TCOT Defenseless Prosecutor
Disclaimer: I do not own either the Perry Mason or the Ironside characters. They are the creation of Erle Stanley Gardner and Collier Young. All other characters outside of the two series were created in my mind for the purpose of telling this story.
Two weeks at Dennis Randall's cabin had flown by. Chief Robert T. Ironside had never had a more relaxing vacation in his entire life. He and Barbara Jones had spent much quality time alone planning their future while leaving his brother, Perry Mason and Della Street on their own for their own personal time.
The couples also spent much time together, fishing, playing poker, telling embarrassing stories about one another and just basking in the company of one another.
The women were putting the finishing touches on cleaning up the cabin and making sure everything was in place. Perry and Robert sat in the living room drinking one last bourbon as they prepared to drive the rented car to the airport for their respective flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Della watched Barbara as she placed the last of the dishes in the cupboards. "I cannot believe we have been here for two weeks and neither Perry nor I have thought to ask you how your girls are handling the divorce."
Barbara smiled. "It has been very difficult. At first, they resented Bob, even though they both actually love him very much. That was the major reason for leaving Bob behind to deal with them. I did not want them, through their pain and hurt, to lash out at him. He simply would not have deserved that. So, I set out to help them understand why my marriage to their father had failed. Slowly, they warmed up to the idea of Bob becoming their stepfather. They truly do love him."
"Has been dealing with Vic been difficult throughout the divorce?" Dell asked.
"Actually no. He has been a perfect gentleman and has done everything to help the girls not resent Bob. He had resigned himself to the divorce. Besides, I believe he really harbors a deep respect for Bob and well as being very grateful to him for saving his life."
"The divorce proceedings went very smooth, due to his understanding. Quite frankly, he had me feeling guilty much of the time," Barbara said.
"Barbara, this is really none of my business but why did you not contact Robert in all those months? His staff said it had an adverse effect on him. They had quite a time just getting him out of that office of his to try to get him to relax and enjoy himself."
Looking down with a sad expression on her face, Barbara collected her thoughts. "I couldn't. I knew if I heard his voice, I would fall apart. Being separated from him was the hardest thing I have ever done. But Della, I had to put my girls first. In order to start a life with Bob, I had to deal with their pain and resentment. I could not allow Bob to go through it. After everything that man has done for me, I owe it to him to give our relationship one hundred percent."
Della walked over to Barbara. "And you can do that now?"
"If I couldn't, I would not be here. The girls have accepted the situation, partly because of Vic's attitude and partly because they do love Bob. Believe me staying away from him was as hard on me as it was on him…..probably harder. As you said, he had his staff to look after him and to lean on if he needed to. Whom could I lean on? Certainly not the girls. And Vic? Well, I have put him through enough pain. No, I had to face it alone."
"Where are the girls now?" Della wondered.
"They are with their father. We all agreed Bob and I needed some time alone before throwing being a father at him. I cannot tell you how understanding Vic has been. When I called the girls the other day, he insisted they speak with Bob and do their best to ease his discomfort with all that has happened. Bob was wonderful with them on the phone and them with him. I shudder to think the disaster this transition could have been for them if it wasn't for Vic."
"You know Robert is going to go back to San Francisco with a full case load waiting for him," Della warned.
Barbara laughed. "That man would not have it any other way. He loves what he does, Della. I couldn' tear him away from it if I tried….and I do not want to. I just hope I can handle it. His job certainly causes me plenty of worry."
Della placed her hand on Barbara shoulder. "You'll handle it the same way I handle the worry Perry's job sometimes causes me. When you watch him day to day, see the importance of it, and the way the love of helping people just lights him up, you will not be able to do anything but support him in it. I know. I am right there alongside Perry. The worries will come and go. You will learn to handle it. Look at what you have already endured."
"Well I know one thing. I simply do not want to live without him any longer."
"We better join the men. They will think we are plotting against them," Della laughed.
Well, Bob. It's back to the old grind stone," Perry said as he sipped his bourbon.
"I am actually looking forward to it. I am rarely away from the office this long. I know Ed, Eve and Mark can handle things but I guess I just like to keep my finger in it," he grinned.
Otto nudged his hand for encouragement for him to scratch his ear. Ironside obliged his canine friend.
