Tell me your dreams, p.14
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       Tell Me Your Dreams, p.14

           Sidney Sheldon
Chapter Fourteen

  AT ten o'clock the following morning, David walked into Joseph Kincaid's office. Kincaid was signing some papers and he glanced up as David entered.

  "Ah. Sit down, David. I'll be through in a moment. " David sat down and waited.

  When Kincaid had finished, he smiled and said, "Well! You have some good news, I trust?"

  Good news for whom? David wondered.

  "You have a very bright future here, David, and I'm sure you wouldn't want to do anything to spoil that. The firm has big plans for you. "

  David was silent, trying to find the right words.

  Kincaid said, "Well? Have you told Dr. Patterson that you'd find another lawyer for him?"

  "No. I've decided that I'm going to defend her. " Kincaid's smile faded. "Are you really going to defend that woman, David? She's a vicious, sick murderer. Anyone who defends her will be tarred with the same brush. "

  "I'm not doing this because I want to, Joseph. I'm obligated. I owe Dr. Patterson a great deal, and this is the only way I can ever repay him. "

  Kincaid sat there, silent. When he finally spoke, he said, "If you've really decided to go ahead with this, then I suggest that it would be appropriate for you to take a leave of absence. Without pay, of course. "

  Good-bye, partnership.

  "After the trial, naturally, you'll come back to us and the partnership will be waiting for you. "

  David nodded. "Naturally. "

  "I'll have Collins take over your workload. I'm sure you'll want to begin concentrating on the trial. "

  Thirty minutes later, the partners of Kincaid, Turner, Rose & Ripley were in a meeting.

  "We can't afford to have this firm be involved in a trial like that," Henry Turner objected.

  Joseph Kincaid was quick to respond. "We're not really involved, Henry. We're giving the boy a leave of absence. "

  Albert Rose spoke up. "I think we should cut him loose. "

  "Not yet. That would be shortsighted. Dr. Patterson could be a cash cow for us. He knows everybody, and he'll be grateful to us for letting him borrow David. No matter what happens at the trial, it's a win-win situation. If it goes well, we get the doctor as a client and make Singer a partner. If the trial goes badly, we'll drop Singer and see if we can't keep the good doctor. There's really no downside. "

  There was a moment of silence, then John Ripley grinned. "Good thinking, Joseph. "

  When David left Kincaid's office, he went to see Steven Patterson. He had telephoned ahead, and the doctor was waiting for him.

  "Well, David?"

  My answer is going to change my life, David thought. And not for the better. "I'm going to defend your daughter, Dr. Patterson. "

  Steven Patterson took a deep breath. "I knew it I would have bet my life on it. " He hesitated a moment. "I'm betting my daughter's life on it. "

  "My firm has given me a leave of absence. I'm going to get help from one of the best trial lawyers in the - "

  Dr. Patterson raised a hand. "David, I thought I made it clear to you that I don't want anyone else involved in this case. She's in your hands and your hands only. "

  "I understand," David said. "But Jesse Quiller is - "

  Dr. Patterson got to his feet. "I don't want to hear anything more about Jesse Quiller or any of the rest of them. I know trial lawyers, David. They're interested in the money and the publicity. This isn't about money or publicity. This is about Ashley. "

  David started to speak, then stopped. There was nothing he could say. The man was fanatic on the subject.

  I can use all the help I can get, David thought. Why won't he let me?

  "Have I made myself clear?"

  David nodded. "Yes. "

  "I'll take care of your fee and your expenses, of course. "

  "No. This is pro bono. "

  Dr. Patterson studied him a moment then nodded. "Quid pro quo?"

  "Quid pro quo. " David managed a smile. "Do you drive?"

  "David, if you're on a leave of absence, you'll need some expense money to keep you going. I insist. "

  "As you wish," David said.

  At least we'll eat during the trial.

  Jesse Quiller was waiting for David at Rubicon.

  "How did it go?"

