Michael Connelly: The Reversal

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Michael Connelly The Reversal
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    The Reversal
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The Reversal: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Longtime defense attorney Mickey Haller is recruited to change stripes and prosecute the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. After 24 years in prison, convicted killer Jason Jessup has been exonerated by new DNA evidence. Haller is convinced Jessup is guilty, and he takes the case on the condition that he gets to choose his investigator, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch. Together, Bosch and Haller set off on a case fraught with political and personal danger. Opposing them is Jessup, now out on bail, a defense attorney who excels at manipulating the media, and a runaway eyewitness reluctant to testify after so many years. With the odds and the evidence against them, Bosch and Haller must nail a sadistic killer once and for all. If Bosch is sure of anything, it is that Jason Jessup plans to kill again.

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He paused to add appropriate gravity to the announcement.

“As you know, the supreme court found that irregularities occurred during the first prosecution-which, of course, occurred more than two decades before the current administration. To avoid political conflicts and any future appearance of impropriety on the part of this office, I have appointed an independent special prosecutor to handle the case. Many of you know of the man standing here to my right. Michael Haller has been a defense counselor of some note in Los Angeles for two decades. He is a fair-minded and respected member of the bar. He has accepted the appointment and has assumed responsibility for the case as of today. It has been the policy of this department not to try cases in the media. However, Mr. Haller and I are willing to answer a few questions as long as they don’t tread on the specifics and evidence of the case.”

There was a booming chorus of voices calling questions out at us. Williams raised his hands for calm in the room.

“One at a time, people. Let’s start with you.”

He pointed to a woman sitting in the first row. I could not remember her name but I knew she worked for the Times. Williams knew his priorities.

“Kate Salters from the Times,” she said helpfully. “Can you tell us how you came to the decision to prosecute Jason Jessup again after DNA evidence cleared him of the crime?”

Before coming into the room, Williams had told me that he would handle the announcement and all questions unless specifically addressed to me. He made it clear that this was going to be his show. But I decided to make it clear from the outset that it was going to be my case.

“I’ll answer that,” I said as I leaned toward the lectern and the microphones. “The DNA test conducted by the Genetic Justice Project only concluded that the bodily fluid found on the victim’s clothing did not come from Jason Jessup. It did not clear him of involvement in the crime. There is a difference. The DNA test only provides additional information for a jury to consider.”

I straightened back up and caught Williams giving me a don’t-fuck-with-me stare.

“Whose DNA was it?” someone called out.

Williams quickly leaned forward to answer.

“We’re not answering questions about evidence at this time.”

“Mickey, why are you taking the case?”

The question came from the back of the room, from behind the lights, and I could not see the owner of the voice. I moved back to the microphones, angling my body so Williams had to step back.

“Good question,” I said. “It’s certainly unusual for me to be on the other side of the aisle, so to speak. But I think this is the case to cross over for. I’m an officer of the court and a proud member of the California bar. We take an oath to seek justice and fairness while upholding the Constitution and laws of this nation and state. One of the duties of a lawyer is to take a just cause without personal consideration to himself. This is such a cause. Someone has to speak for Melissa Landy. I have reviewed the evidence in this case and I think I’m on the right side of this one. The measure is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I think that such proof exists here.”

Williams moved in and put a hand on my arm to gently move me off the microphone stand.

“We do not want to go any further than that in regard to the evidence,” he said quickly.

“Jessup’s already spent twenty-four years in prison,” Salters said. “Anything less than a conviction for first-degree murder and he will probably walk on time served. Mr. Williams, is it really worth the expense and effort of retrying this man?”

Before she was finished asking the question, I knew she and Williams had a deal working. She lobbed softballs and he hit them out of the park, looking good and righteous on the eleven o’clock news and in the morning paper. Her end of the deal would come with inside scoops on the evidence and trial strategy. I decided in that moment that it was my case, my trial, my deal.

“None of that matters,” I said loudly from my position to the side.

All eyes turned to me. Even Williams turned.

“Can you talk into the microphones, Mickey?”

It was the same voice from behind the line of lights. He knew to call me Mickey. I once again moved to the microphones, boxing Williams out like a power forward going for the rebound.

“The murder of a child is a crime that must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, no matter what the possibilities or risks are. There is no guarantee of victory here. But that was not part of the decision. The measure is reasonable doubt and I believe we surpass that. We believe that the totality of evidence shows that this man committed this horrible crime and it doesn’t matter how much time has gone by or how long he has been incarcerated. He must be prosecuted.

“I have a daughter only a little older than Melissa was… You know, people forget that in the original trial, the state sought the death penalty but the jury recommended against it and the judge imposed a life sentence. That was then and this is now. We will once again be seeking the death penalty on this case.”

Williams put his hand on my shoulder and pulled me away from the microphones.

“Uh, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here,” he said quickly. “My office has not yet made a determination in regard to whether we will be seeking the death penalty. That will come at a later time. But Mr. Haller makes a very valid and sad point. There can be no worse crime in our society than the murder of a child. We must do all that is within our power and our reach to seek justice for Melissa Landy. Thank you for being here today.”

“Wait a minute,” called a reporter from one of the middle seats. “What about Jessup? When will he be brought here for trial?”

Williams put his hands on both sides of the lectern in a casual move designed to keep me from the microphones.

“Earlier this morning Mr. Jessup was taken into custody by the Los Angeles police and is being transported from San Quentin. He will be booked into the downtown jail and the case will proceed. His conviction was reversed but the charges against him remain in place. We have nothing further at this time.”

Williams stepped back and signaled me toward the door. He waited until I started moving and was clear of the microphones. He then followed, coming up behind me and whispering into my ear as we went through the door.

“You do that again and I’ll fire you on the spot.”

I turned to look back at him while I walked.

“Do what? Answer one of your setup questions?”

We moved into the hallway. Ridell was waiting there with the office’s media spokesman, a guy named Fernandez. But Williams turned me down the hall away from them. He was still whispering when he spoke.

“You went off the script. Do it again and we’re done.”

I stopped and turned and Williams almost walked into me.

“Look, I’m not your puppet,” I said. “I’m an independent contractor, remember? You treat me otherwise and you’re going to be holding this hot potato without an oven mitt.”

Williams just glared at me. I obviously wasn’t getting through.

“And what was this shit about the death penalty?” he asked. “We haven’t even gotten there and you didn’t have the go-ahead to say it.”

He was bigger than me, taller. He had used his body to crowd my space and back me up against the wall.

“It will get back to Jessup and keep him thinking,” I said. “And if we’re lucky, he comes in for a deal and this whole thing goes away, including the civil action. It’ll save you all that money. That’s really what this is about, right? The money. We get a conviction and he’s got no civil case. You and the city save a few million bucks.”

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