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1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND NPRFeaturing one of John. Featuring one of John Grisham’s most colorful, outrageous, and vividly drawn characters yet, Rogue Lawyer showcases the master of the legal thriller at his very best. On the right side of the law—sort of—Sebastian Rudd is not your typical street lawyer. He has no firm, no partners, no associates, and only one employee, his driver, who’s also his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddy. Sebastian Rudd is one of John Grisham’s most colorful, outrageous, and vividly drawn characters yet. Gritty, witty, and impossible to.
She, too, is showing signs of fatigue, though, at thirty-nine, she is still strikingly beautiful. The Associate. She remembers that particular Wednesday, remembers the cops coming out to the Pit, remembers Gardy being there all afternoon. If someone wanted to bomb or burn my apartment, it would be difficult without taking down the entire building. Look as sick and creepy and satanic as possible, Gardy, so that your peers will have no trouble with your guilt.
A subplot in this sad story is that my mother often uses her will to bully her children. My sister married a Republican and got herself cut out of the will. Now my sister is back in the will, or so we think.
Anyway, I was preparing to break up with Judith when she gave me the crushing news that she was pregnant. Later I learned the brutal truth that she was already seeing Gwyneth.
Talk about a shot to the gut. We got married. Mom said she changed her will and I would get not a penny. We lived together off and on for five wretched months, were technically married for fifteen more, and split to save our sanity.
This ritual of meeting once a month for drinks is our homage to forced civility. She has never been able to resist the little digs, the sophomoric cheap shots. She picks at the scabs, but not even in a clever way.
My tongue has scars. What could be wrong with taking a fairly normal seven-year-old boy to the zoo? The first drinks always disappear fast. Judith is one of four partners in a firm of ten women, all militant lesbians. The firm specializes in gay law—discrimination in employment, housing, education, health care, and the latest: The firm projects an image of being at war with society and never backing down. The outside fights, though, are far less colorful than the inside brawls.
In fact, men avoid them zealously. Mention the name of her firm and men run for the hills. Fine fellows caught screwing around jump off bridges. Do you ever miss sex with the opposite sex? Did you ever like it? You seemed to. You were pretty wonderful, as I recall.
Then she ran to Gwyneth. I doubt it. I must say she has a good eye. I loathed Gwyneth, still do, but the woman could stop traffic on any street in town.
And her current partner, Ava, once modeled lingerie for a local department store. I remember her ads in the Sunday newspaper. Look, Judith, every time I see you I think about sex. My problem, not yours. Have another drink. The alcohol kicks in—it takes longer for her because she is naturally wound tighter—and Judith manages a grin, the first of the evening. Could be the first of the week. There is a long, heavy gap in the conversation as we get bored.
We walk together out of the bar, dutifully peck each other on the cheek, and say good-bye. Another box checked off. I loved her once, then I truly hated her. Now I almost like Judith, and if we can continue these monthly meetings, we might become friends.
I live on the twenty-fifth floor of a downtown apartment building, with a partial view of the river. If someone wanted to bomb or burn my apartment, it would be difficult without taking down the entire building. There is some crime downtown, so we live with plenty of video surveillance and guards with guns. I feel secure. They fired bullets into my old apartment, a duplex on the ground floor, and they firebombed my old office five years ago.
Some of these people hide behind badges. Briggs company in Boston. I won it in a lawsuit, had it perfectly restored and then carefully reassembled smack in the middle of my den.
Shooting pool against myself is an escape, a stress reliever, and cheap therapy.
When the insomnia hits and my walls are closing in, I can often be found at The Rack at two in the morning playing nine ball alone, in another world and quite happy. Not tonight, though. I pull my slightly graying hair into a tight ponytail and stuff it under the T-shirt. I change glasses and select a pair rimmed in light blue.
I adjust my cap—also a bright yellow that matches the jacket, with the name Zapate across the front. I feel sufficiently disguised and the evening should go well.
Partner drives me to the old city auditorium, eight blocks from my apartment, and drops me off in an alley near the building. A crowd is swarming out front. Loud rap booms across the front plaza. Spotlights sweep maniacally from building to building. Bright digital signs advertise the main event and the undercard. Half of that if he loses. In a hallway, somewhere deep under the arena, I hear two security guards talking. One is claiming the evening is a sellout.
