Courtroom Nine


It was 9:25 and the first call of the list was almost over. Attorney Friggens had a big smile on.. He was completely finished with his four appearances and it was a beautiful early spring friday. He, like ninety percent of the lawyers in this town, played golf. To Friggens, nothing could be better in life than a round of golf with his wealthy, less than employed buddies, all of whom would have a mild scotch or Heineken buzz on before noon. Friggens was out of there and off to the links.

Attorney Kilpatrick, on the other hand, could not look more perturbed. He was figgiting excessively on the old wooden chairs behind counsel table, looking back to the door, then up at the bench. Yes, his client, Johnny Walsh, was likely to be the last alphabetically assigned defendant to be called by the clerk, but Friggen's client, Sammy Thomas had just plead to two in the house with three years probation to follow.... O.K. why should he care? Another defendant to default... But Johnny Walsh was no ordinary defendant.. He was a paying client, and a Dr. at that. Attorney Kilpatrick could not afford to lose the client (yes.. There was no doubt in his mind that if Judge Murphy threw Dr. Thomas in the lockup, which was not only his ususal was his only practice, he was toast. Thomas would be sure that there were more qualified counsel who could convince the court to wait for him, he being a busy doctor and all) .

Dr. Walsh had been charged with over prescribing the drug Oxycodone (commonly referred to as "percocet") When Kilpatrick first met with Dr. Walsh he remembered laughing to himself how could such a charge happen? Isn't that what doctors are supposed to do..give them drugs...make them feel better ...better living through chemistry and all. But this was no laughing matter. Dr. Walsh was charged with "felony distribution" like any two bag or rock dealer that regularly appeared before Judge Murphy in Courtroom Nine .

"How could such a charge against a well respected doctor happen? " Kilpatrick wondered.. Well its an election year and the politics in this county always begin with every candidate for District Attorney promising the voters that he or she was tougher on crime than the next guy or gal. The current acting DA, Emily VanBuren, was well versed in what it took to be elected. She had been appointed to this job and by God she was going to keep it, keep it by showing the public that she was tough not just on the average street bum, but tough on even the "affluent Dr. Walsh who has been profiting by over prescribing quantities of Oxycodone, three time the average doctor in this state" (or so proclaimed her press release).

Kilpatrick wasn't even sure if the DA knew the difference between Oxycodone (percocet) and the more powerful, daylong lasting, Oxycontin, which had recently become the latest fad drug, street heroin, with every junky robbing every other pharmacist for the stuff by way of some crazy threatening note. Dr. Walsh was, on the other hand a sports doctor, not an orthopedic specialist, but still a well known sports doctor that every overworked college athlete in town regularly saw. The coaches loved him, he eased the pain and kept them playing. The prosecution was based on nothing more than statistics but it was a statistic the DA could not pass up, this being an election year and all.

But where was he? Where was this pill pushing doctor? The clerk was looking at Kilpatrick and Kilpatrick was looking back at the door, not even noticing the TV camera and the bench full of reporters who were ready to prance on Dr. Walsh or his lawyer as soon as they got the chance. "JOHN WALSH, JOHN WALSH, come to the bar" the clerk called out... But there was no movement towards the podium, no response from anyone, and eyes were darting everywhere.. Kilpatrick was momentarily frozen.. This was it..Judge Murphy was going to default the good doctor and throw him in jail.. It wasn't a was going to happen, Kilpatrick just didn't know when because Walsh was nowhere to be seen..

"MR. KILPATRICK, WHERE IS YOUR CLIENT?" Judge Murphy bellowed. "I, I...." Kilpatrick tried to reply but nothing coherent was coming from his mouth.....he was waiting for Murphy to give his standard remark in situations like this.. "Default, no bail, when he arrives, bailiff take the defendant into custody and we'll hold the bail hearing tomorrow. " But that's not what happened.. "Well, we'll take five minutes..." Judge Murphy matter of factly stated as he quickly left the bench. "What?" Kilpatrick thought, "This is not the Judge Murphy everybody loved to hate.. and fear." No sooner had the judge left the bench when Dr. Walsh waltzes into the courtroom.."

"Johnny, WHERE were you ?.Your going to be thrown in jail" Kilpatrick (still wondering if Murphy will do just that) is screaming at his client, although at the same time, trying not to piss his client off enough to fire him.. "Hold on, Hold on" Dr. Walsh replied, "you didn't tell me they moved the courthouse... When did they do that I testified in the old courthouse as an expert witness just six months ago...".. "Oh shit" thought Kilpatrick." this is not the kind of excuse Judge Murphy likes to hear.." In fact he, had already defaulted two others today, who will be sitting in jail until Monday for that very same excuse.."

Well, within moments, Judge Murphy steps back to the bench. "JOHN WALSH, to the bar" calls the clerk. Kilpatrick begins to sweat, "what am I going to say" he thinks, almost out load. "Dr. Walsh," Judge Murphy calls down from the bench., thank you for coming" (in a most sarcastic tone). "Well, I'm sure Mr. Kilpartrick has explained the charges, a not guilty plea will be entered, pre-trial conference April 1, released on his promise to appear.." next case... BAM... Kilpatrick didn't have to say a word.

That was it, no default, no bail.. "How could this happen?." Kilpatrick thought. As Kilpatrick and Dr. Walsh left the courtroom to fall into the clutches of the waiting reporters, Dr. Walsh whispered into Kilpatrick's ear "I see Murphy about every other month, he says the percs help his bad back and his golf swing....."

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