JUSTICE DELAYED: SS; THIRTEEN

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic


Allan and Doctor Peter Davies are about to be removed from their jury service after Mr. Washington identifies them as being around his market thirty-six years ago on the Labor Day weekend when
Jemma Jefferson was murdered. They begin to plot their investigation in order to unearth the killer after so many years.

Chapter 13 (v.1) - REMOVAL AND RENEWAL

Submitted: October 30, 2016

Reads: 149

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Submitted: October 30, 2016

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JUSTICE DELAYED

A Novel

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Thirteen

 

I had to lean forward as far as I could to hear Mr. Washington. He was almost whispering.

His answer was barely audible despite the compete silence in the courtroom. 

“There, in seat number one, Mr. Hamilton. He was around on the weekend. In fact, he had been up for parties at Nevvy’s—Neville’s, for years; pretty much the full time I owned the market.”

Silence.

Then Mr. Washington very deliberately looked over each of the jury members once more.

His gaze stopped on those nearest the witness box.

“I’m pretty sure I saw that man, there,” Mr. Washington was pointing in the direction of Mr. Kingman and Doctor Davies, or was it one of the two that I thought he would point to?

However, Doctor Davies pointed at himself and moved his head to one side, in effect asking Mr. Washington if he meant him.

 “Yes, yes . . . you.”

“Are you pointing at Doctor Davies?” Judge Tan asked the witness.

“Yes, Your Honor, yes, the man with the white hair, there.”

Now it was definitely Doctor Davies.

Although it was clear that no one in the courtroom was talking, there was still a buzz of very low voices reflecting off the walls and the high ceiling.

Judge Tan began, “Well, thank you Mr. Washington. Ms.Falange, we are well past the lunch hour. We are going to take our noon break now. I take it you are through with Mr. Washington."

“For the moment, Your Honor, but I would like to think about it over the lunch hour.”

“Very well,” with a smile, “Mr. Washington, please return here after the lunch hour. "Both the attorneys—and perhaps I—might have some more questions for you. Thank you Mr. Washington.”

She gave him a very sincere nod of appreciation and turned to the jury. 

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we will finally let you go and have some lunch. But please be back here by one-thirty.” Judge Tan then gave the complete admonition.

*

“Well, now we’re in it, “gasped Peter Davies, “and I don’t like it; not one bit, Allan.”

They were at their accustomed table eating yet another astonishing creation of the ‘mute, inglorious Milton’, of a cook who was laboring in the basement of a courthouse cafeteria.

However, Allan and Peter were barely noticing the exquisite facets of the cuisine that was their lunch today. 

“Yeah, aren’t we though, Doctor.”

“Ah, please, Allan, Peter is . . .”

“Watson; I was referring to Doctor Watson.”

Doctor Peter Davies wore the foolish beaming grin of a ten-year-old who now held a position somewhere closer to the status of an Eagle Scout.

“Well,” clearly delighted, “ . . . well, Allan; does this mean I should call you Sherlock?”
Allan laughed a jovial laugh befitting his girth and leaned in toward his lunch companion and a man who he thought could become a good friend.

“No, no, Doctor,” managing a laugh despite a half-mouthful of lunch, “Al is just fine; Allan, I suppose is more properly English; but, whatever.” He laughed once more with added merriment. Doctor Davies joined him.

When the two recommenced their fine lunch, Allan spoke first.

“You know, Doctor, I know we’re not supposed to talk about the case but now that we are probably going to be dumped, I think we can talk freely about it.”

“How’s that, Allan?” asked Watson.

“Elementary, my dear Watson. If we are to be questioned as potential witnesses; and assuming that we have anything at all helpful to the case of either attorney—or even to the Judge—we will be dismissed—released; as jurors. There will probably be a mistrial. I’m not sure that there are any alternatives,” pausing for a think, “I wonder if they could have a new panel come in and just replace us and pick two more alternates?”

“I really hadn’t thought of that, Allan. What’s your best guess?”
Allan Hamilton had been the Chief of Detectives and head of the Homicide Division but his knowledge of intricate jury selection and mistrials was minimal.

“I’ll call Penny—or Jack Koch. My guess is that the judge will decide to bring up a new panel, get four more jurors selected, and start over. It’s only been a week. I sure would want a new beginning if I were the DA. And I think Sanderson could claim double jeopardy if they want to start all over from scratch.”

“Would we have to start all over then?”

“You mean: would they have to start all over again?” laughed Sherlock, before diving into his bowl of premium pasta. 

Doctor Davies returned to his lunch but found it impossible to concentrate on his ne plus ultra pasta. His brain was hosting innumerable conflicting thoughts concerning the entire jury

Allan removed his iPhone, “I’ll see if Penny or Jack can give us a word.” He hit a speed-dial. “Yes, hi Veronica, this is Allan Hamil . . . oh, you do? Well I’m flattered; again,” laughing, “Is Pen in?  . . .oh, she is . . . hello, Pen? this is Allan; yes, hi; quick question: If a murder jury trial loses both alternates and two from the jury is there any way the court can salvage the wreck; wouldn’t it be double jeopardy? . . . oh, she can? . . . But all parties have to approve.

