Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sanctuary Presents "The Good Lawyer" Who Scorns Fair Legal Representation...

Dani headed to the conference room where she saw the guard standing outside. He opened the door, went in first, and left her closing the door behind.
"Why didn't you ask for bail?" Rocky demanded.
"I have looked at your bank records Mr. Evons and knew you didn't have it," Dani replied.
"So, how are you going to get me off?" he wanted to know.
"I'm not," Dani replied. "We're going to ask for a plea agreement."
"The hell we are," Rocky shouted.
"Listen to me, Mr. Evons," Dani's calm voice seemed to reach him.
"Okay," he agreed.
"This is your third offense," Dani began. "The judge is going to want to throw away the key. If you change your plea to guilty. I think I can get the prosecution to go for a sentence of ten to fifteen years. Meaning you would serve between five and seven and be eligible for parole."
"If I go to trial, what do I get?" Rocky wanted to know.
"If you are found guilty, the maximum sentence which is twenty-five to life," Dani told him.
"What I gotta do?" Rocky wanted to know.
"Sign this paper," Dani said handing him paper and a pen, "I'll see the prosecutor gets it today and we should be able to get credit for the time you've already served."
"Sounds sweet, I'm in," Rocky said as he signed the paper in front of him.
Dani took the paper and pen, put them in her briefcase, walked to the door where she knocked and stood back. The guard entered.
"We are done here, thank you," she said and left the room..."
~~~

Hide from the Past...
Sanctuary: A Macy McVannel Mystery
Run From the Future

By Rebecka Vigus

When I was working for a small publishing company, we received a submission of a novel. I loved it. The publisher was totally against it, stating that the author had not done his fact-checking of known events and places. Probably everybody knows that I love a good story... But the publisher's guidance had sunk in. Either a book is fantasy and results from the imagination of a writer, or it is reality-based and should be based upon the setting created in which the characters live. Thus, I found I was forcing myself to read this book through. The further I read, the more irritated I got... for a variety of reasons. 

First, it is not a mystery--This drama reads straight through and had absolutely no mystery twists to be solved in the story. But that is minor in comparison to the story line. A second somewhat minor issue on the writing style of the author is that she writes with repetitive sentences...that is, many sentences repeat some part of the previous sentence. This style slows the story down with unnecessary duplicate words... This may be a personal issue from my background writing and editing. My personal preference is the rule that each word should move the story forward. This helps to eliminate the slowdown and, often growing boredom of reading...

First I was suckered in by the main character, having come back to a house in which she had grown up and immediately starting to work on a secret hideout that was once used for the Underground Railroad for slaves moving to the north. Now she planned to also become a part of an underground group that helped battered women and/or children get away.

She was having this secret hideout totally renovated so that individuals could stay hidden inside her own home and be able to eat, cook, live in total security... What a wonderful idea... I was loving the story...

Montgomery has set up her office in the home as well. The housekeeper/cook who was there was retained and she soon hired an older woman who needed a job when her former boss died. She soon became indispensable and became involved in the secret work... When her niece became a victim, so, too, did the housekeeper. There are additional characters that come in to the story who, it would appear, should have known the legalities of what was happening, given their professions...


Montgomery had once been involved with a local man who was now a contractor and they were trying to decide whether they could get back together romantically while he acted to work on the secret location renovation...

Now, here's the kicker. Montgomery heads to court and signs up to pro bono represent the husbands!

She gets them to enter into a plea bargain and sends them off to jail...

Ok, wait a minute... Yes, they do deserve jail time, probably... And it was repeat offenses by that time. But a lawyer that represents them, should not also be working, even in secret, with their wives. In essence, she sets the woman up in her safe home, starts divorce proceedings and a new life plan...

While she sends the husband to jail, even lying to them once, after she had verified information that she didn't later share with the husband... There were three different cases in the book, so this was a deliberate decision by the writer and not an editing error, in my opinion...

Soooo, next I went to the acknowledgments section of the book to see the routine thanks to various people for helping them with the details of their book. Nothing there...  Her background does not reference any legal training...

This story is totally implausible. And the disclaimer on the back cover wondering whether it was even legal does not forgive the absence of reality in today's legal system.

Here's what I found with one simple research question:

A lawyer cannot represent both a husband and wife in a divorce case. - See more at: http://www.legalaidofnebraska.com/node/96/divorce-handbook#sthash.REsY0vXv.dpuf

Adding domestic violence complicates this even more, since the lawyer must be an expert...well that's enough for me to verify my own thoughts about the ethics of The Good Lawyer in this book... 

What is sad about this is that there are many women out there who are in need of help in this terrible situation. This fictional novel is actually misleading since it seems so very easy to "get out" of the situation... And that a lawyer can easily remove the women from the situation they are in...

This could have been an important book. It should have been an important book. Instead it is merely the imagination of a novice who has taken no real interest--not even enough to do the proper research--in an important social women's issue, except for the personal satisfaction she will have gained.

I do not support this book or author to anybody. Our legal system may be flawed but everybody, including wife-beating husbands, deserves fair representation, including pro bono work, in my opinion. That's also my limited expertise gained by watching hundreds of Law and Order episodes... LOL


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