They have actual records and stuff man!!"

So finally when they reconvene, after calling one witness, entering no evidence, cross-examining no one. Cogley literally throws his hands up in the air. If it wern't for Spock, Kirk would be working as a cargo handler on the edge of the galaxy.

And when Spock does find something...

COGLEY: "I'd be delighted to rant and give a completly irrelevent to the case speech that sounded like Alec Baldwins closing debate remarks in the 30 Rock episode "There's No i in America"...."Hammurabai, The Constitution, Martian...I demand DEMAND!!"

Last edited by Dale Sams; January 21 2013 at 03:49 AM.
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Old January 20 2013, 10:27 AM   #2
Timo
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

Supposedly Cogley had studied his Matlock tapes carefully: it's all about the delaying act, the filibuster that gives the private eye time to turn the case on its head...

However, why should this surprise us? It's not as if Kirk picked his defender out of a pool of promising prospects. Instead, he was pointed towards this fool by the prosecutor. The chick that wanted him to fry. And it would seem Stone in turn hand-picked Shaw to make sure that Kirk would indeed burn brightly.

I guess Kirk could have challenged everything on the basis of bias, but would that have helped his case? He went in confidently and swiftly, probably both because he thought that evidence would prove his innocence, and because he was loyal to the service and wanted to keep things as quiet and local as possible just as much as Stone did. This backfired big time initially - but had he insisted on a fair trial, held outside SB11 later on, things would have been much worse, as Finney's devious plot would have been carried to its conclusion: Spock would have lost access to the evidence, Finney would have snuck out of his hiding place and disappeared, and any verdict would have been a damning one for Kirk's career.

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Old January 20 2013, 12:01 PM   #3
ZapBrannigan
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

What a great post, Dale! I laughed all the way through it.

And you were right about everything. Right on.
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Old January 20 2013, 03:03 PM   #4
Melakon
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

"You have to be either an obsessive crackpot who's escaped from his keeper or Samuel T. Cogley, attorney at law."
"You're right on both counts!"
- Kirk and Cogley, meeting for the first time
Well, Sam warned him.

According to Memory Alpha, today is also co-writer Don M. Mankiewicz's birthday (though IMDB says January 1), making him 91 and still with us.
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Old January 20 2013, 03:49 PM   #5
Christopher
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
First, some recusing matters. The prosecution is the defendant's ex-girlfirend/lover/whatever?? What the...TNG manages to avoid it in "The Measure of a Man", but here it's just crazy.
Actually I researched this issue for my novel The Buried Age (which depicted the Stargazer court-martial), and it turns out that military law differs from civilian law when it comes to conflicts of interest. In a civilian case, a prosecutor being romantically involved with the defendant would be a conflict requiring recusal, yes. But in the military, officers are required to follow orders regardless of their personal feelings or self-interest. So if you're ordered to prosecute your ex, you have to obey that order and do it to the best of your ability, or else you're guilty of dereliction of duty. (Just as with Riker having to take the case against Data in "Measure.")


Even worse: The President of the Court has vowed to break the defendant, I can only assume he's appointed three other judges with the same ambition.
If you mean Commodore Stone, there is a conflict of interest here. At least under US military law, the person who brings the charges isn't allowed to sit on the panel.

As for the courtroom procedure, yes, it was a mess, but so are most television courtroom dramas.
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Old January 20 2013, 05:01 PM   #6
Dale Sams
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

Christopher, in the Stargazer novel, do the sitting judges ask questions and cross-examine ala' a "Mutiny on the Bounty" style board? Just curious.
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Old January 20 2013, 08:26 PM   #7
scotpens
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

Christopher wrote: View Post
As for the courtroom procedure, yes, it was a mess, but so are most television courtroom dramas.
The entire episode was just poorly written. Besides the dubious courtroom drama, there's the whole business of how Kirk came to be accused of murdering Finney in the first place. Entire threads have been devoted to this topic. I still don't know what the hell an "ion pod" is!
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Old January 20 2013, 08:36 PM   #8
Dale Sams
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

My thinking was it was some sort of research/scientific post required of starships to man when encountering an ion storm. At some point it accumulates energy/overloads and must be jetissoned. I think its from the Blish adaptation that I'm drawing my speculation.
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Old January 20 2013, 08:41 PM   #9
Melakon
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

scotpens wrote: View Post
I still don't know what the hell an "ion pod" is!
It's sort of like a pea pod, but different, usually operated by an expendable crewman instead of a pea.

Apparently one finally appears in the remastered version, though I've not seen that revamp.

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Ion_pod
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Old January 20 2013, 08:52 PM   #10
Mister Atoz
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

Error, error, faulty. Great post, Dale. I always thought the ion pod was some huge part of the ship, like jettisoning the nacelles from the saucer or something.

At any rate, I think it's hokey as hell whenever they say they have to solve some problem before "the orbit starts to decay". Any competent space buff knows it takes months or even years for an orbit to decay sufficiently for an object to fall into the atmosphere. This was a problem for me in "Galileo Seven" and "The Naked Time".

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Old January 20 2013, 09:08 PM   #11
Christopher
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

^Well, unless the ship was in a powered/forced orbit over a specific part of the planet, as it might need to be in order to stay in transporter or sensor range of a given location that isn't near the equator. Then it's not strictly orbiting so much as thrusting to keep station, and without power, it would indeed fall. Although I guess that doesn't apply to "The Galileo Seven."
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Old January 20 2013, 09:29 PM   #12
lurok
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

This is one of those TOS episodes I've never rewatched (like Arena, Wolf, The Apple and few others) because found incredibly dumb first time around. But maybe should give another shot...

Last edited by lurok; January 20 2013 at 09:53 PM.
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Old January 21 2013, 02:01 AM   #13
gottacook
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

All these complaints and no one mentions "1 to the 4th power"?

For me the best part of the episode - Cogley's speech that ends act 3 (or is it 2?), about the injustice of Kirk not being able to confront his machine accuser - is surely relevant today in a way not seen in 1966.

I also love that Cogley is a book collector, that he perceives the law in books as somehow more real than what his descendant-of-LEXIS terminal can offer. In 1966 it took some amount of prescience (or at least an acquaintance with written SF that touched on the idea) to imagine a time when printed books would be scarce, and moreover that someone who cherished them would be considered eccentric.
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Old January 21 2013, 02:23 AM   #14
ssosmcin
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

I just thought it was amusing that Kirk gets off without any problem after losing scores of crewmen throughout the series. Yet, when the file room guy gets killed, there's hell to pay!

Perhaps they were going through a SOX audit....
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Old January 21 2013, 02:27 AM   #15
Christopher
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Re: Some "Court Martial" notes.

ssosmcin wrote: View Post
I just thought it was amusing that Kirk gets off without any problem after losing scores of crewmen throughout the series. Yet, when the file room guy gets killed, there's hell to pay!
It's not because he (supposedly) died, it's because the evidence showed that Kirk pushed the jettison button prematurely, which was either incompetence or murder. So it was Kirk's own action that was directly responsible.
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