Ethics or Justice?
It was a rather drab Monday morning in New York City, dark and cloudy. A countless number of people walked the streets in front of the justice building, most were in a hurry and very few hustled into the justice building with its huge cement pillars and Latin inscriptions around it. Very few people came in because most everyone who needed to come in early Monday morning was already in court room four. Monday morning was the usual time that criminals who needed a lawyer were assigned one. Their crimes ranged from murders to petty theft, but all of them had one thing in common: they could not afford a lawyer, or they didn't have a family to help scrap together the money. So, on each Monday the week's law-breakers filed into the court, all in orange scrubs and most with an assortment of chains and metal cuffs around them- depending on the severity of the accused crime. The other people who filled the court were family members of the accused and their victims, one judge, and a large assortment of lawyers who were bracing themselves for the time when the jailers would be given out. These lawyers are not the high-powered lawyers with six figure salaries who work in the mega firms on wall street, the lawyers here- on this drab Monday morning at 7:00- are rookies. Most are fresh out of college, and either can't find work, or are beefing up their resumes with a few nice criminal court cases. These lawyers stood in the back of the court room, some practically hiding behind the most experienced, who knew that the judge here liked to pick on the wimps in the back. Among these lawyers was Ann Cornell, one of the many rookies, but one of the few who went to a nice school and wanted to try out pro bono cases. She stood silent next to a couple friends as everyone waited for Judge Atlee to come out of his chambers and dispense this week's convicts. Ann expected another case to be dumped upon her today, since she just had two to take care of currently- both didn't have a chance in making it to court, just lots of paper work. Her mindless daydreaming was interrupted when the guard next to the Judge's chambers announced the presence of Judge Atlee. Everyone who was seated rose, then sat as the Judge sat. He dove right into it and called up the first man to be dumped on one of the rookies. His crime was mere pickpocketing, his case soon to be either a year in jail or a fine- a rather easy one for the lawyers. The second, third and fourth were had similar slight accusations and were given out without too much pain. But the fifth was an interesting one, just by the sight of a guard accompanying him and chains on his hands and feet gave the impression that his crime was extremely malevolent and gruesome - not one that a lawyer would just take up for free, too much paperwork and a possibility of going to court.
"Mr. Robert Flynn…" Judge Atlee droned as he read off a piece of paper, "your crime is the murder of Miss. Kelly Robin, and drug possession. Are you aware of the severity of your charges?" The Judge asked the mandatory question for all criminals brought before a Judge.
"Yeah" The man had a gruff voice, and he gave off the air of someone who would break your neck if you pissed him off. He was muscular, black, and had a frown accompanied with piercing black eyes. His arms were crossed and he was looking around the room nonchalantly, he almost appeared bored.
"And have you been told your rights?"
"I know my rights."
Judge Atlee accepted the answer and went on to the next question where most lawyers here braced themselves for.
"Can you afford a lawyer?"
With this Mr. Flynn actually smirked, then answered. "Not really"
"Then the court will assign you one," The Judge peered over his glasses and scanned the crowd of lawyers. Ann wasn't in the back, but not in the front. It was a comfortable equilibrium, which was usually safe, but not-fool proof. She could feel the Judge staring at her as she tried not to make eye contact with him. But he had made his selection.
"Miss. Cornell, I think you should handle this case." Ann slowly shuffled down the walk of shame to the Judges platform, and took the file on her new client from the Judge. Then she turned sharply and swiftly made her departure, at least she didn't have to stand in that court room anymore. Her next destination would be the office of the public defense, where all the lawyers in that court room worked, which was only a few blocks away from this Justice building. She wrapped her arm around her new project and stepped out into the dreary Monday morning.
