When John woke up, he had no way of knowing what time it was. From between the bars, he could see rays of light from a barred window at the end of the hallway. Although he did not yet realize it, his new attorney was at the front desk of the police station, trying to see him
"My name is Christopher Anderson, I'm with the Blair County Public Defender's Office, I'd like to see my client, John Turner please." the young man in the cheap suit said to the police officer at the front desk. The desk happened to be behind tinted, bullet-proof glass. To his right was a heavy-looking door with a keypad lock.
The woman on the other side of the glass pressed a button that allowed him to hear what she spoke into a microphone in front of her. "We don't get many attorneys here at the station; usually, they visit their clients at the county lockup."
Anderson smiled, "It's nice of you to keep the innocent ones here."
The woman shrugged, "County lockup was closed by the time we picked your client up. If you want to see him, sign here." She handed him a clipboard with a clean sheet of paper. Anderson signed and dated it, then returned it to the officer. The lock on the keypad buzzed, and an officer on the other side of the door Anderson had seen before opened it. The attorney was escorted to a meeting room at the end of a short hallway. It was one of the more pleasant conference rooms Anderson had seen. The ones at the County Jail had bare flourescent bulbs along the ceiling and old folding tables and chairs to aid attorneys and their clients in their conferences. Here, in the police station's conference room, which was apparantly used for any small meetings in the precinct that might occur, an oaken table was surrounded by twelve plush chairs. At one end of a room was a window looking out onto the police station's grass lawn. To one side of the window was a computer, to the other was a bookshelf completely filled with statute books and law manuals. Barely two minutes after Anderson sat down, his client entered the room, handcuffed and barefoot. The police officer escorting him physically sat him down in a chair across from Anderson, then looked at the attorney.
"I'll be outside so I can hear if anything gets violent in here."
Anderson smiled first at the officer, then at his client. "I don't think that will be necessary. Neither will the handcuffs."
Obligingly, the officer removed the handcuffs from Turner, then left. The attorney pulled out a legal pad from his briefcase, whipped out a pen from his front pocket, and began writing.
"My name is Christopher Anderson, and I am attorney with the Public Defender's office. My services are entirely yours for no fee. Although I am paid by the state, it is my job to ensure that they do not prosecute you. Do you understand?"
The man sitting across from him was in a particularly bad mood. Turner scowled at his lawyer, and looked away. Anderson sighed.
"Look, I realize jail is not a pleasant place. In about three hours, we have a bail hearing. Unless you start talking to me about yourself and what they're saying you did, there is no way I can make a good argument for you. If we do not do well at the bail hearing, you will be spending the next six months of your life in a county lockup that makes this place look like paradise on Earth. Are you listening to me?"
Turner stood up and banged on the table. "I didn't do it! I didn't do what they're sayin' I did!"
Anderson beckoned with his hands for the man to regain his composure and sit down. "No one I represent 'did it.' That's why I represent them. This police report looks kind of suspicious, though." Anderson reached into his briefcase and flipped through some papers that had been faxed over to his office the night before. "It says here that when the police tried to visit you at your apartment, you ran away. It also says that when they caught you, you had a gun." His eyes perused the rest of the page. "Your girlfriend, Juliann Boyle, was shot with a gun that the police alledge is of a similar caliber."
Turner's voice was low and dangerous. "I didn't kill nobody." After two minutes of dead silence between the two men, Turner slumped down in another chair.
"I'm just trying to help you. I can't help you unless you let me."
Turner sighed. "Look, the gun was mine. I have a license for it - perfectly legal and everything. It's a rough neighborhood. The thing is, I got a bit of marijuana in my drawer. I'm no dealer, and I ain't no addict or nothin' like that. It's just... I need something to calm me down every now and then, you know what I mean?"
Anderson began thinking to himself. "You were outside when they arrested you, so they haven't searched your room yet. In a few hours, they'll have a warrant, though. So even if you're innocent of this, we have to get the charges dropped, otherwise they'll have the probable cause to search your room and charge you with possession of a controlled substance."
Just as he was finishing his train of thought, Detective MacArthur opened the door of the conference room and strode in wielding a file.
"I just got off the phone with an assistant prosecutor. We don't have enough to hold you on murder. The gun we found on you does not match up with what we got from ballistics."
Anderson stood up. "The perfectly licensed gun, you mean? The one that he never pointed at a police officer?"
MacArthur looked at him. "Yeah, that's the one," he replied sarcastically.
Anderson continued as if the detective did not say a word, "My client did nothing illegal. The abrupt and unexplained appearance of two police officers at his front door merely frightened my client. He did not threaten them in any way, and merely wished to exercise his constitutional right to not speak to them."
MacArthur was not pleased at all. "That's why the D.A. advised us to let him walk. Just fill out a few papers, and he's free to go."
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The graphical bars are taken with permission from the CD-ROM accompanying Que Corporation's book Using HTML by Tom Savola.
The picture of the jail cell was taken by Detective Sergeant Stephen Wilde for the purposes of this project.
The music was taken with permission from the Americana CD-ROM.