  David sighed. "It was predictable. I'm on a leave of absence, no salary. "

  "Those bastards. How can they - ?"

  "I can't blame them," David interrupted. "They're a very conservative firm. "

  "What are you going to do now?"

  "What do you mean?"

  "What do I mean? You're handling the trial of the century. You don't have an office to work in anymore; you don't have access to research files or case files, criminal law books or a fax machine, and I've seen that outdated computer that you and Sandra have. It won't be able to run the legal software you'll need or get you on the Internet. "

  "I'll be all right," David said.

  "You're damn right you will. There's an empty office in my suite that you're going to use. You'll find everything you need there. "

  It took David a moment to find his voice. "Jesse, I can't - "

  "Yes, you can. " Quiller grinned. "You'll find a way to pay me back. You always pay people back, don't you, and Saint David?" He picked up a menu. "I'm starved. " He looked up. "By the way, lunch is on you. "

  David went to visit Ashley in the Santa Clara County Jail.

  "Good morning, Ashley. "

  "Good morning. " She looked even paler than usual. "Father was here this morning. He told me that you're going to get me out of here. "

  I wish I were that optimistic, David thought. He said carefully, "I'm going to do everything I can, Ashley. The trouble is that not many people are familiar with the problem you have. We're going to let them know about it. We're going to get the finest doctors in the world to come here and testify for you. "

  "It scares me," Ashley whispered.

  "What does?"

  "It's as though two different people are living inside me, and I don't even know them. " Her voice was trembling. "They can take over anytime they want to, and I have no control over them. I'm so frightened. " Her eyes filled with tears.

  David said quietly, "They're not people, Ashley. They're in your mind. They're part of you. And with the proper treatment, you're going to be well. "

  When David got home that evening, Sandra gave him a hug and said, "Did I ever tell you how proud I am of you?"

  "Because I'm out of a job?" David asked.

  "That, too. By the way, Mr. Crowther called. The real estate broker. He said the papers are ready to sign. They want the down payment of sixty thousand dollars. I'm afraid we'll have to tell him we can't afford - "

  "Wait! I have that much in the company pension plan. With Dr. Patterson giving us some expense money, maybe we can still swing this. "

  "It doesn't matter, David. We don't want to spoil the baby with a penthouse, anyway. "

  "Well, I have some good news. Jesse is going to let me - "

  "I know. I talked to Emily. We're moving into Jesse's offices. "

  David said, "We?"

  "You forget, you married a paralegal. Seriously, darling, I can be very helpful. I'll work with you until" - she touched her stomach - "Jeffrey comes along, and then we'll see. "

  "Mrs. Singer, do you have any idea how much I love you?"

  "No. But take your time. Dinner's not for another hour. "

  "An hour isn't enough time," David told her.

  She put her arms around him and murmured, "Why don't you get undressed, Tiger?"

  "What?" He pulled back and looked at her, worried. "What about the - What does Dr. Bailey say?"

  "The doctor says if you don't get undressed in a hurry, I should attack you. "

  David grinned. "His word's good enough for me. "

  The following morning, David moved into the back office of Jesse Quiller's suite. It was a serviceable off
ice, part of a five-office suite.

  "We've expanded a little since you were here," Jesse explained to David. "I'm sure you'll find everything. The law library is next door; you've got faxes, computers, everything you need. If there's anything you don't see, just ask. "

  "Thanks," David said. "I - I can't tell you how much I appreciate this, Jesse. "

  Jesse smiled. "You're going to pay me back. Remember?"

  Sandra arrived a few minutes later. "I'm ready," she said. "Where do we begin?"

  "We begin by looking up every case we can find on multiple personality trials. There's probably a ton of stuff on die Internet. We'll try the California Criminal Law Observer, the Court TV site and some other criminal law links, and we'll gather whatever useful information we can get from Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis. Next, we get hold of doctors who specialize in multiple personality problems, and we contact them as possible expert witnesses. We'll need to interview them and see if we can use their testimony to strengthen our case. I'll have to brush up on criminal court procedures and get ready for voir dire. We've also got to get a list of the district attorney's witnesses and the witnesses' statements. I want his whole discovery package. "

  "And we have to send him ours. Are you going to call Ashley to the stand?"

