The Dealmaker

A Superb Detective Thriller
Image

WHERE TO BUY

Printed Versions

G.S. Marriott’s second book, The Dealmaker, may be purchased in print from the following book stores:

INDIGO
Locations throughout the Kitchener-Waterloo region

BOOK EXPRESS
Cambridge Centre Mall,
355 Hespeler Rd.,
Cambridge, Ontario

VOLUMES PUBLISHING
Waterloo, Cambridge & Kitchener

Phone: 519-621-9500

Purchase a print copy of The Dealmaker from the following online book stores:


All books are available in e-book format for all devices and can be purchased through Indigo and Amazon.
CHAPTER 1

“Oyez, Oyez, Oyez,…” The bailiff chanted, “…Criminal court in and for the County of Los Angeles is now in session, The Honorable Justice Alvaro Talamantes (TAL-A-MON-TAYS) presiding. God save the United States of America. Please be seated.”

The Judge entered the courtroom from his chambers and took his seat behind the bench. Talamantes was a forty-four year old man of Spanish descent. A man of average height and build, he was also what most women and undoubtedly some men might categorize as strikingly handsome. He had that unmistakable malado skin color topped by his jet black hair, highlighted with wisps of silver along the temples. Charismatic and obsessively charming to the ladies, the man was always meticulously coiffed and dressed. Born in Venezuela and raised in California, he was fluent in both English and Spanish, however, the Anglo side always took a back seat when playing up the ladies, which for him was an ongoing pursuit.

Although married with one teenage girl, he was widely known as the consummate ladies man, a reputation he continually and boldly embraced. This behavior had little impact with the female staff working inside the court house, because they knew him for the degenerate he was and steered clear at all costs. Behind the façade of a caring and compassionate professional, sat a man whose behavior, on a regular basis, was boorish and lewd. Women new to the courthouse or those just visiting, were initially swept off their feet, until they realized what a sexual predator he truly was. Talamantes, from a judicial point of view was also one of the most liberal judges when it came to trials and punishments. His leniency toward offenders before his court was well documented, especially crimes involving the abuse of women.

“Mr. Powell, Ms. Countiss…” he began, giving the Prosecutor a quick glance, opting to focus his gaze more at the Defense Attorney in an all too familiar head to toe leer. He demanded that all female lawyers conducting business in his court room should wear dresses or skirts. Pant suits or slacks were not acceptable. They obviously knew they could challenge his edicts on their attire, but were also fully aware that their case would be weakened considerably by doing so. The court room was Talamantes’ fiefdom and he was the supreme ruler. Countiss wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of acknowledgement. She despised the man.

“…It would appear the jury has reached a verdict. Bailiff, would you bring in the jury, please.” The door to the ante room opened and twelve people entered the court room in single file, taking their seats in the designated pews, six in front and six behind. There were eight men and four women ranging in age from mid-thirties to late fifties. Attorneys often tried to gain an edge from reading the facial expressions of returning jurors, but on this particular day, their visual scrutiny produced no such advantage. They were stoic. The packed courtroom was, for the most part, sitting rigid and holding their breaths awaiting the verdict. It had been a highly emotional trial involving a young fourteen year old boy by the name of Zachary Spencer being shot to death a block from the Staples Center following a basketball game between the Lakers and the Clippers. The rivalry rarely caused any serious problems, particularly with pre-season games, but this night an argument developed between opposing factions and the boy inadvertently became collateral damage; a wrong place, wrong time scenario. He was shot in the head during the melee, killing him instantly. A young Hispanic man by the name of Ricardo Torres had been arrested two blocks away still in possession of the firearm.

Talamantes began. “Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?”

Gloria Winterhalt, a fifty-two year old medical technician and the jury foreperson stood, replying. “We have your honor.”

“Please hand your findings to the bailiff, Ma’am.” He directed.

She handed the folded paper to the bailiff, who in turn walked it over to the front of the bench, passing it to the judge. Talamantes unfolded the paper and read. He looked up and over at the jurors before handing the paper back to the uniformed man, who then dutifully returned it to Winterhalt. She stood silently, awaiting her next instruction from the Judge, who sat motionless for what seemed like forever, staring at the back of the courtroom until finally shifting his focus down to the defendant. Breaking his stare, he finally turned towards the jury, scanning them all before zeroing back to the woman holding the paper.

He began. “To the charge of second degree murder in the death of Zachary Spencer, how do you find the defendant?”

“We, the jury, find the defendant guilty as charged.” She replied with a nervous quaver in her voice.

