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Old July 20 2010, 05:22 PM   #1
THX1138
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Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

Hi folks,

I love the episode Court Martial, but one thing has always bothered me: Cogley seems to have NO defense strategy until Spock & McCoy burst into the court room with info to save Kirk's hide.

He calls no witnesses (except Kirk) and cross-examines no one. At one point someone in the court room asks him if he's ready to begin his defense and his reply is very cryptic: "No... but I may be getting ready..."

What did THAT mean??? A few minutes later he's practically ready to throw in the towel. It almost seems as if something had been cut out of the final version.

Anyone else puzzled by this? Thoughts?
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Old July 20 2010, 11:51 PM   #2
A beaker full of death
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

Yeah, as a lawyer myself he kinda bugs me. Maybe it would have been better if they hadn't had to cobble the episode together - supposedly, Cook had a lot of trouble remembering his lines.
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Old July 21 2010, 04:48 AM   #3
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

THX1138 wrote: View Post
Cogley seems to have NO defense strategy until Spock & McCoy burst into the court room with info to save Kirk's hide.
I agree. My understanding was he begins the trial thinking the computer evidence against Kirk is questionable. He figures something got hosed in that data recorder, but he won't win over the jury by explaining to them it could have been a computer error.

So instead of focusing on the computer he chooses to trumpet Kirk's virtue and esteem, hoping the jury will consider Kirk's reputation with unspoken doubts about the computer in their minds.

When they see the video recording, the prosecution's case becomes stronger since a mechanical failure would have had to effect the data log and the visual recording at the same time. It's hard to envision any random error that would change the sequence of buttons Kirk pressed. So the paragon-of-virtue defense will no longer work.

Cogley says he may be getting ready because he's formulating an idea that someone plotted to frame Kirk and may or may not have found a way to kill Finney. But it doesn't have any facts. And blindly nitpicking the computer was precisely what has been avoiding b/c he thinks it paradoxically elevates the computer by making it central to the case.

When Spock and Bones discovered specific evidence a human being sabotaged the computer, Finney springs into action b/c he has a human to focus on beyond instead of just focusing on the computer.
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Old July 21 2010, 07:39 AM   #4
Captain Robert April
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

I think somebody dropped the ball during the rewrite process at that point of the script.
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Old July 21 2010, 08:01 AM   #5
Timo
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

...Of course, it would be a perfectly valid plot development if it turned out that Cogley was senile and incompetent and had no strategy, just a real passion for seeing justice done. Or then a real passion for being the centerpiece of attention.

It would also be a perfectly valid plot element if the above didn't "turn out" but was implicitly understood.

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Old July 21 2010, 06:05 PM   #6
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

Cogley's poor defense might be an example of Shaw's ambition as a lawyer. IIRC, wasn't it Shaw who steered Kirk towards Cogley in the first place? Regardless of Kirk being an old friend, she wanted to win the case. Kirk having a competent lawyer would have defeated her purposes.

Shaw was being machiavellian.
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Old July 22 2010, 04:50 AM   #7
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

first off, this thread is hilarious.

Yeah, Cogley really comes across as pretty incompetent. I think with the book collection and all he's SUPPOSED to be charmingly old-fashioned, but it's really more like he's good at making irrelevant speeches and that's about it.
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Old July 22 2010, 08:27 PM   #8
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

sonak wrote: View Post
first off, this thread is hilarious.

Yeah, Cogley really comes across as pretty incompetent. I think with the book collection and all he's SUPPOSED to be charmingly old-fashioned, but it's really more like he's good at making irrelevant speeches and that's about it.
I would say that means the character of Cogley portrayed most lawyers pretty accurately.
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Old July 22 2010, 10:55 PM   #9
A beaker full of death
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

Sector 7 wrote: View Post
sonak wrote: View Post
first off, this thread is hilarious.

Yeah, Cogley really comes across as pretty incompetent. I think with the book collection and all he's SUPPOSED to be charmingly old-fashioned, but it's really more like he's good at making irrelevant speeches and that's about it.
I would say that means the character of Cogley portrayed most lawyers pretty accurately.
Balls.
As it happens - and this is either sad or funny, I don't know which - I always channel Shatner as Kirk when giving an opening or closing argument. So far, so good.
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Old July 23 2010, 06:01 AM   #10
Captain Robert April
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

Oddly enough, Shatner seems to have played lawyers for the vast majority of his career, or at least more often than any other type of character.
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Old July 24 2010, 02:24 PM   #11
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
Yeah, as a lawyer myself he kinda bugs me. Maybe it would have been better if they hadn't had to cobble the episode together - supposedly, Cook had a lot of trouble remembering his lines.
A legal writing instructor of mine showed that bit of "Court Martial" with all the books to drive some sort of point home about libraries being important (which is sort of a big duh), although in the context of the 21st century, let alone the 23d, Cogley's extreme antipathy toward computerized databases comes off as slightly mad in itself.

