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Peter Sharp Legal Mystery Number 8
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman
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This is a work of fiction. Names of characters are a product of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
The Reluctant Jurist
Peter Sharp Legal Adventure #8
All rights reserved © MMVIII Gene Grossman
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The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman
The Complete Peter Sharp Legal Mystery Series
Single Jeopardy …By Reason of Sanity A Class Action Conspiracy of Innocence …Until Proven Innocent The Common Law The Reluctant Jurist The Magician’s Legacy The Final Case An Element of Peril A Good Alibi Legally Dead How to Rob a Bank
All now available at http://www.LegaLystery.com 4
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman
hile watching an interesting television documentary about manufacturing in China, I was surprised to learn how many products they make there. Unfortunately, they’re mostly fake. They make copies of the best of everything, including wristwatches, purses, golf clubs, luggage, DVD’s, clothing, and just about any other internationally known successful brand name products.
The ‘knock-offs’ they produce sell for as little as one twentieth of what the genuine thing would ordinarily cost here in the U.S. Once the counterfeit merchandise reaches this country it gets bought up by people who don’t really care that it’s phony, because it looks real. No one cares that the wristwatch may stop running next month, because during that month it will have served the main purpose of image boosting. Aside from the fact that the watch company is justified in protecting its copyright, it should also realize that any person who spends forty bucks for a phony Rolex would never spend eight grand for a real one, so 5
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman they shouldn’t whine about losing a customer they never would have had to begin with. The ‘knock-off’ mentality doesn’t stop with the counterfeiting of merchandise. It extends to many types of scams against governments and organizations, like welfare fraud, exaggeration of federal income tax deductions, staged auto accidents, phony workmen’s compensation claims, inflation of corporate income to bolster stock prices, and many more types of scams. The new class of perpetrators is no longer just small time street hustlers. Many of them now wear tailored Italian suits and spend their time in boardrooms… but whether next to a wall on the street - or on Wall Street, they all share the common trait of a complete disregard for business ethics… and I’m sorry to say that the legal profession is not without its bad apples. As for my own situation, I live on a genuine fifty-foot Chinese-built Grand Banks Yacht here in Marina del Rey California, along with little Suzi Braunstein, a Chinese-built pre-teen girl and ‘Bernie,’ her huge Saint Bernard. Both the girl and dog are part of a package deal foisted upon me when her late stepfather’s Will specified that I was to be 6
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman appointed as her legal guardian. Suzi is a cupie doll with genius computer skills that are often put to use fulfilling requests from many of the local cops who eat around the corner at Murray’s Chinese restaurant, where her late mother was the manager. Suzi still makes her daily lunchtime appearances there and has become sort of a ‘mascot’ to all of the uniformed police regulars who eat there and where they hold their monthly inter-agency law enforcement luncheons. The one problem I’ll never have to worry about with Suzi is her asking me for an allowance – and that’s because she’s worth several million dollars, as the result of civil settlements from the death of her mother in an auto accident and her stepfather in a plane crash. But even without that money she would still be okay, because with her incredible computer skills she could easily earn six figures a year. But that’ll never happen because she’s already got a job. She runs our little law firm… the one we operate off of this boat. She’s the brains and has a couple of two-hundred-pound animals to boss around. I’m the one that makes the court appearances. We’ve been doing pretty good as of late, so 7
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman I don’t have any financial problems either, which can be boring. It was a lot different years ago when my ex-wife and I were newlyweds. I was a struggling lawyer and my wife Myra was a legal secretary. When we got married, the common bond that held us together was our mutual efforts to pay the rent, drive dependable cars, and have decent wardrobes. That was definitely not a boring time, and stayed that way until my practice started to pick up and she started law school. The money problems were slowly coming to an end, but the philosophical conflicts were starting to replace them. Like most women, my wife was born with a ‘prosecution’ chromosome in her genome. But being a good-natured criminal defense attorney, my DNA doesn’t include one of those genes, and that’s where our problems began. What happened to our marriage is public record. It includes my disciplinary problems with the State Bar, her passing the Bar exam and getting hired as a Deputy District Attorney, our divorce, and after I was out of the picture completely, she inherits a zillion dollars from her grandfather. How’s that for
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman timing? It seems like I’m always either an hour late or a dollar short. I was finally able to prove that my being disbarred was a frame-up, so my ticket to practice law was returned, but I still regret missing out on a chance to share in Myra’s inheritance. Once my wife decided to downsize the household, I became history and was exiled to an old forty-foot wooden cabin cruiser I had been restoring in our back yard, which thanks to my dear old classmate Melvin Braunstein, ultimately wound up here in the Marina. When I started practicing law again I sort of accidentally discovered some compromising photos that convinced Myra’s opponent to withdraw from the election, so she is now the elected District Attorney of this county, and I’m a successful attorney, no thanks to anything she’s ever done for me. If it wasn’t for little Suzi’s constant conspiring to get Myra and I back together again, we probably wouldn’t even be speaking socially at all - but today is one of the days we will be because Suzi needs a ride downtown to take another one of her periodic homeschooling progress tests. 9
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman Her grades in the past were so high that the Board of Education’s big shots now insist she take her exams under their proctoring so they can make sure she’s not cheating. Those bureaucrats just can’t seem to believe that this kid is smarter than they are. Suzi doesn’t complain about the inperson testing requirement because it gives her a chance to see Myra, who has become a role model for her. She also doesn’t mind taking the tests in person, because it eliminates the need for a home-school teacher to certify the test results. I have a sneaking suspicion that there is no homeschool teacher, because I’ve never seen one around. I think the kid teaches herself by using a class teaching schedule, a lesson plan, the internet, and a local library. Whatever she’s doing seems to be working, because her test scores are usually almost perfect, which doesn’t stop her from talking Myra into joining us on these test days under the guise of needing some extra moral support. We all know that’s not true, but it does bring us together for lunch. Myra and Suzi sit holding hands in the back seat of my big Yellow Hummer and Bernie has a permanent claim on the front passenger seat, so he can ride with his 10
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman head poking up out of the open sunroof. Suzi bought him a pair of ‘Doggles’ to wear. They’re aviation-style eye-protection goggles designed for dogs to wear while riding in cars with their heads sticking out in the wind. With his Doggles on and those big ears flapping in the wind, he looks like a World War I air ace. We’ve dubbed him the Brown Baron. We’re quite an impressive sight driving down the busy Los Angeles streets, with the Baron’s head sticking out of its cockpit and camera-toting tourists photographing us. Without a picture to prove it, they’d never be able to convince their friends back home about the unique sight they saw here of the big Swiss-made Saint Bernard wearing his Doggles. Not too long ago we heard that some mainland Chinese menus included Saint Bernard meat. Suzi’s response to that awful rumor was to immediately tell the Chinese government that the Swiss have decided to add Giant Panda meat to their restaurant offerings unless a mutual ‘non-eating’ truce is entered into between the respective countries. She’s still waiting for a response from Beijing.
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman This afternoon’s events are a given. Suzi will ‘ace’ her tests and the three of us will stay in downtown Los Angeles so we can eat at the Pantry on Ninth and Figueroa, Suzi’s favorite non-Chinese restaurant. Bernie will wait outside for us with his friend the newsstand guy until we return with a doggie-bag treat for him… he loves the Pantry’s famous coleslaw. Suzi usually wears one of her hats during lunch there because if she didn’t, the many customers who walk by and can’t seem to resist patting her would wear off all of the hair on top of her head. We’ll have a pleasant lunch because I make a concerted effort to avoid discussing criminal defense cases with my fascist wife. That keeps my legal conflicts with her militant prosecution to a minimum. Suzi just usually sits there quietly, relishing the time she can spend with the closest thing she has to a family, and absorbs every word we say. The kid has already expressed her intention to attend Harvard Law School and once in a very rare expression of generosity, she informed Myra that she will always be welcome as an associate in the Suzi B. Law Firm. I like to think that she’ll keep me on too.
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman Back at the boat I see there’s a message from the offices of my close friend and frequent client Stuart Schwarzman, who is the most entrepreneurial person I’ve ever met. The many businesses he’s built into successes during the past couple of years are too numerous to list, but the one that stands out most is probably his armored car. He bought an old one from Brink’s Armored Transport and had the words ‘He’s taking it with him’ painted on the side. Disgruntled heirs hire the truck for up to five hundred bucks a day to have it driven behind the hearse from the funeral parlor, all the way to the cemetery. Stuart’s employee Vinnie drives it while wearing a phony uniform, complete with unloaded weapon. The armored car business got so successful that Stuart had to buy a second one, which is now driven by Vinnie’s fiancée Olive, who is the subject of today’s desperate message on my answering machine. “Mister Sharp, this is Vinnie, and you’ve got to see us as soon as possible… it’s about some surgery for Olive.” This lunatic couple have become like close friends of mine over the past year or so, and 13
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman the mere mention of surgery sounds very serious, so I immediately return Vinnie’s call to see what strange problem they’re having this time. Vinnie answers on the first ring, recognizing my number on his caller ID display. “Oh Mister Sharp… thanks for calling back. How’d Suzi do on her tests today?” “She did fine, Vin. What’s this I hear about Olive having some surgery? Is she okay? Was there an accident of some sort?” “No, no, Mister Sharp. It’s worse than that…she wants to have some surgery done to her face.” I can’t help but think that Olive is definitely not a raving beauty, but I never noticed anything radically wrong with her face. “Listen Mister Sharp, we’re coming to the boat in a little while because Olive is taking Suzi shopping at the pet store, so I thought if I was there you might be able to spend a little time helping me convince her not to have this surgery done.”
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman “Sure Vinnie. You can tell me about it while they’re out shopping, and when they return maybe we can get to the bottom of this.” Vinnie seems relieved, so having at least offered my good deed for the day, I’m now going to sit back and watch the BBC news that they broadcast every afternoon on PBS. I like this international program much better than the local news because they cover all the violence that occurs outside of Southern California. It’s really not that different than the local violence, but the BBC has a nice female anchorperson with one of those classy British accents that turns me on. It never ceases to amaze me how many countries there are that I’ve never heard of before, whose national newsworthiness all seem to be civil wars and starving refugees. The most common occupation in those third world countries seems to be ‘rebel’ or ‘insurgent,’ and I don’t understand what they’re always fighting about, because if all the victors want is the ‘spoils,’ they don’t have to waste their time fighting… there seem to be plenty of spoils around in those underdeveloped civilizations. Is having three mud huts that much better than having just one? 15
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman Now that the opening ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ portion of the program is over, we can get to the good stuff. Today’s health and fitness report has two topics. First is a report on how much hypochondria costs the world’s health systems by those people who always imagine they’re sick with something clogging up all the doctors’ offices and emergency rooms. If they’d only ask me, I think I have a cure for hypochondria: disease. Maybe they should inject some chronic ailment germ into the arm of each whining hypochondriac… then they’d have something real to take care of, and stop bothering doctors about those non-existent ailments. The second item is about a strain of flu that’s spreading all around in the United States. This is news to me. The anchor then turns to a correspondent who tells us about the horrible influenza pandemic that hit this country and the rest of the world back in 1918. From what he says, an estimated 675,000 Americans lost their lives to the flu, which was only a small percentage of the more than twenty million killed by the disease all over the world in just a few short years. I also learn that a ‘pandemic’ is an ‘epidemic’ that goes international.
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman Modern medicine has really improved, because back then, millions of people died from a sickness that we now can treat with over-the-counter drugs, and also try to avoid by using proper sterile practices in hospitals. Looking for a little more info about this subject on the internet, I learn that the government was operating with the same efficiency then that it does now, as evidenced by the fact that in November of 1918, the San Francisco health authorities used the air raid sirens to proclaim the end of World War I and let San Franciscans know the flu epidemic was over, and that it was okay for them to celebrate. The citizenry believed the officials and 30,000 of them went out into the streets for a big party. The very next month, 5,000 new cases of influenza were reported in San Francisco. Nice work, health officials. I guess their descendants were working for the VA seventy-five years later, proclaiming that there is no such thing as bad effects from Agent Orange, and that there’s no such thing as Gulf War Syndrome. I also seem to remember Myra complaining about her trial deputies being required to put in longer days now because of the number of other employees and judges out with the flu. The court calendars are all 17
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman backed up and they’re trying to figure out some way to ease the situation. Thank goodness I’m not involved in that mess downtown. I hate driving down there and back in rush-hour traffic, and the parking situation is especially horrendous because of the big yellow Hummer I ride in. It’s not a wussy H-2 or H-3, designed for soccer moms to drive, it’s the original 8-foot wide model that the military uses, and one of the first ones released as a domestic model. Fortunately I don’t usually go much farther than the Santa Monica courthouse, because the Uniman Insurance Company assigns some of their smaller west-side auto accident cases to us. After saving old man Uniman from paying out some very large sums on fraudulent insurance claims, he’s been showing his appreciation by allowing me to handle some of his lessimportant auto accident defense cases. The usual procedure is for him to have a case file messengered to the boat, along with an initial retainer fee. My first job on each one is to file an answer to the plaintiff lawyer’s lawsuit and then start the civil discovery process by sending out a set of written interrogatories for the plaintiff to answer under oath. If anything appears interesting in the answers to our ‘interrogs,’ then we 18
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman arrange to take depositions of the plaintiff and any others who might be helpful to our defense. The knocking on our hull must be Vinnie and Olive, and the fact that the dog hasn’t even opened one of his eyes indicates that the people who are now stepping up our boarding ladder are ‘friendlies,’ a category that includes all of our acquaintances and every sworn peace officer who serves west of Sepulveda Boulevard. Shortly after Vinnie and his fiancée come aboard, Olive, Suzi and Bernie leave on their shopping spree. Vinnie has a very concerned look on his face as he sits down with me on the boat’s enclosed rear deck. “Okay Vinnie, what’s this surgery stuff all about?” “Mister Sharp, I don’t know why, but Olive wants to get a nose job.” This is a surprise. Olive isn’t exactly a cover model, but I never thought her nose was too big. I guess that psychological illnesses like anexoria take a lot of forms. With some people, every time they look at their image in the mirror they see someone who is too 19
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman fat. Others see an image of someone who definitely needs some bulking up, and others see deformities that need correcting. Olive may be needlessly obsessed with her nose and is seeing a problem that really doesn’t exist. “So what, Vin? If she wants to get a nose job, let her get one. It’ll keep her happy, and that’s the important thing, isn’t it?” “Yeah, sure, but what if that’s just the start? I’m afraid that once she gets her nose done, maybe she’ll want something else done… where does it end? I want my Olive just the way she is. I’ve seen some of those complete makeover shows on television and I don’t want her turning into something completely different. I like Olive this way. Why does she have to change?” “I don’t know Vin. Do you think there could be some other reasons involved? Has she been depressed or going through any other type of changes in her life?” “Well, you know we’re going to set another wedding date soon, but that shouldn’t bother her. She’s the one who’s in a rush for us to get married.”
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman Our conversation gets interrupted a few times by phone calls that come in for Suzi from local police agencies inquiring about some of the crime-fighting software she has installed on her computers. After answering their questions and talking a little more to Vinnie, almost an hour has flown by and I hear paws coming up the boarding ladder. Suzi and the dog are now in their foreward stateroom returning calls to the police, so I take this opportunity to speak to Olive alone while Vinnie relaxes on the aft deck. “What’s going on Olive? Vinnie told me about you wanting to have your nose done. I don’t see anything wrong with it. You’ve got a very nice nose. Is there some medical problem I don’t know about? Because lacking that, I don’t know why you’d want to do a thing like that.” Every excuse she comes up with seems like it’s not the real reason. I guess that a nose job might possibly improve her appearance a little, and that Stuart’s insurance will cover all the costs, but I still feel there’s something she’s not telling me. “Olive, I know you for a while now, so I’m only going to ask you this question once, 21
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman and I’d like you to consider something. I’ve always tried as much as I could to help you and Vinnie out, and you know that I’ve never lied to you or held anything back. Now I’d like you, as a friend, to give me the same consideration and let me know the real reason why you want to have this elective surgery on your nose.” She thinks about what I’ve just told her and then starts to slowly explain the real reason. “Well Mister Sharp, you know we’re going to be married soon, and after that we’ll probably have kids…” “Okay Olive, a lot of people do that without getting nose jobs.” “I know Mister Sharp, but I’d like to have the surgery before we get married.” “What’s the big rush, Olive? You can always have that surgery done. Why do feel it’s necessary before you get married?” “So that my kids won’t be born with big noses.”
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman So much for logic. No sense trying to burst her balloon, so I just tell her to make sure she lets the insurance company know her real reason. I’m sure they’ll fill her in on the facts of life. They’re experts when it comes to turning down requests for medical procedures. The phone is ringing and it looks very close to Myra’s number, so it must be from some other phone extension inside the Criminal Courts Building where her office is located. I answer it and learn that it’s Sally Hearn, the presiding judge’s clerk. “Mister Sharp, how are you feeling today?” “I’m fine Sally, how about yourself?” “Oh, I’m fine too Mister Sharp. But really, how are you feeling?” This is a little strange. The only other times Sally has called me in the past was to come in and get appointed to represent some indigent criminal defendant... but now she’s calling to inquire about my health. “Sally, I assure you that I’m really okay. Is
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman there anything else I can do for you today other than give you a progress report on my health?” “I’m sorry Mister Sharp, but there’s been so much flu going around here lately that we’re really concerned about anyone who comes to the courtrooms.” “That’s nice Sally, but in case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been around there for a while. I’m doing more civil work now, so the criminal courts aren’t part of my rounds.” “Yes I know, and that’s why the Honorable Morgan Russell, our new presiding judge, asked me to request that you come down here for an appointment.” “I don’t know Sally. I’m really trying to concentrate more on civil matters now, and another criminal case…” She cuts me off mid-sentence. “Oh, not to worry Mister Sharp, the judge will see to it that you’re not on a criminal case.” “I don’t understand what you mean by that Sally. The court doesn’t appoint lawyers to 24
The RELUCTANT JURIST.................Gene Grossman represent parties in civil disputes, so what can Judge Russell possibly want me for? “It’s not to represent a party Mister Sharp, you’ve been selected to act as a temporary judge.”
.. it’s gotta be at least ten time harder in a criminal case. And as tough as that job must be in civil cases. In the meantime. I’ll go downtown and talk to the presiding judge... but I can’t imagine how hard it must be for a judge to look down at the parties and tell them which one you’ve decided is the winner... there’s a winner and a loser. it looks like 26 T .. No thank you. but I’m not one of them... The adversary nature of our judicial system means that in every type of case other than an uncontested adoption..... and it’s always tough to lose. For the past twenty years I’ve been on both sides of that system.The RELUCTANT JURIST. Let someone else do that job..Gene Grossman 2 here are some attorneys who would give anything for a temporary appointment to the bench. when you’ve got to look down at a defendant and tell him and his family that they’re not going to have a father around for several years... but he’s going to have to do a lot of convincing to make me change my mind on this subject.