The cheers and shouts from the gallery and the buzz within the gathered press overwhelmed the court room to the point that the banging gavel of the judge could not initially be heard. Finally, after several repeated strikes, the room settled into silence and all eyes focused on the robed man, whose face revealed a look of quiet and frustrated anguish.

“Madame Foreperson, are you all unanimous in this verdict?” he asked. “We are, Your Honor.” She answered.

Letitia Countiss, an attractive, but shrewd thirty-seven year old defense attorney who had arrived in Los Angeles from the Baltimore area three years earlier and whose stock was rising dramatically, rose from her chair. “Your Honor, I’d like a poll of the jury, if you please.”

The judge nodded. “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Defense Attorney, Ms. Countiss has asked for a polling of the jury to confirm your individual declaration of the verdict. That is her right by law, so I will ask you numerically left to right, front row, then back. When I call upon you, I would like you to answer ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’. Madame Foreperson, if you will give me your response first, please.”

“Guilty, Your Honor.” She exclaimed.

“Next”. The judge directed and the remaining jurors responded with a likewise ‘guilty’ response. The Judge then looked at the defense lawyer. “Are we good, Ms. Countiss?”

“Yes, thank you, Your Honor.” She answered and sat down slowly, realizing that his eyes were focused beneath her table. She instantly looked away, ignoring the man’s gaze.

Once again, the court started to buzz and once again the gavel came down hard three times, converting the room into a tomb-like environment. All eyes were on the judge as he began to speak.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury. I am not happy with what has taken place here today. When I charged you yesterday with the facts of the case and the evidence presented, I told you at that time a verdict of guilty on the charge of second degree murder was weak in its presentation. That in no way diminishes the efforts of Deputy District Attorney Powell, but rather the minimal evidence he had to work with. Many times people get caught up in the emotions of the trial and/or the defendant, with regards to anger, sympathy, pity or a vast array of other human emotions, which tend to override their capacity to come to an unbiased conclusion. Whether or not you like the defendant or you feel unfathomable remorse for the victim, you cannot let that cloud your judgment. Unfortunately with this case, that is exactly what happened. You were left with several other viable options when I made my charge to you, but you chose to ignore them. It is my opinion that you haven’t thought this case through with any dispassionate clarity, and it is also with this in mind that I must now make a very difficult decision of my own, one that I do not make lightly, but unfortunately one that I am both legally and morally required to do.

So, I dismiss the jury and respectfully thank them for their time, but it is my belief that their collaborative work in this case was lacking, given the enormity of the crime. You are therefore excused.” He admonished, turning his head from them.

The bailiff opened the door to the ante room and the jurors filed out, some looking directly at the judge with unmistakable contempt, disgust and anger, while others left the room void of any emotion, probably thanking the Lord on high that they were finally free of their legalized bonds and happy to get back to their lives again, caring not a lick about the scolding they had just received.

Once the jurors were gone, the judge continued. “Mr. Powell, Ms. Countiss.” He said, demanding their attention. “Under the power of the laws of California, I am hereby vacating the verdict of the jury and ordering a new trial according to statute. I am doing this because this verdict to me was based entirely on emotion, whether prejudicially negative  towards the defendant or overly sympathetic towards the victim.” People in the courtroom began to stir while various others started shouting and screaming at the judge. Talamantes banged his gavel trying to return order to the tumult that was obviously escalating from the partisan side of the victim. His threat of contempt and evacuation of the court room quelled the noise to a level where he could tolerate.

James Powell, a forty-eight year old life long west coaster originally from San Diego and known for being a bulldog in the courtroom, jumped from his chair and started to voice his objection, vehemently. “Your Honor, I object. The jury has spoken here. You can’t do this. The evidence has been heard and a jury of his peers has convicted Mr. Torres of the crime. This man shot and killed a young boy whose only crime was to attend a basketball game with his father. Justice has been served, Sir.”

“Objection noted Counselor, but yes, I actually can set the verdict aside. Now please allow me to continue,” he said, leaving no doubt in Powell’s mind that it wasn’t a suggestion. Once Powell had returned to his seat, he continued.

He then looked at the defendant, a twenty seven year old native Californian who had been a tenant of the state for six of his last eight years due to narcotics and assault convictions. Countiss grabbed her client’s arm and pulled him out of his seat, giving him the stern look which basically said, ‘stand up straight and keep your mouth shut.’

“Mr. Torres…” The Judge began, “…do not look at this judgment as me setting you free. Far from it, but I cannot in good conscience let the decision of this jury stand. You will be set over for a new trial. I have no doubt that you are complicit in this crime, but that is no longer my concern.” He then turned to the District Attorney. “Mr. Powell, I trust that your office will look after re-setting the calendar on this case. Ms. Countiss, please make sure your client understands fully what has transpired here today. I want him under no false illusions regarding his current incarcerated status, which of course shall be maintained.”

