Courtroom Nine

"Round the Clock"


"It sure looks like and smells like the same Darren Smith (a chronic alcoholic that had been in and out of detox in between a rash of car burglaries) that I granted bail to last week" smirked Judge Murphy as he ordered Mr. Smith committed without bail, shunning off the protests of his lawyer Edwin Myer. Mr. Edwin Myer, despite his two year experience in the litigation section of the City's largest law firm, had been a public defender for only 3 weeks, 2 and 1/2 days. He had spent the last 20 minutes pleading to the judge that the Darren Smith before him had never been in the state prior to last Saturday, never mind the person to have committed the rash of car thefts that the Darren Murphy charged was alleged to have committed. With some luck, a bail appeal in 3 or 4 days will find a judge who understands that a "mistake" in the 'system is possible.

This Darren Smith was arrested less than 48 hours after he ventured into the City to visit the girl of his dreams, a coed at Westford State he had met on the Internet. Yet, he was before Judge Murphy who had less care of who this Darren Smith really was then what his wife had asked him to bring home for dinner. He was caught in the web, caught in the clock of justice that ticks every day in the Old Criminal Courts Building.

"Carlos Santana," "Carlos Santana would you please step to the podium ... and leave your guitar behind." Judge Murphy was trying to be cute but the only person who knew what he was talking about giggled at his remark. She was an overworked, overweight, probation officer who also had a friend that went to the original Woodstook.

Carlos, who luckily had made bail, stood at the podium with a blank look on his face. The Spanish interpreter stood near him but knew nothing of his case. Edwin Myer knew even less. "Trial date.. Mr. Myer," barked Judge Murphy. "I'm available next week" replied Meyer, hoping to get his feet wet trying cases in the grand Old Criminal Courts Building. He'd be ready..."put them in the box" he thought to himself.. .The clock of justice keeps ticking...

"Ready for sentencing?" Judge Murphy asked the elderly man with a worn out suit and holding a brief case who was trembling before him..."Any legal cause why sentence should not now be pronounced....?" Thomas Pomar, 68, had been a bookkeeper for thirty years at a large chemical company, a cherished employee until an audit discovered that he had been skimming the books to the tune of about $300,000 over the past 3 years. The skimming began soon after his son died from inhaling freon at a frat party in an attempt to make his voice lower. The skimming financed a three year drinking and gambling binge. Despite the malfeasance a probationary sentence was expected.

Pomar had hired Ken Lang, a prominent and expensive lawyer who had Pomar sell his house and move into a condominium in order to make some restitution. Even though only about one fifth of the money was paid back the victim's errors and omissions carrier (insurance had fully covered the loss) was so happy with the gesture, and the hope of further payment, that they endorsed the probationary sentence that the prosecution was going to recommend.

After Judge Murphy had heard the arguments of counsel and just as he was about to impose the sentence the phone next to him rang...which he immediately answered.. "Yes, Grace .. you have to come," Murphy's load and boisterous voice could be heard from the bench, despite the switch on the microphone being shut off ..... In less than two minutes Murphy was again yelling from the bench...

"Mr. Pomar your steps at restitution are certainly commendable. I am also mindful of your personal loss. I too have lost a loved one and I know what turmoil it can cause in one's life." A sigh of relief overcame Pomar. The perfuse sweating started to recede. "On the other hand, I feel that you are an educated man who was motivated by nothing less than greed. I therefore reject the recommendations of counsel and sentence you to a term of six years in the State Prison. Bailiffs please take him away.." ...The shocked cries of family members seemed to harmonize with Lane's objections to the judge as he fled the bench... The clock kept ticking as Courtroom Nine closed for the day...

Before most had completed their commute home, Judge Murphy had picked up his wife and was on his way to the evening fund raiser. His election was only four months away and tonight he would meet at one of the City's best restaurants with numerous corporate leaders who would hopefully contribute about $50,000 to his campaign (three people were running against him including one highly successful district attorney).

As he entered the restaurant he was met by Fred Wilson, the CEO of Best Technologies, the company that formerly employed Thomas Pomar. "Good luck Judge.. Keep up that excellent tough on crime stance," Wilson exclaimed as he shook Murphy's hand, sliding him his $1,000 contribution to his campaign. Murphy kept working the crowd...round the clock...

Day 5

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