2012-02-10: Criminal Justice


Theo_icon.jpg Jennifer_icon.jpg

Summary: Theo finally sees justice from a crime long past.

Date: Friday, February 10, 2012. 2:00pm

Log Title: Criminal Justice

Rating: PG

New York City Courthouse

An oak table sections off the room, dark colors and wood trim for decoration. A few plants are in the corner, and windows with blinds look out from the room into the streets below.

2:00pm. Sharp. Theo has left class to come to the pretrial so that the lawyers can meet. "I feel like I'm trapped in a bad episode of Law & Order," he comments dryly to Don Dixon, the prosecuting attorney. He wears a light blue dress shirt and slacks, but no tie, while the older attorney wears of course a suit and tie. "It will help us to formulate the prosecution. If I can figure out what angle they are taking, it will help us prepare the case." With a sigh, Theo answers, "Yeah, but aren't they going to be doing the same thing?" he asks. "Of course, but they probably know a bit more about our offense than we do about their defense."
Into the offices Theo steps, a look ranging somewhere between apathy and annoyance on his face.

Jennifer Walters, Attorney-at-large, is, of course, fifteen minutes late. For people who know her, this is not entirely unusual, and for some, her un-punctuality is something that they can set their watch to. She rushes in, hopping on one foot so she can put her dress heels on the other, and pauses in the doorway to quickly smooth out her hair and dress. She coughs apologetically and says, "I'm sorry I'm late. There was a …. well… it's not important." Her clients, Mr. Cassidy, and Mr. Furlong have already been seated at their side of the table, brought in by three armed guards. She lays her briefcase down on the table and gives Don Dixon a winning smile, while extending a hand. "Good to see you again, Don."

"Always a pleasure, Jennifer," Dixon answers, taking her hand warmly. While he may be a state prosecutor, Don Dixon remains a rather pleasant man both professionally and personally, despite the naturally contentious career path he has chosen. Theo has a seat, taking a brief moment to study the faces of his foes. If looks could kill it would be Theo on trial. The technopath doesn't look intimidated by them, though the cold stare on his face might make one wonder if he is going to leap across the table at Cassidy and Furlong at any moment.
Don sits down across the table, "Will your clients be contesting the charges?" he asks to open the conversation, since, if they aren't, it changes a lot of the further discussion. He folds his hands calmly in front of him at the table.

Jennifer sits down as well, sitting between her two charges. She pops open her briefcase, which a plume of steam billows out from it. She coughs, waving the steam away, and gingerly lifts a crumpled piece of…. something…. that's giving off the steam and gingerly places it off on one corner of the table, so it doesn't get in the way. "Don't touch that," she warns. She pulls out a file, wipes a bit of what looks to be a fine layer of snow off the cover, and opens it up. "No, they won't. Seeing as this is their first misdemeanor and no serious harm was done to your client, they're willing to plead guilty of Assault in the foruth degree. Seeing as they've been in jail for the better part of the year, unable to pay bail, I'm moving to get time served, and in lieu of a fine that they pay for any medical bills that your client may have accrued from this incident." It seems that the year in jail has been a somewhat humbling experience for the two punks. They're thinner, and more haggard looking than when Theo first ran into them.

Theo curls his nose as Jennifer places the… whatever it is on the corner of the table. It breaks his concentration up until the moment that she says 'misdemeanor.' At that point she has his full attention. "Misdemeanor!" Theo bursts up from his seat, only to have Dixon's graying hand reach up immediately to pull him back down into his seat. "Theodore, I will handle this," he says. "Ms. Walters, you know that your clients are being charged with a hate crime, which would be a misdemeanor by itself, but they are also being charged with attempted murder. They beat a boy with a gun, and made threats to kill him. They held a loaded weapon at his head. Were it not for the actions of a third party, they very possibly would have succeeded."

"If they had any intent to kill," says Jennifer smoothly, "they had ample opportunity to do so." She shakes her head and says, "No. I think this offer is not only best for my client, but it's best for your client as well. Remember, the only shot fired from that gun was by Mr. Fengbush, after he did considerable aggravated assault to Mr. Cassidy." She raises her hand at Theo before he can get a word in, "And you can't use self defense. They were already fleeing at that point when you decided to take the law into your own hands." She laces her fingers together and gives Theo a stern look. "I think under these circumstances, my terms are more than reasonable."

"Mr. Fegenbush isn't on trial here, and was put under severe emotional strain by the events, not to mention that he was suffering from a diminished ability to physically function due to head trauma inflicted by your clients," Dixon answers with a rather professional demeanor. "Your clients beat a violently assaulted defenseless teenage boy, and drug him into a warehouse to finish him off when Caleb O'Callahan heard the struggle and intervened. The evidence would suggest that they desired to end his life slowly and painfully rather than quickly with a bullet."

Theo's stare looks straight back into Jennifer's eyes, all the rage of a hurricane held behind them. "Yeah, I recall being called an 'evil that plagues the earth, and when they kill me, there's nobody gonna do nothin'," He looks back at the two defendants, recalling the threats vividly. Don reaches out to pat Theo's hand, who shrinks back. "Your clients have a lot of explaining to do, if they decided to inform Mr. Fegenbush of their design to murder him."