"Well what about the remaining jurors? . . . SOL, eh? . . . well, as always, I love you. Thanks sweetheart. Great, I’ll wait . . . Okay, yeah, Section 233, CCP. You really are my sweetheart. Thanks again Pen. Yeah. Bye.”

He turned and looked over at Peter. “Judge Tan can do it, "Section 233, Code of Civil Procedure. If all parties agree, they can carry on the trial with the ten remaining jurors. "In the alternative—wording of the Code Section—the judge can call a new panel of any size I guess and choose two more jurors or even four for the two alternates.”

Peter was staring intently at Allan and forcing his medical mind to ingest the legal jargon.

Allan continued, “So it looks like even if we’re out, a new jury could be patched together by the judge or just use the same ten as long as Mr. Sanderson agrees. "Patching together a used jury would leave the remaining ten SOL; but either way the trial could proceed."

The Doctor nodded as he drew up from his steaming bowl of pasta pomodoro, finished a short chew, and spoke.

“I certainly see your point.”

After a moment, Allan said. “Watson, I think I have a bead on a few things in this case. I—we—could get our ideas to her in a note and slip it to her—Gail, the Public Defender; better yet, I’ll use my voice-changer app and call her on my secure phone.

"But only her, because she really has the burden here despite what the Penal Code says and what Judge Tan and Gail have been telling us about it all being on the DA to prove each and every element beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty.

"Bullshit. Unless Gail comes up with some new information—new evidence—to stick the real killer, she’ll be sailing along in a boat full of lead.”

The noise in the cafeteria rose considerably while new arrivals from the other two courtrooms made hasty last purchases before reporting to their respective courtrooms at one pm. 

Allan waited until the hubbub subsided to a tolerable degree before chewing with visible relish, swallowing with absolute ecstasy, and gathering his thoughts.

“I bet Judge Tan has the women in there right now trying to decide what to do next—with us. 

*

I had been rather shocked at the identification of Allan Hamiltonand Doctor Davies. True, I had noticed them becoming very alert when Mr. Washington was called to the stand.

But those other two; somehow I was positive that they were the ones on Mr. Washington’s mind.

Mr. Hamilton and Doctor Davies had reacted with interest, and maybe a little bit of concern but the other two looked—to me alt least—absolutely terrified at certain points in Mr. Washington’s testimony. And I also noticed that those two cringed with each new person identified by Mr. Washington in the audience.

Well, I knew it would all be sorted out after the jury returned from their late lunch. 

I had a sandwich in the fridge and was only one bite into it when the judge called me into her chambers to take down the discussion between the three of them: Judge Tan, Gail and Hilo.

“Thanks, Elaine, I’ll get you enough time for your lunch—or I’ll call an early break—or maybe, after what we’re about to discuss here, an early adjournment; even a mistrial.”

I smiled and told her I was on a diet and that I was fine. And I was. I think all the excitement and maybe the adrenaline had snatched away my hunger.

Judge Tan started off.

“All right, ladies. What do we do now?”

Gail spoke first. “Well, Your Honor. Three things come to mind.

“Number one is that I think this is an unprecedented case of how important it is to tell jurors as much as possible about the case before the case and voir dire even begins. 

“We all know the standard questions and my client is charged with murder, but, quite frankly, I can’t remember if Sally read the name of the victim or not. But even if she did, I didn’t see anyone flinch or cry out when Jemma Jefferson was mentioned.

“Now I know that this type of case is unique around here, but I think that is all the more reason why so much more information should have been given to the prospective jurors.”

Gail knew she was on thin ice and sweetened her tone.

“And Your Honor has never had a case remotely like this with respect to time, so I’m not criticizing the court. I’m just frustrated because I can’t see any way around creating a mistrial, which I’m not entirely convinced would result in a better jury than this one; in fact I like this jury . . . with a couple of exceptions.” 

Gail drank some bottled water. 

“The second truth is that one way or another thirty-six years has made a thorough and enlightening vetting of the jury panel virtually impossible. We’d be here for weeks getting everyone’s story over the last thirty-six years, and how that might impact their thinking and bias today.”

She shook her head and took in another large breath.  “Well, Your Honor,” breathing out while managing to infuse her whoosh with a ton of exasperation. She smoothed her hair, pursed her lips, and continued, “the third thing is that I need to get samples of DNA from Hamilton and Doctor Davies. 

“My client has maintained that he was not the only one to have intercourse with Jemma; that there were a great number. That first witness, the DNA tech who testified that my client’s semen was on Jemma's dress also said there were numerous different DNA semen stains. I intend to raise that fact in my case in chief, Your Honor.

"And I’m betting that both Hamilton’s and Davies’ are two of them. 

"Jesus Christ, this is so goddamned frustrating—Your Honor, Hilo, excuse me . . . Elaine, clean that up, would you please. Thank you---again, Elaine, but,” shaking her head and sighing, “this thirty-six year thing is really getting to me. It’s like I have to solve the goddamned case in order to get a Not Guilty."

End of Chapter Thirteen 


© Copyright 2018 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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