  David shook his head. "She's much too fragile. The prosecution would tear her apart. " He looked up at Sandra. "This is going to be a hard one to win. "

  Sandra smiled. "But you're going to win it. I know you are. "

  David put in a call to Harvey Udell, the accountant at Kincaid, Turner, Rose & Ripley.

  "Harvey. David Singer. "

  "Hello, David. I hear you're leaving us for a little while. "

  "Yes. "

  "That's an interesting case you're taking on. The papers are full of it. What can I do for you?"

  David said, "I have sixty thousand dollars in my pension plan there, Harvey. I wasn't going to take it out this early, but Sandra and I just bought a penthouse, and I'm going to need the money for a down payment. "

  "A penthouse. Well, congratulations. "

  "Thanks. How soon can I get the money?"

  There was a brief hesitation. "Can I get back to you?"

  "Of course. " David gave him his telephone number.

  "I'll call you right back. "

  "Thanks. "

  Harvey Udell replaced the receiver and then picked up the telephone again. "Tell Mr. Kincaid I'd like to see him. "

  Thirty minutes later he was in Joseph Kincaid's office. "What is it, Harvey?"

  "I got a call from David Singer, Mr. Kincaid. He's bought a penthouse, and he needs the sixty thousand he has in his pension fund for a down payment. In my opinion, we're not obligated to give him the money now. He's on leave, and he's not - "

  "I wonder if he knows how expensive it is to maintain a penthouse?"

  "Probably not. I'll just tell him we can't - "

  "Give him the money. "

  Harvey looked at him in surprise. "But we don't have to - "

  Kincaid leaned forward in his chair. "We're going to help him dig a hole for himself, Harvey. Once he puts a down payment on that penthouse. . . we own him. "

  Harvey Udell telephoned David. "I've good news for you, David. That money you have in the pension plan, you're taking it out early, but there's no problem. Mr. Kincaid says to give you anything you want. "

  "Mr. Crowther. David Singer. "

  "I've been waiting to hear from you, Mr. Singer. "

  "The down payment on the penthouse is on its way. You'll have it tomorrow. "

  "Wonderful. As I told you, we have some other folks who are anxious to get it, but I have the feeling that you and your wife are the right owners for it. You're going to be very happy there. "

  All it will take, David thought, is a few dozen miracles.

  Ashley Patterson's arraignment took place in the Superior Court of the County of Santa Clara on North First Street in San Jose. The legal wrangling about jurisdiction had gone on for weeks. It had been complicated, because the murders had taken place in two countries and two different states. A meeting was held in San Francisco, attended by Officer Guy Pontaine from the Quebec Police Department, Sheriff Dowling from Santa Clara County, Detective Eagan from Bedford, Pennsylvania, Captain Rudford from the San Francisco Police Department, and Roger Toland, the chief of police in San Jose.

  Fontaine said, "We would like to try her in Quebec because we have absolute evidence of her guilt. There's no way she can win a trial there. "

  Detective Eagan said, "For that matter, so do we, Officer Fontaine. Jim Cleary's was the first murder she committed, and I think that should take precedence over the others. "

  Captain Rudford of the San Francisco police said, "Gentlemen, there's no doubt that we can all prove her guilt. But three of these murders took place in California, and she should be tried here for all of them. That gives us a much stronger case. "

  "I agree," Sheriff Dowling said. "And two of them took place in Santa Clara County, so this is where the jurisdiction should lie. "

  They spent the next two hours arguing the merits of their positions, and in the end, it was decided that the trial for the murders of Dennis Tibble, Richard Melton and deputy Sam Blake would be held at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. They agreed that the murders in Bedford and Quebec would be put on hold.