"Or on them," Perry corrected.
Ironside laughed. I guess I really do enjoy keeping after them. It keeps them on their toes. I don't want them to figure me out."
"Bob, I hate to break it to you but they have already done that," Perry chuckled.
Ironside smiled. "I suppose they have." He sipped his bourbon.
Perry watched as his brother drifted away in thought. "Is Barbara going to move into the loft with you?"
"No, we have both agreed, it would not be proper under the circumstances. I live in a building full of cops and then there are the girls to consider. I will stay where I am and she will be getting an apartment that is big enough for her and the girls when they are with her. We will work everything out in time. She actually thinks I should stay right where I am until I decide to retire. She thinks commuting every day would be too hard on me. I can't help but believe the safety factor comes into play with that line of thinking."
"She may be right, Bob. You have made many enemies over the years. You are much safer where you are," Perry observed.
"Well, it is not as if there isn't enough room. The girls could have separate bedrooms. We still have rooms up there we don't even use," Ironside said with another sip of bourbon.
"What about Mark?"
"Ironside chuckled. Neither of us will have the heart to ask him to move. Besides, he is a great help in assisting me with day to day living." He stared off again."
"And he is part of my team. He is wanted and needed," Ironside said in a matter of fact manner. "What about you and Della?"
"What do you mean?" Perry asked knowing what was coming.
"When in hell are you going to marry that woman? God knows you certainly could never do any better than her. And for some strange reason she loves you Perry." Ironside pointed out.
Perry smiled sadly. "I have asked her to marry me, Bob….more than once. Her answer is always no. She has this fixation that things would not be the same between us. She loves working alongside of me and she worries she will just become the little woman sitting in a house with a picket fence, waiting for me to come home from the office after working on some case with a new secretary. I just cannot convince her it would not be that way. So I would rather have her, as things are then risk losing her if I issued her an ultimatum."
"Well keep working on her and don't quit asking," Ironside told him.
Barbara and Della walked into the room. "Are you gentlemen ready to go? We don't want to miss our flights," Della said.
"I'll put the luggage in the car and then help Bob. You ladies can get into the car now if you would like," Perry said.
"Who's going to bring Otto," Barbara asked.
Perry picked up several suitcases and called over his should, "Let Bob do it. He's the only one that dog will obey anyway."
Della looked around. "We have to do this again, Robert."
Ironside looked at Della and smiled. "We will Della, we will."
Hamilton Burger had just been told the jury was in. He had never been more nervous about a verdict than this one. The jury had been out a long time. He actually had resigned himself to a hung jury. He had not looked forward to retrying this case. It had been a long and grueling trial. The only break he had from the stress of it had been the jaunt up to Commissioner Dennis Randall's cabin to help with the rescue of Perry and Bob from that manic, Tony Castle. That turned out to be even more stressful. Hamilton had stepped in an animal trap and tore up his leg. Two weeks later he still had a bit of a limp. The pain had not subsided.
Lt. Arthur Tragg came into the room. "Come on Hamilton. The jury is coming in now."
Burger followed the lieutenant out of the room. They walked down the hall and entered the courtroom. Hamilton took his place behind the prosecutor's table and sat down. Lt. Tragg sat down beside him. "Relax," Tragg whispered. "Have so faith. You did a good job."
Burger smiled at his friend. It usually helped to have Arthur there when the trial verdicts came out but today nothing seem to calm his raw nerves.
Judge Joseph Coleson entered the courtroom. Everyone in the room stood up. "Please be seated," Coleson told the courtroom. "Has the jury reached a verdict? He asked the jury foreman.
"Yes, your honor, we have," the foreman answered.
The bailiff took the verdict from the bailiff and read it silently. He gave it back to the bailiff. "Will the defendant please rise."
Defense attorney, Richard Littleton took the elbow of his client, Conner Wolff and stood up with him.
The bailiff handed the verdict back to the jury foreman. "In the manner of the people of the state of California verus Conner Wolff, we find the defendant not guilty."
"The defendant is ordered released. Court is ajourned." The judge stood up and left the courtroom.
Hamilton was stunned. He could not believe it. He believed in justice but this was not justice. "They just returned a cold blooded killer to the streets." He was clearly upset.