The office building was just like any other; the outside was dark brick with very few creative architectural aspects. She walked in briskly toward the elevator and went up five flights. The elevator opened up to the busy offices, most people were in the cubicles, there were many lawyers and everyone needed lots of space. Only the most experienced lawyers and the ones who hold a position on the public defense get real offices, so Ann trudged over to her cubicle. It was one of the nicer ones actually, she had a nice amount of space and she kept organized, so she didn't mind being in a cubicle. She sat down in her comfortable office chair and plopped the file on her small desk next to her computer. The only other objects in her space were a huge storage cabinet-where she kept all her papers and files on all her clients, and lots of inspirational pictures on the walls of the cubicle. The pictures on her wall represented everything she loved. There were pictures from kids she had babysat, her conformation picture, graduation, all her friends, her two adorable cats, and x-ray, ultraviolet, and infrared pictures of nebulas, stars, and supernova remnants. She had a secret passion for astronomy. The only framed document was her diploma from NYU. Looking at the pictures that basically represented her life she found the strength to push through the day. The folder containing the file wasn't very large- and not many were- but since Mr. Flynn was convicted of such a harsh crime, she thought it might have been bigger. The first page was basic information, like his full name, height, birth date, boring stuff like that. The following pages were where the juicy stuff was. Apparently, Mr. Flynn killed his alleged girlfriend when both were on a number of highly illegal and lethal drugs. Perhaps it was a money fight (there were a lot of those), or maybe they just had a bit of a squabble and they both overreacted because of the drugs and she ended up dead. And of course, she had to assume he was innocent, so she tried not to guess too much. She would get to hear his side of the story later, when she had a lawyer client meeting in the jail.
"I saw you get nailed with that guy, judge has got it in for you."
Ann looked up from the police report and saw Noah, a fellow lawyer with cute curly black hair who was kind to everyone, standing in front of her, behind the wall of her cubicle.
"Yeah, I think he knew I didn't have many cases. Are you safe?" Ann responded.
"Yep, for another week at least, but I still have four to cover. All paper work."
"Fun" Ann commented sarcastically.
"Loads of fun, I'll even give a few to you if you want."
"Oh no, I'll let you handle them."
"If you insist," He grinned "Hey, you free after work?"
"A bunch of us are going to the bar to celebrate Eliza getting a job with a firm, would you like to come?"
"I'd love to, thanks!" Ann replied cheerfully, her day suddenly getting better. "The bar" was a restaurant not far from the offices, and was so frequented by many of the lawyers that were part of the public defense that they hardly ever called it by its real name- Bill's Bar and Grill. They usually went either to celebrate, or wash away the week's stress on Fridays after work.
"Great see you there!" He said with a wink, and then he started to walk down to his cubicle.
After reading through her new file, then finishing up an old one, she looked at the near-by clock. It claimed the time was 5:00 on the dot, so she started to pack up and head to the bar.
Very few lawyers were there when she arrived, and she knew only one well. It was Eliza, the one able to escape the clutches of the public defense. Ann hugged her and congratulated her on her accomplishment and settled down in a chair next to her. There were two guys across from them, one Ann knew slightly-whose name was Joe. He was a big gruff guy, who could easily fight for his client with intimidation and ferocity that many lawyers wish they could have, but he did not really associate with Ann and her friends. The other guy was a stranger. Ann said hi to Joe, who then introduced her to the other guy. His name was Tom, and he was new to the office of the public defense.
"That new client of yours looks tough to handle, he was by far the fiercest looking today." Joe noted as he sipped a drink. "Hope you can handle it."
Ann though she detected a bit of sarcasm and skepticism, but tried to ignore it. "Oh, I'm sure I can handle it. It's not like he is the only murderer dumped on the P.D."
"Oh definitely not" Joe said with an air of superiority "it's just that he doesn't seem like the type that you can save."
"Yeah, you don't have the guts to argue for a claim of innocence."
Ann was shocked by his bluntness and also hurt at the comment. She definitely wasn't the fiercest lawyer, or a lawyer who could yell over the judge to be able to be heard. She followed the rules, unlike many lawyers actually, and always took pride in the fact that she could sort through the facts and get her client the ruling they deserved. She was rather dumbstruck, and didn't know what to say. The entire table fell silent except for Joe sipping some water.
"I'm sorry?" Ann squeaked, it was all she could muster.
"You are a weak lawyer, in order to be a good lawyer you need to fight for your client and make sure his penalty is the best you can make it. You need to make an impression on a jury. No one in a court room cares about the quiet knowledgeable lady; who has memorized all her law books. They listen to the loud boisterous man who gives a damn about his client and is outraged that he has been arrested. Someone who can actually get their point across."
Again the table was quiet. Eliza and Tom glanced around the room awkwardly while Ann tried to gather her thoughts. Did he actually say she was a bad lawyer? And if they went in a court room together he would win automatically, just by his tone of voice? Even with the craziness of his statements, she was still hurt.
"I am just as good a lawyer as you." She started "And I'm sorry if I have offended you in my practices, but as far as I am concerned you know nothing about ethics." Ann stopped there because she promised herself the she would not stoop to his cruel level.
"It's not about ethics, it's about justice. You need to fight for your client no matter what, so that he or she can get the best outcome possible." Joe said calmly, Ann's insult seemed to have just bounced off of his huge ego.