. This must be the tenth crummy fender-bender he’s sent over. One way to build a practice like that is with a connection to some labor union or other large group of people who all get referred to your practice whenever they’re involved in an automobile accident.. The only things that seem to change from case to case are the date....I. The referring people are called ‘cappers..’ in which you ‘buy’ your clients from someone who is in a position to refer them to an attorney.. body shop personnel. I hope that some day he feels confident enough to trust me with a nice big case instead of the whiplash junk. The other way to build up that type of law firm is very similar to an old practice in this country that was called ‘slavery. mill..’ and they usually work as tow truck drivers.. and number of people in the car that got rearended... 27 .. hospital orderlies.. or other types of ambulance chasers with police radio scanners in their cars. Some attorneys operate what’s called a ‘P.’ which means they handle a lot of personal injury cases in an assembly-line fashion...Gene Grossman Uniman Insurance Company’s messenger is here with another auto accident file for us to handle..The RELUCTANT JURIST. location. and they all look the same.
.. or whatever it takes to get the injured person’s confidence. up to several thousand dollars. the lawyer arranges to have the medical meter start running.... large lawsuit settlements... the cappers flock around like vultures over a rotting carcass.The RELUCTANT JURIST. the dollar amount of the medical treatment provided (‘specials’) is extremely important in determining what amount a fair out-ofcourt settlement of the case might be. They dart around passing out business cards and making promises of loan cars. whenever there’s an automobile accident that requires a police response.... which can range from a basic minimum of about one hundred dollars per person referred. because other than the issue of fault for causing the accident.. free legal advice.. to be paid upon successful completion of any case in which the plaintiffs actually suffered broken bones or other serious injuries. The 28 . Once the retainer form is signed the capper can get his ‘referral’ fee. After the personal injury clients are signed up and the capper has been paid....Gene Grossman In some parts of this city. cash advances. The capper’s next job is to get their new acquisition to a ‘participating’ lawyer’s office. tow truck or ambulance..
. It’s always much better to try and settle the case quickly without filing suit and move on. because reimbursement for those expenses won’t come in until after the case is settled. the more it costs each month in letters coming and going... lawyers don’t usually file lawsuits immediately. Slip-andfall cases in the supermarket can bring in about six hundred dollars each.. Each type of personal injury case usually has some sort ‘nuisance’ settlement amount that can be counted on.. civil discovery and other miscellaneous expenses..... paperwork.The RELUCTANT JURIST.....Gene Grossman unwritten rule of thumb is that a nonserious or ‘soft-tissue’ injury accident case is usually worth somewhere around three times the specials. and the average rear-end collision with six hundred dollars of medical bills can be expected to settle for between fifteen hundred and two thousand.. because the longer that case stays in your filing cabinet. the lawyer on a one-third contingency agreement realizes 29 . Most P.. so it behooves the client to see the recommended doctor for at least five or six hundred dollars worth of treatment. With this knowledge in mind.I..
Gene Grossman that if a case might earn him five hundred. a procedure whereby instead of depositing the settlement and having trust account checks issued.. If the settlement is split three ways between the lawyer. The doctors like it because it’s tax-free and allows them to kick-back up to one-third of their medical fee. client and doctor. they personally take the insurance draft to the bank... The lawyers like it because it provides them with tax-free income and replenishes their supply of cash available for future payments to cappers. when the settlement finally comes in there’s barely enough to go around... After paying a hundred in cash to the capper and then probably two to four hundred in cash advances to the client.... and share the proceeds in hundred dollar bills. Clients never mind doing this because it gives them instant money and eliminates a need to cash the lawyer’s check at their local liquor store.. cash it... there’s only one way to make the effort worth while… the lawyer must ‘walk the client’ to the bank.. 30 .. giving the lawyer more money...The RELUCTANT JURIST. he manages the time he’ll spend on the matter accordingly… and here’s where the main problem appears..
.. 31 .. Provoking Myra is not a good idea.. and the client. some of them resort to the same type of business that the Chinese have found so profitable: the manufacturing of counterfeits… staged accidents... People making complaints about their nonexistent whiplash are one type of problem. and that’s a felony. mill system is that it requires a constant supply of new clients.. People who commit felonies in this county provoke Myra. and having been married to her.The RELUCTANT JURIST. and when things get slow.. Everybody comes out ahead except the I. I would strongly advise people to avoid committing felonies in this jurisdiction.I...... Trust me on that.Gene Grossman This is a win-win-win situation.R. but any lawyer who puts in a claim or files a lawsuit for what he knows was a staged auto accident is committing insurance fraud.. The only downside to this practice is that withdrawing funds from the attorney’s trust account before the draft clears is a misappropriation of other clients’ funds from the account – and that is a breach of ethics that can get an attorney disbarred..S. The problem with the P..
. maybe I can spot some pattern that turns the little cases into a big one. I’d put Stuart’s private investigation firm to work finding some of those guys who stage phony accidents and see if there’s some organization behind them.. maybe he’ll go along with my idea. but I try to keep my eyes open.The RELUCTANT JURIST.... and that’s what I’ll be doing with these crummy little personal injury cases that Mister Uniman sends over here... If he realizes that spending ten or twenty thousand on an investigation might ultimately save him ten times that much in payments for phony claims. made counterfeit DVD’s. I don’t look at my job as one of crime-buster. 32 .. If I could talk the kid who runs our office into authorizing the necessary expense. and committed internet fraud..... He’s a savvy businessman.Gene Grossman My associates and I were lucky in the past couple of years and have been successful in uncovering various gangs that robbed banks. Most recently we helped prevent a neo-Nazi group from blowing up a building. I’ll drop a note to Mister Uniman... If I can’t get the big cases to handle...
big civil suits and serious criminal trials that can result in long ‘hard time’ sentences to the State’s penitentiary system. Mandates like cutting down that bothersome tree. They deal directly with complaining and defending parties only. Next up the scale are our County Municipal Courts. The Superior Courts are also where juvenile matters are heard.The RELUCTANT JURIST.. They handle criminal arraignments... and can make monetary awards up to a limit of several thousand dollars.. At the bottom are the local Small Claims Courts. the State Superior Courts.... where lawyers are not allowed.... like Injunctions to stay away from someone else.. sentences of up to one year in the County Jail. misdemeanor criminal trials.. and I certainly 34 .Gene Grossman 3 C alifornia courts are arranged in a pecking order determined by the type of justice they’re allowed to administer. civil suits and other matters not big enough to warrant attention from our next highest level.. you see matters requiring the court to order people to do or not to do things.. statuses of marriage and divorce. Once you get up there...
.. and that’s how it is here in this courthouse. the current PJ...The RELUCTANT JURIST.. the bailiff tells me to have a seat and wait a few minutes until the judge invites me in. Knowing how judges usually like to keep people waiting.. because judges are usually kept away from the general public by having access to private elevators and hallways. After being escorted down the private rear hallway separating judges’ chambers from their courtrooms... in charge of all judicial appointments and other important things. I’ve never met Morgan Russell. I get a kick out of some television shows that show the program’s hero lawyer walking in a crowded courthouse hallway. That’s not going to happen.. 35 . but I will in a few minutes.... The Superior Court uses a rotating system that appoints a member to act as its Presiding Judge. having a conversation with a judge.Gene Grossman know that because several years of my beginning legal career were devoted to that particular field of law..... I try to get comfortable on this dreadful wooden bench and mentally reminisce about some of the strange things that lawyers have done in the past...
. rope climbing and mountain climbing may look simple to the uninitiated. It didn’t take very long for the desperate lawyers below to notice that the open girders supporting those tracks were designed in such a way as to possibly allow one to physically climb up to the track area..I. The two trains that had collided were sitting up on the tracks waiting for rescue and repair crews to reach them. Any other accident involving this many potential plaintiffs would have created a feeding frenzy of tow trucks and cappers.. but this one was about thirty feet up in the air on the elevated tracks and a little out of their reach...... As soon as the first ambitious ones started up.The RELUCTANT JURIST. many nearby girders started to resemble poles covered with honey near an anthill....Gene Grossman The most colorful ones are usually the operators of P... mills... but accomplishing those feats without 36 .. and several years ago quite a few of them were involved in Chicago when one of the city’s famous elevated trains was involved in a collision above the downtown area. Rock climbing.
. There’s a clever old saying about dogs that questions their habit of chasing cars.. When it was all over the local newspapers published a list of the casualties that were a result of the train collision. This elevated train collision instantly created a new Olympic sport in which out-of-shape.. six were among the two hundred train passengers.. overweight. The question asked is ‘what would a dog ever do if he actually caught one?’ I guess the same 37 .Gene Grossman injury require a tremendous amount of training and physical conditioning.... pasty-faced predominantly Jewish attorneys.. all taken away in ambulances.The RELUCTANT JURIST. The remaining thirteen were falling lawyers.. sedentary lifestyle could now compete: Professional Girder Climbing. used to a soft. The prospective clients up there on those trains had the windows open and acted like fans in bleachers. and the statistics were quite interesting: Of nineteen injury reports filed... They were shouting out cheers of encouragement to the competing participants.. This historymaking event was the only time when the athletes were dressed in business suits and ties during an Olympic-style event.. rich.... lying there and trying to figure out who to sue.
. so a closer look might be in order. I see that the judge’s chambers door has been slightly ajar while I’ve been sitting here... a special prosecutor named Kenneth Starr made a big deal about it. Discovering that the presiding judge is poking another member of our legal community can be quite an embarrassing situation. As it turned out.. Many of the falling lawyers filed actions against the train company for having defective girders supporting their tracks. I don’t know if this could be a sign to peek or knock.. In it is the image of a really attractive... I think the best thing for me to do 38 . The last time I recall a similar event getting exposed..The RELUCTANT JURIST.... They all lost.. As I approach the door I glance inside and see a mirror on the far side of the room. I immediately step back and sit down on the bench. everyone was already signed up.Gene Grossman thing could also be said about some of those ambulance-chasing lawyers. and by the time rescue crews arrived... all of their climbing efforts were in vain because several passengers on those trains were lawyers. but completely nude blonde female walking across the room.. but I haven’t heard any conversation coming from inside..
” Is he kidding? This bailiff probably doesn’t have any idea that the judge is getting it on in there. It’s the bailiff. I wouldn’t blame him if he did.. I’ll hold up the newspaper and pretend like I couldn’t have seen anyone leaving.. but he wants me to go in... but from the brief look I got of that blonde.. I try to tell the bailiff that maybe we should give the judge another minute or two.. Several minutes have passed. and when he sticks his head out the door to invite me in.. pretending to read some old newspaper that’s been left here next to me on the bench....Gene Grossman is just sit here and ignore whoever walks out of that room.... and there’s no way I’m going to walk in and interrupt him.The RELUCTANT JURIST. but no one comes out of the judge’s chambers.. “Mister Sharp. There’s a tapping on my shoulder. After his girlfriend leaves I’m sure the judge will summon me into chambers.. 39 .. I think it’s okay for you to go in there now. He takes me by the arm and starts to lead me over to the door. I sure hope he hasn’t forgotten about me.
..... so the sooner you go in. I don’t see anyone inside here but the person who must be sitting in that highbacked office chair... looking out of that thirteenth story window at the view of downtown Los Angeles.... The judge has a busy schedule. the recently naked blonde..The RELUCTANT JURIST. I guess the blonde is hiding in the judge’s private bathroom.Gene Grossman “Mister Sharp. I’m greeted with a higher voice than I expected.” As the chair swings around I see that the robed Presiding Judge is none other than the Honorable Morgan Russell.” Having said that.. you really must go in there now. the bailiff reaches forward and with one hand pushes the door open and with the other hand pushes me inside.. His back is to me while he sits there. so I’ll expect this interview to be completed quickly. “Mister Sharp.. I’m glad you could come downtown today.. 40 . the sooner we can back to our court calendar..
.Gene Grossman 4 t takes a lot of effort. where I got quite a bit of trial experience during my first few years practicing law.. We have a nice conversation about nonrelevant things like lawyers we both know..’ I explain my reluctance about sentencing people to jail.The RELUCTANT JURIST. Instead of a criminal charge being 42 I .. This incident has just answered another question for me about what they wear under those robes..... and she puts my mind at ease by letting me know that if I accept her appointment. but I succeed in not blurting out that I don’t recognize her with clothes on. and then she tells me about my good reputation as a trial lawyer and how it helped her to make the decision to have me fill in as what they call a ‘judge pro tem.. Most kids are brought into the juvenile justice system because of alleged criminal conduct..... my duties will definitely not involve hearing any adult criminal cases. but they’re not charged with crimes.. What she has in mind for me is the Juvenile Court...
.. they’re not convicted. it’s called a Disposition. it’s called a Petition. A lot of fancy words designed to avoid the kids having the permanent stigma of being convicted criminals attached to their records.. these final dispositions are quite different from criminal sentencing in adult courts. They all want to do what’s best for the juveniles. the Petition is Sustained...The RELUCTANT JURIST..Gene Grossman filed.. and instead of a sentencing.. it’s called an Adjudication.. Instead of their going through a trial.. Quite often a juvenile judge must order that a kid be removed from the family home and either placed in a foster situation or sent to juvenile detention hall. But fortunately. which is a prison-style locked down facility. With the kids.. In these cases. or the California Youth Authority. Now that Judge Russell and I agree that the juvenile court is the best place for me.. The typical adversarial win-at-all-costs attitude doesn’t apply in juvenile court because everyone there is on the same page. If it is determined that they did in fact commit the acts alleged in the petition. children are sent to a foster home or other facility for their own good. I 43 .... you aren’t sending bread-winning heads of household or parents away..
’ which is the technical term I apply to her usual practice of ‘glomming’ onto whatever money I earn outside of the firm and somehow converting it into being the firm’s money instead of wholly mine.. Miraculously.The RELUCTANT JURIST. Our mini argument is interrupted by a telephone call from Stuart....... Back at the boat I convince Suzi that whatever I earn as a judge is not subject to ‘glommerization... so I’m now looking through the Judges’ Reference 44 .. feeling good that Mister Uniman agreed enough with my idea. because the judge I’m replacing calls in every day and says that he’s on the mend.Gene Grossman agree to accept the appointment.. new assignments have come in from Uniman Insurance.. to underwrite the investigation. She tells me that it shouldn’t last much longer than a week or two.. who informs me that his private investigation business is picking up. I’m really glad to hear this and offer him my full cooperation... He’s now on the trail of some people suspected of being involved in a ‘staged accident’ gang.. I’ve got another day or two before reporting to duty as a juvenile judge pro tem.
The kid can research whatever points of law I ask about and send an answer back to me. Maybe after my tenure as a judge pro tem is over I can take a shot at some relationship with her. I’ve made a deal with Suzi whereby she will allow the dog to spend his day at Stuart’s large Van Nuys warehouse and I will allow her to come to court with me... Her main job will be to remain in chambers at the computer.Gene Grossman Guide that the honorable presiding nude suggested I should familiarize myself with.. Our computers have been networked together.. The first order of business this morning 45 .. so it will be like a mini chat room.. but this isn’t the only thing I’d like to get more familiar with in her court.The RELUCTANT JURIST. I hate to admit it. Knowing that someday she plans on practicing law.. This is it.. This may also give her a chance to meet the presiding judge on a professional level. every female I’ve ever been involved with has gotten the ‘thumbs down’ from Suzi.. I can send her a quick email from my own laptop up on the bench. I can’t imagine her complaining about my bringing a judge to the boat.. If I have any questions..... Maybe... In the past. My first day as a judge.
..Gene Grossman before court officially opens is for me to make arrangements with the bailiff and court clerk about how we will start each session. police liaison and bailiffs are all now waiting patiently for me to agree to their plans.. They’re in for a big surprise. They’re telling me how they want me to run things. They even go so far as to suggest that we do a couple of dry runs to get our timing straight... I’m tired of all of this courtroom choreography. at which time.. I’ve seen it too many times to ever want to be part of it.. After some other announcements. while everyone is still standing. They’re in for a surprise. but none of the suggestions you’ve made so far will be put into effect.... The clerk tells me about the buzzing system and the bailiff explains how he will make his speech.. so I tell them how it’s going to be in this court. probation person.. “I’m sorry to disappoint you all. they will allow me to start doing some judge work. The court clerks.. court reporter. and then I’m supposed to make my dramatic entrance..The RELUCTANT JURIST... I find this interesting. the Bailiff will lead everyone in the courtroom in a Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Here’s the way it’s going to be: Participants are always notified that the 46 .
minor and defense counsel are all here.... but I’m quite used to problems dealing with this particular District Attorney.A.. If the D. this private entrance door will open and I will enter the courtroom.... if there is a caregiver present to accept custody. If the minor or defense counsel isn’t here. isn’t here. we’re in business and the session will begin.. “At that time I expect the bailiff to notice my entrance and simply tell everyone to remain seated and come to order. This may cause some problems with the District Attorney’s office..A. No further announcement or other procedure will be necessary. “I will then sit down... because at exactly nine AM.. so I would suggest that you all keep your eyes on that clock up there on the wall.Gene Grossman court’s first session starts at nine in the morning. If the D. he or she will be released. and I’m sure you all know what I mean by that.. and if the juvenile is in custody.The RELUCTANT JURIST. open the first file on my desk and call the case. the Petition will be dismissed. then bench warrants will be issued for their appearances.. “It would be a good idea for all of you to spread the word around about how things 47 ....
. It took about two hours this morning before I realized what has happened.. we’ll all get out of here early every day. but starting tomorrow... There are no questions or complaints. his answer is right from the television broadcast of a famous Los Angeles arraignment back in the 1990’s: “One thousand percent not guilty. Any questions?” Surprised glances are exchanged around the room.. because they finally realize that if things run the way I want them to. Your Honor. By worming her way into coming to court and working with me. We’ll keep it pretty loose today.. Something else just clicked into place. She did it to me again... but I have a feeling they all know that this is the way things are really supposed to be done. The first case is a simple matter of pot possession and when I ask the minor if he knows why he’s here today and if he has anything to say about it..... that will be the program..Gene Grossman will be working here because I don’t want anyone to be surprised... the kid has successfully managed to complete another act of glommerization..The RELUCTANT JURIST.” I set the case for trial and tell 48 .
. or in the worst cases... Their recommendations can range from staying at home on probation.. the probation department does a detailed workup and prepares a lengthy report that includes the juvenile’s background. When an adjudication ends with any other result than a complete dismissal. The court also has some pending cases on today’s calendar.. time served in the California 49 .The RELUCTANT JURIST... When I look down at my computer monitor I see that Suzi has sent me a message: Stuart called.. Juvenile court judges rely quite heavily on probation reports.Gene Grossman this little O. community service. This will have to wait until I get back to the boat after work tonight... analysis of the situation and most important.. description of the caregivers.. and one of them is a disposition hearing for a juvenile who did some nasty things to other people. a recommendation as to what might be the best way to get the juvenile back onto the right track. present living conditions. to placement in a foster home. some time in juvenile detention..J.. He wants me to file a lawsuit for him.. that I’ll see him in another two weeks..
