At an initial arraignment, if the accused has no legal means of support the Court is obligated to appoint an attorney to represent the defense. Historically these appointees were chosen from a collection of hanging on bottom feeders in the murky barrel of the legal profession. A careful review of cases ending up for consideration in the United States Supreme Court reveals the dirty truth. That austere body known as the law of the land still hasn’t been able to agree on the issue of sentencing/punishment for the conviction of a capital crime. Both murder and rape are up for grabs each time a new case is heard.
Getting back to the appointees, they were either low pay or no pay, and very often had neither the litigation skills or experience to do an adequate job of representing the accused.
In Fusner’s case he got a well-known public defender named Dibley Jackson.
At the Spokane County Courthouse, Jackson was the go to guy for this sort of thing. He and Fairweather had kept the Courthouse humming and prospering for a couple of decades. Divorces, bankruptcies, torts of all sorts, civil and criminal cases to argue, mediate and settle in or out of court. Colonel Custer’s Little Big Horn fiasco had more serious results, but the Fairweather- Jackson productions kept the local media going with political fodder on a dependable basis.
Jackson was a born in the class product of the Manito Park neighborhood on the South Hill of Spokane. As the only child of well to do parents, he attended public schools, graduated from Lewis and Clark High School, entered Gonzaga University and left with a JD. After graduating and sliding past the Bar he spent two years trying to set up a private practice specializing in family law. During that same time, for all practical purposes he lost his eyesight to cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Faced with the prospect of having to move back in with his parents Dibs volunteered to serve the indigent and unserved as a court appointed Public Defender. With the help of a guide dog and the court reporter he was able to provide needed counsel to the needy, socially repressed and undesirable. Having found a perfect niche for a blind lawyer he became the perfect foil for the District Attorney’s team of budding prosecutors in the Superior Court proceedings of Spokane County.
Back in the Courtroom for the second day of the trial, Judge Karl resumed the action. Addressing the DA,
“Is the prosecution ready for today’s business?”
“Yes, Your Honor.”
“Mr. Fairweather. You can begin your opening statement.”
“Your Honor, Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, after a thorough review and consideration of the glaring facts and circumstances in this case provided to our office by CDI Perrini of the Deer Park Police Department, the accused, Virgil Fusner is being charged with aggravated murder in the first degree. We will provide testimony and additional evidence to show why this has been elevated to the level of a hate crime. The prosecution will prove beyond a shadow of doubt that he is the only person who could have committed the crime and that he did it without any outside assistance.”
“Call your first witness.”
“As the lead on this case, the prosecution calls CDI Inspector Ben Perrini as our first witness.”
Bailiff gets things going with,
“Please state your name for the court.”
“Ben Perrini, CDI, Deer Park Police Department”
“Detective Perrini do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”
“Please tell the court in as few words as possible what evidence you have to support these charges.”
Faced with the impossible task of making a brief synopsis of the messy investigation, Perrini hit the high points and ended with,
“And now we have the murder weapon.”
With Ben Perrini on the stand, Jackson also found out about the aborted part of the investigation and the police wild goose chase pursuit of Restorini. He made a mental note thinking that maybe he could find a way to focus the jury’s attention on the Italian’s religious obsession and launch a legitimate Hail Mary or at least an end run around for a mistrial.
Having heard the charges read aloud yet again and after another superficial scan of the prosecution’s brief, the Judge proceeded with,
“Does the defense have anything to add at this time, Mr. Jackson?”
“Since this case has just fallen so to speak in our laps just a short time ago, your Honor, the defense requests this trial be postponed for 24 hours in order to be able to prepare an adequate defense.”
“After two dull days of selecting a jury and repetition of charges by Mr. Faiweather, this case is already costing the taxpayers more than it’s worth, but. . . in consideration of your lack of visual acuity, the Court will honor your request. We are adjourned until 10:00 AM tomorrow.”
In a brain farting fog Fusner was reviewing his thinking in the orchard. Since all of the ‘ifs’ and “thens” clogging his brain and his ears hadn’t convinced him, why was still a mystery. He was quite sure he couldn’t remember giving the shooting that much thought.