  On the day of arraignment, David stood at Ashley's side.

  The judge on the bench said, "How do you plead?"

  "Not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. "

  The judge nodded. "Very well. "

  "Your Honor, we're requesting bail at this time. "

  The attorney from the prosecutor's office jumped in. "Your Honor, we strongly object. The defendant is accused of three savage murders and faces the death penalty. If she were given the opportunity, she would flee the country. "

  "That's not true," David said. "There's no - "

  The judge interrupted. "I've reviewed the file and the prosecutor's affidavit in support of no bail. Bail denied. This case is assigned to Judge Williams for all purposes. The defendant will be held in custody at the Santa Clara County Jail until trial. "

  David sighed. "Yes, Your Honor. " He turned to Ashley.

  "Don't worry. Everything's going to work out. Remember. . . you're not guilty. "

  When David returned to the office. Sandra said, "Have you seen the headlines? The tabloids are calling Ashley 'the Butcher Bitch. ' The story is all over television. "

  "We knew this was going to be rough," David said. "And this is only the beginning. Let's go to work. "

  The trial was eight weeks away.

  The next eight weeks were filled with feverish activity. David and Sandra worked all day and far into the night, digging up transcripts of trials of defendants with multiple personality disorder. There were dozens of cases. The various defendants had been tried for murder, rape, robbery, drug dealing, arson. . . . Some had been convicted, some had been acquitted.

  "We're going to get Ashley acquitted," David told Sandra.

  Sandra gathered the names of prospective witnesses and telephoned them.

  "Dr. Nakamoto, I'm working with David Singer. I believe you testified in The State of Oregon Versus Bo-hannan. Mr. Singer is representing Ashley Patterson. . . . Oh, you did? Yes. Well, we would like you to come to San Jose and testify in her behalf. . . . "

  "Dr. Booth, I'm calling from David Singer's office. He's defending Ashley Patterson. You testified in the Dickerson case. We're interested in your expert testimony. . . . We would like you to come to San Jose and testify for Miss Patterson. We need your expertise. . . . "

  "Dr. Jameson, this is Sandra Singer. We need you to come to. . . "

  And so it went, from morning until midnight. Finally, a list of a dozen witnesses was compiled. David looked at it and said, "It's pretty impressive. Doctors, a dean. . . heads of law schools. " He looked up at Sandra and smile
d. "I think we're in good shape. "

  From time to time, Jesse Quiller came into the office David was using. "How are you getting along?" he asked. "Anything can do to help?"

  "I'm fine. "

  Quiller looked around the office. "Do you have everything you need?"

  David smiled. "Everything, including my best friend. "

  On a Monday morning, David received a package from the prosecutor's office listing the state's discovery. As David read it, his spirits sank.

  Sandra was watching him, concerned. "What is it?"

  "Look at this. He's bringing in a lot of heavyweight medical experts to testify against MPD. "

  "How are you going to handle that?" Sandra asked.

  "We're going to admit that Ashley was at the scenes when the murders took place, but that the murders were actually committed by an alter ego. " Can I persuade a jury to believe that?

  * * *

  Five days before the trial was to begin, David received a telephone call saying that Judge Williams wanted to meet with him.

  David walked into Jesse Quiller's office. "Jesse, what can you tell me about Judge Williams?"

  Jesse leaned back in his chair and laced his fingers behind his head. "Tessa Williams. . . Were you ever a Boy Scout, David?"

  "Yes. . . "

  "Do you remember the Boy Scout motto, - 'be prepared'?"

  "Sure. "

  "When you walk into Tessa Williams's courtroom, be prepared. She's brilliant. She came up the hard way. Her folks were Mississippi sharecroppers. She went through college on a scholarship, and the people in her hometown were so proud of her, they raised the money to put her through law school. There's a rumor that she turned down a big appointment in Washington because she likes it where she is. She's a legend. "

  "Interesting," David said.

  "The trial is going to be in Santa Clara County?"