Lt. Tragg put his hand on his friend's shoulder. "You have to let it go, Hamilton. We know he did it but unfortunately we did not convince that jury."
"Let it go! The man murdered five people in cold blood. Now he is going to walk out that door to possibly do it again."
"Let it go my friend. We will watch him. The first time he slips up, we will be there to lock him up," Tragg promised.
"On what charge? Something that puts him in jail for a couple years? He belongs behind bars for the rest of his life."
"Come on, I'll buy you a drink," Tragg offered.
Defense attorney, Richard Littleton approached Burger and Tragg. "No hard feelings, Mr. Burger." He offered his hand but withdrew it when Burger did not take it."
"How do you sleep at night Littleton? You just turned a cold-blooded killer loose to kill again, Hamilton said angrily."
"Oh come on Mr. Burger. I defended my client. I didn't do anything any different than Perry Mason does every time he comes up against you," Littleton claimed.
"Don't even try and compare yourself to Perry Mason. You lied to the jury to get them to acquit your clients. You know how he gets his clients off, he finds the real killer. He does not defend killers and get them off scot-free. The difference between you and Mason is principles, Littleton. He has them, you don't," Burger snarled, his voice rising. "I happen to know that Conner Wolff asked Perry Mason to defend him and Mason turned him down."
"Hamilton, let's go." Lt. Tragg grabbed the lawyer's arm, trying to lead him out of the courtroom. His raised voice had started to attract attention.
"I don't know what you are getting so upset about. As many times as you have come up against Mason, you should be used to losing," Littleton smiled.
"You son of a….." Hamilton took a step toward Littleton. Tragg stepped in between the two men.
"Hamilton, we are leaving now." He shoved the district attorney away from Littleton and grabbed his friend's briefcase. Tragg forcibly pushed Burger towards the door. Instead of taking him out the front door, Tragg lead him out the back way. "What the hell is the matter with you?"
"Littleton represents everything that is wrong with the legal profession. He just wants to win. He does not care about justice. And the nerve of the man comparing himself to Perry. You never see Perry working to clear a murderer." Hamilton had not calmed down a bit.
"Now you listen to me. In the beginning of every trial, we believed the defendants were guilty. That means we also had to believe that Perry was defending a murderer with the goal of getting him off," Tragg said.
"Yes but the difference is Perry believeshis clients to be innocent. Littleton knows his client is slime and guilty and he still defends him. Besides, so far Perry has not been wrong, has he?" Hamilton pointed out. "Why are you defending Littleton?"
"I am not. I am trying to get you to calm down. Hamilton, you have to respect the system, even when it is wrong. We'll get this guy sooner or later," Tragg looked his friend straight in the eye and held his gaze.
Finally, Tragg could see the tension in Burger's body ease. "How about that drink?"
"Are you buying?" Hamilton asked.
"Only the first round," Tragg smiled.
Hamilton laughed. "Let's go."
Perry stretched and leaned back in his big desk chair finishing dictation to Della. "…Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, signed Perry Mason. Now please tell me that is the last of the mail."
Della chucked. "That's what you get for going on vacation for two weeks. It took us the entire morning to catch up the mail. Let's go for a bite to eat. If we do not go now we will not be able to. You have a two o'clock appointment."
"Well then, let's just go across the street and eat lunch," Perry suggested.
Paul's code knock sounded on the door. Della smiled and walked to the door. She opened it and Paul Drake came into the office. "Hello, beautiful. How's the first day back to work?"
"Busy," Della answered.
"Hello Paul," Perry said as he got up and walked around his desk. He sat down on the edge. "Della tells me you are going to embark on your first vacation in five years."
"That right pal and I don't want to hear from you for the next month," he grinned. "Seriously, I just wanted to drop by and tell you my office is at your disposal. Al will be in charge for the next month. He knows you have top priority, so if you need anything at all, he's your man."
"So where are you going?" Perry asked.
"Europe. Paris, Rome Madrid and any place my heart desires," Paul said excitedly.
"Ok, who is she?" Perry asked.
"Oh no, there is no way I'll tell you that. You'll talk her out of going with me," Paul laughed. "You had your vacation, now I am finally going to take mine."
"We only took two weeks," Della pointed out.