"What are you talking about? Do you completely ignore ethics? If there was one thing you take away from law school, it is the code of ethics."
"You and your morals, don't you see the big picture? We are the highly educated who swoop in to save the citizens who have done wrong. We need to serve the public so that we can make sure no one is convicted wrongly."
"I see where you are going with this, but can't we serve our clients perfectly well when we follow ethics? We have to fight for our clients, and not steal their money, that is four years of ethics rolled into one sentence. And when we apply that to a case, we still give the convicted a fair legal fight."
"I understand, you are a religious Lutheran person. You want things fair and just, and for the world to become peaceful and everyone will tell the truth. But me, I see the world as it really is. There will always be war and strife, and it is our job to make sure everyone can get what they want through the courts."
Now Ann was flabbergasted, "My spiritual beliefs do not come in contact with the law and my job! Now you have degraded me into a hippy who doesn't know what goes on in the world. And you don't know everything!" Ann's face was red and she could feel her emotions start to surface, she decided to leave. "I'm so sorry Eliza, but I can't just sit here and take this, congratulations, and I hope to see you soon. Tom, nice to meet you, and I hope to see you around the office." Then she got up from her chair and practically sprinted out of the place. On her way out she ran into Noah.
"Whoa, where's the fire Ann? Hey…are you o.k.?" He held her at an arm's length away and saw her red face and quivering lip.
"Yeah…no, I was just attacked in there,"
"Verbally or physically? Because if it was a fist fight, I want to see the other guy."
This did bring a slight smile to Ann's mouth, "Verbally, I was called a horrible lawyer and all my ideals where just abused by this guy. You know Joe?"
"Not really, you really shouldn't listen to that guy, he has the hugest ego."
"You're telling me…am I a bad lawyer?"
"Gosh Ann, what did I just say? Don't listen to him."
Noah was silent and he thought silently, "Ann," he said after a while, "You have got to be one of the best I know, definitely one of a kind, in a good way. You know how to get your point across; you give your client the best chances at getting a fair ruling and you just know exactly what to do. Plus you are just the most suborn person I know."
"Thank you so much." Ann hugged Noah tightly, "Thank you."
"No problem, now what do you say I go buy you a drink? You deserve it after this tough start to the week."
"No I really don't want to go back in there, I'll just go home."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, thanks though. See you tomorrow." Then Ann turned away from the bar and walked down the streets of New York on that dreary Monday.
The following day, Ann got her things ready to go down to the local penitentiary. She always traveled light there, because your bags were searched and, depending on the client, you got patted down. Only the man's file, a legal pad, some pencils and pen, and a book accompanied Ann on her way there. She went through the normal security procedures, said hello to the wrinkly, non-smiling guards who stood there with their arms crossed and beady eyes staring at anyone who walks by them. As usually, most didn't say anything. A few of the more friendly nodded at her. It would take a while to get Mr. Flynn out from the metal labyrinth in which he was held, so she took out the newest John Green book.
A buzzer went off and Mr. Flynn shuffled in to his side of the visitor's room, accompanied by two guards. The room was split into two, divided by a wall with small windows and bars; there were phones so that two people could communicate. Ann sat in a chair with the file on a small ledge by a window. She stared at her new client, and calmly waited for him to take his seat. As he took his time, she really got a good look at him. His hair was very short; he was probably bald just a week ago. His arms were filled to the capacity with tattoos of a variety of colors and objects. He had an odd array of tattoos; they ranged from a dolphin, to a cross, to a menacing skull with fire and what looked like blood. There was a grand total of 7 piercings on his face, two on his nose, four on his ears, and one on his lip. Finally he finished his swaggering walk and plopped into his seat. Just from his walk and appearance, Ann had made assumptions about him, it looked like he was a guy who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and just got caught up in drugs and violence, and this might not be his first time in trouble with the police. Actually, she didn't just get that from his looks, he has been caught for drug possession more than once, but this was by far the most severe action he has done. This guy was not naive.
To show control and superiority, Ann always started the conversation. The instant he picked up the phone she started, the sooner she started the sooner she could leave.
"Hello, Mr. Flynn, I am your state-issued lawyer. You may call me Miss. Cornell. I am your life line currently, your…what?" Mr. Flynn had held up his hand once she had started.
"Yo, my name is Hero."
"Uhhh..it says here that your name is Robert Flynn."
"Yeah, I bet it does, but I am not called that. I am only known as Hero, or the Hero."
