For the offended

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Monday, September 5, 2022

‘You catch the moment’

 

   A criminal trial brings many people together in one room. It can get crowded and confusing, but there is a clear hierarchy to help make sense of what’s happening.
     First is the judge, of course, in this case U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber, 85, set off not just by an elevated perch and flowing black robes, but his air of authority.
     He’s flanked by a clerk, a bailiff, deputies from the U.S. Marshal's office, and a court reporter, working that that odd stenotype machine with its 22 flat keys.
     There is the defendant who, if you were in Leinenweber’s courtroom last week, was R. Kelly, the singer already sentenced in June in New York to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing young girls. This latest trial, now in its fourth week, is expected to conclude in a few days.
     Kelly’s at a table with his attorneys. At the next table is the prosecution. There is the jury in their box, the press in its row, the public filling the rest of the room. Witnesses come and go.
     Then there is Don Colley, 68, bald with a neat beard. He typically holds a Stillman & Birn sketchbook, with grey or tan pages. He gazes at the proceedings, while sketching with colored markers, Pitt Artist Pens, by Faber-Castell. He likes them because they don’t have an odor, like some markers, which can give an artist away. Plus, you don’t have to stop drawing to sharpen them, as with pencils.
     You might naturally assume Colley is a courtroom artist — normally, there are two, working for TV stations. But Colley is something rarer than a courtroom artist: an artist in a courtroom.

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