Gene Grossman Youth Authority facility. and now I’m getting a chance to try and correct that problem. only to discover that they probably couldn’t if they wanted to. The minor’s attorney addresses the court.. Also not surprising was the fact that the accompanying parents often had the same difficulty... I’ve seen a tremendous reading deficiency in these kids. the minor would appreciate your giving him some indication as to how much time he’s going to have to serve before being released. Release can be left up to the facility to determine when the minor is ready to return to society. which is like a penitentiary for kids.. “Your Honor.” 50 ..The RELUCTANT JURIST... A CYA commitment can be open-ended with no specific amount of time to be served...... so I make the order. This case before the court is one in which everyone including the parents agree that a CYA commitment would be best for this juvenile. Somewhere along the educational line we lost some of these kids... Time and time again I offered them an opportunity to read the probation report on their own case...
.. but has the size and demeanor of an adult.. 51 . you should be tested to make sure you can actually read at that level. According to the probation report. but I noticed that he couldn’t read his own probation report. this will give you an incentive to put some effort into trying to improve your reading skills. he is now sixteen years old. there are several factors that will come into play as to when you will be released.” I bang the gavel down and in true judicial fashion. Hopefully. that success will be taken into consideration towards advancing your release date.. “I’m also going to ask that you be brought back here for a progress report six months from today... Next year you’ll be seventeen... toss the file towards my clerk.. but I’m going to make it a little easier for you.Gene Grossman I look down at the minor.. I’m going to include in my order that before you’re released..... “Young man.. and if you would have stayed in high school you would have been reading at a tenth grade level. and will make a note in the file that if your custodians have noticed any success in your effort to raise your reading level..The RELUCTANT JURIST.
. Back at the boat I find several messages from Stuart. “Yes Stuart..The RELUCTANT JURIST. We just got back to the boat and I was picking up the phone to call you when it rang.. They both know the drill.... Before I get a chance to return his phone calls my phone rings and the caller ID display lets me know that he’s beat me to it.. so I hear a ‘thank you Your Honor’ from each one of them as they gather their paperwork up and step back away from the counsel tables.” 52 . I’m not in jail. I need a lawsuit filed tomorrow. take a quick look inside to familiarize herself with it.. and each one sounds more urgent than the other. All she has to do is put the next file on top.Gene Grossman These are the two standard indications that I’m through with this case and that neither of the attorneys should try to present further argument. making room for the next set of contestants. and get ready to proceed...... Myra’s deputy doesn’t have much moving around to do because she’ll be handling all the matters on today’s calendar.. Are you in jail now?” “No Pete.. I know it’s important..
. there’s no statute involved. It’s a negligence case... and there are some files that have to be read before returning to court tomorrow... I’m sorry pal.. something just came up. or you’ll have to get another lawyer to do it. there’s no way we can work that fast.Gene Grossman “Why? Are we up against a statute?” “No.” I hear the pitter-patter of huge paws and turn around to see that the dynamic duo has emerged from their foreward stateroom.. you know I’m not a poor man. but our plate is really quite full this week.The RELUCTANT JURIST..” I look at her.. 53 .. Suzi is nodding her head up and down..” “Stuart.” “Peter. and I’d like Suzi to prepare it tonight so that she can drop it off at the filing room tomorrow morning when you guys go back to work. and it can be a very simple one.. This matter of yours will either have to wait another couple of days... “Hold on a second Stu. it’s just that I have to file a lawsuit immediately. We haven’t even had dinner yet. I’m willing to pay an extra big bonus to get this suit filed tomorrow...
.... but he’s a little sketchy on the details. While we’re eating Stuart explains what this urgent lawsuit is about. He’s so happy we’re taking his case that he offers to stop by Jerry’s Deli on his way to pick up dinner for us.. so you don’t have to 54 . she tosses an exit line at me.” I’m sure she probably knows more about this then she’s letting on.The RELUCTANT JURIST.. so I tell Stuart to come to the boat. “Pete. “Take his case. so the first order of business is to sit down and have dinner...” As she does her customary about-face and starts her return march to the foreward stateroom. this is going to be a simple case.Gene Grossman “What? Can’t you see I’m on the phone with Stuart? He’s got some urgent problem... This will please Bernie because he loves their onion hash browns.... When Stuart steps aboard. the table has already been set.. but I know it has bowtie pasta and some barley-type of stuff in it.. It’ll never see a courtroom. and the kid is crazy about some side order they offer that I can’t pronounce..
That dog’s owner should have either had him on a shorter leash or kept him locked up in the back room... I’m okay now. so I thought that dog was gonna kill me right there.” “Yeah..” “Stuart. I’ve talked it over with the guy and he’s agreed to pay me an amount that we’re almost through agreeing about.. and it scared the hell out of me. the case has already been settled. I was walking past this guy’s store and his dog jumped out at me. do you really expect this case to be worth the time and money involved?” “Peter.. It looked like a Pit Bull. the way you’re eating.... but he requested that I file a lawsuit against him so that he can justify the fact that his 55 . and the fact that you have no injuries to speak of.. “Stuart.Gene Grossman worry about a trial. taking into account the extra charges for a rush job like this... I didn’t know that he was on a leash and couldn’t get to me... I’d say that you don’t look too distressed to me. All I need is your standard negligence suit for one cause of action – infliction of mental distress..The RELUCTANT JURIST.. but early this morning it was a different story..
removes a book. and sits down to read..” I let Stuart know that if we file the suit it will not be with our law firm’s name on it as attorneys of record... It’s a tax thing you guys have worked out.. I also would rather not be filing cases in the same courthouse where I’m sitting as a judge.Gene Grossman business will be paying the settlement amount. After he’s gone.. This way.. and after dinner Stuart writes out a check to the firm and leaves.. it there’s a problem with the settlement. He’s on his own with the tax people. Do you know the rules about that?” “I don’t care about the rules Pete.” “Oh I see. but it will be with his name appearing as if he’s representing himself. because it wouldn’t look kosher.com.. and I’m just doing what he asked.. That’s what he wants me to do before he pays any money out. Stuart and Suzi agree on some exorbitant fee for the rush job.The RELUCTANT JURIST. Suzi opens up a package she received from Amazon.. 56 ... We’ll prepare the suit... I’m not stuck representing him on this miserable case.. I don’t know if he can write off payment to settle a tort action..
The RELUCTANT JURIST. but they were in the usual form of loudly chewing gum. And this book is a historical documentary about Chicago... the city where you were born.. indicating that once again. I threatened to dismiss one Petition. Some minor disciplinary problems popped up. telling her that the calendar deputy was in the bathroom. I would make note of their attitudes and try to design some special 57 .Gene Grossman “Don’t you have a lawsuit to prepare? And what’s that book you’re reading?” She gives me an eye-roll.. “Oh don’t be silly.... I’ll file it tomorrow when we go back to work... so I held off for a few minutes and advised her to let the clerk know whenever she finds it necessary to be indisposed in the future.. I just don’t get it. It’s in the car. but Suzi let me know that Myra called..... expressions of contempt for my authority and other basic manifestations of poor parenting.. I had that lawsuit prepared before we left the court to come home tonight.” The first couple of days in Juvenile Court go pretty smoothly. refusing to sit up straight..
Gene Grossman term of their probation.. while I try to get my bow tie on straight. the newshound interviewed several public defenders and emailed her story in to the television station. gum chewers were put on trash-picking-up details. From what my clerk told me.. it looks like I finally made it onto the A-list.... and was invited to a black tie affair that’s being thrown to celebrate some older judge’s retirement. The graffiti artists were always assigned to graffiti-removal community service..... and drunk joy-riders were sent to work as assistant orderlies in an emergency room so that they could see that the result of drunk driving isn’t always fun. I hear a human yelp coming 58 ..The RELUCTANT JURIST... As a judge. It’s now a little after six PM and the dynamic duo is busy polishing off the remainders of my special pasta dish from our dinner last night... It didn’t take too long for my creative sentencing methods to attract attention because a reporter who was in the building to cover some celebrity’s divorce filing overheard one of the attorneys who appeared before me talking about it.. meant to hopefully get them to realize the errors of their ways..
... unless it’s because she gloms a part of my court money just for being there... the kid comes running out and turns on our big plasma TV set proudly proclaiming “we’re on the Court TV news!” I don’t know how she got a ‘we’ out of it. here’s an interesting item. Los Angeles Juvenile Court Judge Pro Tem Peter Sharp has been turning heads downtown with some of his creative sentencing requirements.. I’m surprised that doing such basically correct things garners so much attention.. but I’m still too busy with this damned bow tie to bother with the news.. “And now... The local newscaster is droning on.... I look down and notice that the kid is standing next to me. I hoist her up so she can sit on the kitchen counter and she straightens my tie.” The blow-dried newsreader goes on to mention some of my added-on provisions and the general consensus between the onair airheads is that this is a welcome breath of fresh air being brought into a musty old juvenile court system.. It’s surrender time.The RELUCTANT JURIST..Gene Grossman from the foreward stateroom and next thing I know.. Stuart will be here for another tutoring session on his law studies. so he’ll watch the kid until 59 .
. each with an overly made up Miss Piggy on his arm. I may not look like agent 007. gives me one of those “thank you. just to see how justified he may have been with that wisecrack comment... Inside the main room it looks like a Muppet convention. he accepts my car keys and with a phony British accent.... and I failed to convince her that it wasn’t a conspiracy between Stuart and I to arrange for babysitting services..... but I get a kick out of his sarcastic comparison and sneak a peek at my reflection in the car windows as he drives away..The RELUCTANT JURIST. She was a little put out when Stuart decided he just happened to need some tutoring on the same evening that I was going to the judges’ dinner. When the car parking guy sees me step out of this huge Hummer in my tux. but I sure feel like a spy tonight. No one likes a smart ass..Gene Grossman I get home... This evening’s affair is being held at a defunct restaurant in Santa Monica that was converted into a special-events banquet hall. with a gaggle of cigar smoking.. I see a woman making her way toward me… it’s 60 . loud-talking caricatures of old judges wearing tuxedos. Mister Bawnd” remarks. over-stuffed..
.Gene Grossman Presiding Judge Morgan Russell. because I’m still sober and now suffering through what I hope is the last of too many testimonials for old judge what’s-his-name. The rubber chicken tasted as expected and I’m now looking at my wristwatch about two or three time each minute. loosen up. trying to develop an exit strategy so I can get back to the boat to see if the dynamic duo left any macaroni for me.The RELUCTANT JURIST..... looking like the complete opposite of every woman here. having probably finished at least three drinks.. and is now grabbing my arm.... so you’re stuck with me. She’s out cold. I envy her state of obliviousness. We’re the only two single people here tonight.. She’s trim.. This is beginning to look embarrassing because all the other guests are starting to leave and I’m stuck sitting here with sleeping beauty... One of the security guys comes over to us and I recognize him as a 61 . I feel something on my shoulder.. It’s Judge Russell’s head. sticking out of her strapless gown. “Oh Peter..” She’s obviously feeling no pain..
My next chore is to unstrap her seatbelt and try to get her 62 .... Hah! Court TV thinks they really know what goes on behind the scenes of our judicial system..Gene Grossman bailiff I’ve seen occasionally in court... so it looks like it’s up to you to get her home. Looking in the rear view mirror I have to admit that she looks pretty good. grateful for the fact that my rear passenger windows are darkly tinted. It’s a really nice twostory design up on a hill overlooking the Santa Monica Airport on one side.... Two of his co-workers help strap my passenger into the rear seat of my Hummer and I drive down Santa Monica Boulevard. and Los Angeles Airport off in the distance on the other side. I force myself to avoid sneaking peeks back there and noticing how she seems to be sliding more and more out of the top of that strapless gown... It only took about twenty minutes for us to arrive at her home. Presiding Judge Russell gave her bailiff the rest of the evening off... He left this for you. so I pull in next to her Corvette.The RELUCTANT JURIST.” He hands me a note with Judge Russell’s name and home address written on it. “Your Honor.... Her garage door is open.
. I continue to allow the situation to escalate… and it does.. but her gyrations have caused a type of car motion that has just set off the car’s burglar alarm. Before long she’s riding me like a professional jockey.Gene Grossman inside the house... If that isn’t enough to attract the neighbors’ attention.... I’m afraid this might go a little farther than what is considered proper... but being the dog that I am. the loud sound is bouncing and echoing very loudly.. she seems to have come back to life a little and starts to let me know how grateful she is for the ride home. the alarm also automatically activates the vehicle’s emergency flashing lights. As I sit down next to her in the rear seat.The RELUCTANT JURIST.. so I remove it and try it in the side door that opens into her kitchen… it works.... She appears to be prepared for evenings like this because I notice that there’s a key attached to her bracelet. One thing leads to another and before I know it we’re bidding each other adieu the way people on first dates have been doing it since time began… with a goodnight kiss that seems to be lasting more than I ever expected it would. and being inside a garage.. so unless both 63 .. My Hummer is a sturdy vehicle.
. I carry her inside and deposit her on the living room couch. 64 .... The only thing worse would be Myra finding out about it. After managing to extricate myself from under the dead weight..Gene Grossman the judge and the alarm are turned off quickly.The RELUCTANT JURIST. because with a series of brief squeals.... The last part of this evening may have been enjoyable. This requires an extraordinary amount of my squirming around trying to reach the pocket and just as I succeed with my back seat contortionist routine and manage to shut off the alarm... she’s once again slipped into unconsciousness. There’s no way we’ll be able to get up those stairs to where the bedroom probably is... I’m afraid the local gendarmes will be here in no time at all.. I realize that she must have appreciated the motion... No one can deny she’s a judicial activist. so I cover her with a small blanket and tiptoe back to the garage and let my Hummer coast back down the driveway. not starting the engine until it reaches the street. and I’ll have to retrieve them in order to disable the alarm. but I’m afraid that I’ve probably torpedoed my judicial career. My main problem is that the car keys are in my pants pocket..
The party’s over. I’ve also been thrown out of my own house… well. No one here knows it.Gene Grossman Back at the boat I see that it must have been an exciting tutoring session because all three of them are asleep on the couch.. I can live with this.. I’ll surely learn the answer to that tomorrow morning after turning in the resignation that I know will be requested. This is my last day as a judge. actually.The RELUCTANT JURIST... but I’m actually throwing myself a little retirement party... which is okay with me. because I’d also like to avoid any awkward confrontation. My computer screen has a message that the kid sent from chambers.. Okay... I 65 . I’ve been fired from jobs before. so I’ll cut everyone some slack. wondering if my short stint on the bench will qualify me for unemployment compensation. making things a little happier in this courtroom today. turn off the television set and head for my stateroom. it was her house. She’ll probably just have her bailiff tell me that it’s over... I cover the kid up..... ‘THE PRESIDING JUDGE WANTS TO SEE YOU… NOW!’ As I pass by my chambers I see that the kid is giving me one of those ‘what have you done now?’ looks..
.... Your Honor. I want you to know that I watched that Court TV newscast last night. Did I really say that? “Good morning Mister Sharp. She skipped from the evening Court TV newscast right to this morning. 66 . without even mentioning last night’s banquet. “Good morning.Gene Grossman walk down the private hallway realizing that this is probably the last time I’ll have the privilege of using anything private like this again. I’ll just play dumb and let her do all the work. but it wasn’t news to me at all. I think I’ll try to get out of here while the getting’s good. because I’ve been closely following your in-court recommendations. that was stupid.The RELUCTANT JURIST. what can I do for you today?” Oh.” I can’t believe it. “Thank you Your Honor.. Will that be all?” She looks a little tired. I knock on Judge Russell’s door and she invites me in.. and I think you’re doing a fine job... I wonder why... Was I that bad? If she doesn’t have anything else to say...... God..
.. Mister Sharp… were you there too?” 67 .. I had a late evening last night..Gene Grossman “Please excuse me Mister Sharp.. One of the judges retired....” “Yes I know.The RELUCTANT JURIST.....” She looks up at me and asks a question that confirms my suspicions about her being from another planet. I received an invitation too.. “Oh....
I’m going to ask you to do me a favor... I’d appreciate it very much if you would step in for him. and he was scheduled to hear opening statements on a trial in his courtroom in the next few days.... There’s also a possibility that she’s discreetly telling me ‘last night never happened.. Another one of our judges called in sick... My kind of girl. On one hand. She waves toward the chair and I obediently sit down..The RELUCTANT JURIST. my judicial position may still be secure today.. I’ve been completely forgotten about from last night.’ but I don’t think she’s clever enough for that plan. Realizing last night never happened... “Peter..Gene Grossman 5 y feelings are now conflicted. so I’ll give her the benefit of my doubt and credit her with just being a horny drunk with a bad memory. there must be some other reason she called me in here... but on the other hand.” “What about the juvenile court?” M 68 ..
the State Bar will order a copy of the trial transcript and use it in their disciplinary action to lift the lawyer’s license. but this one here is before a jury and I need someone with your trial experience to preside over it.. It’s a civil suit for legal malpractice against an attorney who allegedly misappropriated trust account funds. so I have confidence in your ability to render an unbiased opinion and see to it that the trial proceeds fairly. The defendant attorney is 69 ...The RELUCTANT JURIST.. because if this plaintiff is successful in her suit. “I also am aware of your past problems with the Bar. “This will probably make it easier for the State Bar.. and that they’ve been resolved quite satisfactorily.Gene Grossman “I can get any one of a number of other lawyers to fill in for you there....” “It isn’t a criminal case is it........ Your Honor?” “No. “How about it? Will you come aboard for this one?” She tosses the file across her desk and I take a look at it. The client decided to file a suit for damages instead of complaining to the State Bar..
. and let’s just say there was some animosity between us.The RELUCTANT JURIST.. uh.. Judge Russell sees the look on my face.. it would make your head spin. I could probably find it in my professional heart to do a fair job as judge on his case. your office would receive a Motion to remove me so fast.. Without going into any detail... “I.. but I’ve got to say something. “What’s the matter Mister Sharp? Do you see some conflict here that might prevent you from acting impartially in this matter?” I can’t say anything to her about suspicions that he was involved in a kidnapping plot against Suzi.. should he lose in my court. but there’s no way he’d ever allow me to preside.... If I get assigned to preside over this case and my feelings come out later.” That’s it.. and for once in my life 70 . it will give that slimeball Arthur the perfect ground for appeal. I’m through here. I managed to say the exactly perfect things to her. I opposed him in a civil case not too long ago. Once he found out I was assigned. I knew it would just be a matter of time before our paths crossed again..Gene Grossman none other than former law professor Morris Arthur...
in view of your straightforwardness and their expression of trust in your ability to act fairly.. The trial will go on as scheduled... Due to the fact that the trial will probably last at least a week.. they decided to hold off starting it 71 .... they have informed this office in writing that they would file an advance waiver against any subsequent claims of your being prejudiced against them. “So. In fact.. Of course they still have the their right to appeal for judicial errors you might make during the trial... And to make things even easier for you. so we allowed the possibility of your being assigned to leak out through unofficial channels. but your impartiality would not be questioned.. I’m hereby appointing you to preside over the Morris Arthur matter.The RELUCTANT JURIST.. as a ground for appeal... Now I can go back to Juvenile Court and help some more brats. the jury has already been selected. and I’m pleased to inform you that neither Mister Arthur nor his counsel expressed any hesitation..Gene Grossman I don’t regret saying something.. The judge finished that job before he got sick. “I appreciate your being honest with me Mister Sharp. and we are all aware of your past brief history with attorney Morris Arthur.