Ann rolled her eyes, and continued. "I would like to make his short Mr. Flynn."
"I would rather call you Mr. Flynn, sir. You have been accused of murder and drug possession, but I am only going to focus on the murder, for obvious reasons. Will you be pleading guilty?"
"Mr. Flynn, you are going to have to give me a solid answer. And you do realize that you have no alibi, and two witnesses stating that they saw the murder?"
"Yeah, and I'd rather not be guilty."
Ann almost couldn't believe this guy, he was crazy! "So do you have an alibi?"
"Sure? It's either yes or no."
"Can you tell me?"
"Mr. Flynn," Ann leaned in closer, to show how serious she was. "You are either going to give me exact information, times, dates, location, names. Or you are on your own, without my help you don't have a chance." It was a hardball response, but she had to do it. This guy was a lunatic, and if he wanted justice he would need her help. She waited a moment, but the guy just sat and stared. "I recommend we plead guilty."
Hero just rolled his eyes, and murmured something incoherent.
"Sir," Ann said as she took out her legal pad and a pencil, "can you tell me exactly where you were at the time of her death?"
"Yes, the death of Kelly. Where were you?"
"I can't remember…"
"We only have and hour to deliberate and we are running out of time. Think!"
Flynn just looked around, and didn't answer. Time passed as Ann gave him time to think; when five minutes till they had to leave came she interrupted whatever he was thinking of.
"Well then, I will give you more time to think of what you want to do. But I would like to hear a direct response the next time I come."
"When will that be?"
"Tomorrow, most likely. Is there anything you want me to know now, I am your lawyer, and everything you tell me is confidential."
Flynn smacked his lips and looked bored, and said nothing. Ann sighed and started to pack up her things. The worst client you get would be one that doesn't talk, if you can get any information from the accused themselves then you can't argue in their favor. Ann started to put down the phone, when she thought Flynn said something.
"I'm sorry what?"
"I didn't mean to. I was on some crazy shit; I didn't know what I was doing. You know how you feel when you're in that haze?"
"Uh, not really…no."
"Well I didn't know what I was doing, and, like, she was bleeding everywhere. It was on my hands, on my face, her fucking blood even wrecked my jersey. I didn't even realize I killed her."
Here we go; Ann wished he had said this earlier, as they had no time to discuss this further. She also did her best to ignore is vulgarity.
"Thank you, sir."
"Yeah, don't call me that."
"I'm sorry, same time tomorrow I will get your entire story." Ann packed up her things and watched as Hero's guards haul him away, back into isolation.
Back in the office, a week after her first meeting with Mr. Flynn, Ann had finally finished up one of her other cases. As usual when she put a case away in the file folder for pretty much the rest of eternity, she dropped everything and planned to go to her favorite coffee shop nearby. On her way out she saw Noah and cheerfully greeted him.
"Where are you running off to?" Noah asked her with that smile she loved.
She named the place.
"Oh nice, just close a case?"
"Yeah, the Baylor case," they talked a bit about that case, and then Ann interrupted.
"I really shouldn't keep you longer,"
"I was actually on my way to lunch."
"Oh, well then you must join me!" They talked all the way there and by the time they got to the coffee shop they were on the subject of the Flynn case.
"He is a total lunatic, not only because of his totally ironic name, but he also doesn't want to plead guilty, and… he doesn't listen to me." It was hard to talk about cases sometimes, because they couldn't get into the details of what a client said without violating the lawyer-client privilege. "He is just a young man who grew up with the wrong role models. What really kills me is that he is approximately the same age as us, if I had been born in his place and he in mine, he would be the one annoyed with me and talking to you with a cup of happiness in hand." Ann took a deep whiff of her chai tea, and smiled. But then gazed off longingly, "This job comes with many emotions, but one you wouldn't have guessed would be thankfulness. I am so glad I was able to go to school, grow up with both parents, and be able to make my own decisions. "
"Don't forget having a friend like me." Noah said jokingly, elbowing Ann gently.
"Yes, that too." She grinned.
"So what are you going to do?"
"You know- Justice or ethics?"
Ann sighed, "I don't know, so far I have just been going with the flow, getting any and all information about this guy that will help him in any case…He wants to get off easy, and as his lawyer I should obey his wishes, but…it just rubs me the wrong way, you know? He most likely killed this girl in cold blood and laughed over the body, I feel like I would be helping him escape justice."
"So you are leaning towards justice?"