Five thousand fans. I flash my credentials and get waved through another door, then another. I enter the dark locker room and the tension hits like a brick. His cousin Leo is massaging his shoulder blades. The lotion makes his light brown skin glisten. I ease around the room and speak to Norberto, his manager, Oscar, his trainer, and Miguel, his brother and workout partner.
They smile when they speak to me because I, the lone gringo, am viewed as the man with the money. They all do. Tadeo has been one of the gang since he was initiated at the age of fifteen but has never aspired to a leadership position.
Instead, he found some old boxing gloves, discovered a gym, and then discovered he had freakishly quick hands. His brother Miguel also boxed, but not as well.
Miguel runs the gang and has a nasty reputation on the street. The more Tadeo wins the more he earns, and the more I worry about dealing with his gang.
He opens his eyes, looks up, suddenly smiles, and pulls out the earphones. The massage ends abruptly as he sits on the edge of the table. His prefight ritual includes avoiding a good shave for a week, and with his scraggly beard and mop of black hair he sort of reminds me of the great Roberto Duran. His mother has documents and works in a cafeteria. She also has an apartment full of kids and relatives and I get the impression that whatever Tadeo earns gets divided many ways.
Show me the blood. His voice is low, his words slow, the usual prefight jitters where fear clouds all thoughts and your stomach churns. I know. A long time ago, I had five Golden Gloves boxing matches.
I was 1—4 until my mother found out about my secret career and mercifully brought it to an end. But I did it. I had the guts to step into the ring and get the shit knocked out of me. It takes more courage, more in-your-face raw guts, than any sport since the gladiators battled to the death.
Sure, many others are dangerous—downhill skiing, football, hockey, boxing, car racing.
More people die on horses each year than in any other sport. When you walk into the cage, you will get hurt, and it could be ugly, painful, even deadly. The next round could well be your last. The minutes drag by as the fighter fights his nerves, his bowels, his fears.
The waiting is the worst part. I leave after a few minutes so Tadeo can go back into his zone. I weave through the maze of corridors in the depths of the arena, and I can hear the crowd roaring in echoes, thirsting for blood.
I find the right door and step inside. We meet before the fights and place our wagers. Some use their real names, others do not.
Slide dresses like a street pimp and has served time for murder. Nino is a mid-level meth importer who served time for trafficking. Johnny has no criminal record yet and owns half of the fighter Tadeo will face tonight.
Denardo drops hints of Mafia ties, but I doubt his criminal activity is that well organized. He aspires to promote MMA events and longs to live in Vegas. Frankie is the old guy, a local fixture in the fight scene for decades. So these are my boys. We go down the card and start the betting. Three thousand, and no takers. I chide them, cuss them, ridicule them, but they know Tadeo is on a roll. We cover the card with all manner of wagers, and Frankie, the scribe, records it all.
The fights begin and I roam around the arena, killing time. I know that by now Tadeo is laid out on a table, motionless, covered by a thick quilt, saying his prayers to the Virgin Mary and listening to filthy Latin rap. There is nothing I can do to help, so I find a spot on an upper level, high above the ring, and take in the show. It is indeed a sellout, and the fans are as loud and crazed as ever. We want to see bleeding eyes, gashes across the forehead, choke holds, bone-ripping submissions, and brutal knockout punches that send the corners scrambling for the doctor.
Mix in a flood of cheap beer, and you have five thousand maniacs begging for blood. I eventually work my way back to the locker room, where things are coming to life. The first two fights ended with early knockouts, so the evening is moving quickly. Norberto, Oscar, and Miguel put on their glowing yellow jackets, same as mine, and Team Zapate is ready for the long walk to the cage.
Oscar tends to the facial wounds, if any. From the moment we hit the floor, everything becomes a blur. Along the tunnel, drunk fans reach for Tadeo and scream his name. Cops shove people out of our way. They want more, another fight, preferably one to the death. An announcer yells his name over the PA, and our man bounces into the cage in his bright yellow trunks and robe.
He plays defense well and looks for a takedown. He wrapped his last opponent into a pretzel and made him scream for mercy. Right now I loathe the Jackal, but deep down I admire the hell out of him. Any man who can climb into the cage has far more spine than the average guy.