Before I can get a chance to offer her a way out.. she cuts me off at the knees.. but please make sure she does some studying while she’s in there.” Hmmm. but the kid is a different story.. I was so close to getting away this time. I’m also sure that Morris Arthur knows that. so it’s okay with me if she wants to sit in your chambers all day. The only upside here is that if he loses...... That was too easy...The RELUCTANT JURIST. 72 .. I’ll demand that Suzi is part of my team. I’ll have a front row seat. I hope she can handle herself accordingly. I’d better clear Suzi’s presence with the judge.. because she’ll be my chambers backup person on this trial too. I’m also aware of the fact that you bring your pre-teen legal ward to court with you each day. I understand that she’s home schooled..” Damn. Why on earth would he ever agree to let me be the judge on his case? This guy is diabolical.Gene Grossman until some of the jurors had a chance to finish up some pressing matters. Maybe that can be a deal-breaker and she’ll rethink her decision to appoint me. here and now. I’m used to getting stuck on crummy cases with clients that turn my stomach... I hope neither the kid nor Myra had anything to do with it.. “Peter.
.... but never imagined it would involve Morris Arthur.. but I think that the opportunity to assist me in a big jury trial takes precedence over any bad feelings she has for the defendant.Gene Grossman I’ve always thought about being a judge who presides over a high profile jury case. Suzi takes the news quite well. and one who can’t be counted on to act as maturely as Judge Russell.. I don’t know what her real thoughts are. Now I have another female to contend with.. No more lounge shows for us… we’re now the headline act.The RELUCTANT JURIST.... I think she feels like part of the judging team.. In some way. maybe she’ll go along with the program. As I walk down the hallway to my Juvenile Court chambers I try to think of some way to let the kid know we’re ‘movin’ on up. Today we work the big courtroom and preside over a jury trial.’ Being the little ham that she is.. She still harbors a tremendous dislike for Morris Arthur and I don’t blame her. The big day is here. Suzi must be in a good mood because she 73 . but I never do.. because we’ll be using the main courtroom. and this is the closest she’s ever come to actually running a trial....
. looking for a pattern.. You can tell him that if you want to... “If there has been a shortage of anything.... 74 .. and it’s got to stop somewhere. Stuart tells me he’s still working on investigating staged accidents for Uniman Insurance.. a kitten that Stuart bought to replace his former pet cat Priscilla.. “Has some worldwide oatmeal shortage that I haven’t heard of occurred since yesterday?” The dog refuses to dignify that question with an answer. it’s because everyone seems to be wanting to ‘supersize’ everything they eat. but in the event that he does want to speak to me. but he can also play with his new friend Clyde. the kid gives him a suggestion. Not only will he be well fed there.The RELUCTANT JURIST. who always liked to chase cars and finally caught one... I notice that my bowl is only half full...Gene Grossman prepared some breakfast for us. He knows that there’ll be no shortage of anything after we drop him off at Stuart’s warehouse for the day. and is now preparing a list of all the doctors and lawyers involved. so I ask the dog a question... Just as we’re about to leave the warehouse. I tell him to keep me informed.” The dog wisely decides to stay out of the argument.
...The RELUCTANT JURIST.. I’ve already instructed this courtroom’s staff about my routine for starting each session. I see that it’s a brand new judge’s robe.. and everyone including the parties involved have been informed of the possibility that next Tuesday might be a day off... it feels a little tight. This judge’s chambers is much bigger and more luxurious than the one in Juvenile Court and Suzi is already busy setting phone books on my desk chair.. so we’re riding upstairs in style in the same Otis that Myra uses to get to her office every day. I’m sure the kid will be planning for us to meet one day as we ‘coincidentally’ all use the elevator at the same time. I realize that the note came from someone who is an expert in knowing what not to wear under a robe. The kid points out that there was a note attached reminding me that it’s not necessary to wear my suit coat under the robe. plugging in her laptop and logging on....Gene Grossman I now have my own key to the private elevator reserved for judges and other important people. The bailiff tells me that Presiding Judge Russell left something for me in the closet. but when trying it on... I’m now 75 ....
. At five seconds to nine I open my private courtroom door and the bailiff announces that everyone should remain seated and come to order: court is now in session.. I’ve been in court too many times to count. what we will be proving to you today is how the Defendant willfully 76 ..The RELUCTANT JURIST..Gene Grossman looking up at the wall clock and preparing to leave for the courtroom at exactly ten seconds to nine AM.. so I look down at both of the parties and their lawyers... but it’s a lot different when you come in from this entrance and step up onto the bench instead of watching from down there at a counsel table.... “Thank you Your Honor.. The case file is on my desk. The jury is seated... acknowledge their presence with a nod. so all that now remains is for the trial to take place. and call the case... I motion to the plaintiff’s lawyer that he should start his case. He stands up and gives the usual greeting.. ladies and gentlemen of the jury. The lawyers each stand up and announce their representation for the record. looking in the right places at the right times.
... I don’t think I’ll have much to do in this trial because the jury probably hates 77 .. because he’s done. Morris Arthur’s lawyer stands up and gives her greeting to me and the jury. He’s not dressed too flashy. I look over to the defendant’s counsel table and nod at them.. She then starts one of the meanest spirited opening statements I’ve ever heard... When the plaintiff’s lawyer finishes up his thirty-minute opening.. and his opening statement seems to be laying out a pretty decent case against the defendant.. he’s obviously prepared his client to sit there displaying absolutely no emotion. because she’s a real piece of work..’ Too bad he’s not here today to watch this dame.. I think that if he actually proves up with everything he just promised. attorney Morris Arthur.Gene Grossman and with the intent to…” He goes on for a while.. I hope that Arthur’s lawyer is up to this task..The RELUCTANT JURIST. For some reason I can’t seem to pay attention to what she’s saying.. This is a good lawyer. you might as well stick a fork in Morris Arthur.. All I seem to be doing is concentrating on her mean expression and hearing Rush Limbaugh’s voice as he describes some females as ‘feminazis..
. but at the same time you should try to not antagonize the jury so that they desperately start to look for reasons to vote against your client. I’ve heard the old saying about an offense being the best defense. It’s one thing to hear Juvenile matters that only take an hour or so at a time... I don’t like this guy..... but this lawyer is giving a new definition to the word ‘offensive. You should do your job in a professional way and force the plaintiff’s lawyer to prove up every allegation of the lawsuit.’ Another thing I don’t appreciate is the way that defendant attorney Morris Arthur sits there and glares at me. and will find it very hard to vote to give her client the defense verdict he’s seeking.. After the first day of trial I’ve come to the conclusion that being a judge really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. this lawyer is handing the case over to the plaintiffs on a silver platter.. so all I am is a 78 ..... If this is the way the trial is going to keep going.The RELUCTANT JURIST. He looks evil.Gene Grossman her already.. but in an extended jury trial. all I do is sit here and make an occasional ruling about some objection one of the lawyers makes... The jury will make the final decision as to who wins.
In an effort to make sure I pay attention to the trial.. The kid has done a cruel thing. I’d rather be playing. she can 79 ...Gene Grossman glorified lawyer-sitter whose only job is to keep the class in order. I’m not going to miss this job at all when it ends.... Each evening we pick up Bernie at Stuart’s warehouse and then return to the boat.. using the court’s intercom system.. and that with the help of a program called PC Anywhere. Suzi is always happier when she’s with the dog. she has sabotaged my laptop computer by deleting the Solitaire program. From what he explains. but a trial isn’t one of the events that falls into that visually satisfying classification... and I’m always happier when I’m with dinner. where the Asian Boys have a nice dinner waiting for us... I guess you’re born to be either a player or a watcher.. I can’t wait to get back into the arena as a litigant. but he told me it’s no use trying to re-install Solitaire on my computer. and in the professional sport of Jury trials.. Suzi’s computer in chambers is networked to mine on the bench. our dock’s techie.. I spoke to Don Paige. I feel like I’ve lost a close friend. I enjoy watching certain competitions..The RELUCTANT JURIST. like those long ski jumps and sky diving.
even for her. Losing my Solitaire program wasn’t enough.Gene Grossman control my laptop from hers.. It took me less than an hour.The RELUCTANT JURIST. so taking the driving time and materials into consideration. if you don’t mind.... but it’s Judge Peter.” 80 . The phone is ringing. what can I do for you tonight. She hired me to visit the courtroom before your trial started.. She did it to me again.. “Good evening beautiful. other than fix your speeding ticket?” “Very funny Peter…” “Excuse me... I knew she was handy. that was easy.. I only billed your law firm for two hundred dollars...” Wonderful. “Don. and I set the whole thing up for her. but this feat sounds a little over the edge. It’s Myra.... she’s pretty good with computers. She made me pay for it too... but how did she ever learn about the court’s wiring system and the networking stuff?” “Oh.
.. Have arrangements been made to hold off on the trial for party day?” “Not to worry. how about Judge Pinhead? That would be a nice compromise.The RELUCTANT JURIST.. I’ve also got Olive working on some of the details because she’s got a little more time to spare. me. The way this broad is conducting her defense. can’t you be serious for just one minute? Suzi’s surprise birthday party is next Tuesday at the restaurant.. and the dog.” “Okay.” 81 . and don’t get smart with me because I’ve been working my ass off trying to get the party arranged and I’m not in the mood for any of your crap. All the invitations have been sent out and it looks like we’re just right about at the Fire Department’s allowable seating limit of a hundred and twenty. including you. you pinhead. I’ve made arrangements to get off for the day.. so please cut me some slack. and I know you want it to be a nice one........ And if for any reason the trial is still in progress. she’ll be lucky if the jury doesn’t offer an early verdict before they’re even sent out to deliberate.Gene Grossman “I do mind..” “Oh Peter....
The RELUCTANT JURIST.. She would call for a one-day break in the Morris Arthur trial so that my courtroom could be used to handle a backlog of criminal arraignments – and she would be 82 ..... which makes this party a truly momentous event. The most surprising thing about it all is that my stingy multimillionaire ex-wife has actually agreed to pitch in half of the party’s cost.. I’ve never seen her offer to spend money before. all involved in one way or the other with law enforcement..Gene Grossman Other than Michele Chang and her daughter Lotus. My main responsibility is to make sure that Suzi appears at the restaurant around one that afternoon... On the day of her surprise party there will be a lot of them at the Chinese restaurant to wish her happy birthday. I’m sure she’ll act surprised enough to convince everyone at the party that we pulled it off. Suzi doesn’t have a lot of friends. it’s hard to tell... but with that poker face of hers.. Getting the day off wasn’t too hard. I have a funny feeling that she’ll probably know about it by then.. but she does have a lot of fans. I met with Judge Russell and when she heard that it was for Suzi’s party. Either way... we made a deal..
then things just might fall into place. but if I give her a load of computer work that must be done that morning. and I’ve got a plan for that too.. She usually gets to the restaurant every afternoon around noontime. I can concentrate on trying to keep awake during Morris Arthur’s trial..Gene Grossman invited to the party. and Myra calls to invite her to lunch at one PM. My main incentive to remain conscious is his constant glaring at me. The phony beer plan should work because the restaurant knows that most of the people there will be cops. so they gave their bartender the afternoon off...... I let Myra in on that part of the plan and she agrees to make the phone call. I agreed to the bargain and then proceeded to show Judge Russell’s picture to every employee at the restaurant. I know that if he 83 . No cop would knowingly drink hard booze while on duty... especially with all the brass present. With the party details now off of my mind...The RELUCTANT JURIST... Now all I have to do is some kid wrangling... warning them that the judge has a severe allergy to alcohol and might drop dead on the spot if any serving person there makes the mistake of giving her anything but water or non-alcoholic beer..
His files usually contained hundreds of open personal injury cases... complete with a pre-dated postmark on the envelope that the lawsuit was supposed to have been mailed to the court in... On one particular case he made a calendar error and failed to file a lawsuit within the one-year time limit. While looking at Morris Arthur I can’t help but recall that no matter how smart the crooked lawyers try to be. he ‘blew the statute. he concocted a way to beat the statute.The RELUCTANT JURIST. The clerk’s part of the plan required him to toss the envelope containing the lawsuit under a desk somewhere in the filing room 84 .... I remember some years back when there was a hotshot lawyer who had more cappers on the street than he could count... His plan included the bribing of a clerk in the court’s filing room to help. which required the preparation and back-dating of a lawsuit. they always seem to make some stupid mistake that ultimately does them in..Gene Grossman spots me dozing off it will give him grounds to appeal what’s starting to look more and more like a loss in this trial..’ Not wanting to be subjected to a huge lawsuit for legal malpractice.... In legal parlance...
except for one tiny little detail... When it was finally ‘found’ under the desk by some janitor..... calling to give me an update on his investigation. the suit was accepted for filing. The insurance 85 .. Some times it just doesn’t pay to be on the cutting edge... the clerk’s office believed that the lawsuit was really filed before the statute ran. Every once in while the courts update their forms and replace an old one with a new version. So far the plan was working perfectly... and because it was their error in temporarily misplacing it. the filing room clerk retired early and the lawyer took an involuntary five-year vacation from the practice of law. Back at the boat this evening I get a phone call from Stuart. the devious lawyer used one of the updated forms in his lawsuit – a new version of the form that only came into being after the one-year statute of his case had run out... The date of every updated revision appears in tiny print down at the bottom left of each form.Gene Grossman and then discover it several months later. Without realizing it.. Needless to say..The RELUCTANT JURIST..
The RELUCTANT JURIST.. 86 . the automobile insurance policies claimed against must be in effect no longer than three months.... First.. They don’t have the resources to dig deep into every one. they would want to concentrate on willing participants who reside within their neighborhoods. Taking my suggestion. he agrees that with a small group of doctors and lawyers involved.. Stuart and his team have narrowed their search down to only those questionable accidents that meet certain criteria.. they must take place within a certain area of the San Fernando Valley.. It’s more reasonable and attracts less attention when someone avails themselves of local help for legal and medical services... On the other hand..... but all they do is point out the suspicious ones that occur throughout the entire state..Gene Grossman company has their own people who look for fraudulent claims. It would look too suspicious if people traveled all the way across town to see their lawyers and doctors.. Second. This is because of the usual pattern of purchasing the insurance for the sole purpose of making a claim on a soon-to-happen accident.
The RELUCTANT JURIST. Cash is the favored exchange medium for cappers and participating doctors. and if a lawyer doesn’t also represent criminal clients. the lawyers’ trust account activities can be looked at to see if checks were issued against the deposited draft. with the State Bar’s assistance. it might indicate that the clients were ‘walked’ to the bank..... Then. or if each draft was merely cashed at the bank.. Once the lawyers who have cashed settlement drafts have been identified..Gene Grossman Third.. the walking of personal injury clients to the bank is the only way to get those green pieces of paper. This final requirement will narrow the field of investigation down and make it easier to zero in on a smaller group of suspects.... there should be some commonality of lawyers and doctors involved. the next step is to find out the banks that each of the settlement drafts went through... the doctors who treated those clients can be investigated to find out whether or not their 87 . After the circle of suspicion has been reduced... If it appears that they were negotiated at the tellers’ windows and not run through the trust account...
The three most frequent complaints that clients make against their lawyers is failure to return phone calls... then the doctors are now on the hook for ‘skimming....R. The more serious complaints involve mishandling of client funds. Morris Arthur’s jury trial is too.S.Gene Grossman bank accounts show deposits for payments of those patients’ medical bills. Stuart’s investigation isn’t the only thing that’s going ahead smoothly. and a popular feature in the back part of each issue is the list of attorneys who have been disciplined. and that is what Morris Arthur’s trial is about...The RELUCTANT JURIST. The proper procedure when settling a personal injury case is for the attorney to have the client endorse the settlement draft 88 .. investigators can be brought in.... It only took a couple of days for the plaintiff’s lawyer to put on his case...’ and Michelle Chang’s group of I. and refusal to refund retainer money after allegedly not performing the services they were hired to do.. refusal to release files to the newly retained attorney. If not. Each month the California State Bar sends out a publication to every member. and it looks quite typical...
. with all those hidden charges added on – charges never mentioned in any of the company’s advertisements.The RELUCTANT JURIST. and then the remainder in a check that goes to the client. The same thing happens in reverse when a personal injury case is settled.. When the settlement funds have cleared the bank.. When a final check for only two or three hundred dollars comes in. the legal fee. Most of us get them when we make a purchase.95 per month that actually winds up being a bill for over forty dollars each month..... A prime example of this is a cell phone bill... That’s where many problems occur. reimbursement for costs advanced. finding out that extra charges are being added.. The client is rarely happy with the final check received... the client is justifiably 89 . The company may offer a monthly plan for $29..Gene Grossman and then deposit it an attorney client trust account.. No one likes surprises. the attorney is then supposed to issue checks from the trust account to pay off any medical or other liens occasioned by the injury.. The client may sign off on a three thousand dollar settlement expecting to receive a final check for at least one thousand dollars after the doctor and lawyer have been paid..
expecting to wind up with somewhere in the neighborhood of about three thousand dollars.The RELUCTANT JURIST. Unfortunately. but they also sign off on the complete disbursement list. In the case that Morris Arthur is involved in here. a specialist’s consultation fee of $500. court costs and filing fees of $385. he settled the plaintiff’s personal injury case for nine thousand dollars.. In my own practice. early on in the case.Gene Grossman upset... and miscellaneous charges of $280 for file copying. and exactly how much the client will be winding up with. attorney Arthur never showed the client a disbursement list that list included Arthur’s forty percent fee of $3.. There also was a $200 chargeback for an advance given to the client..200. The client agreed to the settlement amount.. I always make sure that not only does the client agree to the settlement amount. research and civil discovery costs. one doctor’s lien of $3.. who it will go to... showing exactly how much will be disbursed. 90 . and in most cases it’s because of the lawyer’s failure to properly explain all the deductions that will be made.... 600. a private investigator’s fee of $800.....
. it was quite understandable that the client would be unhappy opening up the mail one day to see that her final settlement check had arrived...... He can still refuse to testify to anything that might criminally incriminate him... Being an average hard-working citizen. so one can only imagine her disappointment in seeing that thirty-five dollar check. She was also refused similar information from the other doctor and the private investigator. Upon further investigation. she discovered that the treating doctor she was referred to is attorney Arthur’s cousin.... so the defendant can’t rely on his Fifth Amendment right for protection against being called to the witness stand..Gene Grossman Therefore. The alleged acts are not being treated as a criminal case..The RELUCTANT JURIST.. she had already made plans to spend over two thousand dollars of the settlement. It was for thirty-five dollars. but he must take the witness stand when asked to do so by the plaintiff. and that he would not disclose whether or not he allowed attorney Arthur to negotiate a discount of his medical fee... 91 .