“Yes Sir I will, and thank you, Your Honor.” She answered with a disingenuous smile.

At this point a man in his mid forties stood up in the gallery and began shouting towards the judge. It seemed like everything else had frozen in time and his voice was the only audible sound. All eyes turned towards the agitated spectator.

“How can you do this? That man killed my son, the jury convicted him and now you tell them they’re wrong? How can you do that to my son, you arrogant son of a bitch? Who do you think you are, God?”

“Sir, I’m asking you to refrain from any further outburst or use of profanity in my court room or I will hold you in contempt and have you removed, is that understood? Now sit down, Sir.” Talamantes ordered.

“I will not sit down. Justice has not been served here. It is said in this country that every man must have his day in court. Well, he had his and the jury spoke. They said guilty. What gives you the almighty power to change the rules? You have no right to do that. What if it were your child?” He yelled.

“The laws of this state say I have every right and I will tell you again Sir, if you say one more word, you will be held in contempt and I’ll have the bailiff remove you from my court. Now sit down and be quiet.” He shouted, face now flushed with anger. The rest of the gallery had now found their voices and were verbally joining the protest, however the father’s voice still made them seem like whispers.

“Yea, that would be real easy for you wouldn’t it, you arrogant little bastard. Let the killer of my son go, but lock me up for being pissed off about it. As far as I’m concerned you’re just a cowardly little spic who jumped the fence into my country, lived off our land and now thinks he  can play God by sticking it to real Americans. Well you just wait Al..va..ro…” He screamed, saying his first name disrespectfully slow “…because judgment day is headed your way and you’ll  get yours, you pretentious little prick. You just wait. It’s coming.” He yelled, pointing his finger like he was holding  a pistol.

The judge had heard enough. “Sir, you are dangerously close to being charged with a criminal offense, but for now I’m holding you in contempt of court. Bailiff, have your people remove that man from my court and take him to the holding cells.” The gallery started yelling louder and threatening to intercede, but backed off when threatened with jail themselves as more officers entered the court. The father of the victim was cuffed and taken away, struggling and screaming profanities all the way out of the court room. A woman, no doubt the man’s wife, sat crying silently while being consoled by a family member. The rest of the court room was cleared of spectators immediately.

Once everyone had been removed and the pandemonium had subsided, the judge looked over at the District Attorney. “Mr. Powell, when the gentleman has had time to cool off, would you please see to it that he is released first thing in the morning without any further incarceration? I’m also levying a fine of $500.”

“Yes, Your Honor. I’ll look after it. Any chance we can drop the fine and just let him out, once he’s cooled off? After all, it was his son that was brutally killed here, so I’m sure you can understand his frustration and anger with your decision.” Powell inquired.

“No Sir, I will not erase the fine, and a second no on him being released early. He will spend the night in jail to think about his poor behavior in my court room. I cannot and will not have people disrupting my court like that, regardless of the circumstances. The time and the fine stand.” He retorted smugly.

“Seriously? Are you kidding me?” Powell railed.

“Be very careful counselor or I’ll show you just how much of a kidder I can be.” He said, eyes now burning into Powell’s face.

Powell wasn’t stupid. This guy was a megalomaniac and he knew one more aggressive word or action could have him spending the night in an adjacent cell to Spencer.

“Yes Sir, no problem. I will definitely see to it that you get the full 500 bucks. Thank you very much, Sir. I’m sure the man will appreciate your wonderfully kind gesture, that is…once he cools down and has a chance to think about his disrepectful indiscretions here.” Powell answered. “How about a little time to pay, Sir? Would that be out of the question as well, Your Honor?” Powell said, clearly maintaining the sarcasm.

The Judge glowered at the District Attorney, but decided to ignore the slight.

“Fine! He’s got two weeks. Court is adjourned.” He said, taking one final glance under Countiss’s table, but she had already covered up with her coat just to piss him off, which seemed to work because he turned and quickly stepped down from the bench causing his robes to flare out as he made his exit through the door and back into his chambers.

Powell took one last parting shot, albeit at a now empty chair left spinning behind the bench. “Thank you so much, Your Honor…” followed up with a bowed head and whispered, “…you evil, diminutive piece of crap.”


Promos

New promos will be added shortly.

 

© 2019 Printoga.com. All Rights Reserved.

Latest Photos

Newsletter

Subscribe to receive news and updates from G.S. Marriott.

Search