The bell rings for round 1, three minutes of fury. Tadeo the boxer bores in straight ahead and immediately has the Jackal backing up. They go down, land hard, and the Jackal has him in a scissors hold. For a long minute, the action dies as Tadeo squirms and wiggles and we hold our breath. The Jackal lost the first round, so, like many fighters, he starts pressing in the second round. He wants to get inside, to get his wiry arms fixed into some manner of vile death grip, but Tadeo reads him perfectly.
Thirty seconds in, Tadeo does a classic left-right-left combo and knocks his opponent squarely onto his butt.
Tadeo then makes a common mistake as he attempts to launch himself like an idiot onto the Jackal, much like a manic dive-bomber lunging for the kill. The Jackal manages to kick with his right foot, a brutal blow that hits Tadeo just above the crotch. He stays on his feet as the Jackal scrambles to his, and for a second or two neither man pushes the action. They finally shake it off and begin circling. He opens a cut above his right eye and widens it with a relentless barrage.
The Jackal has the bad habit of throwing a wild fake left hook just before he ducks and comes in low at the knees, and he tries this one time too often. Tadeo reads it, times it perfectly, and executes his finest trick, a blind elbow spin, a move that takes balls because for a split second his back is turned to his opponent.
Lights out. The Jackal is out before he lands on the mat. The rules allow Tadeo to pounce on him for a few shots to the face, to properly finish him off, but why bother? Tadeo just stands in the center of the ring, hands raised, staring down, admiring his work as the Jackal lies as still as a corpse.
The referee is quick to stop it all. Somewhat nervously, we wait a few moments as they try and revive him. The crowd wants a stretcher, a casualty, something to talk about at work, but the Jackal eventually comes to life and starts talking.
He sits up, and we relax. Or try to. Tadeo walks over to him, says something nice, and they make peace. As we leave the cage, I follow Tadeo and smile as he slaps hands with his fans and soaks up another win. He made a couple of boneheaded moves that would get him killed against a ranked opponent, but all in all it was another promising fight.
I try and savor the moment and think about the future and the potential earnings, maybe some sponsorships. It takes a second or two for this to register because no one in this crowd should possibly recognize me.
A heavyset woman of twenty-five with purple hair, piercings, enormous boobs exploding from just under a skintight T-shirt, pretty much the typical classy gal at the cage fights. Rudd, the lawyer? I nod. The Gardy Baker trial. I helped select them. Some I wanted, most I did not. I think I know their politics, religions, biases, and feelings about criminal justice. She could be wearing a mike.
Nothing surprises me. I am stunned to hear this. They have no proof. I want to laugh at this. At this precise moment, I am violating the rules of ethics and perhaps a criminal statute as well. And Judge Kaufman would blow a gasket. Fat chance.
This gal is here for the fights. That jury, along with the rest of the town, convicted my client the day he was arrested. Her mother, Glynna Roston, gives every indication of being the model Milo citizen—uneducated, narrow-minded, and determined to be a heroine for her community in its time of need.
Monday morning will be interesting. So far Glynna has not been afraid to return my looks. I shake it off and return to reality. The heavyweight fight lasts for a full forty seconds with my favorite still standing. We meet in the same dark room with the door locked, and the trash talk is brutal.
All six of us pull cash from our pockets. Frankie has the notes and keeps it all straight. That will go on the books for IRS purposes; this cash will not.
Partner and I go to a quiet bar and have some drinks. It takes a couple to settle me down. Jack Peeley is a former boyfriend of the mother of the two Fentress girls.
Peeley lasted about a year and got the boot when she met a used-tractor dealer with a little cash and a house without wheels. She moved up and Peeley moved out, with a broken heart. He was the last person seen near the girls when they disappeared. Early on, I asked the police why they did not treat him as a suspect, or at least investigate him, and their lame response was that they already had their man.
Gardy was in custody and confessing right and left. I strongly suspect Jack Peeley killed the girls in some sick act of revenge. And, if the cops had not stumbled onto Gardy, they might have eventually questioned Peeley. Gardy, though, with his frightening appearance, satanic leanings, and history of sexual perversion, became the clear favorite and Milo has never looked back. On Saturday night, we ease into the gravel parking lot at around ten, and the place is packed, wall-to-wall pickups.