When his bank records were subpoenaed. She also contends that Arthur was remiss in not presenting her in advance with a final disbursement schedule. because if that is true. When Arthur testifies... but blames that fact entirely on the insurance company in not settling for a higher. so he prepared his strategy well in advance of the trial.... He expresses some remorse that the client received such a small sum. He knew he would be called to the witness stand... both of the doctors and the investigator are called to the witness stand and they testify under oath that there were no reductions negotiated and no kickbacks given. and the additional time and costs would have meant that the client 92 ....The RELUCTANT JURIST. What the plaintiff is having trouble establishing is whether or not any discounts Arthur negotiated were given to him in the form of cash kickbacks...... they showed that every amount he claimed to disburse actually was paid out from his trust account.Gene Grossman Morris Arthur isn’t stupid. so he was safe there. those discounts should have been turned over the plaintiff.. His excuse for not bringing her accident case to trial was that he felt it had a maximum value of less than fifteen thousand. his story is the same. fairer amount. As I expected.
Gene Grossman would probably wind up with the same amount as was offered in the settlement. because quite often one of the court staff comes up to the bench to hand a judge some paperwork or a note of some sort.’ I wouldn’t be surprised if the State Bar has been calling Morris Arthur the Teflon lawyer... Some years back there was a crime boss back east who the feds never could get a good case against.. because it looks like he’s pretty slippery too. 93 ....... While one of the plaintiff’s witnesses is droning on I hear the private entrance door behind me open and out of the corner of my eye I see what I was hoping wouldn’t happen: the kid has entered the courtroom... there are two people in the courtroom who are extremely concerned about Suzi’s entrance: me and Morris Arthur. This ‘don’ of a criminal family was so successful in slipping out of every prosecution that he got the nickname of the ‘Teflon don. Ordinarily this would not be anything to worry about.. In this trial..... Smooth. It was inevitable. Things are going along too well during this trial.The RELUCTANT JURIST.
. daggers are being exchanged between her and Arthur.. so the name had not been added to their witness list prior to the trial.....The RELUCTANT JURIST. The rest of the people in the room have no idea what’s going on..... And her glare does not go unanswered. but for the few seconds Suzi is up here with me. and not because of anything I said to her... Plaintiff’s lawyer says this new witness can offer evidence to support their contention that 94 . because he responds in kind. but probably because she accomplished what she wanted.. at which time we discuss the propriety of allowing the plaintiff to call the previously undisclosed witness to the stand.. This is not a good situation. She and I both know that it would have been just as easy for her to send me this message by computer. so I mutter to her under my breath that she should ‘go back to her room.. After she leaves I look down at the note and see that it is to inform me the plaintiffs would like to call a new witness they just found out about. but she wanted to step up to the bench for the sole purpose of glaring down at Morris Arthur.Gene Grossman Suzi steps up to the bench and hands me a note.. I ask both counsel to approach the bench.’ She does leave.
.. Arthur’s attorney vigorously objects. The court’s permission to let this previously not listed person testify is conditioned upon the fact that the defendant’s attorney will have an opportunity to depose him prior to his taking the witness stand. so the new witness’ testimony is vital to their case...The RELUCTANT JURIST... When the trial continues the day after tomorrow. and the witness will take the stand. so that this courtroom can be used to help clear up numerous backlogged criminal arraignments.Gene Grossman kickbacks were given to attorney Arthur by one doctor and the investigator. on the day that the court will be taking a break from the trial.. That agreement having been made.. “As you have already been informed.. we will be taking a one-day break in this trial tomorrow. both counsel step back to their respective tables and I make the announcement. 95 ... “Let the record indicate that both counsel have stipulated to the appearance of a new witness for the plaintiff.. but a deal is finally made to allow her to have a crack at the new witness in advance of his testimony.. I will expect the defendant to have completed its discovery....
with the Court’s permission.. and makes her announcement. we are hereby putting the Defense on notice that the first witness we will be calling to the stand on Wednesday morning is a private investigator that will support our contention about kickbacks to the Defendant.Gene Grossman “Now. because it’s already late in the afternoon. “Your Honor..” There are some unhappy faces at the defendant’s counsel table.. and for the record.... The witness’ name is Stuart Schwarzman... I would suggest that we end today’s session. but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.....The RELUCTANT JURIST. The plaintiff’s lawyer follows my suggestion..” 96 .. I’d like to have the plaintiff state her new witness’ name and agree that he will be here promptly on Wednesday. without the need for a subpoena...
Her brief look at me tells me that if I know what’s good for me.. I’ll keep my nose out of this because she’s going to nail Arthur.....Gene Grossman 6 do a pretty good job of hiding my shock when hearing that Stuart is the plaintiff’s new witness. but I’m sure that she’s been keeping track of Stuart’s investigation and probably had him doing some extra-curricular snooping to try and get something on attorney Morris Arthur...... This time it’s because of the communicating we’re doing without talking. When I tell the kid about it. she doesn’t seem surprised.The RELUCTANT JURIST. and I should keep out of the way.. Not because of the lack of conversation. We have exchanged looks that say more than either one of us could express by speaking.. I’m not sure exactly what’s going on.. Our ride home today is interesting.. 98 I . because the kid and I aren’t exactly a chatty duo. but that’s normal for her.. My look tells her that I suspect she had something to do with Stuart being called as a witness for the plaintiff..
. but he still should have been given the option to attend.The RELUCTANT JURIST. that 99 . I’m now going to have to call Myra this evening and have her get in touch with Stuart.. The kid knows this too. “We have been informed by sources inside one of the courtrooms in this building. That’s good. so he probably won’t be able to make it anyway... because if there’s anyone I don’t want to have contact with between now and Wednesday morning.... Vinnie brings Bernie out to the car... The local newscaster turns the show over to a reporter who is standing on the steps outside of the courthouse.. The evening new gives me some indication of how vicious Arthur’s defense team can be. it’s Stuart.. making a statement about some allegedly newsworthy event. I know that the defense lawyers will be grilling him most of the day. I now have another chore....Gene Grossman When we get to Stuart’s warehouse.. letting him know that as much as it pains me.. because I’m also sure that she arranged for Stuart and I not to bump into each other this evening. it would be better if he doesn’t show up at Suzi’s party tomorrow.
and someone who she has not hesitated to arrest on several past occasions..The RELUCTANT JURIST. We are now waiting for the District Attorney of our county to come out of the building and explain whether or not she will be looking into filing charges against Judge Sharp...... while he sits on the bench supervising what Morris Arthur contends is a totally meritless lawsuit against him... who also happens to be her ex-husband. Scot. would you care to comment about the actions of Judge Sharp in forcing a minor to work for him?” I’ve never known Myra to ever avoid appearing on camera. has pressed his minor legal ward into what is alleged to be involuntary servitude..” Someone else on the boat is obviously watching the same newscast. I’d like to see how she 100 . so this time should be no different.Gene Grossman Judge Pro Tem Peter Sharp may be in possible violation of the State of California’s Labor Laws. Ms.. “Judge Pro Tem Peter Sharp.. because I hear giggling in the foreward stateroom. Here she comes now..... presiding over the jury trial of prominent attorney Morris Arthur. She is being forced to remain in his chambers all day long..
who she also despises. The child is happily acting as a volunteer intern and expanding her knowledge of law and the courts.. “Mister Sharp is her legal guardian.... The presiding judge of the Superior Court has sanctioned it and there is no employment situation taking place. “Our office is quite aware of that child’s presence in the court building.. and because my office is just a few floors above... this time it would require her to put Suzi’s legal status into question and also possibly bolster the public image of Morris Arthur...... well taken care of. because she’s in a tough spot. and doing her assigned homework. I have personally stopped in to visit the child several times each day to make sure that she is comfortable. She steps up to the microphone... don’t you think that having a minor child sitting alone in a room with people accused of felonies being escorted down the hallway might possible create a dangerous situation?” 101 .” “Miss Scot.Gene Grossman handles this. because she intends to pursue a career in law...The RELUCTANT JURIST. As much as she usually savors any opportunity to take a potshot at me.
So far.. That is.. At least she cares about one of us.. 102 . The trial is taking today off and the party is on. It’s Tuesday..Gene Grossman “Not at all. Every time I stop in to see her there are usually at least two or three uniformed police visiting with her while waiting to testify in various courtrooms.. Myra.” That’s the end of the interview and it’s interesting to hear that Myra’s been stopping by. so I would say that the room she’s in may be the safest one in the entire building.... everyone but Stuart.. and just about everyone who is in on the surprise. the restaurant.. I’ve been making cell phone calls all morning to Olive.. so there’s no way he can make it to the party even if he wanted to. I’ve given Suzi some information to enter into my laptop and Myra has called to let her know that one PM would be a good time to meet at the restaurant for lunch... Vinnie tells me that Stuart will be busy most of the day being interviewed by Morris Arthur’s legal team..The RELUCTANT JURIST. so good.. Vinnie..
.. The kid tells me that she’s meeting Myra for lunch at one this afternoon.. It receives a special type of signal from some atomic clock somewhere in Colorado and is never supposed to be more than a millionth of a second off. After admonishing her on the importance of getting that computer stuff done for me before she leaves for lunch.. but it’s her surprise birthday party. and have lost another valuable excuse for my bad habit of being late to appointments..The RELUCTANT JURIST.. because the office invested fifty-nine dollars to buy a radio-controlled digital clock for our boat’s navigation station.Gene Grossman I’ve looked at my wristwatch so many times in the past couple of hours that I may be developing carpal tunnel syndrome.... I set my phony quartz Rolex to that clock every morning.... so I’ve always got the right time.. I feel terrible lying to her like this. I tell her that I might stop in if I finish up with another little thing I have to do in Venice and promise to try and get there before Myra leaves the restaurant... but at least I know for a fact that it’s the correct time. so I rationalize the feeling away. I make some lame excuse and leave the boat before 103 .. and that I’m invited to join them if I want to.
. I’m also sure that against my advice.. She proudly wears it around her neck. A former client of ours had a terminal illness and before sailing his boat away from our dock left two presents behind: his huge Smith & Wesson .. It’s now approaching one PM and everyone is seated in their proper place here in the restaurant.Gene Grossman twelve noon.. there’s never been a complaint from any of the restaurant 104 .... but that’s not uncommon for today. and his badge for Suzi... She usually drives her electric cart down the alley and uses the restaurant’s rear entrance.50 caliber revolver for me. Over ninety percent of the seats are taken by uniformed police officers from all the local agencies. but just to play safe...The RELUCTANT JURIST. I park my yellow Hummer around the corner of the restaurant and walk back. the kid will be wearing her most prized possession: a Los Angeles Police Sergeant’s badge.. and I want to try and keep her in the dark about the party as long possible... It’s too big a target for her to miss... because the monthly inter-agency law enforcement luncheon that’s held here regularly has just concluded. and notwithstanding the fact that it’s against the law to do so.
There’s now less than a minute to go... so she won’t see the sign and ruin the surprise.. Suzi always uses the alley entrance because that’s where she parks her electric cart.The RELUCTANT JURIST. and has locked the front door and hung a sign out there advising that the place has been closed for the rest of the afternoon for a private party. we also hear the screech of tires out in the alley and the sound of a car speeding away. and According to our plan. At that same exact instant.... who all knew respected the guy she got it from. so I signal everyone to quiet down.. and the kitchen crew has made sure that the back door is ajar... At exactly one PM we see a ray of sunshine coming through the back door of the restaurant and realize that this is it… the kid is now in the building... so her entrance at one PM should be right on time.Gene Grossman customers here.... the restaurant manager waited until five minutes to one.. We all know that one of the kid’s habits is punctuality. 105 . My extremely accurate watch now shows about ten seconds to go.. because the dog usually pushes it open and rushes in before Suzi does.
...... I’m forced back inside.. I never saw anything like this before in my life. One of the cops notices that the dog has Suzi’s badge in his mouth..The RELUCTANT JURIST. One of the cops tells me that I can’t go near the empty electric cart because they’re taping it off as a crime scene. like he wants me to follow him. It’s like every cop in the place is psychic and senses something is wrong.. Suzi’s Saint Bernard runs out from the kitchen and races over to me.. When I finally get outside the rear exit... Suzi is gone. In just a few seconds the place empties out. and running around in circles..Gene Grossman To our surprise.. whining. 106 . with Myra and I following the crowd. because they all start running out to the alley...
it’s a paramedics’ ambulance. and we hear the siren of another ambulance approaching. They want me to recreate the past half hour in detail.. 108 O .. Surprisingly. there are over a hundred of them. and I’m now at a rear table in the restaurant being questioned by Snell and several detectives. it stops at the end of the alley where there has been a serious automobile accident....Gene Grossman 7 ne thing you’ll never hear me complain about again is the fact that there’s never a cop around when you need one. and from the sound of the approaching sirens... At this point. This time. and it doesn’t come near the restaurant. FBI Special Agent Robert Snell from the Bureau’s West Los Angeles office is here as a party guest.The RELUCTANT JURIST.. the emergency vehicle siren we all heard is not the cavalry coming.... Instead.. It looks like there were some injuries because some of the cops have trotted over there. more are on the way... the series of events taking place are completely out of my control...
and Special Agent Snell has mobilized the FBI ransom and hostage negotiating squads and arranged to set up a command post connected to our boat.... Several police officers have just asked for my assistance. In less than an hour the California Highway Patrol has issued an amber alert. The empty electric cart was secured as a crime scene.. Because of so many police broadcasts. but the dog jumped up onto the front seat and they can’t get him off the cart. I go out to the alley and see him sitting there.Gene Grossman Several upper-level cops in attendance are using their cell phones and squad car radios. broadcasting Suzi’s description. the LAPD has filed an official missing persons report.. they’d better leave him be...... Mister Uniman has announced that his insurance company will pay one hundred thousand dollars for information leading to Suzi’s safe 109 .. He looks up at me and I can tell by the expression on his face that he intends to sit there and wait for Suzi to return. so I tell the cops that it’s no use… if he wants to wait there for her.The RELUCTANT JURIST. the press has also picked up the news and some rewards are now being offered......
.... and any information that Stuart has must reach me in only one way… from the witness stand. Stuart was being interviewed all day by Morris Arthur’s legal team and as soon as it was over he came right to the boat.. I’m the judge on Arthur’s case. so we’re outside on the aft deck. I don’t know what idiots pulled this kidnapping off. but I have to tell him that he can’t..Gene Grossman return. Snell’s guys have the entire main saloon all wired with listening and recording devices attached to the phones... As he leaves the boat he lets me know that he’s 110 .... And as much as it hurts me to do it. because it’s not proper for me as the judge to be speaking to a witness without legal counsel from both sides present.. so he realizes how difficult it is for me to tell him this. Stuart has been studying law for the better part of a year now..The RELUCTANT JURIST. I have to tell Stuart to leave the boat. but they’d better hope that the authorities get to them before I do. and as soon as Stuart found out about it... and also knows that I’m right in doing so. Stuart can’t wait to tell me about the afternoon.. he put up a ten thousand dollar grant offer to any house of religion or hospital that receives her safely and notifies the authorities to come and pick her up.
It’s Judge Morgan Russell.. and while this trial doesn’t exactly do that. it’s the only choice I have. I’ve been thinking about that very same thing for the past couple of hours and have come to the conclusion that I would go completely nuts sitting here on the boat waiting for the phone to ring.... One of the police officers drove Suzi’s electric cart back to the Marina when the crime scene unit finished their job. I thank him...Gene Grossman setting aside every other case that he’s currently working on and devoting full time to finding Suzi. and the dog is 111 ..... so I tell Judge Russell that I’ll be in court tomorrow on time. The dog has not returned to the boat.. and that the trial will go on as scheduled.The RELUCTANT JURIST. I need something to occupy my brain.. She heard about what happened and wants to let me know that she’ll understand if I ask to be relieved from this jury trial... She’s prepared to call in both plaintiff and defense legal teams and get their agreement to let another judge come in to finish presiding over the trial. The phone rings.. but tell him that we’ve already got enough people on it and that he should finish up his assignment for Uniman Insurance..
. and I’m making my usual grand entrance into the courtroom.. I’m bringing that Smith & Wesson to court with me and using its eight-inch barrel to take his temperature.. I have to believe that Morris Arthur wasn’t involved. because there’s a steady stream of neighbors constantly around him. and I’m supposed to be impartial.. so he couldn’t possibly have been personally involved... no one else knew about the party. I’m the judge here.. Sad as it might seem.. and I feel that an announcement is in order.. and other than Myra and about a hundred cops.. he’ll have no problem getting food and water. The clerk brings my thoughts back to the courtroom by informing me that the plaintiff’s witness is waiting out in the hall. 112 . From the way it looks from here..The RELUCTANT JURIST. That’s Stuart she’s talking about.. It’s now nine AM Wednesday morning.... I don’t like being a judge.. I also have to stop thinking about him like this. I look down at Morris Arthur and an evil thought enters my mind: if he had anything to do with grabbing Suzi. I know he was with Stuart all afternoon.Gene Grossman still on it. This is hard.
your Honor.. The plaintiff’s lawyer stands up and calls her witness. before our previous session ended... client and business associate of mine for many years now.The RELUCTANT JURIST. counsel.. But Morris Arthur still spends too much time glaring at me.... I will take the motion under submission and consult with the Judiciary Council as to a proper response. I would like to fully disclose that I am familiar with this witness. Any comments?” To my surprise.Gene Grossman “Ladies and gentlemen... I have not discussed this matter with him outside of the courtroom. Plaintiff calls Mister Stuart Schwarzman to the witness stand. “If the court pleases.. “Furthermore. but I want to assure this court that I was caught completely by surprise the other day when hearing that he would be a witness.. He has been a friend.” 113 .. If the defense wishes to make a motion to have me removed from this trial now. both parties inform me that they were aware of my connection with Stuart and have no objection to my staying on the case... the Plaintiff called a witness who will be on the stand testifying shortly...
he was able to learn that Morris Arthur entered each bank with another person....The RELUCTANT JURIST... The men then walked away in different directions. this is his first time as a witness..Gene Grossman The bailiff sticks his head out into the hall and tells Stuart that he should come in.. but to the best of my knowledge. He goes on to tell about his examination of security videos from several banks. where the other man would hand some money to the Defendant... and noticing footage that showed attorney Morris Arthur in at least two of the banks.. where they both signed what appeared to be the back of a yellow check.. out of camera view. This should be interesting. After getting the cash. There is no 114 . They stopped at a table in the center of the bank. Morris Arthur and the other man then would go to a teller’s window and cash the check.. and I’m curious to see how he handles himself under crossexamination. After viewing videotapes from other cameras in those banks... the two men walked away from the teller and outside to the bank’s parking lot... Stuart and I have talked about legal cases for years and he’s a licensed private investigator.
