A Common Tragedy: Part Five

(The scene takes place in Judge Samson’s chambers. Samson is sitting behind a nice oak desk with Michaels sitting in one chair on the opposite side holding the envelope from ACT 4. In a corner of the room, Gosa and two of her co-workers are chatting)

Samson: Ladies and Gentlemen if we can please begin these proceedings I would be very happy. I do have a court to run you know. (Gosa sits down leaving her companions standing)

Michaels: Well, first of all, I do believe that the McCarthy Bill clearly states that the defendant may have one of his attorneys present, not three. Can we please even the odds some here your honor?

Samson: He’s right Mrs. Gosa, your friends have to go. (Gosa raises a hand and the two gentlemen leave) As I am sure you know we are here because the McCarthy Bill states that such a congregation is needed to re-open a case against a sitting state official. Mr. Michaels, you are the reason we are here. Please tell us what new evidence you have.

Michaels: (Confidently but calmly) The evidence is in this envelope your honor. (Holds up envelope)

Samson: That’s nice of you to package it so nicely, but could you please tell us what’s in it. (Gosa grins at the comment)

Michaels: (Pauses a moment and stares at Samson) I was getting to that. In here is the original forensics report before higher-ups at the lab doctored it. (Drops envelope on the desk, Samson pulls out the contents and thumbs through them) You can tell the authenticity of the documents by the date and time stamp at the bottom. It was filed three and a half-hours before the one the police saw. It was done by some new guy at the lab who has been since transferred to God-knows-where. It clearly states that the Senator was the aggressor in the bedroom when the shooting took place. It proves that the death of that boy was nothing short of cold-blooded homicide.

Samson: Very interesting report. Gosa, your thoughts on the issue?

Gosa: (Opens her briefcase) I have a motion to suppress the evidence. (hands a paper to Samson) The evidence was obtained illegally by an ex-employee of the lab without a search warrant or any other legal grounds to remove the papers. In essence, they were stolen.

Samson: hmmm

Michaels: Your honor, while all of that was true, he had probable reason to suspect that a crime was taking place. After all, he was told all about it and henceforth had reason to swipe that file.

Gosa: That rule only applies to police officers and people acting in an official capacity for the law. Your friend was neither at the time.

Michaels: (Raising his voice) Your honor, if we allow this to stand, a cold-blooded killer will not only go free, but be allowed to stay in public office making the laws that he has broken.

Gosa: (Matching volume) Your honor, if we don’t allow this, then people will just start breaking into each other’s houses in search of evidence to convict each other of crimes.

Samson: (Raising his hands, talking softly and coolly) Calm down people. Calm down. Gosa is right on this one Mr. Michaels. That evidence is inadmissible as it is. Either you think of something else, conjure up new evidence or this meeting is over.

Michaels: (Shouting) Give me a minute to think! Just give me a goddamned minute. (Sits back in his chair)

Gosa: (Leans into Michaels a little) Think all you want but that evidence will not be allowed in a rational courtroom as long as I’m around.

Michaels: (Long Pause) (Softly) You’re wrong. (Louder) You’re wrong. (Almost yelling) You are wrong!

Samson: I assume you have something for us then Mr. Michaels.

Michaels: Yes I do. The gentleman in question, Mr. Davis, was an employee of the lab at the time he removed the papers.

Gosa: Mr. Michaels are you delusional? He quit his job just before storming out to steal the papers. There’s no secret of that, no shortage of witnesses either. How can you try to convince anyone that he was an employee?

Michaels: I don’t know for sure, but I feel certain that it works the same in that lab as it does any government agency or any corporation. You are required to give a two-week notice before leaving. This allows for paychecks to be dealt with and give the employers an opportunity to find a replacement. He may not have been working there but he was employed by that lab! (Shouting and pointing a finger at Gosa) You can’t deny that now can you?

Samson: hmmmm….

Gosa: That is completely irrelevant, he was not acting in the official capacity of his job, which is required for that evidence to be legal.

