[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
For 1-55 (Chapters 1-13), see here.
56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 Chap 14 056-063 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 Chap 15 064-074 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 Chap 16 075-084 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 Chap 17 85-95 96 97 98
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 099
Chapter 18 (4 of 15): Arrest
Mazarine tries to go on automatic for the next few hours. Of all the unmentionable indignities to which the state subjects her, a person still innocent in the eyes of the law, none disturbs her more profoundly than the clanking, wailing and moaning of the unhappy denizens inhabiting these modern catacombs of the American judicial system. She thinks, inevitably, of the hopeless throngs with their unheard pleas in Book 6 of the Aeneid – and looks in vain for some guiding Sibyl to emerge from the stygian gloom. Clad in orange jail-house garb that hangs loosely from her frame she sits on an uncomfortable steel bed with a lumpy mattress and stares at the walls: how much human misery, how much pain have they been silent witness to?
Shortly before eleven a matron comes and escorts her up to the court house. It is standing room only and the presiding judge has allowed every photo-bug in the city access to today’s preliminary proceedings. When Natalie sees Mazarine in the orange jumpsuit her face turns dark and she shoots a dirty look at the smirking D.A. – who winks at her.
A clerk reads the information the D.A. has brought. Mazarine Cape is formally charged with murder in the first degree.
“Good morning,” the judge says from his lofty aerie.
“Jeff Kerzy for the people, Your Honor. My co-counsels are,” here he turns a quarter turn to the left and right indicating each of them standing next to him, “Ms. Buzulethi Rowan and Mr. Jin-Sook Yook.”
“Good morning, Ms. Rowan, Mr. Yook.”
“Your Honor,” they each say.
The judge turns to the defense table.
“Your Honor, Natalie Siu of Wu, Hsien, Blair & Balthazar for the defense. My co-counsel is Danny Hochstel.” She turns her head.
“Ms. Siu, Mr. Hochstel,” the judge intones. “Good morning.”
“How does your client plead to the charge, Ms. Siu?”
“Not guilty, Your Honor.”
“The clerk of court shall so enter the plea,” he says.
He has been leafing through the material in front of him and flipping through pages. He asserts that he has received and studied a number of affidavits, memoranda and other documentation from both parties. He finds motive and opportunity sufficiently compelling that he will bind the defendant over for trial.
“Your Honor, if I may,” Natalie says, standing up. “As we have indicated in the documentation before you, we feel that the means put forth by the prosecution are flimsy at best and that there is no real case here. We respectfully request a summary dismissal of all charges.”
The judges eyebrows elevate. “Mr. Kerzy?”
“The people would be utterly opposed to such a course of action. It should be up to a jury and not Ms. Siu to determine the probative value of the means the state proffers. We believe we have a strong case and enough physical evidence to indicate that the defendant had the means to commit this heinous crime. Not to mention the motive and opportunity, as Your Honor has indicated himself.”
The judge does not hesitate. “The defendant is bound over for trial.” He checks a register. “It looks like Monday, July nineteenth is a reasonable date. That gives each of you exactly six months to prepare your cases.” And then he adds, “In the court of judge Bernard Fathom. The clerk of court shall so note.”
At the mention of the name of this popular client of hers Mazarine registers no external sign of recognition but makes a hurried note on her yellow pad. This she must take up with Natalie later, but for now keeps her counsel.
“And,” the judge drones on, “I expect there will be full coöperation between the parties in the matter of complete sharing of evidence, witness lists, discoveries and other pertinent documentation. Are we agreed?”
He lowers his head and looks down on the two attorneys over the glasses riding low on the bridge of his nose.
“Yes, Your Honor,” they both quickly agree.
The judge puts a huge pile of documents off to one side and replaces it with another that he stacks in front of him, again turning some pages and scanning them.
“Now, let us on to the matter of possible bail. Mr. Kerzy?”
“Your Honor, the people are unalterably opposed to any release on bail here. This is a brutal murder, driven by uncontrollable passion …”
“Your Honor, if I may?”
Kerzy turns and looks at Natalie with a surprised expression. His co-counsels are not happy and attempt, with little success, to hide this fact.
“Your Honor, our distinguished district attorney has apparently been away from the trenches so long that he has forgotten that the only purpose of a bail hearing is to make a determination if the defendant will, one, be likely to flee the jurisdiction, and, two, pose any risk to the community. Such alleged,” and here she puts strong emphasis on the attributive, “matters of fact as jealousy or whatever have absolutely no bearing in this hearing.”
He is fuming but he knows when to fold. “I ask the court’s indulgence for my … for my misstatement.” He fidgets on his feet. “Nevertheless, Your Honor, we are opposed to any bail for this defendant.”
“Your Honor,” Natalie begins a reasoned presentation. “My client has roots in this community that go deep. She is a graduate of the university here, from which she has both a B.A. and an M.A. degree. Her parents have long lived in Akers Pond just north of the city, and her father is a distinguished surgeon who is an adjunct professor in the School of Medicine. She is gainfully employed in the community” – a ripple of laughter rolling across the crowded court room is immediately stilled by a disapproving scan on the part of the judge – “and pays her taxes. We have tax returns, state and federal, for the last three years. She also has her passport with her and is ready to surrender it. I should also note that she voluntarily turned herself in early this morning before a formal arrest warrant could be issued. These are not the indicia of a flight risk, Your Honor.
TO BE CONTINUED