"Well, I will try to make him pay for his wrong doing fairly as well as the strings of ethics can let me wander. I will do what he wants, but recommend strongly that he pleads guilty."
"Has he listened so far?"
"No! That is his problem, and I'm sure you have this problem too, but the just thinks he knows everything. I mean who was the one who went to college then law school for a total of six years, and who has been selling drugs to his homies?"
Noah laughed loudly, "You and your gangster talk, I don't think you would have made a good gangster even if you were born into it."
"No problem. So what is your conclusion, on Flynn I mean."
"Just hope he sees the light and follows me to his best chance at getting out of prison while he is middle age."
"That's what we all want, good luck." Noah held up his hot beverage then Ann did too, and they toasted to the patience they were given and for the rare client who were smart enough to listen to a lawyer.
"Back to work I guess."
It was now a month since Hero's case had been plopped into Ann's lap, and she was sick of it. He was relentless on doing anything but pleading guilty. Ann finally caved into his wants after two weeks of going in to see him every week day and trying to convince him. She filed in his plea of innocence on the one month anniversary of getting the case; it seemed like an appropriate time. On her last visit to him, when she caved in, he almost seemed disappointed. She had heard of some prisoners just wanting to prolong any final decision, because jail was better than living on the streets. Ann thought that Flynn might be one of those people, he had no listed address, and the guards said that no one had visited him except for her. No family or friends worried about him. She almost felt bad for him, but then she remembered his crime, and she was discussed by him. But she wouldn't have to worry about him for much longer, in a few days Flynn and she would have a session in front of judge Atlee. Since they were being called to his courtroom, she assumed that he was going to give Flynn a sentence right then and there, just because all the evidence pointed toward him, and the police had no other suspects. After weeks of waiting, Robert Flynn would be put to justice the best he could be.
"And all the evidence points to you, the knife has your fingerprints all over it, there are two witnesses, Mr. Flynn, what exactly did you have in mind when you plead innocence?" Judge Atlee finished his long speech on how he the evidence is not looking good for Flynn with a direct question, to a person who never gave a direct response. Flynn didn't even look at the judge, Ann nudged him, but he didn't want to speak. Ann took the initiative.
"Your honor, we would like to point out that he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, with the amount that was in his blood stream at the time of the murder, no one could be sane. No one could be themselves at his intake level; most people wouldn't have even remembered anything at that blood alcohol ratio. He clearly…"
"Excuse me Miss. Cornell," the judge interrupted, "but you are saying that since he had an unbelievably dangerous level of extremely illegal drugs in his system, and since he was high enough to kill someone and not call 911, or get help, that he should be treated as insane at the time."
"I am completely comfortable of arguing an insanity case in front of a jury." Ann said confidently. But of course she wasn't, who could be? It was just a bluff that all lawyers had to learn how to perfect.
"That will not be necessary." The judge wrote some notes on a legal pad. "I will certainly keep the legal drugs that were in his system in mind when I make a final ruling." Ann knew that wasn't good, but what more could she do for her client? Judge Atlee motioned for a guard to come and get Hero, and the Judge announced that they were excused. Ann thanked the judge and walked out of the court room, her shoes professionally clipping on the shined marble floor of the court room. When she opened the door, she saw two people she was not expecting to be there close to the door. One she was relived was there, the other, not so much.
"Noah! What are you doing here?" She asked curiously.
"I knew today was the big day and I wanted to know how things went, then I saw this guy…" Noah pointed to the other one, Joe. "peeping through the crack of the door!"
"I was not! You are just looking for trouble." Joe shouted back.
"Me! You ARE trouble, you and your big ego, just wanting to get into everyone's business, and wanting everyone to be like you, and…"
"Noah!" Ann stopped him from going further, and digging himself into a bigger hole. She grabbed his hand and led him away from Joe. Once they were a safe distance away, she started her rant. "What were you thinking? You know that just put a huge target on your back as far as Joe and his friends are concerned. He doesn't bother me anymore, and he shouldn't bother you."
"He hurt you and doesn't even think about how others feel. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to have an outburst like that."
"You don't have to protect me, I'm fine on my own."
"I know, I know, I just felt like I had to."
Noah glanced down at his hand that Ann was still holding; when she realized this, she let go.
"Sorry," she whispered, quite embarrassed and her cheeks were turning scarlet. "I…I…really should go." And with that, Ann rushed off to the public defense office, all the while trying to figure out what to do next.
"I hereby sentence you to 20 years in prison with no parole." The judge slammed his mallet, "court adjourned." He left the court room and into his chambers.
