Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Gene Akutsu Interview
Narrator: Gene Akutsu
Interviewers: Larry Hashima (primary), Stephen Fugita (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 25, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-agene-01-0016

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GA: And finally our, my time to appear before the judge came to plea our case and on that day the courthouse was some two blocks away, and so we all had to walk down there, of course, you had the jailer on both ends so that we wouldn't get away, and we walked to the courthouse. And my name starting with an A and my first name is G, I was the first person to, for everything. First to be called up to the judge and the judge would ask me, what would I plea, and I said, "Not guilty." "Then I will set your date for a trial later. You go out and be, you go back and sit in the holding cell." One by one we'd wind up in the holding cell and they got to a point where those people didn't care, they just kept the cell door open. Usually they keep it closed so they won't escape, but then they just kept it open and we'd just be walking in and out, plea our case and we all came in, there was a total of, as I said, about thirty-five of us. And at the end, after the last one went through their pleas... oh, at that time when we went to give our plea, we also were asked if we had a lawyer to represent me and I told him, "No sir, I don't," and so they said, "Well we will appoint a court lawyer for you." And unfortunately, I found up, I wound up with a lawyer who was the head of the American Legion. And so, when we wound up, after the pleas were given, the attorneys came and met up with us individually in various places to talk to us privately. And they gave us the court date. When I wound up with my attorney in a private office, the first thing he said was, "You're a damn fool. I'll be darned if I'm gonna help you at all. You're up on your own, boy." So there I was, all by myself, and wondering, "What should I do? What can I do?" And the court date, the trial date was set about two months -- I mean, two weeks hence, so we went back to our cells and I started to go think of a strategy, what to do.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.