If he was only a honky-tonk legend before last week, today Billy Joe Shaver is a true Texas immortal. His testimony at his own aggravated assault trial in Waco saw to that.
Three years ago, Shaver shot a fellow drinker in the face in the parking lot of a Waco bar. That much is beyond dispute. Whether or not he did it in self-defense was the only question.
Shaver took the stand in his own defense last Thursday, and with friends Willie Nelson and Robert Duvall looking on, Shaver gave the performance of all three of their collective careers.
When the prosecutor asked him why he didn't leave the bar when the situation between him and his soon-to-be victim was escalating, Shaver responded "Ma'am, I'm from Texas. If I were chickenshit, I would have left, but I'm not."
When the prosecutor asked him if his assailant/victim's talking to his wife was making him jealous, Shaver responded "I get more women than a passenger train can haul. I'm not jealous."
And when the prosecutor asked him if he considered himself an "outlaw," Shaver said no, that he was more of an "outcast."
All of us sometimes dream we are starring in our own movies. Billy Joe Shaver really does, every day.
With that in mind, here are five memorable courtroom scenes, some of which might be even better than what transpired up in Waco last week.
Omar testifyin'. "I got the shotgun and you got the briefcase." One of only two times the slimily unflappable Morrie Levy was thunderstruck throughout The Wire's five-seasons.
My Cousin Vinny
Just one from a movie full of them. Marisa Tomei was never more fetching than when discoursing Joisily on the capabilities of vintage Chevy carbs. Oddly enough, we found several attorneys attesting to the quality of My Cousin Vinny as a teaching tool.
Next we go Down Under for this clip on the perils of self-representation and obsequious sycophants. Many a decision indeed likely would have been decided more justly had the judge taken into account "the whole vibe of the thing." We'll start with Dred Scott and Plessy vs. Ferguson.
Maybe self-representation isn't such a bad idea after all...
In our third clip from Baltimore and second from The Wire, utterly corrupt state senator Clay Davis cloaks himself in sanctimony, plays an entire deck of (marked) race cards, and beats an astoundingly painstakingly constructed rap. Clay was the JR Ewing of The Wire, and you never loved hating him more than here. (His attorney Billy Murphy plays himself -- a real Baltimore legal legend.)
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