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This paper focuses on the observations and findings of 1992 My Cousin Vinny case in the city of Alabama that was presided over by Judge Fred Gwynne. An officer directed that all persons entering the room were to switch off their mobile phones or put them on silent mode to avoid disrupting the proceedings. Judge Fred Gwynne was to sit behind a raised bench and this bench had a great seal of the jurisdiction and flags of the state. The witness was to stand adjacent to the bench whereas the court clerk and reporter were to sit on the desks. When Judge Fred Gwynne entered the courtroom, the officer advised that all stood up as a sign of respect.

Accordingly, I observed the judge started by greeting and telling the people in the courtroom to have their seats. The judge allowed the defendant and plaintiff’s side to give their side of the case. The case was about Bill Gambini and Stanley Rothenstein, two friends from New York University who had received studentships to UCLA (Lynn et al., 2002). The two decide to drive through the South to Alabama. Upon arrival, they stopped at a local store to buy a few snacks. However, after leaving the store, they got arrested and thought that they were arrested for shoplifting. They were then informed of the offense they were accused of committing which was murder and robbery (Lynn, 1992). Besides, they were then taken to jail and charged for first-degree murder and had to call Vinny who was one of the , who happened to be a lawyer since they could not raise $50k for other lawyers.

Additionally, I discerned that their lawyer, Vincent Laguardia Gambini was an inexperienced attorney who has never been on a trial. Vinny had to defend his clients and battle an adamant judge, some threatening locals, as well as his girlfriend, Mona Lisa Vito, who did not know when to keep quiet, to prove his client’s innocence (Lynn, 1992). Nonetheless, he soon realized he needed help. The first impression of Mona Lisa Vito is that she had a liking for overstated clothes. Vinny was said to have passed his bar examination six weeks before the incident after trying six times. He started to prepare for the case presented before him to defend his relative and the friend who happened to be charged with a capital crime (Vinny, 2013). From my perspective of Vinny, it seemed to me that this was his first case and also his first time to be in a courtroom. I could also notice the judge was offended by how Vinny was dressed, a black leather jacket, gold chains, and a black sweater (Lynn et al., 2002). Again, the language Vinny was using did not represent the formal language a lawyer can use, for instance, referring to Bill and Stanley as “these two youths.”

Noticeably, most of the court arguments took place and in the end, one witness after another gave their accounts of the incidence during the trial of the case. The innocent youths, Stanley and Bill seemed to be headed for the electric chair (Lynn et al., 2002). The reaction of Vinny left me wondering if the two youths had a chance to win their trial in the first place. Finally, Vinny called the local sheriff, who had run an accounts check at Vinny’s appeal. The sheriff testified that two men resembling Billy and Stan were detained a few days prior in Georgia for driving an embezzled Pontiac Tempest. They had custody of a .357 firearm, with a similar caliber that was used to kill the Sack O’ Suds clerk. He then politely moves to terminate all the charges (Lynn, 1992). Lastly, from my observation, the funny thing about this court observation was Vinny trying to convince Judge Fred Gwynne that he had done a few murder cases while there were no records of anybody named Vincent Gambini doing trials on cases in New York State.





Lynn, J. (1992). My cousin Vinny [Film]. 20th Century Fox.

Lynn, J., Deming, P., Edelman, R., Gwynne, F., Launer, D., Lombardo, T., … & Schiff, P. (2002). My Cousin Vinny. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Vinny, M. C. (2013). My Cousin Vinny. Marisa Tomei 1 The Flamingo Kid 10 The Toxic Avenger 13 Playing for Keeps (film) 19 Oscar (1991 film) 24, 31.

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