. things never wind up being like they seem.. his investigator. Nothing. I’ve instructed one of the bailiffs to call the boat every hour and check in with Snell’s man to see if any call came in about Suzi.. but there’s one huge question that’s bugging me.Gene Grossman sound on these videotapes.. and one that I may never get the answer to: how did the plaintiff’s attorneys learn about Stuart? If there’s one thing that really bothers cops and lawyers.. Morris Arthur’s lawyer doesn’t have any piercing questions on crossexamination... it’s the appearance of a strange coincidence.The RELUCTANT JURIST. and probably supports the suspicions of everyone in the room that Arthur got some kickbacks. This is all very interesting.. so he had no way of knowing what the subjects were discussing..... and one of the doctors. so Stuart is excused from the witness stand.... because after thorough investigation.. Myra is constantly on the back of every police agency in her jurisdiction. Stuart is also asked if he can identify anyone in court who was in the videos and he points out Morris Arthur. Surprisingly. 115 .
.. I’ll have enough to spend the rest of my life on a beach somewhere and never go near another court again... a law license. I’m outa here. I have to say something that’s on my mind. and whatever assets our law firm still has... “If anything serious happens to that kid.Gene Grossman Plenty of tips have been called in to the hotline that was set up.The RELUCTANT JURIST. I’m tired of losing. my Hummer... A plate of cold cuts is on the table. I plan to spend my entire lunch hour alone in chambers contemplating what to do next. “With the sale of our new boat.. I’ve already lost a wife. I’m tired of this judicial system. an employer.” 116 ..” This cryptic statement surprises Myra.. a system that’s been the cause of every loss I’ve suffered in the past couple of years.. I’m tired of this crappy routine. so we silently share some food.. and we now know the exact location of every young Asian girl in Los Angeles.. and upon entering the room I am pleasantly surprised to see Myra sitting on the couch.. “What do you mean by that?” “Just what it sounds like. and now I’m in danger of losing my partner.. except for the one we’re looking for.
.. I see that there’s a brief note inside. Her voice sounds as low as I feel.... In less than five minutes Myra comes walking in. call Myra’s office and tell her assistant to find the boss because Judge Sharp wants her in his chambers immediately. so I have no idea what her reaction is to my statement.. up on the bench...” I’m now back in the empty courtroom and sitting... 117 .. It’s a small business-card size pink envelope. but after a few minutes it catches my eye as something that looks out of place. “What is it? Did you get a phone call? Is there anything new?” “Sit down and shut up.. Are there any pockets in that skirt of yours?” “What are you talking about?” “I asked you a question. Do you have any pockets on your skirt or blouse?” She feels around for a second. At first I don’t notice it.Gene Grossman I’m not looking at her. I hear her get up to leave. Opening it up....The RELUCTANT JURIST. Myra.. “Let me know what beach you’ll be on. I go back into chambers.
then you can just give me the dollar back and leave.” I can sense the gears spinning around in her head.The RELUCTANT JURIST. She’d be totally justified in handing me back the dollar and telling me that she’s a public official and can’t accept private clients.. she takes the dollar. What’s happening?” Good.. “I went out to the empty courtroom during lunch time and sat at the bench for a 118 .. and anything I say to you now is completely confidential. Without thinking.. curiosity will get the best of her and she’ll go along with the program.” I take a single dollar out of my pocket and hand it to her. As of this minute. on my blouse. I think I’m right this time.. she puts the dollar in there.. whatever you tell me is completely confidential.... If you don’t agree to that.. there’s a pocket here.. but if I’m right. she went for it.. and seeing me point at her blouse pocket.. you’ve just been retained. “Okay... “What’s going on Peter?” “Myra..Gene Grossman “Yes. you’re my lawyer.
” I open my desk drawer and remove two clear plastic evidence bags I borrowed from the bailiff’s desk. then as judge..O. because no one else would make a reference to ‘N.V. Her eyes almost pop out of her head when she reads the note. I noticed something that looked out of place.O.. and the other has the note that was inside.’ It is an abbreviation for the Latin term that when translated means ‘a judgment notwithstanding the jury verdict.Gene Grossman couple of minutes. One of them contains the envelope. 119 .... I hand them both to Myra.V..’ This is a ransom demand that attempts to force a final judgment in favor of attorney Morris Arthur.. We both realize the same thing .. It is only one sentence: Judge Sharp: Your little girl will be returned to you unharmed when this trial concludes with a defense verdict.that this note was written by someone with a legal education. I’m supposed to use my judicial power to set aside the jury’s verdict and rule in his favor........ While there. either by jury or N.. and if the jury decides against him.The RELUCTANT JURIST.
because he’s the only one standing to benefit from a defense verdict..Gene Grossman “Peter. You’ve got his team on your boat. and I don’t want to turn this into a circus.. and I think the worse thing we can do right now is tip our hand..” “Are you crazy? We’ve got to tell Agent Snell about this immediately. and you know that I want her back safely too. How can you not want me to take these evidence baggies and get to work on the case?” “Myra. “This tells me that Morris Arthur has something to do with the note... every cop in town is waiting for some direction on this case.... but I showed you this stuff in confidence… you agreed to that.. our friend Victor’s private lab can do just as good a job as Snell’s can.. the entire FBI resources are at your disposal.. Whether you agree with me or not.The RELUCTANT JURIST. and the county’s top prosecutor is ready to move..” “No you’re not... Now we have to ask ourselves: was he involved in the 120 ... I appreciate your feelings. I’m taking this evidence right to our lab.
Anyone else....Gene Grossman kidnapping. We have nothing to gain by getting her back other than knowing that she’s safe.. and also is crazy about Suzi. What do you want me to do?” 121 . We aren’t looking for headlines or a reason to have our budgets increased.. “You win.. so I want to play the rest of this game out in our ballpark instead of Snell’s. no matter how well-meaning they may be. Victor.. She has a loyalty to her position as district attorney... or is he just trying to capitalize on it? “Either way.. me. I think that the attention this matter received has hopefully given the bad guys a message that they better not harm that kid they’ve got.. but the best meaning people can be subconsciously led in the wrong direction sometimes.. “I’m not trying to second-guess Snell’s motives. She finally looks up at me. and Stuart. and the only people I trust on this case now are you. I understand her conflict.” She doesn’t say anything..The RELUCTANT JURIST... will just get in our way..
and maybe that will cause some conflict between them that might result in their making a mistake...The RELUCTANT JURIST. Morris 122 . I told him I want a complete work-up. they’ll lose this case. including DNA examination of the envelope’s glue. Let them think that if for some reason I never saw it.Gene Grossman “Nothing right now. “I learned a long time ago that when you give someone the silent treatment. I’ve already called Victor’s place and he should be here any time now to pick up this stuff and take it back to his lab...... I’m going to go on with this afternoon’s session like nothing happened. I want to put the ball back into their court..’ and that’s exactly what I’m going to do with Morris Arthur and anyone else who may have been involved in getting that note up to my bench... “Let them start questioning the person who was supposed to deliver it.. Whoever’s responsible for delivering that note will have to start asking themselves whether or not I actually saw it.. they go into their ‘I’m not okay mode. They don’t want Suzi… they want a defense verdict.. that they now have to change their plan and try some other way to contact me. because the clock is now ticking... and if they don’t communicate that demand to me again soon..
which is also his telephone number. Myra agrees with me. so no one but Myra knows that I was out there to find it... so Myra knows that Victor can do a good job with the evidence and also realizes that there are so many people involved with this case that by dropping a piece of food into the mix.... I’m worried sick about the kid..Gene Grossman Arthur will be bankrupted and disbarred. If he’s involved. She promises to keep quiet about the evidence if I allow her to secretly work with me. my taking the bench for this afternoon’s session is the first time I’m up 123 . He also has an experienced CSI staff. It’s now almost one in the afternoon and she’s been gone for twenty-four hours. As far as the rest of the world is concerned... He’ll have to make another move.. he’s got a lot to lose... Our friend Victor runs a private autopsy service named 1800AUTOPSY. The courtroom was locked shut when I found the note... It’s a done deal..The RELUCTANT JURIST..” As much as I know it pains her to do it.. I have to take the bench and do an Academy Award performance of looking like I haven’t seen any note yet and that there is no note up there waiting for me. it would cause a feeding frenzy.
Entering the courtroom for the afternoon session.. that neither side will object.. because if I’m going to perform my ‘silent’ routine for whoever put that note on my bench desk..The RELUCTANT JURIST.. They’ve also seen the media exposure her disappearance has caused. and my hunch is confirmed when they both tell me that if I’ll allow the remainder of the trial to be covered by Court TV..Gene Grossman here since before we broke for lunch at eleven thirty.... I see that there’s a gaggle of reporters present.. I might as well have enough 124 .. I think about this for a few seconds and then realize it would be a good idea. I think I know what they want... so they are here en masse.. I notice that there is a representative from Court TV talking to both legal teams. obviously trying to get their approval for the lights and camera to be turned on. both counsel ask to approach the bench... They all know that Suzi’s legal guardian is acting as a judge and that the kid was occupying my chambers during the trial. The bailiff silences the courtroom and as soon as I sit down and call the case..
. Trying to look as normal as possible. But they didn’t do that..... and now it’s time for Arthur’s lawyer to put on a case for the defense. This pleases some of them and disappoints others. The best thing they could have done was establish his pattern of doing business. and I can feel in my bones that 125 ...Gene Grossman coverage to ensure that the guilty party sees the act. but their faces will not be shown.... Not only is this my first appearance as a judge presiding over a jury trial. to see how many times Arthur showed up with people and received money out in the parking lot.... and then turning the screws on every person he was seen with. but it’s also being televised. If that was me down there. I’d have a crew of investigators now reviewing all the footage those bank security cameras shot during the past six months. threatening legal action and trying to get someone to turn on Arthur... I now see why people think lawyers are incompetent.. I explain to the jury that we’re now being televised. conditioned on their not showing the jury on camera. so I give them my permission. A few seconds later the camera lights go on.The RELUCTANT JURIST. Plaintiff’s lawyer stands up and announces that he rests his case.
the credibility of those weak excuses would fade away.. the investigator sticks to the party line and says that he was paying back a cash advance that Arthur had given him a week earlier. I knew it was coming... Morris Arthur’s obnoxious lawyer stands up and calls one of the money exchangers to the stand. The defense feels that they’ve done as good a job as possible. It’s now late in the afternoon. but if it could be shown that Morris Arthur received cash from everyone he went to the bank with over a period of time. In a similar fashion. Neither one of these fairy tales impresses me. so I tell both 126 ...Gene Grossman they’re going to try and make that exchange of money look as innocent as possible..The RELUCTANT JURIST... That’s why I would have liked to see the plaintiff’s lawyer try to establish a pattern of behavior... Maybe you can get away with explaining what Stuart testified to as possibly being repayment of a dinner check or previous cash advance once... he owed Arthur some money from their restaurant dinner the night before. and was just repaying his debt. so they rest their case.. The way he explains it. It’s the doctor. but it just might work with the jurors....
and one of the agents answers. My next phone call is to Don Paige. and I don’t think I could lose him if I tried.. Just as I leave the bench the bailiff tells me that a call came in for Suzi from some pet store. The only dog I have any connection with is Suzi’s huge beast. Not too long ago he removed the LoJack anti theft device from my car so that Suzi could borrow it for an experiment she was conducting.. Found her dog? We didn’t lose a dog. The answering machine answers.Gene Grossman sides that they should be ready to start their closing arguments tomorrow morning..... I thank him and hang up....” It works.. I ask him if he can see the electric cart from where he is standing. the techie who lives on our dock. “Hello. this is Peter Sharp. I’m hoping that maybe she 127 .The RELUCTANT JURIST. I’m calling Snell’s office and telling him you’re asleep on the job.... so please pick up the phone. he can see the cart and that there are three kids standing there petting the dog. I call the boat... I want a live person. He tells me that yes. C’mon. Just the same.. leaving a message that they’ve found her dog. I know you’re there… and if you’re not.
. Both sides have rested their cases and Stuart won’t be testifying any more..Gene Grossman did it again.. Myra hasn’t heard anything from the cops. I’m sorry I wouldn’t talk to you the other day. Don tells me that she hasn’t’ made that request again... but you know what position I was in. I see that I’m wasting my time because he’s obviously in no mood to go walking with me.. so I pick up a piece of nautical rope and plan on tying it to his collar. I can’t seem to find his leash anywhere on the boat.. so I see if the dog feels like leaving his guard post and taking me for a walk... so I don’t think I’m violating any rules by calling him. Another dead end.. Back at the boat... When I get to the electric cart.The RELUCTANT JURIST.” 128 . I also notice that he’s not wearing his collar. He’s glad to hear from me. “Stuart. I go back to the boat and make another round of phone calls.. I decide that it won’t do me any good to sit around on the boat... Victor didn’t find anything we could use on the note or envelope..
” He can tell by the tone of my voice that I mean business.Gene Grossman “Not to worry. because it we don’t find her by the end of this trial... what’s on your mind?” “How the hell did you get called as a witness in that case?” There’s silence on his end of the line..” “Listen to me Stuart.. He finally comes up with an answer. It’s been bothering me for a while. Listen. Pete... Can we talk now?” “Yeah. the cases in chief are over. If Suzi had anything to do with your being dragged into this case... we may lose her forever. forget about promises and being sworn to anything.... I have a question I’d like to ask you.. “I’ve been sworn to secrecy. and both sides have rested. 129 . When Stuart is at a loss for words I know there must be some reason..” “Sure Pete. so open your mouth right now and give me an answer..The RELUCTANT JURIST. I understand...
... “I brought her the bank security tapes that showed anyone who resembled those guys. Now I’ll call Myra again and fill her in on what I just learned. so I never said anything to you about it.. “I think she was trying to keep you out of the loop completely..Gene Grossman “Okay.. it was Suzi. and she knew I was investigating a bunch of lawyers who walked their clients to the bank. I was provided with pictures of Morris Arthur... so she retained me on the side. and she used her computer’s facial recognition software to positively identify who they were.. I don’t think it’ll 130 . I think she must have sent an anonymous tip to the plaintiff’s lawyers.The RELUCTANT JURIST. his doctors and his investigator that she got off of the DMV driver’s license database. You’re right... because they called my office and retained me to conduct the exact same investigation… the one I just did for Suzi... She’s got a thing about this guy Morris Arthur.. Did I do the wrong thing?” I assure Stuart that he didn’t do anything wrong and thank him for being honest with me. I became their investigator and they called me to the witness stand. but I promised her I wouldn’t tell... That way.
.. so I can hear both sides of the conversation. How may I direct your call?” The loudspeaker on their electronic equipment is on while they record the call. updates..The RELUCTANT JURIST..” Smart move.. letting her know that the trace is complete. this is Peter Sharp’s office. She’s trying to keep him on the phone as long as possible. trying to sound like she’s my secretary... so she can take your call.. “Hello. The caller ID display shows a number I’m not familiar with. Wait a minute. 131 . Another agent signals her with a thumbs-up sign.. “Is miss Braunstein there please?” “Oh sure. The female agent answers the phone. and they turn a few knobs and then give me the signal that I should sit down and let them handle it. but I promised her timely Before I can call Myra the phone rings... I’ll run out and call her back in.... I look over to the FBI guys.Gene Grossman help any... hold on. she just stepped out of the office for a second.
132 . I still can’t figure out why they’d be calling her.... It probably won’t help much.. Boy.. and once discovering that the call did in fact come from a pet store.. this is Von.Gene Grossman “I’m sorry.. Can I take a message for her?” “Yeah. I didn’t get a chance to call Myra before the pet store guy called. She’s already gone.. but I’m going to try and relax for a while... And what did the guy mean when he called earlier to let us know that he found the dog? I don’t have the mental energy to worry about that now. they realized the call wasn’t important and let it go. over at the pet store. Maybe a Sherlock Holmes short story will help to calm me down. could we use him now... Would you please tell her that she still owes us another twenty-five dollars on her last purchase?” The agent promises to pass the message on. Suzi always pays her bills... They obviously did a quick trace on the call while the conversation was still going on.. I missed her..The RELUCTANT JURIST. so now I’ll have more meaningless information to update her with.
.” This must be some code she’s using. and call me if they’ve got a new load of my favorite cheese. “Oh gee Myra.” That seems to have done the trick. I forgot all about it.The RELUCTANT JURIST.... They give me sympathetic looks as I put on my shoes and 133 . You never remember to do anything I ask of you. it can’t wait.. because it’s now around eight PM and the phone is ringing again.. what’s up?” “Peter.. I follow their instructions and answer the phone on their signal.. This time it’s my cell phone and the caller ID shows Myra’s home phone number. This is why we’re not married anymore.Gene Grossman I must have dozed off... I think she wants to talk to me without the FBI listening in. This is just like you... The agents are convinced this is just a spat between some ex spouses. but the FBI still wants to follow the protocol. Can’t it wait until tomorrow? “No. did you do like I asked? You promised you’d go to the Marina del Rey Liquor store. “Hi.....
heading in the direction of the engine rooms. 134 ..” Little does Myra know that I’ve got Suzi’s badge with me.. get your ass over to my house right now. And I mean right now.... but I want to be prepared for anything.. “Take the 405 south to the 10 and then head east.. I use a payphone to call Myra back. When we get there she’s already outside waiting for us.. and don’t worry about a speeding ticket. “Peter. I fasten his Doggles.. The dog saw me running to the car and doesn’t intend to let me get away without taking him along too. I leave the boat but don’t get very far. She jumps into the rear seat and shouts out some directions. I don’t know what’s going on.. We’ve got about thirty miles to go. I’ve got my badge with me. I race toward my parking space and just as I’m about to jump into the Hummer. I’m pushed aside by another force.Gene Grossman leave the saloon.The RELUCTANT JURIST. where I pick up the Smith & Wesson. because once out of sight of the FBI...” I don’t ask any questions... open the sunroof for his head to stick out. and rush down the freeway to Myra’s house...
we’re going to pick up Suzi. doing about seventyfive.. I started to think about why the pet store called Suzi twice today.. Start talking.Gene Grossman and it would surely carry much more weight with any cop than her’s would. Where are we going?” “If I’m right...” “You heard from her?” “Not exactly.” “What’s going on? How did you do it?” “Simple.... I follow orders and in less than two minutes we’re on the freeway.. it’s Myra letting me know that I’m totally clueless. “Okay..” She can tell that I have no idea what she’s talking about...The RELUCTANT JURIST. It cost me twenty-five bucks.. This always happens to me. but this time instead of the kid. I put it on my credit card.. kid.. but I think I know where she is. so she goes on. I can only do this Kato routine so long.. and why they wanted twenty-five 135 . “After you called me..
does it? Of course he’s not wearing his collar dummy. that’s a lot to spend for a dog collar. I’ve bought suits for less than that.... I remember you telling me that Olive took her shopping at the pet store... and the pet store called to tell her the location… it was 136 ... The only thing that stood out was a three hundred dollar charge made at the same pet store that called you twice.. I checked the dog earlier tonight. Along with the purchase of the device.” “Wait a minute.” “Please Peter.... so I used my crimebusting software and checked out her credit card purchases... so I called over there. Suzi’s wearing it. That clerk Von was still on duty and he explained why the collar cost so much. don’t remind me. they offer two trial tests. and look at him now… he’s not wearing any collar. It’s got a locating device in it. It was for a dog collar. nothing gets past you.The RELUCTANT JURIST.” “Wow. “They did the first free test a day or two after she bought the collar. in case you lose your dog.. the first one is free and the second one costs twenty-five dollars..” “Gee Myra..Gene Grossman dollars from her.
