I decided to review the tomorrow cases at home. I was tired from the morning audiences and the lunch was short and unsatisfactory.
I glanced at the wall clock in my studio at home. Four pm. Plenty of time to review the six simple cases I had to deal with tomorrow. A glass of iced tea and I was ready. Settling back in my comfortable arm-chair I donned my reading glasses and picked the first folder. I started by the short summary carefully formatted in a way to help me picking the essentials, written by Barbara, my assistant for ever.
Case 2005. Scheduled for May 21 at 9:00. Jane Wood, 29, housewife, married to Robert Wood, a doctor. No children. Caught shoplifting in the lingerie department of Monk&Sparrow, a department story in Gallery mall. A note from the manager informed that it was the third time Mrs. Wood was caught doing the same in their department store, but in different malls. The first two times Mr. Wood bought her out, but this time the store decided to press the charges.
Why should a wife of a doctor, certainly not pressed for money, steal a hundreds bucks worth of panties and bras?
There was a report of twenty or thirty pages from a forensic psychiatrist using big Latin words trying to answer exactly that question. I sighed, sipped more of the unsweetened tea and started on page one of the report.
All raise for the Judge!
I climbed on my podium, nodded at the usually full room and banged my gravel. "Next case."
"Case 2005, people against Mrs. Jane Wood," intoned the bailiff.
I looked at the young housewife. She was a pretty little thing dressed in conservative clothes that enhanced her youngish look. Her hair was cut short and combed in a way that combined with large green eyes gave her an innocent appearance. Her general demeanor was probably the work of her expensive lawyer, Samuel Long, employed by nine from ten of wealthy people in trouble.
"Are you ready, counselors?" I asked both parties.
"Yes, Your Honor," was the simultaneous answer from them. The assistant DA was a young lawyer that didn't impress me favorably. He was rather lazy and lost several cases because of sloppy work. They started to give him unimportant cases as this one. But of course you had to be a genius to fail on a clean cut case like that.
I heard his harangue which was at least well constructed and mercifully short. He presented his evidences which included a short video of surprisingly good quality which showed in detail how she grabbed panties from the rack and stuffed them in her bag. He brought the bag and demonstrated its hidden compartment which indicated premeditation. Finally he called the security guard who arrested Mrs. Wood and the female cop who frisked her after reading her rights and getting her permission. All neat and legal.
When called on the floor, Mr. Long started by admitting his client's guilt. "But there're mitigating factors, Your Honor. We will demonstrate that my client is sick, not really responsible for her actions, but not a menace to the community at all. We will call several character witnesses, but first, may I call Dr. Peterson, a notorious psychologist, who will..."
"Not responsible, my ass," I thought while reclining in my chair and bracing myself for the boring testimony of notorious Dr. Peterson.
There I got a surprise. Dr. Peterson was a shapely blonde in her thirties, wearing a dark blue power suit with sufficiently short skirt to allow me a view of generous expanse of well rounded thigh when she sat on the witness chair. During her whole testimony she tried to pull down the skirt hem without a millimeter of success. Her white blouse was open at top permitting me from my raised position a good glimpse of her milky breasts. She was using a flimsy almost transparent bra giving them a 'nude look'. Her face was very pleasant with a turned up nose, generous mouth and big eyes. She was using light make up which reinforced her good looks. She almost made me think of dropping my old shrink and sail new waters. Oh, wishful thinking.
I probably didn't hear half of her arguments, but got the drift of it. The shoplifting was an addiction that should be cured with long tender care and not punishment. Poor Jane was a victim of circumstances and bla, bla, bla. Nothing that wasn't on the forensic shrink's report.
After two hours of this both counselors were done. It was my time.
"As you know," I was speaking more to the defendant than to the lawyers who should know the laws by heart, "in this case, by the authority invested on me by the State, my decision is final, and not subjected to appeal. It looks like you have the addiction to steal, young lady. Your lawyer wants me to absolve you on the grounds of psychological disturbance or at most give you a slap on the wrist by condemning you to community service. Our public defendant seems to agree with it." I took a break.
"But not this time, young lady. It looks to me that your stealing spree was stopped only because you were apprehended. In my opinion you're a spoiled brat who thinks that is still in her teens, with an overindulging husband who pays for your whims."
I looked at the lawyers. Mr. Long certainly knew where I was heading but didn't look too worried by it.