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But so many of his colleagues had been doing something wrong back then, whether that meant something as minor as a little bit of creative writing on the hours entered on their Daily Activity Logs, all the way up to outright stealing or selling the very narcotics they were paid to keep off the streets.

Whatever it was, they were constantly checking for a tail, as they used to call it. Over time, Jaywalker had found himself gradually adopting their paranoia as his own, almost unconsciously looking over his shoulder as he walked and glancing in the rearview mirror as he drove. Somewhat to his surprise, it had turned out to be a woman, a thirtysomething blonde almost as tall as he was. Though it was an overcast day, she was wearing sunglasses. And as soon as he looked her way, she averted her glance, turned away and crossed the street, disappearing into the midafternoon crowd.

But soon enough, there she was again. More careful this time, wearing a large hat pulled down over her forehead, hanging back a little farther, even following him from across the street at one point. But Jaywalker had tricks of his own. In fact, he was able to angle himself so that in the reflection of the glass he could see her slow down and then stop on the opposite sidewalk, pretending to be looking into a shop herself.

He could have lost her right then, had he wanted to. But by that time he was curious. Beyond taking those precautions, he lived a life that was almost boring in its adherence to the law. With his car in dry dock, he accumulated no speeding or parking tickets. Without an income, he had no taxes to cheat on.

But those offenses were hardly the stuff that called for the authorities to go out and recruit Mata Hari types to conduct clandestine surveillance on him. So who was this blonde who was following him, if rather amateurishly? Jaywalker had been determined to find out.

Unfortunately, she must have been pushing at the same time, and their combined efforts, as he released his foot, had literally knocked her to the ground. Which meant that, being a gentleman, Jaywalker had had no choice but to come around to her side and help her to her feet. Her hat had somehow stayed in place, but the force of her fall had knocked the sunglasses from her face. He picked them up and held them up to his eyes for inspection.


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Still, Jaywalker hesitated a bit longer before returning them to her, getting an even better look at her. That had been an hour and a half ago. The chat on the library steps, the cup of coffee in a nearby luncheonette and the cab ride to her place had taken less than an hour. The rest, as they say, was history. Yet at no point had Jaywalker confronted her about having followed him.

He decided she must have known who he was all along. Why had she gone to such elaborate lengths to meet him? If the answer to that question still went begging, Jaywalker could come up with a pretty plausible explanation. His home phone number, as it always had been, remained unlisted. Had Amanda Drake—now that he knew her real name—used more traditional means to try to meet with him and hire him, she no doubt would have failed. So while Jaywalker was forced to deduct one point for her having been less than forthright, he gave it back to her for sheer cleverness.

Depraved Indifference

Even though he was pretty much satisfied with his explanation of why Amanda had been following him, he was tempted to come right out and ask her. Not so much to test his hypothesis as to show off his own superior instinct and skill at having spotted her. But he resisted the urge. Some cards are better played early on in the game; others are best held on to. Who knew if an opportune moment might arise when confronting Amanda would pay a dividend? He kept quiet, therefore, and turned his thoughts to the notion of getting back into the business of defending criminals—okay, accused criminals.


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  6. He missed the courthouse, that filthy place of long lines, broken elevators and peculiar smells. He missed even the defendants, often initially surly or even hostile, invariably self-destructive, but almost always deeply appreciative by the time he parted ways with them. He missed the battle, that matching of wits, that take-no-prisoners struggle they called a trial but might just as well have called a war.

    He missed opening statements, cross-examination, summing up.

    Matthew Teller's Documents

    He missed sitting on the edge of his seat and feeling his heart pounding in his chest as the jurors filed into the courtroom one last time to deliver their verdict. He missed the incredible high that lifted him into the stratosphere with each acquittal. He even missed, in some strange way, the depths of despair into which he plunged following a conviction. Should the act of driving, no matter how poorly or even recklessly, ever be a sufficient predicate for a murder charge and the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment it carried?

    Was that asking too much? And that was the worst invention Homo sapiens had ever managed to come up with. A murder case, even one predicated upon the faulty operation of a motor vehicle, meant a five-figure fee. God knew he could use the money, which would be his first income in more than two years.