The few people in the court room got up and shuffled around. Ann turned toward Flynn, "I am terrible sorry," it was always awkward for Ann to say something to a client being shipped off to a highly secure jail where they would spend a large about of their lifetime. She never knew what to say. "If you ever need a lawyer, you know who to call. Take care Hero."
Flynn turned towards his lawyer, surprised that she had called him by the name he preferred. But the guards quickly snatched him up and took him away.
Ann started to put all her stuff away, and as she did she glanced around the court room seats to see who was there. The family and friends of poor Kelly were there, crying, yet glad that her killer would be put away for a long time. There were a few others that Ann didn't know, mostly lawyers or law students just watching the proceedings in this court, but when her eyes caught another's, she swung her head back. Her face was becoming slightly red at the thought of having to face Noah. She stayed put and fiddled around with her sleek attaché case. But she could hear his footsteps coming closer. Ann glanced up as his shadow fell over her.
"Hey." She said carefully. Then thought sarcastically: "Wow, I am so smooth."
"I really should get going…" Ann got up from her seat, grabbed her case, and straitened her black skirt. As she walked down the aisle, Noah followed her and quickly caught up to her.
"I want to talk to you, to congratulate you actually."
"What?" Ann kept walking but looked at Noah quizzically.
"You did a pretty good job with that case, it was a tough one, and you did the best anyone could have done with that guy. You found the perfect balance between ethics and justice."
"Why have you been avoiding me?"
"I, uh, I haven't been trying to. I've been busy."
"Really? A public defense lawyer being super busy? Come on Ann," he pulled her aside. "Ever since that encounter with Joe you haven't wanted to see me. Are you mad?"
"No, no, no. I'm not mad at you, how could I be mad at you. That was actually sweet of you…" Ann stopped herself and looked everywhere except for at Noah.
"Ann, what are you afraid of?"
"I'm afraid…I'm afraid that we will become more than good friends, and if it doesn't work…I just don't want to lose what I have with you now. I think you are my best friend, and if I lose what I have with you now…I… I just don't know if I can handle New York all by myself." Ann knew that there was no going back now. But this was good for her and Noah.
"I don't either. We have something great between us. I can tell you anything and you really listen and give honest advice. I listen to you and enjoy helping you in any way that I can, I have never felt this way about anyone before. Ann," Noah looked down at her free hand, and slowly went to hold it. Ann didn't try to stop him. "Ann, I always have liked you. I mean everyone does, you are so kind, and funny. I would consider myself lucky to hold your heart, and I want to try."
Ann breathed only; she didn't know what to say. Did she even want this? Her heart was racing, pulse rising, stomach getting ready for the stomach tumbling Olympics. She could feel her hand in his sweating, but she knew he didn't care. She could tell by his eyes that he meant every word that came out of his mouth. She knew that a worded answer wouldn't give the situation justice. Her impulse took over and she kissed him. It was a very quick, very cautious kiss. But it was a good enough answer for Noah. The two of them smiled, and turned to leave the halls of ethics and justice, hand in hand, out into the sunny and bright Monday morning.
Author's note: I want to keep this short, because this story just ran away with me and became longer and longer by the minuet. When I first heard we were doing a creative writing project, I was excited to let my creativity leave my brain and weave a story together through my fingers. I wasn't sure what to do though, I eventually came up with trying to write some kind of legal thriller, because I love John Grisham novels and I think I had read enough to have the gist on what a lawyer would do and think. This also worked, because it ties in with the themes inGreat Expectations of crime and punishment, and guilt and innocence. As I wrote the story the themes of moral decisions and ambitions turned up without even trying. The message of the story is to do what your heart tells you. Ann followed her heart when she took so long trying to convince her client to plead guilty. She could have just not even tried to give him the best outcome, and just let him rot in jail. But she thought about him as a human would think of a human. She took in how he grew up, his situation currently, and the state he was in during the murder. A more obvious way she followed her heart was at the end of the story, when she kissed Noah and was a bit spontaneous about it. Ann also shows that it is hard to compromise between what your heart says you should do, and what the norm is. Joe would have nosily fought for Mr. Flynn, not matter what his crime was, while Ann took the time to absorb the information and decide what is fair for Mr. Flynn. She also compromised being great friends with Noah so that she could be more than a friend. Overall, this story was fun to come up with, it fit well with many themes from Great Expectations, and its meaning is to follow your heart in hard decisions. Again, so sorry it was so long!