And the other parts of the episode look like they could be used to directly teach how not to do whatever it is Cogley is doing--failing to cross, failing to develop a rudimentary theory of the case, I believe some significant failures to object,* and most horribly failing to even cursorily look at materials that had to have been provided in discovery** and getting surprised by a video recording that is the centerpiece of the prosecution's case.

*At least based on the FRE, which may or may not be applicable--and I might be thinking of "Measure of a Man," which is actually the worst depiction of any possible legal system I've ever seen on television. And this including the last episode of Clerks: The Animated Series and Harvey Birdman.
**Assuming it is not the Soviet Federation of Planets, anyway. Procurator will respond to discovery requests in timely fashion, after verdict is reached.
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Old July 24 2010, 02:42 PM   #12
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

So Cogley didn't win the case the right way?

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
Yeah, as a lawyer myself he kinda bugs me. Maybe it would have been better if they hadn't had to cobble the episode together - supposedly, Cook had a lot of trouble remembering his lines.
A legal writing instructor of mine showed that bit of "Court Martial" with all the books to drive some sort of point home about libraries being important (which is sort of a big duh), although in the context of the 21st century, let alone the 23d, Cogley's extreme antipathy toward computerized databases comes off as slightly mad in itself.

And the other parts of the episode look like they could be used to directly teach how not to do whatever it is Cogley is doing--failing to cross, failing to develop a rudimentary theory of the case, I believe some significant failures to object,* and most horribly failing to even cursorily look at materials that had to have been provided in discovery** and getting surprised by a video recording that is the centerpiece of the prosecution's case.

*At least based on the FRE, which may or may not be applicable--and I might be thinking of "Measure of a Man," which is actually the worst depiction of any possible legal system I've ever seen on television. And this including the last episode of Clerks: The Animated Series and Harvey Birdman.
**Assuming it is not the Soviet Federation of Planets, anyway. Procurator will respond to discovery requests in timely fashion, after verdict is reached.
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Old July 24 2010, 06:42 PM   #13
Captain Robert April
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

The episode may be a poor representation of how one's lawyer should handle a case, but it's also a pretty good depiction of how military justice proceeds from the initial charge, the preliminary investigation, and moving to a general court martial. Stone offering Kirk a ground assignment is basically him offering Kirk an Article 15 alternative.
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Old July 24 2010, 09:52 PM   #14
T'Girl
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

GSchnitzer wrote: View Post
So Cogley didn't win the case the right way?
Cogley did win the case at all. The defendant and a couple of his friends did, by locating evidence and ultimately finding the "victim" of the supposed crime, Cogley was a lump in a chair.

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
The episode may be a poor representation of how one's lawyer should handle a case, but it's also a pretty good depiction of how military justice proceeds from the initial charge, the preliminary investigation, and moving to a general court martial. Stone offering Kirk a ground assignment is basically him offering Kirk an Article 15 alternative.
One of the things the episode got right was after the official inquiry, but prior to being charged, was Kirk exercising his rights by requesting of his superior, that he be court martialed in order to clear his name. The decision was taken out of Stone's hands. Civilians, as I understand it, don't have this ability.
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Old July 25 2010, 12:15 AM   #15
A beaker full of death
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Re: Court Martial -- Cogley's defense strategy

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
Yeah, as a lawyer myself he kinda bugs me. Maybe it would have been better if they hadn't had to cobble the episode together - supposedly, Cook had a lot of trouble remembering his lines.
A legal writing instructor of mine showed that bit of "Court Martial" with all the books to drive some sort of point home about libraries being important (which is sort of a big duh), although in the context of the 21st century, let alone the 23d, Cogley's extreme antipathy toward computerized databases comes off as slightly mad in itself.

And the other parts of the episode look like they could be used to directly teach how not to do whatever it is Cogley is doing--failing to cross, failing to develop a rudimentary theory of the case, I believe some significant failures to object,* and most horribly failing to even cursorily look at materials that had to have been provided in discovery** and getting surprised by a video recording that is the centerpiece of the prosecution's case.

*At least based on the FRE, which may or may not be applicable...
Well, presumably his surprise in court was due to his not having access to the materials beforehand - my guess is the writer of this episode knew little of the law. He gets something of a pass, since none of us can say what 23rd century military justice allows or requires.

The antipathy toward computers seems absurd by today's standards of legal research, but I think we didn't realize back then how impossible it would be to keep up without computers. The computer -- "the machine," as it was put in Conscience of the King - was supposed to free us. Instead, it simply made tasks faster, and now more is required of us than ever before.

I was in one of the last classes in my law school to do without LEXIS or Westlaw. We had to shepardize each case by looking at three different books/supplements!
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