    But that could be done, he was pretty sure. Then there were the secondary drawbacks and benefits of getting involved. On the negative side was the sheer notoriety of the case.

    Guilty as Sin

    Taking on Carter Drake as his comeback act would mean that Jaywalker would be returning to the scene of his past transgressions with a considerable bang. In fact, the thought of it brought him dangerously close to gagging. Finally, there was the chance that one of the benefits of representing Carter Drake might be Amanda Drake. Then again, what a conflict of interest that would be! Jaywalker allowed himself a chuckle as he imagined a slew of new charges from the disciplinary committee. He could picture the presiding justice snarling down at him with righteous indignation. So, Mr.

    Jaywalker, we conclude that you deliberately made certain that your client would remain locked up for as long as possible, just so you could continue to have an affair with his wife. That night, in the privacy of his own place, Jaywalker thought things over. What it was, was a fourth-floor walk-up studio in what real estate agents tend to write off as a developing neighborhood, much the same way economists might refer to a developing nation. Implicit in both terms is the suggestion that the entity being described still has a long way to go before qualifying for actually being developed.

    A criminal case begins, as Jaywalker well knew, with an investigation, followed by an arrest.

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    By the time a defense lawyer gets contacted, selected, and either hired by the family or appointed by the court, that lawyer already finds himself playing catch-up. It would be another seven or eight months before Jaywalker would be allowed to practice again. That would mean an eight-month head start for the prosecution, an all but insurmountable advantage.

    So what was Jaywalker to do in the meantime? He found a half-smoked joint, fired it up and inhaled deeply. It soothed him, relaxed him, helped him see things a bit more clearly, and brought on a moderate case of the munchies —an indispensable aid to a man who, to the envy of most men and every woman he knew, had serious trouble keeping his weight up. With no known adverse side effects and no possibility of a lethal overdose, it was, as Martha Stewart might have put it, a good thing.

    Little wonder, thought Jaywalker, that the government had criminalized it, or that the last administration had chosen to make it the primary target of its war against drugs. That would allow Jaywalker to go into jail and talk with Drake, gather police reports and other documents, locate and interview witnesses, and generally snoop around. His DEA background more than prepared him for the job, and his law degree qualified him, much the same way it permitted lawyers to act as real estate brokers and notary publics without having to undergo additional training or licensing.

    No, he decided; that would be over-thinking it. He was still a lawyer, albeit one who was temporarily incapacitated. Kind of like how a baseball player who was on the disabled list was still a baseball player, no?


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    A perfect analogy. He broke the news to Amanda two days later. He managed somewhat better when it came to his hands, but it was hard. Keeping his hands off her, that is. This time they had lunch instead of just coffee, she a fancy wrap of some sort, he a tuna-fish sandwich. As they ate, he outlined his plan, and Amanda was quick to approve it.

    And that was pretty much it. But even if he was only an investigator for the time being, Jaywalker knew better. He was back in the game. The very first thing Jaywalker did the following morning was to pay a visit to his bank. There he endorsed and deposited the five-thousand-dollar check Amanda Drake had given him.

    As soon as the teller had completed the transaction, he asked her for his current balance. She tapped some keys on her computer and handed him a slip of paper. There were a bunch of numbers on it, showing. This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join. Save For Later. Create a List.

    Depraved Indifference by Joseph Teller. Summary An Audi sports car, speeding in the wrong lane, forces an oncoming van off the road. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere.

    Sort of. Sort of? What happened? You get burned out? No, he said, "more like thrown out. They suspend you for those things? What did you say your name was? Yup, he acknowledged meekly now, that would be me. He returned to New York City, where he spent three years as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics the precursor of the Drug Enforcement Administration , doing undercover work.

    For the next 35 years, he worked as a criminal defense attorney, representing murderers, drug dealers, thieves and at least one serial killer. When New York State restored the death penalty in the nineties, Teller was one of a select group of lawyers given special training to represent capital defendants, which he did on several occasions, including winning an acquittal for a man accused of committing a double murder. Guilty As Sin. Joseph Teller.

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    Did career criminal Alonzo Barnett, in and out of prison since age fifteen, commit the latest drug deal he's accused of? Yup, he's guilty as charged. But is he guilty as sin?