  "Yes. "

  "Then you'll have my old friend Mickey Brennan prosecuting. "

  "Tell me about him. "

  "He's a feisty Irishman, tough on the inside, tough on the outside. Brennan comes from a long line of over-achievers. His father runs a huge publishing business; his mother's a doctor; his sister is a college professor. Brennan was a football star in his college days, and he was at the top of his law class. " He leaned forward. "He's good, David. Be careful. His trick is to disarm witnesses and then move in for the kill. He likes to blind-side them. . . . Why does Judge Williams want to see you?"

  "I have no idea. The call just said she wants to discuss the Patterson case with me. "

  Jesse Quiller frowned. "That's unusual. When are you meeting with her?"

  "Wednesday morning. "

  "Watch your back. "

  "Thanks, Jesse. I will. "

  The superior courthouse in Santa Clara County is a white, four-story building on North First Street. Directly inside the courthouse entrance is a desk manned by a uniformed guard; there is a metal detector, a railing alongside and an elevator. There are seven courtrooms m the building, each one presided over by a judge and staff.

  At ten o'clock Wednesday morning, David Singer was ushered into the chambers of Judge Tessa Williams, in the room with her was Mickey Brennan. The leading prosecutor from the district attorney's office was in his fifties, a short, burly man with a slight brogue. Tessa Williams was in her late forties, a slim, attractive African-American woman with a crisp, authoritative manner.

  "Good morning, Mr. Singer. I'm Judge Williams. This is Mr. Brennan. "

  The two men shook hands.

  "Sit down, Mr. Singer. I want to talk about the Patterson case. According to the records, you've filed a plea of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity?"

  "Yes, Your Honor. "

  Judge Williams said, "I brought you two together because think we can save a lot of time and save the state a great deal of expense. I'm usually against plea bargaining, but in this case, think it's justified. "

  David was listening, puzzled.

  The judge turned to Brennan. "I've read the preliminary hearing transcript, and see no reason for this case to go to trial. I'd like the state to waive the death penalty and accept a guilty plea with no chance of parole. "

  David said, "Wait a minute. That's out of the question!"

  They both turned to look at him. "Mr. Singer - "

  "My client is not guilty. Ashley Patterson passed a lie detector test that proves - "

  "That doesn't prove anything, and as you well know it's not admissible in court. Because of all the publicity, this is going to be a long and messy trial. "

  "I'm sure that - "

  "I've been practicing law a long time, Mr. Singer. I've heard the whole basket of legal pleas. I've heard pleas of self-defense - that's an acceptable plea; murder by reason of temporary insanity - that's a reasonable plea; diminished capacity. . . . But I'll tell you what don't believe in, Counselor. 'Not guilty because didn't commit the crime, my alter ego did it. ' To use a term you might not find in Blackstone, that's 'bullshit. ' Your client either committed the crimes or she didn't. If you change your plea to guilty, we can save a lot of - "

  "No, Your Honor, won't. "

  Judge Williams studied David a moment. "You're very stubborn. A lot of people find that an admirable quality. " She leaned forward in her chair. "I don't. "

  "Your Honor - "

  "You're forcing us into a trial that's going to last at least three months - maybe longer. "

  Brennan nodded. "I agree. "

  "I'm sorry that you feel - "

  "Mr. Singer, I'm here to do you a favor. If we try your client, she's going to die. "

  "Hold on! You're prejudging this case without - "

  "Prejudging it? Have you seen the evidence?"

  "Yes, I - "

  "For God's sake. Counselor, Ashley Patterson's DNA and fingerprints are at every crime scene. I've never seen a more clear-cut case of guilt. If you insist on going ahead with this, it could turn into a circus. Well, I'm not going to let that happen. I don't like circuses in my court. Let's dispose of this case here and now. I'm going to ask you once more, will you plead your client to life without parole?"

  David said stubbornly, "No. "

  She was glaring at him. "Right. I'll see you next week. "

  He had made an enemy.

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