We have our own, a rented Dodge club cab with Ram power and big tires, perhaps a bit too shiny for this joint but then it belongs to Hertz, not me. Behind the wheel, Partner is pretending to be a redneck but is a pathetic excuse for one. Tadeo and Miguel jump from the rear seat and casually walk through the front door. He looks them over and does not approve. They are, after all, darker-skinned Hispanics.
Such a cracker dive has zero appeal to any sensible black guy. Tadeo and Miguel order a beer at the crowded bar and do a passable job blending in. They get some stares but nothing bad. If these fat, drunk rednecks only knew. Tadeo could take out any five with his bare hands in less than a minute. Miguel, his brother and sparring partner, could take out four.
They order another beer and kill some time. The table is covered with empty beer bottles, and all four are chomping away on roasted peanuts. At the far end a band cranks up and a dozen folks ease that way for a dance.
Evidently, Peeley is not a dancer. Tadeo sends me a text: They kill some more time. Partner and I sit and watch and wait, nervous as hell.
Who can predict the outcome of a brawl in a roomful of drunken idiots, half of whom carry NRA membership cards? Peeley and his buddy head to a pool table and get ready for a game. Their women stay in the booth, eating peanuts, swilling beer. Before he can swing his cue, Tadeo hits him with three punches that no one can possibly see.
Left-right-left, each landing on an eyebrow, where the cuts are always easier, each drawing blood. Peeley goes down hard and it will be a while before he wakes up.
Miguel, though, intervenes and lands a hard fist at the base of his skull. A beer bottle cracks and splashes just above his head. Miguel is right behind him, angry voices calling after them. They lock the door, then scramble through a window. He thrusts his right hand forward and it is indeed covered with blood. We stop at a burger place, and I carefully scrape it clean. The monster who killed the Fentress girls bound their ankles and wrists together with their shoelaces, then threw them in a pond.
Both she and Raley had light blond hair. Said it was too expensive. No one missed it. Partner and I speed away to Milo for another grueling week of lies. Typically, though, things do not go as planned. The courtroom is once again packed and I marvel at the crowd. Gardy is in relatively good spirits. They keep him locked down in solitary, usually with the lights off because they know he killed the Fentress twins and the harsh punishment should start now. My spirits are better because Gardy took a shower over the weekend.
We kill some time waiting for Judge Kaufman. Huver, the prosecutor, is not at his table at 9: His gang of Hitler Youth assistants have deeper frowns than usual.
Something is going on. We run back to chambers to fistfight over something we want to keep away from the public. But why bother?
I walk into an ambush. The court reporter is there, ready to capture it all. Judge Kaufman is pacing, in his shirt and tie, robe and coat hanging on the door. Huver stands smug and grim-faced by a window.
The bailiff shuts the door behind me and Kaufman throws some papers on the table. They do not respond. She signed it Marlo Wilfang before a notary public. Knock it off, Mr. I tell my version, accurately, perfectly, without a single word of embellishment. She can recognize me. How am I supposed to recognize her? Does this make any sense? They are convinced they have me nailed. I hammer away: She deliberately planned all of this. She bumped into me, had a conversation, then prepared this affidavit, probably in your office, Huver, and she is lying.
Do something, Judge. Get up off your ass and do the right thing for a change. I want a mistrial at this point. I want to provoke these two into doing something really stupid. Keep the jury out, call this fine young lady to the witness stand, and let me cross-examine her. She wants to get involved in this trial, bring her on.
Her mother is obviously biased and unstable and I want her off the jury. I told her the same thing I would say to any other person on the face of this earth—your case is built on nothing but a bunch of lying witnesses and you have no credible proof.
We can come back in six months and have this party all over again. A fringe lawyer like me is constantly flirting with ethical boundaries. Jail time is a badge of honor. We go silent for a few minutes. The court reporter stares at her feet, and if given the chance she would sprint from the room, knocking over chairs in the process. At this point, Huver is terrified of a reversal, of having his great conviction frowned upon by an appellate court that sends it back for another trial.
What he wants is that glorious date in the future when he drives, probably with a reporter in the car with him, to a prison called Big Wheeler, where the State keeps its death house. Afterward, he, Huver, will find the time to chat somberly with the press and describe the burdens his office places upon him. State v. It will make his career. They were convinced they had me by the balls. What foolishness.
Nailing me with some bogus improper contact charge will not help their case and cause at this point. They have Gardy all but convicted and sentenced to die, and for fun they thought it would be cute to take a bite out of me.
