Thursday, March 12, 2009

elevators at the ccb

i'm on the elevator today in the ccb (folz justice center) and there's this young man wearing a suit and an enormous badge announcing he's with the DA's office who gets on and he's whistling. Not absent-mindedly - like people do but he's whistling like he's performing a symphony. We're not alone on the elevator. There's a couple of jurors and a couple of "clients" (could be anybody but they're not lawyers I can tell you that). I'm uncomfortable. People just don't whistle once they get on the elevator. His badge says he's with the DA's office. On the fifth floor a public defender gets on. The whistler continues. The PD shakes his head. the young DA stops whistling and as I get off the elevator says "whistling not allowed on the elevators?" This is a real question I'm sure. I turn and say "no, no whistling on the elevator."

Thursday, March 5, 2009


The elevator comes and Arthur goes silent. We walk out the front doors of the CCB. "So tell me what happened Arthur?" Arthur shrugs. "What do you think? The jury came back, guilty, murder in the first degree. They were out for every one of 15 minutes. They were not persuaded by Imelda at all. They knew Joker was the murderer. Could I blame them? Let’s go over to the Cathedral – I’ll buy you a coffee.” With my money – but what the hell my car is parked there anyway. At the Cathedral Arthur gets the coffees and a couple of donuts which he devours in a heartbeat. “The next day I get a call from a Father Walter Jacoby. He’s one of the priests at the church where Joker’s daughter’s baptism took place. It’s urgent that we meet, he says, could I come over to the church and talk to him? When was the last time I was inside a Roman Catholic Church with a priest? I’ll tell you, boychik, never. By the time I arrive, Father Walter is a nervous wreck. He's got to confess to someone, he says, even if it's a lawyer. He tells me how he had lied to my investigator when he had been interviewed. Father Walter had actually seen Joker that Christmas day on the steps outside the church door enjoying a cigarette. Father Walter, a secret smoker, had gone outside for a quick smoke, while Imelda and the baby were waiting for him to do the baptism. The priest wanted to make everything right because he was sure that Joker could not have done it. I wasn't too sure that we could do anything about it. It's not like it was DNA which is the only thing anybody believes in these days. And I don't believe in miracles do I? What’s truly miraculous about this is that the DA and the cops actually took this new evidence seriously. They believed this priest.
Even gave him a lie detector test. They convinced themselves that Joker was not there doing the killing that Christmas Day. The wrong guy. Because Joker hadn’t been sentenced yet there was still time to rectify this situation where justice had not prevailed, according to the DA. She scheduled a motion to dismiss the case notwithstanding the jury's verdict. I called Joker's parents to tell them the good news. Joker's sister answered the phone. She didn't even let me tell her the news. ‘Somebody stabbed him in jail. He’s dead.’ It could have been retaliation for the murder he was accused of or retaliation for another gang activity or something entirely unrelated. There were never any arrests made. It all happened on Christmas."