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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Defense Rests In Peace

"Liv....You and Beverly look incredible"said Attorney Danny White...
Danny White ,like my wife, Olivia , her niece ,Beverly and Beverly's husband, Nelson



had all been Public Defenders in what he called the" Golden Age of that office..."

We were all, including Josie and me,

dining with him at a trendy and tony new Bistro in downtown Philadelphia..
The food was overpriced ...My opinion only...but still very good...very well prepared...


"Liv....You and Beverly look incredible..We all do...Look at us....You and your niece in private practice , in the paper constantly with some big case....and me, the chief counsel for a major corporation...Who woulda thunk it huh?" said Danny White..

"You don't do trial work anymore huh Danny?" asked Beverly...

"Nah darlin...I'm strictly in the boardroom...I mean ,every now and again I'm in court...but not like you two...." he said..
"Danny, When I called you and asked for a sit down.,..I didn't expect this place....I should tell you, my husband is a foodie....and this is the rare restaurant he didn't know about..."said Olivia..

He looked at me and smiled..

"Can't blame him for that...This joint just opened up about six weeks ago...This is only my second time here...When we were bustin our humps at the Public Defender's office, this would have been out of our price range....Look at us now huh Liv?, Bev? Nelson?" he said..

"It certainly would have been out of mine.."remarked Nelson..
"You're not with Liv's firm are you Nelson?" asked Danny White..

"No I'm with Robert Foxworth and Associates...We have an office out near Penns Landing.."said Nelson...
"Outstanding and look at you...You got your Beverly....I knew you and her would eventually get together..I knew it.."said Danny White..
"Oh you knew it huh?" said Beverly laughing...

"Come on...After Larry North broke your heart, who did you run to, Nelson?  And when Nelson was dating two other Attorneys, Uh Peyton and I think the other ones name was Karen..  you were beside yourself....Bent my ears"Oh she's not right for him, He could do better than that.Wasn't she Liv?" said Danny White..
Olivia laughed...

"Oh My Godddd!  She was...And I used to ask her, baby girl, why do you care? You always say that Nelson is nice, but just not boyfriend material for you..and she'd go...He's still my friend...I don't want to see him with the wrong girl..I don't want him to get his heart broken or used..."  And I would just shake my head and go...She likes him, she just can't admit it to herself.."laughed Olivia..
"Okay,Okay...I did like him...I wanted him to myself...I just went around the barn and back with it..."Beverly finally admitted...
Nelson kissed her..
"It's okay babe...We're together now." he said..
I thought I saw a tear come from her eyes...Nelson hugged her...

"I love you so much." she whispered in his ear...
"And look at you Liv, Married again, Happy this time and got your own law firm...You're a superstar...I tell people I used to work with you and Bev..."laughed Danny White...
 "Here comes our food baby." said Olivia to me..
The platters were small considering what we were paying, but the food was delicious...I had to admit...I just would've liked more...
Danny White stared at Josie...

"And who may I ask is this? Another Associate?"he asked, smiling at her ...

"One day she'll be....This is Josie...Josie Boyd...She's our Para-legal...."said Olivia proudly..

"Niceeeeeeeeeeee....You got Bev as your partner..Your husband is your investigator and you have a para-legal...All the things we didn't have when we were overworked and underpaid Public Defenders."said Danny White in between bites of the hot food...  "I used to look at Liv and Bev and myself and wonder...What the hell are we doing? I mean I had a Columbia Law Degree and you two had  Penn Law Degrees and here we were defending these losers in court...When you left Liv and Larry North left....The writing was on the wall for me....I knew I wasn't hanging around much longer...Bev left ,Celeste left and then even Nelson left....I was out the door next....I've never looked back....You went to work for the Government first, didn't you Bev?" asked Danny...

"I was going to, but Auntay was setting up her firm at the time, So I decided to work with her.."said Beverly...who was chowing down on the delicious ,hot spicy food..and hugging Nelson..
"Niceeee..Here come our drinks.."said Danny..
"You gotta try these...Mango Martinis...."he said..

 "Oh My God....I thought Citris Martinis were good, but these are even better..."said Olivia..
 "Yessssssssssssssssssssss.."said Beverly...
"Ummmmmmmmmmmmm I love these.."said Josie..
I looked at Nelson...

"Poor Gus...You know they are going to demand that he serve these drinks.."I said..

Nelson smiled...

"Better give him a heads up.." he said.



II-
Our meal was done and we were enjoying our drinks.....Danny White knew this wasn't just a casual meeting and being the Attorney he was, he got right to the point..

