Saturday, October 28, 2017

Just life

'The truth knocks on the door and you say," Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away.' -Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Every now and then  I do like a boost to my fading passion about the law. I enjoy watching lawyers in action on screen or read a fiction about lawyers. In all the movies and television drama scripts and novels where the protagonists are lawyers, all wrongs will be put right and the one who has been outrageously wronged will be vindicated simply because justice must prevail.

In The Whistle written by John Grisham, there  is a female lawyer who is trying to do things right and there is also a mob kingpin who does not care about what is right and what is wrong. What happens when he has a judge on his payroll? The hook itself is  intriguing.

Lacy Stoltz  is an  investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is pretty and smart and not easily cowed. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business and he claims to know of a Florida judge who is receiving cash bribes from a group of monsters, known as the Coast Mafia. Lacy and her colleague Hugo Hatch thus find themselves investigating into the Honorable Claudia McDover, “a Florida gal who just happens to be the most corrupt judge in the history of America.” and her connection with one Vonn Dubose ( not his real name)  who is powerful and greedy.

Lacy enjoys her solitary life while Hugo, her fellow investigator, struggles to make ends meet with a wife and four children. They live in Tallahassee. The previously disbarred lawyer point them to the Native American-operated casino that  takes in a half-billion dollars a year in cash . The casino development in question  is also in the Florida Panhandle and when some members of the tribe oppose the casino, they get killed and those  tribe leaders and their people who go along have jobs and share the profits As the story unfolds, there are more characters and the plot thickens. For Lacy, she finds her role as an investigator is treading on  dangerous terrain and the informant and the whistler blower have  to start running for the mobsters have ways to track them down.

“ We’re not cops with guns,” Lacy says. They are only lawyers with subpoenas. Eventually they have the attention of the FBI who initially shows no interest in the corrupt casino. 

John Grisham’s style of narration is very matter of fact. He writes,

‘On October 5, the first Wednesday of the month ,Judge McDover left her office an hour earlier than usual and drove the same condo at Rabbit Run, her second visit there since the filing of the complaint that accused her of receiving the unit in a bribery scheme. She parked her Lexus in the same spot, leaving room for another vehicle, and entered the condo. She gave no indication of being the least bit jumpy or nervous,never once looked over her shoulder or up and down the street.

Inside , she checked the patio door and all windows. She went to her vault and spent a few moments admiring her “assets”, goodies and she’d been collecting for so long that she now believed she deserved them. Cash and diamonds in small, portable, fireproof safes. Locked and cabinets filled with jewelery, rare coins, vintage silver goblets and cups and flatware, limited singed fist editions of famous novels, ancient crystal, and small paintings form contemporary artists. All of it had been acquired by casino cash, skillfully laundered through the systematic purchasing from dozens of dealers who never suspected that she and Phyllis Turban were violating those perky reporting laws. The genius of their scheme was patience. Buy fine and rare goods in small quantities and, with time, watch their collection grow.’

Reading John Grisham is akin to drinking an espresso that gives a quick lift as in a badly needed  shot to kick in  the  dose of optimism that justice will prevail. The inspiration booster is  much needed  even when you know in reality, legal battles are never open and shut and much more complicated. The truth is an elusive goal.  

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