Lectura Avanzada en Inglés No. 4


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The 'Criminal'

Lawrence entered the small room, put his files down on the table, turned to the prison guard and nodded. The guard opened the door and left. He opened up his file and began to read through it. A few minutes later the prisoner was led into the room by another guard.

"Do you need me to wait here or should I wait outside?" asked the guard with a bored expression on his face.

"Outside will be fine. I'd like some privacy with my client, if you don't mind" replied Lawrence standing up.

The guard left and closed the door behind him. Lawrence held out his hand. "Mr. Marino, I'm Lawrence. I am an Attorney with the Public Defender's Office and I have been assigned to represent you in this case."

"Pleased to meet you, Your Honor. You can call me Joe" said Joe shaking his hand.

"Um… please call me Larry. 'Your Honor' is the way you will address the judge... If we go to court."

"Sorry" replied Joe apologetically, as the two men sat down opposite each other. "I've never been charged with anything before so I don't know what to call people. Someone in my cell told me I should call you 'Your Honor'."

"He certainly isn't the sharpest tool in the shed" Lawrence thought to himself.

"All right then let's get started!" said Lawrence taking out his pen and notepad. "So… the District Attorney is charging you with breaking and entering and attempted sexual assault. From what I've read in the police report, I think you should plead guilty and I'll see if we can cut a deal".

"But, I didn't do anything!" said Joe rolling his eyes. "That's what I've been trying to tell the police! This whole thing is a huge misunderstanding. I can explain the break-in but if anyone should be charged with assault, it should be that lady. She's NUTS!"

"You mean Mrs. Kim, the lady who called the police when she found you in her home?… The victim?" asked Lawrence, opening his notepad and starting to make notes. "And why would that be?"

"She beat me mercilessly with a broom!" yelled Joe, waving his arms in the air. "She's a Psycho! Look, I can show you the bruises." Joe pulled up his sleeve and pointed at some purple marks on his arm.

"Mr. Marino, please calm down. You have cuts and bruises all over your body. You look like you've been in an accident or a fight. I just assumed that you had had an altercation in lockup. The police report says that Mrs. Kim found you hiding in her kitchen… without any clothes on. I'm sure the poor, frightened woman was just trying to defend herself."

"FROM WHAT? I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING!" yelled Joe, frustrated. "I was hiding in her kitchen, because I HAD NO CLOTHES ON! I'm an idiot, ok? I admit it. But I'm NOT a pervert."

Lawrence took another look at the report. "Well, according to the report, she claims that she heard her dogs barking furiously outside, then she heard the kitchen window being forced open. She picked up the broom, ran into the kitchen and found you trying, unsuccessfully, to hide behind the kitchen table. She claims you were there to, and I quote, 'satisfy his desires', but as she could barely speak any English, I can only guess that she picked up that expression from some TV show."

"Seriously, dude? She's like a hundred. I'm 28 and work out like 3 hours a day. Do I look like the kind of guy who has trouble finding women his own age?"

Lawrence put down his pen. "Look, Joe. I'm not here to judge. In my profession, I meet all kinds of people. So, why don't you tell me your version of the events? Oh, and by the way, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from calling me 'dude'… I have a law degree and I don't surf or smoke pot."

"Ok, I'll tell you what happened but you probably won't believe me."

"It's my job to believe you. I'm your lawyer" replied Lawrence turning to a fresh page on his notepad.

Joe lowered his voice almost to a whisper. "Listen, I've been seeing this girl a few blocks away from Mrs. Kim's house for a couple of weeks now. Well, that day, her husband came home early and caught us while we were… you know… doing it. We don't have to tell anyone else right? It's really embarrassing."

"Mr. Marino, being embarrassed is the least of your problems right now. So, you were having an affair with this married lady and her husband walked in while the two of you were… shall we say… 'playing hide the salami'? And… judging from your injuries, I'm guessing the two of you got into a fight?"

"Well… no. You see, I'm in pretty good shape but this guy was in the Israeli Special Forces. I hear those guys can kill you in under 4 seconds! So I had to make a split second decision. I forgot that I was on the fourth floor and I jumped out of the window." Lawrence stopped writing and looked up, amazed. "The fourth floor? You're lucky to be alive!"

"I know! But luckily, there was some construction going on outside the building, so my fall was broken by all the scaffolding I hit on the way down. So fortunately, I only broke a couple of fingers when I finally hit the ground" said Joe, proudly holding up his bandaged hand.

"I suppose that explains all the cuts and bruises all over your face and head. It looks like your nose was broken as well. Did that also happen when you crashed through the scaffolding?" asked Lawrence.

"Oh no, just the broken fingers and some lacerations on my neck, torso and legs. After that, I ran from the construction workers who were quite ticked off, to say the least. However, as I ran out of the gate I crashed into a passing cyclist. That's how I broke my nose and pinky toe."

"Ok, so: broken fingers, nose, toe and lacerated legs and torso. That should win you some sympathy if we ever go before a jury" mumbled Lawrence making notes and shaking his head. "Please go on."

"Well, I know I shouldn't have left that poor cyclist on the street but I was worse off than he was. Also, I noticed that the construction workers began to run toward us. I couldn't tell if they were coming to help us or to beat me up. Rather than waiting to find out, I sprinted down the street in spite of the excruciating pain I was in. In order to lose them, I rounded a corner, climbed over the first fence I saw and stopped there to catch my breath. Have you ever tried climbing over a fence stark naked? Let me tell you, it is no fun at all. Now, at this point I was in Mrs. Kim's backyard. That's when I heard the dogs…"

"Ok, ok hold on, I need to write all this down" said Lawrence writing as fast as he could. "So, you ran into the cyclist outside the building and then ran for how long before you climbed over the fence into Mrs. Kim's backyard?"

"It must have been about half a mile, I'm not sure… maybe longer. It all happened so fast."

"There must have been witnesses" mumbled Lawrence, making a note and circling it on his pad. "I'll ask around. A nude man sprinting down the street in broad daylight? That's not something one forgets easily. So, you heard the dogs in the backyard. What happened then?"

"Well, I'm terrified of dogs, even when they are not running toward me, barking and baring their teeth. So I jumped up onto the window sill, forced open the window and tumbled into the kitchen. By the way, that is also not an activity I recommend doing in the nude. I was already in agony after climbing over the fence. Anyway, at this point, I heard Mrs. Kim, yelling so I dived behind the kitchen table. That's where she found me and began savagely beating me with a broom handle, yelling in a language I couldn't understand. It was quite a traumatic experience for me."

"I can imagine" replied Lawrence nodding "but if we can get witnesses to back up your story I can take this to the DA. Fortunately she does have a sense of humor. So, when she's done laughing I may be able to convince her to consider dropping the charges."

Joe heaved a sigh of relief. "That would be great! Thanks dude…I mean, Larry. One more thing, what do you think my chances are of getting my clothes back? The pants I left behind were brand new."


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