"So guys...We haven't seen each other in years...What is this about?" he asked..

"RAY BENSON.." said Olivia..
"We know you repped him..."said Beverly...

"And we are looking into re opening his case..."I said...

"Really? He's been incarcerated for what? Three years now? Wow.....I screwed the pooch on that one! Who is paying for this? Innocence Project? Nahhhhh....You met his crazy wife, Angela righttt?? She's paying for this.." he said,laughing..

"She is my client....She has paid us to look into his case and see if we can overturn the original verdict.."said Olivia..

Danny White frowned...

"I always liked Ray....I couldn't stand his wife though...Ray was my very last courtroom defense...I worked at McClusky/Cozen and Associates right after I left the Public Defenders Office...She called me last year , Tried to get me to re-open his case...I explained to her that I don't do trial work, defense work anymore...She cursed me out!" said Danny...

"You worked at McCluskey/Cozen?? My girlfriend is an attorney there...


Her name is Yvette Jones.."said Olivia..Angela Benson had told us about Danny White, which was why we were meeting with him.

"I know her...She was the only Black Attorney at the firm when I was there...I hope they have improved on that.."said Danny White..

"They have...but not by much."said Beverly...
Danny White sighed...

"Like I said Liv, Bev, Ray Benson was my very last case....I already had an offer sheet from McClusky and I had turned in my letter of resignation when his case came across my desk...Maybe I could have done a better job...but you know how it was...I had no investigator, No para-legal and no second chair...I had to do it all myself..and like I said, my mind was elsewhere...I always felt Ray deserved better...My mind was on getting out of there..." he said..

''Who was the ADA on the case?" I asked.
"Eville Younger...Remember we used to call him "EVIL Younger ,Bev, Nelson?" laughed Danny White..

 Beverly giggled...

"Yeah...I couldn't stand him..." she said.
"He wasn't a fan of mine either..."said Nelson,laughing at the memory...

"He's not with the D.A.'s office anymore....Is he in private practice?" asked Olivia..

"Yeah, Private Practice in Hell...He's dead...Drowned two summers ago.." said Danny White..

"Drowned?? He was an excellent swimmer....The few times we talked outside of court...We talked about swimming..He knew that I had won the State Swimming championship...My senior year of high school.."said Olivia..

"Did he see that Black Bikini you wore?" I whispered in her ear...Remembering the photos she showed me of her winning....9 year old, cute as a button little Beverly was there cheering her auntie on...

Olivia laughed...and shook her head....but continued to talk....

"He was an excellent swimmer...He always swam..."said Olivia..

"Yeah , damndest thing...They found him face down in the pool at the country club he swam at...No explanation...."said Danny White...
"What about Judge Theopolis White?  He was the Judge who sentenced Ray Benson to 10-life for second degree murder."asked Beverly...

"He's dead too!...They found him and his uh mistress in his townhouse...in bed, naked...both of em dead of apparently a heart attack..They must have really been workin out.. Funny thing, he had just passed his physical...Doc said he was in perfect health...and his mistress was in her late twenties...No prior heart problems....That was last year..."said Danny White...
"Dang the Judge and the ADA ,both dead....So you're all we have to talk to.."said Nelson....

"Well, I have all of my notes from the case and you're welcome to them...I'll have my Administrative Assistant fax all of them to your office..Just give me your number..."said Danny White... "Oh there is one other person you might talk to...If he'll talk to you.."he said..

"Who is that?" asked Olivia..

"The Arresting officer and Case Detective in the original case...Arthur Tragg...Lieutenant Arthur Tragg....

I believe you know him....I've seen you guys on TV....You've wrecked a number of his cases.."laughed Danny White...
"You'd better hurry up...His car blew up yesterday,,,,He's pissed off some woman I imagine...and they put a contract out on him.."laughed Danny White..

"Funny you say that.."I said, laughing...
''Stop it Donnie Ray.."said Beverly ,laughing hysterically at the memory of what her mother had said the day before..The exact same sentiment...
Josie laughed too..

III-
Olivia went to pull out our corporate credit card...
Danny White smiled..

"Look at you Livy, you're a baller now..Corporate Card, Private Practice....Nahhh put that away...I'm just glad to see my old friends...I got this...." he said and pulled his card out and gave it to our server...

 "Thank You Danny.."said Beverly...
 "Wowww thanks man..." I said..
 "Yeah thanks..."said Nelson..
"Thank you.."said Josie..
"But let's not be strangers...Maybe we can meet again...You guys treat me to dinner...Hahahahahaha."laughed Danny White..