Michaels: He found out about a crime, dug up evidence to bring authorities closer to a conclusion and he gave it to the right people in order to bring it to light. I think that fits his job description to the T.

Gosa: (shouting) He gave the evidence to YOU! You’re just a bargain-basement defense attorney. I’d hardly call the likes of you the proper authorities.

Michaels: (sitting back calmly) This is a rare occurrence where the police would not have been the best people and since the DA’s office has officially given up on the case, taking this evidence to them would have done no good. I am the only person who worked on the first case who is not currently at the DA’s office. I was the logical choice.

Gosa: This is a complete crock of….

Samson: People please! My mind is made up. I don’t want a headache on top of everything else. The evidence is admissible. But don’t worry Mrs. Gosa, you still can try to prove why it’s not enough to re-open the file. (Motions with his hand for her to speak)

Gosa: (Draws a Breath) I…. Well, for beginners this report of yours could have been faked. Mr. Davis did have a motive to lash out against Livingston. He also had the means and the time to conjure up just such a report.

Michaels: First of all, he had no such motive, he only had a problem with the lab and lashing out at Livingston would have done nothing to cure that ill. Secondly, the time stamp at the bottom of the first page clearly indicates the time that this report was filed as well as the date. He couldn’t have done it.

Gosa: He had access to the time clock the same as everything else.

Michaels: Those clocks are very much like the clocks used in more major corporations, they are designed to be tamper-proof. To alter one of them in this manner would have taken a lot of tools and a lot of time, Davis had neither.

Gosa: You’re trying to convince me that a man who became a Doctor of Medical Sciences at the age of 23 was not smart enough to take apart that clock, change the date and time, punch the form in and be gone in a timely manner?

Michaels: His specialty was not in that area. To quote a famous line "Dammit Jim he’s a doctor not a mechanic"…

Samson: (Raising a hand to silence Gosa) Please, don’t bother. You’re case along those lines is falling through. You had better come up with a new defense and quick.

Gosa: (meekly) I…. I… I have nothing more that I can say your honor.

Samson: My mind is made up then. I am re-opening the case. I have no choice. In the light of the new evidence it’s the only logical conclusion I can reach. Mrs. Gosa, you are free to go, however, I would like to speak with Mr. Michaels for a moment. (Gosa hesitantly gets up and exits)

Michaels: What do you want from me?

Samson: A favor.

Michaels: Ok…

Samson: (Leans in) I want you to promise me that you will nail him. I’ll pull some strings and see to it that you are allowed to help the DA prosecute this case. It shouldn’t be much trouble with your background. However, in return you must promise me that you will get a conviction and make it stick.

Michaels: (Confused) Why?

Samson: (Serious tone) I have a wife, three kids, a mortgage, three cars, a boat, a dog and a goldfish. Senator Livingston, if he's allowed to, will certainly take all of that away from me. If he is allowed to continue in office he will apply pressure and I will lose my job and from that I will lose everything. If you send him to jail, he can’t do that. So please, send him to jail. I’m begging you.

Michaels: First of all, Livingston has taken everything I thought I had already. I’m not dead, I’m not crying, life goes on. It may not be as glorious as before, but it does go on. Secondly, I can’t guarantee a conviction, but I will do everything I can to protect those things that you hold dear. But I won’t do it for you; this one is for me. (Gets up suddenly and walks as if to leave, Gosa passes him on the way out but turns around as if to speak to Michaels)

Gosa: I hope you are happy with your victory. You must realize that it will get you nowhere. If it by some miracle makes it to trial I will have so many motions ready you could swim in them. (Michaels doesn’t turn around to face her)

Michaels: (Long sigh) (Whips around hard, points a finger in Gosa’s face and raises his voice) I only have two things to say to you. The first is that you are protecting scum. You’re defending a child abuser and a murderer. I don’t think that I have to tell you, it’s only a matter of time before he gets what he deserves. The second thing is this, you may be Johnny Cochrane in a skirt. You may be the best lawyer in this state, but to me you will always be a snobby little spoiled bitch and I’ll testify to that under oath. Good day…

(Exit Michaels followed after a while by Gosa)

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