On the day of her party. she had to remove her police badge necklace to get the collar over her head.. That wasn’t the dog they found...Gene Grossman the boat.. “The pet store did the twenty-five dollar test on the morning that they called Suzi at the courthouse and left the message that they found her dog. she got grabbed up... and the dog picked up her badge and ran into the restaurant to get you.. because he can help tell us exactly where she is... but it should be close enough.. It’s not exactly a street address.. so I gave them my credit card number.. and they gave me a location.The RELUCTANT JURIST. She uses two hands when she drives that cart.. I’m glad you brought the dog along. 137 . paid the bill. When she stopped in the alley to put it on the dog.. They sped away with her in their car. it was Suzi! “They wouldn’t give me the location of the test result until they were paid. “Before she had a chance to put the collar on the dog. so she was carrying the collar with her when she drove to the restaurant... she wanted the dog to look real nice. so the dog collar was around her neck.
No sense in wasting everyone’s time if we’re on a wild goose chase and the 138 .” “Okay Miss District Attorney..” “I knew it. Now that we have an idea where she is.. so I’ve got the people at the pet store standing by and two of my investigators are there with them right now. what do we do next? Shouldn’t we call for some backup? We’re not exactly trained in hostage rescuing techniques..... At that point we’ll call for backup. shouldn’t we?” “You’re right Pete. We should have the Delta Force or someone like the FBI with us. How’d she find out?” “I don’t know how she found out. Olive asked her why she spent so much for the collar and Suzi told her that it was something special that she wanted the dog to wear to a party.......Gene Grossman “And by the way. but before calling the pet store I called Olive to see if there was any other information that would help us..The RELUCTANT JURIST. she knew about the party way before it went on. She’s too sharp to let us pull anything over on her... I’ll call my guys and they’ll have the pet store run another test to see if the location is still a valid one. When we get to the location they gave us..
so I’m looking for it now. we drive through a neighborhood with small houses on large lots. I’ve followed her directions and we’re now passing West Covina.....” As usual..... Her map says we should turn off in another exit or two.. we see three small houses on one large lot... I decide to drive around the block a couple of times to check and see if there is any back way onto that lot.. There are a couple of vehicles up on jacks in each driveway. like an alley or side road.The RELUCTANT JURIST. and I haven’t the slightest idea what to do. 139 .. Myra calls the pet store and her investigators confirm that the signal is still coming from the same place...Gene Grossman search leads us to the middle of a Wal-Mart store. We’re here now.. I pull the Hummer off the road to turn around and immediately get surrounded by armed men shining flashlights in my face. she’s right again. When we get to the location that the pet store gave us. Once off the freeway.
.Gene Grossman 8 few seconds after they take the light away from my face my eyes once again get accustomed to the darkness and I see that this is an FBI swat team. That’s an acronym for Forward Looking Infra Red... a device your local police helicopters have been using for some time. “We’ve been using FLIR. Snell points to some displays on the computer screens. Stepping inside. The guy walking toward the car is also suited up. We’ve detected some life form signatures and one of them might be a small human.” Myra and I are led down the road towards a large van. It’s Special Agent Snell. we see that it’s a complete mobile command center........The RELUCTANT JURIST. “What did you guys do... but he looks familiar.” A 140 . follow us here?” “Not really Sharp... We’ve been here for over an hour...
.... we spotted one of them sneaking in there after everyone left for 141 . so we contacted Court TV and had them turn their camera on. All of the clerks on that floor have access to the courtrooms.... We figured that someone would try to contact you sooner or later. but she soon clears that up for me.. you should have trusted us. We didn’t think much of it until we saw you borrow those evidence bags. so we knew that your grave-digging friend Victor was coming to pick up the note..Gene Grossman At this point I’m starting to suspect Myra of spilling the beans to Snell. what brought you to this place?” “Sharp. “But the thing that really got us here was the Court TV camera’s videotape. We obtained a warrant and searched his lab that evening to find any results he may have turned up.. we figured it was just a matter of rewinding it to see how it got there… and we did.. We already had a tap on the phone in your chambers... and sure enough. “If you guys didn’t have my phone tapped and you didn’t follow us here. Once you found the note.The RELUCTANT JURIST.... We saw you sitting there by yourself on that lunch break when you found the note.
He claimed that he was given five hundred dollars to deliver a personal note to your bench.Gene Grossman lunch..” I don’t care what Snell’s plan is. They’ve done a good job of putting this all together.. I’ve seen the FBI screw up too many times on television... but I don’t intend to wait all night for some other guy to get here. just before you went in and found it there. They’re still expecting him. so he figured it was something his bookie set up to help him out and he went along with it... “We’ve still got him in custody. He was scared out of his mind and didn’t know where the money came from or who paid it. but he desperately needed it for some gambling debts. His name is Michael.. “We grabbed him up at the end of the day and he caved right it. but I don’t trust them to finish the job..The RELUCTANT JURIST. and we’re watching the place he was supposed to go to.. and that he was instructed to come to a certain address this evening to pick up the balance of his bonus. He works down the hall in the filing room. Myra can tell something’s 142 . and we’re waiting for one of our undercover guys to get here... I excuse myself and tell them I want to stretch my legs. so we can send him in there......
A voice from inside asks who it is.. “It’s Michael. I casually walk up to the front door of the house and knock a few times....The RELUCTANT JURIST.. but feel certain that something will come to me… it usually does..... so I remove if from under the seat and stick it in my pocket. It doesn’t fit.. I now realize that the dog wasn’t in the car just now. The .Gene Grossman up.. For quite some time he’s seen me taking instructions from his master. I really don’t know what I’m going to do now.50 caliber Smith & Wesson is hidden in the car. so he must think I’ve been trained enough to follow his orders too. like a Setter..... because in the darkness I can see his body silhouetted by lights in the middle house… the one that he’s now facing. The damn thing is fifteen inches long. I shove it into my belt in the small of my back and start to walk toward the three houses on that large lot. but soon discover that he’s way ahead of me.” 143 . but she just looks at me with one of those ‘don’t do anything stupid’ expressions as I exit the trailer. I was told to come here to pick up some money that’s owed to me..
swing it around... He looks down at me. and stick it in his face.…” The sight of this huge revolver makes his eyes bulge out and I here him shout something out in a language I don’t understand. I see that the back door is ajar... Michael?” When reaching around to put the money envelope in my back pocket. I hear someone else in the house moving around. “Hey.Gene Grossman The voice from inside tells me to come around to the back of the house.... Five. I grab the huge revolver. it’s Michael. four..The RELUCTANT JURIST. a squeaky door gets 144 . When I get around to the back yard. Walking up to it. I open it up and see that there are five C-notes inside.. He hands me an envelope. “You’ve got five seconds to get that girl out here... I’m at the back door now.. I knock and then address whoever might be inside.... Has anyone got something for me?” The door slowly opens and I’m face-to-face with a large muscular man whose entire top half is covered with tattoos. three. “Anything else you want..
he runs towards the front door. Suddenly we’re being flooded with light. I pick her up and carry her around to the front of the house. The large man and his two associates are standing outside the front door.. Suzi is running towards me with tears in her eyes shouting “what took you so long? I haven’t slept in two days!” The big tattooed guy sees an opportunity to get away..... When we get around to the front of the house I see a remarkable sight. The FBI has finally decided it was safe enough 145 .. so they just raise their hands and are standing there.. so as I scoop up Suzi. waiting for me to take them in. At this point I couldn’t care less about any of the escaping kidnappers… I’ve got what I came here for.... and they also realize that a guy with a big revolver is behind them.. hands raised up over their heads. My question is answered as I look around in front of them and see that the Saint Bernard is viciously growling at them... They know they can’t go forward to get past him.The RELUCTANT JURIST. I don’t see any FBI guys around. so I’m wondering who the heck they’re surrendering to.Gene Grossman opened and the next thing I know....
. now in front. As I follow her to the Hummer. You got a license to carry that thing?” I don’t have time for this.. “That was a crazy thing you just did...Gene Grossman for them to participate. It’s Myra She grabs Suzi out of my arms and heads for the car.. with a sleeping girl in my arms. but it looks like the cops have the bad guys in handcuffs and someone is running towards me.. He notices the large revolver sticking out of my belt..” 146 ... so just get out of my way.. so they turned some floodlights on... and he is now walking so close to me that my leg is rubbing up against him. Snell stops me.The RELUCTANT JURIST. Orders are being shouted out to the three banditos and I slowly follow them. “Listen here Special Agent Man... I’m a Superior Court Judge working on a special assignment with the county’s district attorney. I’m partially blinded by the spotlights. The dog has decided to let the FBI complete the arrest. I quickly jammed it in there before picking up Suzi... I have to give a little girl a ride home.
. All I do know is that if we would’ve waited for the FBI to get their act together. She saw me put the gun back under the seat when we got back into the Hummer. “Are you out of your mind? What if they were armed? Were you prepared to shoot your way out of there?” At this point I realize she’s right. The dog is not riding in the front seat.. it might’ve turned into a Waco or Ruby Ridge type of situation... She also calls the district attorney’s after-hours telephone and requests that a driver be sent to pick her up at the Marina.. he’s in the back seat with Myra and the sleeping Suzi. “I don’t know Myra.Gene Grossman There is no conversation on the way home. I don’t think I’d have hesitated one second to blow out the brains of anyone who was holding her captive... When we get back to the boat Myra makes sure that Suzi is put to bed. and has some idea of what happened earlier this evening...The RELUCTANT JURIST. I guess the main thing holding me back from doing that was my not bringing any bullets 147 .. with the bad guys inside using the kid as a bargaining tool....... because I didn’t even think about that.
.” No more words are exchanged.. 148 .The RELUCTANT JURIST.. but for the first time since about two years before our divorce..... They cost over three dollars each. she kisses me on the cheek as she leaves.. “I’m glad you found her and came along tonight. I think your driver is here now.Gene Grossman along........ and I never got around to buying some..
so no one knows she’s here today. The three prisoners are going through a long booking process. Suzi and I have worked out a plan...The RELUCTANT JURIST. he might have someone check on Michael to see if he picked up his money last night and if everything looked okay out there...Gene Grossman 9 t’s about twenty seconds before nine on Thursday morning and I’m ready to make another grand courtroom entrance.. so she’ll be hiding in chambers for the next hour or so.. I 150 . There were no local police involved in the rescue last night.. We did this to alleviate any suspicion..... We were successful in talking Snell into temporarily releasing Michael the filing room clerk. not being able to contact his friends in the middle house.. He now has two undercover FBI agents working with him in the filing room.... If Arthur is involved. We snuck in early this morning. so they haven’t yet been given an opportunity to make any phone calls. so the press didn’t get wind of it..
. 151 . It’s coincidental that after having not personally come to that room in the courthouse to file papers during the past few years. He must believe that I’ve seen that note and that he’s on his way to victory. Michael saw Arthur but looked like he’d never seen him before.. He saw Michael there but didn’t make any contact at all.. no one knows that Suzi is back..... I call the case and inform both sides that I’d like to hear their closing arguments this morning so we can turn this case over to the jury after lunch. Morris Arthur looks smugly confident... That’s probably true. and the FBI never tells anyone anything... other than the FBI and Myra.. Sometimes I really like discovering a good coincidence.... Morris Arthur was in the filing room submitting some documents on other civil cases his office is handling.Gene Grossman The way we’ve kept a lid on this. so we’ll see how our little plan plays out. Morris Arthur decided to bring some paperwork in on the morning that final arguments are being made in his own trial. I know that Myra won’t tell anyone.The RELUCTANT JURIST.. Our spy network reported that as soon as the courthouse opened this morning.
painting a really terrible picture of Arthur.. if we could just have another minute. Due to the fact that she was the victim of a highly publicized kidnapping. the private entrance behind me opens up.. is there some problem?” She looks up at me with an expression of exasperation on her face. Just before his lawyer starts her closing argument.The RELUCTANT JURIST.Gene Grossman The plaintiff’s lawyer goes first and gives a wonderful summation.. she disappears back into chambers.. uh.. It looks like Arthur is taking it quite calmly.. hands me a file.. other than my intern handing me a file. 152 . “We’re waiting for the Defendant’s closing argument counselor. Suzi steps up. frantically doing some cell phone dialing. Your Honor. so I grant her request. I do manage to sneak a glance toward Morris Arthur. “Er.” I think that it would a nice thing to do.... and the blood seems to have been drained out of his face… like he’s seen a ghost.. I act as if nothing has happened. every reporter in the room now jumps up and runs out of the room.... and without so much as a glance down towards Morris Arthur.. I look down at his lawyer..
.. That’s it for now. The jury is in their private room deliberating the fate of attorney Morris Arthur. Looking not quite as confident as she did at the beginning of this trial.. The arguments are now done and I’m instructing the jury... she finally finds her voice and during the next hour delivers one of the best closing arguments I’ve ever heard.” She’s now conferring with Arthur..Gene Grossman “Very well... Her explanations and excuses for Arthur’s actions are beautifully creative.The RELUCTANT JURIST. but he didn’t.. We’ve already had a sidebar conference and both parties have agreed to the jury instructions. sounding a little on the shaky side. she now starts her summation. and her secondchair person... If the plaintiff would have done enough homework to establish a pattern of conduct this whole summation would have been an exercise in futility. so there’s a possibility that Arthur actually has a chance here today. she tears apart every item of evidence that the plaintiff’s lawyer had introduced.. but let’s not keep the jury waiting too long... her investigator.. Notwithstanding a weak start.. I’ve been keeping track 153 . Piece by piece.
....... She was driving down the alley a few minutes before one PM on the afternoon of her party. and my scorecard shows thirteen points for the plaintiff and eleven for the defendant.Gene Grossman during the trial and closing arguments. she heard two cars crash together less than a hundred feet away near 154 .. They now know what I learned this morning on our drive downtown. I’d have to go with the plaintiff on this one. If I were a betting man. I hope the real facts never come out.. Each of the stations has some inside source somewhere... so Myra brings some lunch downstairs and we all eat together in chambers.. There are too many reporters hanging around. Just as she was about to park and come into the restaurant.. but every theory they come up with is so far from the truth that it’s almost comical. I flip on the little TV set and we see that the local news has plenty of stories about the recovery of that little girl... because I don’t want to be branded as the gun-slinging judge.. Snell and two of his agents spent some time in my chambers with Suzi this morning taking her statement. As far as I’m concerned.The RELUCTANT JURIST.
grabbed her into their car and sped away. My court clerk buzzes me with news that the jury has returned with a verdict. so they panicked. Early this morning Myra’s office put out a notice to all the insurance companies. Myra and Suzi join me as we go back into the courtroom... to see where the accident victims receive their medical treatment.. He hands it to me. I read it and hand it back to him. The jury foreman hands a slip of paper to the bailiff.. They’ll be searching their files to see who put in a claim for the staged accident and if they’re stupid enough to not realize that the jig is up.... When she looked over there.. That was quick.. she saw four people hop into the front vehicle after the crash.The RELUCTANT JURIST. 155 . in back of the restaurant. They ran over to what was a staged accident from the car they arrived in that was parked in the alley.. the plaintiffs’ attorney will be watched very closely.....Gene Grossman the corner. The accident stage manager and his partner came back to their car and realized that Suzi must have seen the intended plaintiffs get into that car after the accident...
He looks down at her with a smirk on his face. Everyone in the room is familiar with this kid’s courtroom 156 .. He hugs his lawyer.The RELUCTANT JURIST. and that their verdict is for the defendant..Gene Grossman “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury.. hello Miss Braunstein. “Well. Morris Arthur is happy. While Morris Arthur and his legal team are standing around thanking the jury and congratulating each other.. have you reached a verdict?” Just like on television.. and we learn that the decision was eight to four for the defendant. I turn around and see that Suzi has come back in and has walked over to Morris Arthur’s counsel table.. it’s nice to see you again. who looks like she could have done without the hug.... slam down the gavel and then quickly follow Myra and Suzi back to the protection of chambers and away from the press.. I thank and excuse the jury. Is there something I can do for you?” You can hear a pin drop... a hush falls over the courtroom.. the jury foreman tells me that they have. The plaintiff’s lawyer requests permission to poll the jury....
I want you to know how much I’ve appreciated this opportunity you’ve given me to be a part of this case you’ve been involved in. and they want to see what she’s cooked up this time.. followed by two husky gentlemen wearing 157 . I don’t think that a goodbye is necessary Miss Braunstein...” They exchange glares for another few seconds.” Now the smirk is on Suzi’s face. Unfortunately. She looks up at Morris Arthur. “Mister Arthur.The RELUCTANT JURIST.. I’m sure we’ll meet again in the near future.... He completely ignores her... “I don’t think so Mister Arthur. Before Arthur can get to the exit doors.Gene Grossman performances in the past.. turns away.. Michelle Chang comes walking into the courtroom... until Arthur decides their conversation is over. It’s been a pleasure working with you and I wanted to say goodbye. and suggests to his legal team that it’s time to leave the courtroom and go outside to meet the press and make their victory statements....” “Oh my. he’s in for a surprise.
No words are required...... waving goodbye to Morris Arthur. I see that everyone including me is stunned except one person.” Looking around the courtroom.. She looks up at Arthur as Michelle’s men are putting the handcuffs on him.. Suzi expresses a slight grin and lifts her hand. 158 .. “Morris Arthur.The RELUCTANT JURIST.. and I know in my heart why... Michelle waves a document into the air as she addresses Arthur. He is now glaring down at her while being dragged backward towards the exit doors.....Gene Grossman blue windbreakers with big yellow letters that spell “I R S” on the back.. this is a federal warrant for your arrest on charges of willful and fraudulent evasion of taxes and failure to report income.
.. and the stuff that they found proved my original thoughts wrong. Agent Snell’s men went through it quite thoroughly.. as a result of phony accidents...... I was under the impression that all of the street cappers and accident stagers worked for lawyers. Myra’s cases got a little harder to put together when they reached the lawyer 160 .. after I got her out of that house...The RELUCTANT JURIST.. They were the ones who saw the patients first. It was a few doctors who controlled all the business. who would then send their clients out to various doctors. The ones that Bernie the dog captured that night were leaders of the accident staging unit.. then referring them out to the lawyers.Gene Grossman EPILOGUE O n the night of Suzi’s rescue. Papers found in the kidnappers’ house showed that it was the other way around.... and it wasn’t too hard for Myra’s fraud squad to backtrack and find out who all the phony patients being treated by the chiropractors were.
... No big loss there. Stuart continued digging deeper into those ‘walk-to-the-bank’ trips and retained Suzi to digitize all the banks’ security camera footage...The RELUCTANT JURIST.’ helping people pursue their claims against the insurance companies.. but it is strongly suspected that he became involved after the fact.. attorney Morris Arthur’s name popped up here and there as one of the lawyers that received cases from the doctors. 161 ..S... He’ll be serving time at Club Fed for quite a while anyway...R. but Myra couldn’t tie him into anything worth prosecuting... so the Teflon lawyer dodged another bullet. She then used her face recognition software to locate a whole bunch of lawyers and doctors who were skimming cash out of the settlements and turned her results over to Michelle Chang so that the I.. They tried to portray themselves as mere ‘paper pushers.Gene Grossman level. there was no way we could tie Morris Arthur into the kidnapping.. No matter how hard everyone tried. Sure. could go after them. because all that the personal injury lawyers had to do was claim ignorance about the phony accidents.