I insist on getting this into the record. Kaufman looks at Huver and both seem to lose air. The court reporter is getting every word. He has to make a decision, and a wrong one could jeopardize everything. Gardy has to have a lawyer, a real one, and they simply cannot proceed with me in jail. A few seconds pass and tempers cool. To do so is to hand me some heavy ammo for the appeal. I have the right to defend myself.
Pick your poison. They are listening because they are suddenly frightened and woefully inexperienced. They are novices. Huver has sent only one man to death row, an embarrassment for any prosecutor around here. Two years ago he bungled a death case so badly the judge not Kaufman was forced to declare a mistrial. The charges were later dismissed. They are in over their heads and they have just blundered badly. No layperson speaks like this.
Did your office prepare it, Huver? Huver, trying to remain cool but now far beyond desperate, says something that not even Kaufman can believe: Rudd sits over in the jail.
Trots has said nothing so far and it would be wise if that boy just continues sitting there with that stupid look on his face. What a moron. A trial often resembles a bad circus as various acts spin out of control.
What began as a fun-and-games attempt to humiliate me now looks like a terrible idea, at least for them. Bennie Trots. What a joke. You would want him in the first chair. Glynna Roston. Huver begins fidgeting and stammering. This, uh, just seems so unnecessary at this point. Huver retreats to the window, where he stares onto the rows of shabby buildings that comprise the Main Street of Milo.
The air is strained and tense. A weighty decision must be made, and quickly, and if His Honor gets it wrong the aftershocks will ripple for years. What follows is one of those episodes in a trial that frustrate litigants, jurors, and observers.
Glynna Roston is dragged in, put under oath, and is almost too terrified to speak. She begins lying immediately when she says she has not discussed this case with her family. On cross-examination, I attack with a vengeance that seems to astonish even Kaufman and Huver. She leaves the room sobbing. Next, they drag in her daffy daughter, Ms. As her story goes, she came home from the fights late on Friday. When she finally woke up on Saturday, she called her mother, who immediately called Mr.
Dan Huver, who knew exactly what to do. They met in his office on Sunday afternoon, worked out the language for the affidavit, and, presto! Huver was in business. I call Huver as a witness. He objects. We argue, but Kaufman has no choice. I question Huver for an hour, and two bobcats trapped in the same burlap sack would be much more civilized. One of his assistants wrote every word of the affidavit.
One of his secretaries typed it. Another secretary notarized it. He then questions me and the squabbling continues. Throughout this tedious ordeal, the jurors wait in the deliberation room, no doubt briefed by Glynna Roston and no doubt blaming me for another frustrating delay in the trial. As if I care. I keep reminding Kaufman and Huver that they are playing with a cobra here. I repeatedly move for a mistrial. The motions are repeatedly denied. Late in the afternoon, Kaufman decides to excuse Mrs.
Roston and replace her with Ms. Mazy, one of our blue-ribbon alternates. No one in Milo would be better. You could select twelve from a pool of a thousand and every jury would look and vote the same. So why did I burn so much clock today? To hold them accountable. To scare the hell out of them with the scenario that they—prosecutor and judge, duly elected by the locals—could screw up the most sensational case this backwater hick town has ever seen. To collect ammunition for the appeal. And, to make them respect me.
I demand that Marlo Wilfang be prosecuted for perjury, but the prosecutor is tired. I demand she be held in contempt. He sends for a bailiff, one with handcuffs. It was so long ago. Plus, you insulted me. There are so many ways to respond to this nonsense, but I decide to let it pass. Nine to zero.
You clowns should read your cases. Another large deputy joins our little parade. They take me through the back doors and down the rear hallway I use every day. For some reason we pause on a landing as the deputies mumble into their radios.
When we finally step outside, I get the impression that word was leaked. A cheer goes up by my haters when they see me frog-marched out, handcuffed. For no apparent reason, the cops stall as they try to decide which patrol car to use. I stand by one, exposed, smiling at my little mob. He is stunned and confused.
For sport, they shove me into the same backseat with Gardy; lawyer and client, off to jail. Guess who won? I chuckle for the first time in many hours. Gardy is amused by this unexpected change in routine.
