Thursday, August 20, 2009
"Offer of Proof" a well done courtroom drama
Charlotte King, a wealthy white woman is robbed and murdered in New York City. The police find a black man, Damon Tucker running in the street a few blocks away. The police take him to where Charlotte lay and with her last breath, she seems to identify him.
Arch Gold is a modern day Atticus Finch ("To Kill a Mockingbird"). Arch is a veteran defense attorney whose father was a bookie. Arch feels his background so stays on the job as defense attorney long after others leave that position for higher paying jobs.
It's Arch who gets the case to defend Damon.
Damon is outraged at his arrest and feels that the police are attempting to frame him. Arch listens to Damon's side of the story and when he checks things out, Damon's statements ring true and Arch comes to believe in his innocence.
After seeing Damon's point of view, Arch wonders if maybe Charlotte's killing wasn't just a robbery attempt gone bad. Maybe she was killed on purpose and the robbery staged to throw off the police.
He questions Charlotte's mother and learns that Charlotte had been sleeping with her boss, David Yates, who runs a PI firm "with a lot of power." Yates intends to take his company public within the next year and this will be worth millions to him.
When Arch tries to speak to him, David acts suspiciously and threatening. Arch wonders if maybe Charlotte found out something and Yates either killed her or had her killed.
When the case comes to court, Arch tells the judge that he is offering another point of view, i.e. that it was David who killed Charlotte.
The author is an attorney with the Legal Aid Society and writes with the knowledge of his legal work and of the people who are often treated unfairly by the legal system.
A well done story. The characters are believable with Arch being compassionate and Damon being angry.