2010-07-06: By Reason of Stupidity



Guest Starring:

Judah and Josiah

Date: July 6, 2010


When you have a couple of 'not so bright' clients who have multiple charges filed against them.. it's a bad day.

"By Reason of Stupidity"

The view of the Hudson river to the north of New York City is generally a lovely thing to sit and watch. Not today, not yesterday, likely not even tomorrow for a pair of young men currently being led into a private room. They are dressed in orange jumpsuits and are shackled at the wrists and ankles to keep them from being a danger to others and perhaps even themselves.

The larger of the two has his head hung low. Though he doesn't have as much to lose as his brother, Judah Restein has more to face. Tacked onto his long list of charges is one of attempted murder, the shooting of a promising young doctor during their failed takeover of the museum.

As they're led into the room, he lifts his head only slightly to see the dark haired lawyer sitting at the metal table. He gives him a shy and rather meek smile. Judah's been labeled as a gentle giant by most of the profilers, not intelligent enough to understand exactly what sort of punishment he could end up getting, but smart enough to know what he did wrong.

Unlike his brother, the wiry Josiah, doesn't look particularly contrite, he looks downright pissed off. His mouth is pressed into a kind of sneer as he rather defiantly is pushed into the room to face their lawyer.

He clears his throat and shakes his head, what's the point in all of this? This lawyer doesn't really care. Why would he? Clambering to the seat that will presumably be his, he leans forward and eyes the attorney with scrutiny before eyeing his brother.

Josiah, the obvious brains of the operation glances at his larger brother and shakes his head, this isn't likely to go well, particularly considering his understanding of people; suits never understand.

Whether or not he cares or not may not be as important to either of them as it is that he's damn good at what he does. He doesn't go trials believing in his clients. He goes in to give them the best possible defence, innocent or guilty. He's taken this case on a smaller than usual fee for two reasons. One, the family can't afford to pay anything more and two, the publicity alone will be good for him. He's slipping through a file, reading through the charges that were provided to him as the two walk in. Despite having a few — several drinks last night, Julian Fennell is alert and attentive as he sets to the folder down and watches the two men be escorted in.

There are good and bad points to Fennell defending them both. The good points being that they really can't turn on each other and Julian won't need to expect any surprises from them. The bad points are that they are going to be stuck together in this. If one goes down, the risk is extremely high that it will stick to the other as well, marking them guilty by association. The family cannot afford a second lawyer, so Fennell will so as he can. He stands up and motions to the chairs on the other side of the table. "Judah, Josiah, your family has retained me to represent you in this case." He sits down in his hair and turns from one to the other as he speaks. "We've got a lot of work cut out for us, so the first thing I need to know is if either of you said anything to the police, or anyone from the district attorney's office?" If they gave any statements, that will limit what they can do for a defense.

Judah glances over to his brother before looking at the lawyer and hanging his head back down to look at the table. He remains quiet, just like he did for most of his stay in the downtown station when he was brought in. The reason for this is simple, he was told to stay quiet by his brother and to his brother he is loyal to a fault.

The large man's hands are folded together and he looks almost pathetic as he sits there with that guilty expression on his face. There's a nervous bounce to one of his legs, indicating that he's uncomfortable with his current position. Who wouldn't be, really. He knew what he did, he knew what he did was wrong, but he said sorry.

"Of course we were silent! Do you seriously think this was my first arrest?" Not that the others had been for such infractions; they'd all been related to interrupting the peace, being a rabble rouser and loitering, none of which are substantial charges. He outright stares at the lawyer, "Can't you see this is just Bourgeouise oppression at its worst?! Wait. Of course you can't you're one of them!" Standing from his seat, he cups his hands to his mouth as a sort of projection, "Suit for hire, ladies and gentleman! SUIT for hire!!!"

Sitting back down he rests his hands on the table before peering at Judah. "We said nothing. They know nothing; the moment we were brought in, I demanded a lawyer and refused to talk from the get-go. I mean none of it went as planned, right?! Of course it would've if that broad didn't have a gun in her purse! Which, really, a person has to ask themselves, what kind of woman carries a gun in her purse?" He pauses as his gaze turns to the ceiling almost as if he's rolling his eyes unintentionally, "I blame Bourgeosie oppression!"

Julian just stares for a moment at Josiah. Seriously? Can you say, 'Not Guilty By Reason of Temporary Insanity?' Though it's probably not temporary, which would just be his luck. He shakes his head. "First of all, if you try to use any of that junk as your defense, you will be thrown in jail. For a very long time. So take a deep breath and tell me what happened. Don't give me opinions about anything other than what you were thinking at the time." He pulls out a legal yellow notepad and starts to make a few notes. It appears that Josiah is the talker here, so he directs his gaze at that brother.

Judah's thick eyebrows furrow together in worry at his brother's vehement protests. "Joe— c'mon bro, ma' said he's our lawyer. He's gotta be on our side, right?" The man's voice is a deep throaty rumble, much like a bear. He gives the thinner of the two a pleading look before averting his attention toward Julian. "I did it man, I did it. Joe would'a had to quit college because the painting got stole. No one was helpin'."