. so they called people higher up in their crooked food chain. The plan was to have Arthur win his trial and leave all accident shenanigan schemes in place.The RELUCTANT JURIST.... Unfortunately..Gene Grossman From some statements received and overheard on wiretaps. he might try to sell some information to the insurance companies to help pay off his money judgments. What goes around comes around. so they got Arthur’s assistance in having that filing clerk deliver that note. He was aware of Arthur’s fraud trial and felt that if Arthur lost. until one of the doctors got the brilliant idea of how to use the unfortunate incident to his benefit..... a stupid jury. and against an incompetent plaintiff’s attorney who failed to do his homework.... That could certainly have impacted negatively on many of the doctors’ schemes. Arthur’s trial was in front of an honest judge.... We’ll get Morris Arthur one of these days. It was a win-win situation. 162 . The important thing is that we got Suzi back safely.. it looks like the kidnappers didn’t know what to do after they grabbed Suzi.
. Starting at nine PM is Law and Order Pedestrian Crossing Guard..Gene Grossman I’ve finished up my stint as judge pro tem.. but that’s okay with me. or Ranger with a Walker. While reading through the legal newspapers I came upon a list of homes that have been recently sold.. so I intend to relax and watch some television.... They’re spin-offs of successful series...... because there are some really creative people behind them. One caught my attention and I realized that it was Stuart’s address. I also hear that they may be bringing Chuck Norris back in his Walker. Texas Ranger role.. The pet store charged her credit card for the second location check that night too. Our boat neighbor and my occasional companion Laverne is on vacation somewhere this week. This is strange. and am now back here on the boat waiting for the next client to call. because he just bought that home a little while ago and hasn’t lived in it for the 163 .. There are a couple of new shows I want to watch. followed at ten by CSI Peoria.The RELUCTANT JURIST. The new series may be called either Touched by a Ranger. along with their selling prices.. I also found out that Suzi sent Myra a check for fifty dollars..
the buyer didn’t care.. moneys received in settlement for personal injury tort actions are not subject to income tax.. Stuart sued him...... who pulled off a phony marriage deduction scam on the sale of his previous residence. It suddenly dawns on me.. That’s what the urgent lawsuit was about..The RELUCTANT JURIST. This is nothing new to Stuart. Stuart had sold the house and wanted to avoid paying the capital gains tax. because it cost him the same amount 164 . From what I’ve heard. It looks like the public seems to see income tax cheating as a victimless crime. On Stuart’s present sale. so he cooked up a deal with the purchaser.Gene Grossman requisite two years that would allow him to claim a quarter million dollar exemption in capital gains tax on the increased selling price... He probably collected on the lawsuit and then sold the house for exactly what he paid for it.. I would imaging that the case Stuart filed against the buyer of his home was settled for an amount equal to the amount of profit Stuart would have realized from the sale..... and it’s interesting to see how little attention is paid to these schemes.
R....Gene Grossman to buy it anyway. and the American taxpayers who pick up the slack that these schemes cause. a brick landmark that was one of the only structures left standing after Mrs.. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern and caused the great Chicago Fire. Being a former Chicagoan. so once again Stuart engineered a win-win situation for everyone but the I. There were no pictures that I recognized..The RELUCTANT JURIST...... but having a purchase price recorded of several hundred thousand dollars less will save him thousands of dollars a year in property taxes... I can’t resist picking it up and thumbing through the pages to see if there are any pictures there I might recognize of landmarks. No history of Chicago is complete without a photo of the Water Tower. because even though this book concerned events that took place in Chicago.... it concentrated more on the criminal actions of one particular person. subject of several motion pictures and the television series The Untouchables... the notorious Al ‘Scarface’ Capone.S. I notice that Suzi’s book is on the table. 165 .
or in areas where smoking is allowed. Unlike most present laws we have prohibiting smoking.. and during the height of the ‘Roaring Twenties’ he is alleged to have controlled 161 illegal taverns.Gene Grossman The part of the book that Suzi seemed to be most interested in had a paper clip attached to the pages...’ during which time it was against the law to manufacture or distribute liquor in this Country.. An Amendment to our Constitution created an era known as ‘Prohibition..’ By 1929 the government calculated that Capone’s annual income amounted to sixty million dollars from bootlegging liquor...The RELUCTANT JURIST. so I took the liberty of reading it and learned some things about Mister Capone. With the liquor prohibition.. called ‘speakeasies. people can still buy tobacco products and use them in the privacy of their own homes.’ and they created an entire industry.. and another twenty million 166 . the addicted people had nowhere to turn but the gangsters who were smuggling the booze in. The most famous bootlegger of all was Al Capone. They were called ‘bootleggers.. twenty-five million more from gambling.......
He is quoted as having said: “The income tax law is a lot of bunk. The government can’t collect legal taxes from illegal money...’ and this bothered his criminal associates.” Capone was becoming increasingly more ‘public. but his more than one hundred million dollars a year income wasn’t all pure profit..The RELUCTANT JURIST. visible. and notorious..... because he paid off so many police and politicians..Gene Grossman bucks from prostitution and other side businesses. During that period of time Al Capone was even more entrepreneurial than my friend Stuart.. because he employed over six hundred ‘associates’ to protect his business from rival wannabees who might want to take over his territory. The thing that probably got the authorities’ dander up more than anything else was a statement that Al Capone made when asked about whether or not he paid his taxes.R. who would rather he kept a lower profile. The 167 ....... who authorized his brother Jake to provide certain information to the I.S. Capone was a notorious gangster and killed many people without being prosecuted.. One associate in particular was named Meyer Lansky.
....... Judge Wilkerson sentenced Al Capone to serve eleven years in federal prison for income tax evasion.. In May of 1932.Gene Grossman other gangsters obviously thought that having Capone jailed would be a much tidier solution than having him killed.. 168 ...The RELUCTANT JURIST...... and it’s interesting to see how much little Suzi similarly decided on a tidy solution.
. To make matters worse.. poorly wired. as the result of trying to help someone fill out some claim forms. quiet (at least to Peter) ten-year-old Chinese girl and her huge Saint Bernard.. a man charged with murdering his own wife to be with a beautiful flight attendant... he discovers the secrets behind two murders.The RELUCTANT JURIST. and who framed him with the State Bar all with the help of his legal ward Suzi.. that is in danger of burning up at any time. double jeopardy.... he’s forced to live in their back yard on an old.. As a result of the eviction. Peter also gets involved in matters concerning sexual harassment. an adorable. a newly appointed deputy district attorney.. a fatal plane crash. As Peter fights to get his law license reinstated. His alleged co-conspirator. and a groundbreaking case of Negligent Nymphomania.. 40-foot Chris Craft cabin cruiser he’s restoring. is about to discover that Peter is also sleeping with her while the man is out of town. 170 ..Gene Grossman The Peter Sharp Legal Mystery Series #1: Single Jeopardy Attorney Peter Sharp has been wrongfully suspended from the practice of law and thrown out of the house by his soon-to-be ex-wife... vexatious litigation.. he gets arrested for conspiracy to defraud an insurance company.
the District Attorney’s office has brought in a special prosecutor for the trial: Peter’s ex-wife Myra. the prolific... the adorable ten-year-old Suzi and her huge Saint Bernard. and makes the acquaintance of a new friend who runs an autopsy store .. he confessed to the police. Peter is also hired to represent an insurance company..The RELUCTANT JURIST. While he’s preparing for trial on the murder case. The only things making this case a little harder to defend than most others are that the client’s acts were captured on videotape.. while Peter is involved representing Vinnie.. Attorney Peter Sharp gets retained to defend a man accused of capital murder.. In this adventure. peeing pornographer. but at usual. To make matters worse.. to defend it against a man who slipped and fell while inside a bank that was coincidentally robbed later that same day.. he also helps solve several bank robberies by catching the entire gang.. Peter thinks the case would have died when the claimant was murdered..all with the help of his legal ward....Gene Grossman #2: …By Reason of Sanity In his second Adventure.. and he wants to plead guilty. he’s wrong. 171 ..
all while falling for a lesbian lawyer. 172 . by the planting of bombs in vehicles.... winning a Will contest. identifies the real murderer..’ her huge Saint Bernard into a courtroom..000 miles away. The client is also suspected of being part of a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States in an upcoming Fourth of July parade. In the adventure’s finale. Peter cracks the case.The RELUCTANT JURIST. where she makes her first official court appearance.. Suzi miraculously manages to get ‘Bernie.... and battling with his ex-wife. holds her first press conference.... Attorney Peter Sharp is retained to represent a man accused of murder. With the assistance of his legal ward Suzi. and at the same time solves the mystery of a dead body found in his friend Stuart's automobile trunk. and becomes a local television hero. breaking up a stolen car ring 4..Gene Grossman 3: A Class Action In his third Adventure... who has been elected to the office of District Attorney....
and the ever-popular FBI. one of which Peter was arrested for.. revengeful drug dealers.. Peter falls for a woman who he thinks could really ‘be the one’ this time...Gene Grossman #4: “Conspiracy of Innocence” Suzi once again saves Peter’s case by finding the connection between two crimes that allegedly took place in different parts of the State.. a local police chief........ Everyone including Peter is sitting on the edge of their chairs as this double murder mystery comes to a shocking conclusion that involves a mafia hit man.. And once again.. 173 . Peter’s ex-wife Myra must make the decision as to whether or not she should resign from prosecution of a case in which she may have a conflict of interest – Peter’s murder charge.The RELUCTANT JURIST...
makes a mistake when she subpoenas little Suzi to come and testify as a prosecution witness against the defendant. is charged with murder.The RELUCTANT JURIST.. When a local black movie producer who Tony was working for gets killed. Peter’s ex-wife. also giving the little girl a basic course in ballistics.. He’s also the subject of many citizen complaints for using excessive force in the minority community.... everyone knows that the District Attorney’s office will never subpoena Suzi again..’ represents a 500-pound woman who is being discriminated against. Tony has taught her how to help him re-load his target practice ammunition. Along the way... 174 .. uncovers a white supremist militant organization.. At Suzi’s request..Gene Grossman #5: …Until Proven Innocent Tony Edwards. Suzi and talks Peter into handling Tony’s defense… which doesn’t look too good because he was arrested at the scene of the murder with his gun still smoking... District Attorney Myra Scot. and also stumbles onto a group of people who are pirating DVD copies of recently released major motion pictures. Peter once again gets involved with who he thinks might be ‘Miss Right. After what Suzi does to solve the mystery and destroy Myra’s case in court. Unfortunately. Suzi’s friend Tony... A dock neighbor of Peter’s. he is a suspended police officer with a known dislike for people who are the color of his alleged victim..
.. As in past adventures.Gene Grossman #6: The Common Law Peter Sharp encounters a client with amnesia.. but who also has absolutely no recollection of the crime he is charged with committing.. In lieu of his memory... California… the vessel that Peter still doesn’t know how to drive. who is the county’s chief prosecutor. The law firm is still operating from their 50foot Grand Banks trawler yacht in Marina del Rey.. 175 .. and Stuart’s employees Vinnie and Olive – who are having some disagreement as to whether or not they’re legally married.The RELUCTANT JURIST. The usual crew also gets involved. One way or another each of Peter’s cases winds up being a conflict with his ex-wife Myra... Laverne the ‘amorous houseboat lady’. Peter’s obtains video surveillance footage that establishes his client’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. little Suzi B. and last but not least... He also may be more closely involved with FBI Special Agent in Charge Bob Snell than before. including Peter’s close friend Stuart.. Jack Bibberman the investigator. and her big Saint Bernard. all involved continue to visit the local haunts. Suzi’s new friend Lotus and her mother also play an interesting part in this adventure as Peter finds that he is fighting a ring of credit-card fraud experts... as they share a dangerous high-speed situation on a winding road. who not only can’t tell Peter what his own name is..
.’ with steel doors in place... the alleged murderer is believed to have committed the crime and successfully escaped from a room that could only later be opened by a crew using blowtorches. she must convince Peter to handle the case... Unfortunately. which he does under one condition: Suzi must help him by solving the mystery of this locked-room murder..Gene Grossman #7: The Magician’s Legacy Little Suzi has decided that she wants to study magic in this eighth legal adventure she participates in. 176 .. Somehow. her teacher is the main suspect in what appears to be an ‘impossible’ crime… the shooting of a man in his completely locked ‘safe room.. and no windows. This is the most baffling locked-room murder mystery of the century....The RELUCTANT JURIST....’ In order for Suzi to clear her magic teacher of liability for this crime. Her task is made difficult because all events took place in a secure ‘panic room... Suzi is especially motivated to solve this enigma when she learns that an attorney who she dislikes may be involved.
The RELUCTANT JURIST....... but winds up getting stuck hearing a big criminal trial involving a devious attorney as the defendant… the same attorney who Peter crossed swords with in a previous situation.. who all seem to have been infected at the same conference they attended.. This is the second adventure that Peter and Suzi B.Gene Grossman #8: The Reluctant Jurist There’s a mini flu epidemic going around in Los Angeles and it has especially taken its toll among Superior Court Judges in Santa Monica.. Peter has been ‘drafted’ to fill in as a temporary judge for some civil matters... 177 . Suspense enters the picture when Peter’s legal ward Suzi fails to appear as guest of honor at her own birthday party... have been involved where Suzi’s Saint Bernard may be partly responsible for a successful conclusion.... and every local state and Federal peace officer in California wants to locate her.
. coming from their host’s study. When Peter’s new romantic interest invites him to a cocktail party........Gene Grossman #9: The Final Case Suzi dislikes a certain devious attorney who Peter keeps coming up against.. Suzi won’t let go of this one..... and district attorney.The RELUCTANT JURIST. she keeps working to prove her suspicions about that devious attorney and his connections to what Suzi believes must have been murder. Against everyone’s advice.. Other guests at the party include the chief of police. The conclusion to this mystery is a complete surprise to everyone. Suzi and the other guests are shocked by a loud noise down the hall. mayor... who unanimously conclude that the dead body they discover is the result of a suicide. She feels that he has no business being licensed to practice law in the State of California. 178 . Even Suzi is inclined to go along with their conclusion… until she learns that the devious attorney she dislikes may be involved in handling some legal matters for the deceased.
.#10: An Element of Peril In this tenth Peter Sharp Legal Mystery. The murder was witnessed by a large group of people outside of the victim’s house: they heard the screams from the upstairs bedroom and reportedly saw some of the action Somewhere behind the tangled mess of a downward-spiraling celebrity starlet. and if it is connected to the victim’s husband. a missing currency trader and a disappearing corpse. Suzi has failed to come up with any workable solution that can save Peter from certain defeat and humiliation in court. and Suzi is the only one who has a chance to come up with it. Peter faces a double task: defending a person who is charged with murder. attorney Peter Sharp and his legal ward Suzi must find where the truth lies. who has been a fugitive from justice for many years. who was allegedly killed in a completely locked room. last-minute solution is the only thing that can save Peter’s case. As in the past. and also trying to locate the missing victim. a battling married couple. A surprise. while Peter’s client’s trial nears.
because an aggressive prosecutor will pull out all the stops to try and punch holes in it.. Peter is forced into a role he never thought he’d be playing: that of a prosecutor: it will be his job to figure out how the defendant could be in two places at once. it will fall apart and lead to a conviction In this eleventh adventure of the Peter Sharp Legal Mysteries. 180 .Gene Grossman #11: A Good Alibi In Latin. just having an alibi isn’t enough..... because it can mean the difference between a long sentence or walking free.. and if it doesn’t survive intense scrutiny....The RELUCTANT JURIST... and break down the most airtight alibi he’s ever seen..” and to any person charged with a crime.... it is an extremely valuable asset to have. Unfortunately. the word “alibi” literally means “somewhere else..
. and they don’t stop until the unexpected end of this twelfth Peter Sharp Legal Mystery...but when the case is called. the District Attorney...Gene Grossman #12: Legally Dead Nobody likes a killer. but sometimes you have to put your personal likes on hold when you’re a professional.. assures Peter that an agreed-to plea bargain is already in place.The RELUCTANT JURIST.... 181 . the surprises start.... and that’s what attorney Peter Sharp must do when the court appoints him to represent a professional killer who has specifically requested his services... Peter agrees to the contemplated one-hour of work as a court-appointed defense attorney and makes the required appearance .... so all he has to do is stand next to his client while the guilty plea is entered.. Peter’s ex-wife..
Grossman was the last person to sign off on this book......com Editor’s note: Mr..com 182 .Gene Grossman All thirteen of the Peter Sharp Legal Mysteries are available at most online booksellers and directly through the publisher at www. so if you see any blatant typos....... please pass the blame on to him through us at: editor@MagicLampPress..LegalMystery...The RELUCTANT JURIST..
Gene writes aboard his yacht in Marina del Rey. welder...The RELUCTANT JURIST. and law school as a shoe salesman. where he also taught classes.. Now retired from the practice of law. yellow Hummer.Gene Grossman About the Author Gene Grossman worked his way through high school.. real estate appraisal and buying foreclosed properties. bankruptcy. tire changer. He then spent 20 years as a trial lawyer.. and Laverne’s houseboat at www.petersharpbooks. bailbondsman...See pictures of Peter Sharp’s boats. process server.’ appearing in several motion pictures... saloon piano player and ‘extra... ...com 183 .. during which time he served as Dean of a small local law school. Suzi’s e-cart. California.. His film & video company produced over fifty special interest DVDs on various subjects like boating.. colleges.
.. Ph. Ph.com: By EDWIN H. ME E TINGW M N O E A C o m pre h e n s iv e G u ide to A p pro a c h in g a n d B e c o m in g A c q u a in te d w ith N e w F e m a le s How to get into the PORNO Industry Dr... Nick Shoveen.. SINCLAIR. NICK SHOVEEN.. The FEMALE-to-ENGLISH DICTIONARY A GUIDE To MEETING WOMEN HOW TO BE A PORNO PRODUCER 184 .. PUBLISH & PERISH the RELUCTANT JURIST the MAGICIAN’s LEGACY Before..D.Gene Grossman Other books from www. during...MagicLampPress.The RELUCTANT JURIST. Jr....D.. and after the auction $ SECRETS TO PERSONAL SUCCESS PUBLISH & PERISH BUYING FORECLOSED PROPERTIES By Dr...
magiclampdigital..com 185 ..The RELUCTANT JURIST... by Clarence Darrow the MAGICIAN’s LEGACY May Edginton Full details for all of these books.......Gene Grossman By BARRY NEAL Get Started & Manage Your Comedy Career CRIME Its Cause and Treatment Magic Lamp Press also offers several classic books that are now available for your pleasure....... as well as the entire 10-book set of Peter Sharp Legal Mysteries are at: www.