"Of course....Danny you are the best..."said Olivia..

"I knowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww....I just sent my Administrative Assistant a text...You'll have all of that information in your fax tomorrow morning....And hey listen...a word of advice..Client or not..Keep Angela Benson away from your actual business...Don't tell her anything except you are working on his case...She's overbearing and likes to give her opinion on everything , Whether you asked for it or not...She's a head case... Good luck with re-opening his case...Like I said...I always liked Ray...I wish I coulda given him a better defense..And uh don't mention my name to Angela Benson...I'm not one of her favorite peoples..." he said ,laughing...
We said our goodbyes and waved as Danny White got in a cab and pulled off...
We piled into our SUV and pulled off into the night..


IV-
 Danny White stood in front of his townhouse....It was late...He started to call his girlfriend and ask if he could come over...He thought better of it..He sent her a text...He'd see her in the morning...

He put his key in the door......

A bolt of electricity entered his body ....in fact enough voltage to kill an elephant entered his body,....

"AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!....LALALALALALALAAAAA.......
FA LA LA LA LA...LA LA LA LAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.....OUUU.." he moaned and then fell on the pavement...

His lifeless eyes staring at the sky....Dead as a doorknob....His body still smoking!
His body was still hot, still smoking by the time people from the medical examiner's office picked the body up...

Dr. Hazel Baylor..Forensic Investigator and Deputy Coroner talked to some of the neighbors...

"His doorbell, These doorbells have faulty wiring...I know mine sparked a little the other day.."said one man...

"Why would he be ringing his own doorbell? He lived alone.."said Hazel, who inspected the door..

"Seems like the surge came from here ,The keyhole..."she said.. His key was still in the door..

"Okay guys...let's get him out of here....This sure looks suspicious.." she noted..
They wheeled Danny White's body off into the night...
Angela Benson stood on the corner in the crowd...."That's three down, one to go..."she said.

V-
 The next morning,
Alfreda had five steaming tumblers of coffee

waiting for us in the conference room and doughnuts and pastries from Cakeman Raven's Bakery...

and orange juice...

 A very welcome sight if I might say so myself...
Olivia hugged her...

"You are sooo sweet, but you don't have to do this every morning Alfreda...." said Olivia..


 "I like doing nice things for you Livy...You and Bev have always looked out for me over the years...You give me a job....I owe you so much..." said Alfreda..

Beverly and Josie walked in...Beverly kissed her mother..

"Hi Mommy, awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww thank you.." she said upon viewing the spread..


 Josie walked in with some files....

"Danny's A.A. was right on the money...She faxed all of the case files from Ray Benson's original case to us...Just like he said." said Josie..
"Danny was always a good guy..."said Nelson ,who had just entered...
I came downstairs...I had some grim news for everyone..

"You won't believe this...but Danny White....He's dead!" I said..


 "WHAT? Dead???....We were just with him last night...What happened?" asked Olivia.


 "Well they are saying that the electrical wiring in his house was faulty or something or other...He stuck his key in his door and was hit with enough voltage to kill a horse..He died instantly...A freak accident.."I said..

 "OH MY GOD!" said Beverly...
 "Sweet Jesusssssssssssss!"said Alfreda..
"Oh My God!"said Josie...


 It was Nelson , who said what I had been thinking in the back of my mind...

"Sure is a lot of people connected to this case starting to drop dead all of a sudden..An ADA who is an excellent swimmer drowns...The Judge and his young girlfriend, both in seemingly perfect health found dead of heart attacks and now the defense lawyer electrocuted in a freak accident..I'm beginning to think this damn case is jinxed.."said Nelson..

 So was I....

''We've still got to concentrate on this case....We are going to see Ray Tomorrow at Stanga...So let's familliarize ourselves with this case.."said Olivia..

"Wow....I think I'll send a condolence card to his girlfriend from the office.."said Beverly...
"That's my job...just get me the address.....She'll have flowers and the card tomorrow."said Alfreda..
Josie smiled.
We spread the files out over the table...Josie had made copies..
 I pored over the forensic evidence and police report...






 Olivia, Beverly, Nelson and Josie went over trial transcripts...
We were in full trial mode...No more talking, just reading and taking notes...


 Alfreda looked on at us and smiled..
Tomorrow, we headed to Stanga State Prison to talk to Ray Benson...


(TO BE CONTINUED)