I have a knack for pissing off judges. Minutes later we stop in front of a s-style flat-roofed building with several additions stuck to its sides like malignant tumors. We park; they yank us out of the car and jostle us inside a cramped open room where some cops lounge around pushing paper and acting like badasses. Gardy disappears into the rear, and when an unseen door opens I can hear prisoners yelling in the background. He stops, uncertain as to what exactly a jailer is supposed to do when confronting an angry lawyer sent over for contempt.
He backs away. She curses, reminds me of how busy she is, then says all right. I call Partner and give him the update. I change in a filthy bathroom, carefully arranging my shirt, tie, and suit on one hanger. I have to wear it tomorrow. The others break down too at this real knee-slapper, and I smile like a good sport.
Always Spam on Monday. On the bunk beds are two young black men, one reading, the other napping. My two new cellies do not appear the least bit friendly. I love federal court, most of the time. She also sends a copy of her petition to my favorite reporter at the newspaper. The napper on the top bunk rolls over and joins the fun. An hour later, a jailer fetches me with the news that I have a visitor. I follow him through a maze of narrow hallways and find myself in a cramped room with a Breathalyzer.
This is where they bring the drunk drivers. The Bishop stands and we shake hands. I thank him for coming but caution him about doing so. Plus, he knows how to lie low and stay under the radar.
He also knows the police chief, the cops, the judge—the usual small-town crap. The more we talk, the more I like the guy. We chat for ten minutes and he says good-bye. Common sense is not always my strong suit, but I decide not to start a fight with Fonzo and Frog, my two new partners in crime.
Instead I sit in my chair all night and try to nap. I said no to the Spam for dinner and no to the putrid eggs and cold toast for breakfast.
Thankfully, no one mentions a shower. They bring me my suit, shirt, tie, shoes, and socks, and I dress quickly. I say good-bye to my cellies, both of whom will be behind bars for several years, regardless of the brilliant advice I dispensed for hours. Gardy and I are given separate rides back to the courthouse.
Partner is waiting in the hallway. Metro section, third page. No big deal—Rudd is thrown in jail again. Both wear smirks and are curious to see how I survived the night. You too, Mr. My lawyers filed it yesterday afternoon. An emergency hearing to get me out of jail. You guys started this crap, now I have to finish it. The bailiff hands over some paperwork and Huver and Kaufman scan it quickly. Thought he was dead. He has no right to notify me to be present for a hearing of any kind.
If the lawyers could vote for the craziest federal judge in the land, Arnie Samson would win in a landslide. If he starts trouble, tell the sheriff to arrest him. The sheriff arresting a marshal. We have a trial to resume here. What kinda stupid question is that? I figure one night in the slammer is enough for your behavior. Hell, Judge Samson might throw the both of you in jail for a night or two.
We eventually make it back to the courtroom, and it takes some time to get everyone settled. When the jury is brought in, I refuse to look at them. So I give them nothing. This is an amateurish ploy designed to make my life even more miserable. He has no choice but to excuse the jury. We spend the next two hours haggling over whether or not the State has presented enough proof to keep going.
I repeat the same arguments. Kaufman makes the same rulings. My first witness is a scraggly, troubled kid who looks remarkably similar to my client. The Fentress girls went missing around 4: They left school on their bikes but never made it home. A search began around 6: By midnight, the entire town was in a panic and everyone was outside with a flashlight. Their bodies were found in the polluted pond around noon the following day. I have six witnesses, Wilson and five others, who will testify that they were with Gardy on that Wednesday afternoon from around 2: They were at a place called the Pit, an abandoned gravel pit in the middle of some dense woods south of town.
Gardy was there when someone else abducted and murdered the Fentress girls. Or can it? By the time Wilson takes the stand and is sworn in, the jurors are suspicious.
His scalp is skinned above the ears and yields to a bright orange Mohawk roaring down the center. Sadly, he is. As rehearsed, we walk through that Wednesday afternoon. Huver annihilates him on cross-examination. Drinking, and drugging, just a bunch of deadbeats, right?
Wilson does a lousy job of denying this. After fifteen minutes of abuse, Wilson is disoriented, afraid he might be charged with some crime. Huver hammers away, a bully on the playground. But because Huver is not too bright, he goes too far. You kids keep a calendar out there at the Pit? That was the day. And Gardy had been there all afternoon. Evidently, when there is a crime in Milo slightly more serious than littering, the police rush out to the Pit and make accusations.