"The evidence only suggests that they intended to do bodily harm to him," replies Jennifer. "They claim they were provoked into such acts. Considering the shirt Mr. Fengbush was wearing, and his history of such confrontations at his school, I'm willing to bet the courts would see it that way, too." She shakes her head, and addresses Theo directly. "Let me be frank. The question, at this point isn't whether nor not my clients are guilty. No, the real question is guilty of what. I'm willing to negotiate that with Mr. Dixon here and now until we find something we can both agree on. If this goes to trial this is going to end up a media circus. Between my involvement and the the relationship you and Tony Stark has, as well as the nature of the crime, this has all but guaranteed it. If you were anybody else, I'd let it go to trial, but seeing as Rashmi cares for you, I'm bending over backwards to keep this quiet." Jennifer's tone isn't threatening. Quite the opposite. She sounds genuinely concerned for th
for the boy.

"Oh, so letting the people who attempted to murder me walk is for my benefit," Theo comments dryly. "There's no question about what they are guilty of." He doesn't seem to see it the same way that Jennifer does. He does, however, keep eyeing the object at the edge of the table.
"This goes beyond simply one mutant's comfort," Dixon answers. "People wear offensive t-shirts in every area of society, that doesn't give people like your clients the license to attempt murder. The State of New York finds this case to be important to pursue, and I find it unlikely that the D.A. is going to want to let it go unanswered. The time to back out of the situation has already passed, Ms. Walters. If they plea guilty, we can look at a reduced sentence for the recognition of their evil actions as indication for a desire to change, and throw counseling into the pot to help their rehabilitation. But to let them off with a slap on the wrist is not going to be one of their options. If they want to fight it, then the sentence will be much less lenient."

Jennifer scribbles something down on her notepad. "I'll concede to counseling," she says. Green eyes lift up from her writing as she asks, "So what would you consider to be more than a 'slap on the wrist'?"

Dixon folds his hands before him. "Your clients attempted to murder a law abiding citizen," he states. "If they are willing to attend state imposed counseling, I believe that a reasonable sentence would be for ten years each. It would give them opportunity to see real punishment for their crimes, but it wouldn't be the rest of their lives. This would give them an opportunity for a fresh start once they have been re-integrated into society." Theo turns in his seat. It's clear that he'd like nothing better than to see the two burn at the stake. Hardly a forgiving attitude, but then, he was a victim of a rather violent crime, as well. The young technopath clenches his jaw and does his best not to say anything. Instead, he turns his eyes to the burned piece of equipment that Walters had placed on the table earlier, trying to determine what it might have once been.
Jennifer taps a finger on the table as she considers this option. She studies Theo for a moment before counteroffering, "What would you say to six years of prison, the counseling, of course, but three years of mandatory community service. Six years is not an insignificant amount of time, especially for a first offender, and the community service would do more to re-integrate my clients into society than jailtime would."

"Six years?" Theo interrupts. "That's ridiculous! What is this, some haggle over the price of a cheap rug?" he contests the engagement between Dixon and Jennifer. "Mr. Fegenbush, this case is being handled by the State, not by you as an individual," Don reminds the teen. "Ms. Walters, I think that community service would be an excellent way to help your clients re-integrate. Three years of community service can prove more pressure than the years in prison. How many offenders spend extended time with community service only to relaps into crime before their sentence is finished? Perhaps if they had eight years with one year of community service, it would serve them better in the long run."

Jennifer easily ignores Theo's outburst, and purses her lips to consider Dixon's latest offer. "Eight years," she says, "Early release to probation if they show improvement, and a year of mandatory community service sounds fair and just to me." she says. "I'd be willing settle for a plea of guilty for those terms."

Don Dixon considers the matter, the teen next to him turning red at the entire proceeding. "I think that would be reasonable, Ms. Walters," he agrees. "Perhaps you would like time to discuss this with your clients?" he asks. The gets up from the table, and goes to the door. He makes his exit abrupt, though he doesn't behave quite so juvenile as to slam the door behind him. "These two certainly have left a lasting impression on Mr. Fegenbush, and it would be good if they are able to take this opportunity to learn the severity of such activities. Had someone not stepped in, the sentence they could be facing might be much more severe."
Jennifer nods in agreement with her legal counterpart. "Perhaps," she says standing, and offering her hand to him again. "At least this way we know they'll get the help they'll need. I don't forsee that I'll have any problems convincing my clients that our agreement is in their best interest." She nods to where Theo left in a huff. "Your client…." she trails off, her voice genuinely concerned. "Jesus. They're all just kids," she says under her breath, neatly packing away her papers and very carefully handling the foreign object. "I'll see you during the prelims." She looks at the object in her hand and says, "And… uh… if you come down with a cough or something let me know, okay?"

"Mr. Dixon takes the hand firmly but politely with a smile. He does a remarkable job, really, remaining a rather uncontentious person and thriving in a most contentious environment. "I appreciate that. Yes they are. They always seem to be the hardest cases. I will see you on Tuesday." He picks up the papers of his own and places them in his briefcase. He stands to his feet, closing his briefcase.
Jennifer takes out her cel phone, and with some amazing acrobatics, manages to dial somebody on one hand, hold her briefcase under an arm, and hold the artifact in the other. "Hell," she says as she walks out the door. "This is Walters, calling in a code 522-a for pickup…" Ah, the day for a superhero lawyer is never done…

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