His voice draws to a squeaking silence and he gives a very long sniffle. Then it cracks as he gives the lawyer a pitiable expression that would break the heart of the manliest man alive, Red Green. "The woman that I shot, i-is she still alive? Is she okay?"

Judah is, surprisingly, addressed first. It seems Josiah cares about his brother. "Hey, now. This wasn't you, it wasn't your fault, it was the stupid museum's fault."

He turns to face Julian now, "What do you mean what happened?! It was all oppression, I'm tellin' you!" Josiah throws his hands into the air exasperatedly before sighing and leaning back in the chair. "The painting was stolen and it was unbelievable!! That was like our bread and butter, man!! It was an original never-before-seen Picasso, not even freakin' appraised when it was taken at their stupid gala thing!! And NO one caught it on tape!! No one! There was obviously NOT enough security and the museum should pay for what it did to our family— our livelihood! We just wanted the painting back!! That's why we went in there with guns blazing! It was truly a heroic act!" Yes. Heroic. He turns to look at Judah, offering his brother a kind of supportive shoulder squeeze.

There's nothing about Josiah's or Judah's speech that triggers that tell tale sign of deception, in accordance with Julian's lie detection ability, something he's finding has come back to him. He holds up his hand, the universal sign for 'shut the hell up' and places his pencil down. "You're saying that this painting belonged to your family?" If Julian wasn't a walking polygraph machine, he's think both of these guys were full of shit. "Look, if you want me to help you, I need you to tell me what the hell is going on. Walk me step by step, moment by moment and tell me what went down there." It's about now that Julian wishes he'd had a drink before coming to visit these two clowns.

First giving a meek look to Josiah, Judah turns back to the lawyer and nods. "It was gramma's, painting, sir. When she died she gave it to us, me, Joe, an' Becky… that's our sister." He clears his throat with a gruff 'harrumph' and lets loose a deep sigh before continuing. "Joe brought it to some guy at the museum, right? Because they'd know if it was worth somethin'. The guy got all excited and stuff… said it was a Pick- Pick— " That's when Judah finally falls silent and turns to Josiah to fill in the rest.

"A Picasso." Joe states matter-of-factly. "Never before seen. Never unveiled, and never appraised for an insurance company."

"The curator got soooo excited" he makes a floating hand motion accompanied with wide crazy eyes, "he wanted to display it or something and had this even that needed something grandiose. So… The painting was on display at the MoMA gala a couple of weeks ago— it was to be unveiled there something about their centrepiece blah blah blah. After that? The family was gonna sell it. Sell it. It got stolen. Which means— no sales, no money, no freakin' livelihood and no shot in hell that this Jewish boy is gonna meet a nice college Jewish girl who can do chemistry, reads Tolstoy, and follows the politics of Communist Leon Trotsky. Or likes geek guys! Do you know how hard it is to meet a nice, smart, Jewish girl who has a thing for wiry guys? It's impossible! Especially without a college education of your own!" This is truly Josiah's motivation to go to college: meet chicks.

"So yeah. WHen it went missing we had no recourse. We tried everything we could and finally taking the museum hostage was just the best idea. So we did it. No one was supposed to get hurt. And yeah, I feel kinda bad for the gal that got shot, but it wasn't meant to be like that…"

Julian is scribbling furiously trying to keep up with all that chattering, leaving out the dating details, obviously. "I should point out that you will not meet any nice jewish girls in prison either." He pauses in his writing then scribbles a few more things down. "When did it get stolen?" None of this makes any sense to him, but as far as he can tell both guys are teling the truth. "And what was the order of events when you got to the museum?" He needs to know how it happened to be that someone got shot.

"They had this big fancy party, I even got a suit. They had the painting in a little room and we weren't allowed to go in until the museum guy said it was okay." Judah's voice cracks with nervousness, guilt, and there's even tears welling in his eyes. Hunching his shoulders forward a little, he slumps in defeat as he continues to relate their story. "They had these little shrimp things, I was eating one when they said we could go in. I took a bunch of them, cause they were so good, you know? Like puffy little shrimps with mushrooms. But yeah, when they took the sheet off the painting, it was gone."

"Don't remind me," Josiah hisses to Julian. "I'm skinny and wiry, there's no way I won't be somebody's bitch in prison." With a roll of his eyes he hmms and tries to remember, "June 16. That's when the painting was stolen. I remember because that's when I needed the suit for." He nods at Judah's rendition of the story. "And that's the story of the painting. We tried to talk to the curator, the museum staff, the security. No one saw anything! And no one did anything to help us! It's because we're poor and they don't want to pay out." He sighs exasperatedly. "And not only would the money have helped us, but it's the last thing we have left of our grandmother! So. We took action. What other choice did we have?"