Harass the usual suspects. Gardy says he remembers the cops asking about the missing girls. The cops, of course, do not remember seeing Gardy at the Pit. None of this matters. This jury is not about to believe a word Wilson says. Next, I call a witness with even less credibility. They call her Lolo, and the poor child has lived under bridges and in box culverts for as long as she can remember.
The boys protect her and in return she keeps them satisfied.
She remembers that particular Wednesday, remembers the cops coming out to the Pit, remembers Gardy being there all afternoon. For food! Huver makes this sound like she deserves the death penalty. We plow ahead. I call my alibi witnesses, who tell the truth, and Huver makes them look like criminals. Such is the lunacy and unfairness of the system.
But the witnesses who know the truth, and are telling it, are discounted immediately and made to look like fools. And to win, with no real evidence, Huver must fabricate and lie and attack the truth as if he hates it. I have six witnesses who swear my client was nowhere close to the scene when the crime was committed, and all six are scoffed at.
I show the jurors a map of their lovely town. There is no physical proof that the Fentress girls were sexually assaulted; yet every miserable redneck in this awful place believes Gardy raped them before he killed them. The blood Tadeo brutally extracted from the forehead of Jack Peeley matches the strand of hair the murderer left behind in the shoelaces he tightly bound around the ankles of Jenna Fentress, age eleven.
Partner and I leave the motel in the dark and are almost to Milo before we see the first hint of light in the east. I meet with the Bishop in his office as the town slowly comes to life.
He calls Judge Kaufman at home, gets him up and out of bed, and at 8: All of what follows will be on the record. I lay out my options. If they refuse to stop the trial, dismiss the case, and send everybody home—and this is what I expect them to do—then I will either 1 issue a subpoena for Jack Peeley, have him hauled into court, put him on the stand, and expose him as the killer; or 2 go to the press with the details of the DNA testing; or 3 announce to the jury what I know; or 4 do all of the above; or 5 do nothing, let them get their conviction, and slaughter them on appeal.
For the tenth time I explain that Peeley 1 knew the girls, 2 was seen near the pond when they disappeared, and 3 had just broken up with their mother after a long, violent romance.
They are bewildered, stunned, at times almost incoherent as reality settles in. Their bogus and corrupt prosecution has just unraveled. They have the wrong man! They cling to their theories. You wanna argue that on appeal? I think Gardy Baker was involved in this crime. I can get a conviction.
I want to go forward. I keep going: Meanwhile, Jack Peeley will disappear. At some point during the day, the judge and the prosecutor meet secretly. The rules of procedure prohibit such clandestine meetings, but they happen. These guys need an exit strategy, and fast. At this desperate hour, they are still more concerned with politics than with the truth. All they care about is saving face. Partner and I return to the City, where I spend the day working on other cases.
I convince the lab to e-mail the test results to Judge Kaufman, and by noon he knows the truth. I get the phone call. Jack Peeley has just been arrested. A dismissal in open court would be far too embarrassing for the system, so the judge and the prosecutor have conspired to do it behind closed doors, and as quickly as possible.
I sit at a table with Gardy by my side and listen as Dan Huver limps through a tepid motion to dismiss the charges. When the paperwork is signed, Gardy is a free man. Jonas S. Msigala Category: Share Embed Donate. Rudd represents people people whom w hom would have not been otherw ise touc touched hed by the system.
This is is a very enjoyable enjoyable read that takes take s a narr narrative ative tack that t hat is is very ve ry interest interestin ing g and comments on the state of the legal system in in the t he USUS - one that requires requires a lot of reforms. Starting from minor prosecutions in town through mischances in the suburban to bigger-city notoriety and death-row, this novel scrutinizes the little idealized aspects of the legal career as Rudd is representing those people whom other lawyers would not dare to represents and as well some of the unpleasant aspects of the legal career system and broader society in the US… Continued Story Setting Rogue Lawyer has been set for the most part in a city that is ambiguous, predominantly in the western US this can be judged by the… Continued Plot Analysis The text of this novel reads as a series of novellas that are connect, more like some series of shorter works- extended treatment… Continued Main and Secondary Character List: The novel has been centered on Sebastian Rudd, who is the rogue lawyer of this title.
Brief chapters have been given a shorter summary. Part One: Partner, a former client of Rudd… Continued.