"We went into the museum all masked and used some people to bargain our painting back. No, it wasn't perfect, but that was the plan. Five people total. One gal pulled a gun another got shot… I'm sure it's all there in the police report…"

Still trying to make some sense out of this, and rather wishing he'd brought his idiot translator, Julian adds a few things to his notes. He taps his eraser on the table for a moment before glancing upwards looking from one to the other, "Before deciding to burst throught he door in a blaze of glory, armed for war — did you seek any other more legal measures to try and get the painting back? Talk to a lawyer or the police or anyone?" Surely these boneheads didn't go from getting a painting stolen straight to attempted murder.

On the other hand, with these two — it doesn't seem that unlikely.

"Uh…" Judah looks at this brother now, his remorse still palpable. With a small sniffle he kind of shrugs, altogether unaware if anything else was done. With a slight narrowing of his eye he shakes his head a little, not entirely sure what to do. Silently, he rests both of his hands on his knees, squeezing them somewhat nervously, perhaps ashamedly. With a small crack in his voice he asks, "Is she gonna be okay? She wasn't… she didn't pull the gun…"

Josiah, however, scoffs, "They're suits, man! All suits! They don't know what it's like to lose a precious family heirloom like that! Seriously— and all we wanted was the painting back! That's all! It was just going to be a simple call for them to acknowledge us! We need to respond radically to people who don't listen. And it's not like we could afford a lawyer…"

"Stop." Julian finally says. "I need you to stop with this 'radical response' bullshit. I'm trying to save your asses here and I don't need that. I need you to answer my questions with facts. I'm here because no other lawyer in town will take this case on the money that your family has had to put up to retain me. Now.." He leans back against the chair and looks over at Judah, "She's going to be fine." Back to Josiah, "Now, someone tell me when things started to go bad. When did that woman get shot and who shot her?" As it is, he's going to have to try and bargain this case down. He's almost certain he'll never keep them out of jail, but perhaps he can get a reduced sentence for at least one of them.

"I shot her," Judah says quietly, remorsefully. "It was my fault." His voice cracks again before he sniffles. "The other woman was holding a gun and the one I shot went to her pocket for a cellphone and I've never never used a gun before." His shoulders slump sadly.

"It wasn't on purpose that he shot her!" Josiah says defensively. "But it was all my idea. My plan! My execution!! And then he used my name… honestly he's a puppy!" With a tiny frown he hmms, "Okay… so we moved everyone into this room. The girl that got shot went into her purse and took out this… pink phone because we wanted a phone and she listened… and then this other girl went into her purse and pulled a gun. Judah panicked and his gun went off! Honestly, it wasn't like intent to shoot her. Besides it barely got her— " Of course, the clipped spine was not great.

Now we're getting somewhere, Julian thinks to himself, already beginning to formulate a plan. He looks only at Judah as he leans forward on the table, elbows propping him up. "Did she point the gun at you, Judah? Did it look like she was going to shoot you?"

"Uh… yeah…? I think…" Judah states in his cracked voice. "But the girl with the gun wasn't the girl I shot." His head is now buried into his hands, hiding his face from the lawyer and his brother lest he cry. After rubbing at his face, he lowers his hands and looks up to the lawyer and then to Josiah.

"I thought she was gonna shoot him," Joe states matter-of-factly. "And he didn't know that the girl that was shot didn't have a gun. He panicked that's all." Pressing his lips together Josiah leans back in his seat and shrugs a little. What else is there to say?

This is just going from bad to worse now. Unfortunately 'not guilty by reason of stupidity' is not a defense. "Let me be blunt with the two of you." God, Julian wants to drink himself into a stupor and forget he ever met these jokers. "You couldn't afford a lawyer then but you pretty much have to pay one now. You almost killed a woman with your 'radical' behavior and now someone is going to want your asses in jail." Julian rubs his face with his hands and reaches for his pencil. "I'm going to go talk to the district attorney when we get done here and see what exactly it is they are looking for. We may have to plead this one down. I cannot promise you won't go to jail." Still now, he's not getting any vibes that either of these is lying or even just shading the truth. What they're saying is what they believed happened. "Is there anything you need?" Besides the obvious, of course.

Contemplatively, Judah looks at Julian and has only one request, jail-time doesn't even seem off-base here for him. "Can you… talk to her? The girl that got shot. And… and tell her that… that I'm sorry." Swallowing hard he looks at Josiah who is literally sneering.

"The museum should be apologizing to us," is Joe's reply. "We need that painting back even if we're stuck in here, that's all we wanted all along to figure out who is behind it and how to get it back!"

Gathering his things, Julian finally pushes the chair back with his knees as he stands up and tucks his notes under his arm. "Look, I can't promise to talk to her. She is going to be the one who does you the most harm. But, if it'll make you feel better, I'll stop by and see how she's doing." From Judah to Josiah, "You need to think long and hard about all this rhetoric you're using right now, Josiah. If you want to go to jail for a very long time, get up on the stand and say all this stuff you've been saying." He walks over to the door and pounds on it with his fist. "I'll come back if I have any other questions for you. Don't get into any trouble while you're here."

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