"See, if you hadn't chosen Perry over me, you could have gone to Europe for a month. Instead you got to spend two weeks with a grump police detective who can't seem to refrain from getting shot at," Paul teased.
Della laughed. She looked at Paul. "We will miss you."
"Speak for yourself," Perry said.
Paul laughed again. He put out his hand and Perry shook it. "Enjoyed your vacation, Paul. I promise you, we will not bother you." Paul then hugged Della and planted a kiss on her cheek. "Bye, beautiful."
"Goodbye Paul. Have a wonderful vacation," Della told him.
Paul left the office with Perry looking on. "You know, I am going to miss him."
"You could have told him that, Perry," Della said.
Perry smiled, "He knows. Well, shall we go to lunch?" Perry took Della's elbow and led her out of the office.
Ed and Eve entered the office at the same time at precisely nine o'clock. "Good morning, chief." Both of they greeted him at the same time.
Chief Ironside looked over his shoulder, "Good morning, children." Otto ran over to greet the new arrivals.
Ed looked down at the German Shepherd. "What's he still doing here? When is Dunlap coming after him?"
Mark cam in with coffee mugs and a coffee pot in hands. "The chief has decided the dog is going to stay here part of the time and at the kennel part of the time to keep up his training. It's our part of the time." He poured the chief a cup of coffee and did the same for Eve and Ed."
Ironside was reading the paper. He sipped his coffee. Ed and Eve watched him for a moment. "So aren't you going to tell us? How was your vacation?"
"Restful," Ironside said.
Ed looked at Eve. "So where's Barbara?"
"Apartment hunting," Ironside replied taking another sip of his coffee.
"Chief is there a reason you are answering us with one or two word answers," Eve asked.
"Good morning children is three words," Ironside said holding up three fingers and then taking another sip of his coffee.
"Chief, are you alright?" Ed asked.
Ironside looked up with a big boyish, dimpled grin. Couldn't be better!"
Mark shook his head. "He's been like that ever since he rolled out of bed this morning."
Ed looked at Eve again and shrugged his shoulders. "So what's on tap for today?
The door opened and Commissioner Dennis Randall walked in the door and down the ramp. He patted Otto on the head. "Mark, how about some coffee."
Mark poured another cup of coffee and handed it to Randall. Randall looked over at Otto. "Isn't there a rule about dogs in this building?"
Ironside perked up. "No, and if there were I am sure you would change it."
"Well did you enjoy your vacation?" Randall asked.
"As a matter of fact I did," Ironside grinned. After looking at Randall's face, Ironside's grin turned into a frown. "Dennis, it just occurred to me, anytime you come into his office and say nothing, you usually have a lot to say so say it."
Randall squirmed a bit and then addressed Ironside and his staff. "We have had a formal complaint filed against your office Bob."
Ironside slammed his coffee cup down and growled, "Now just who filed the complaint and what are they complaining about."
"The complaint was filed by a group called the Anti-Police Brutality League."
Ed groaned. "Not them again."
"Yes Sergeant. Them again."
"Dennis, just what is their complaint?" Ironside asked.
"Well, they have filed a complaint saying your people, namely Ed, Eve, & Carl used excessive force against Tony Castle. They are claiming they did not make any attempt to take him alive. They are accusing your officers of just opening fire on Castle."
"He was going to kill the chief. Were we supposed to stand there and allow him to do it?" Eve asked incredulously.
"Look, I am not questioning your methods. If I had been there I would have been shooting a gun right along with the rest of you," the commissioner said to her.
"Then just exactly what are you telling us?" Ironside asked raising his voice.
"They filed the complaint with the city council. They want your entire office eliminated as an unnecessary waste of the tax payer's money."
"This is ridiculous, Commissioner. He set up explosives and traps all over your property as well as automatic weapons controlled remotely. Cut off the gas, electricity, water and removed anything he could find that the chief and Perry could us as a weapon and we used excessive force against the manic? What about the force he used against the chief. He ordered Otto to kill Perry. Does the chief not have the right to defend himself and the people with him? Don't we have the right to defend each other?" Ed cried angrily.
"Not to mention the man was a trained killer," Eve said.
"Look, I am on your side," Randall said.
"Dennis, what exactly is the real problem here? There is something you are not telling us," Ironside growled.
"The group had demanded that all the officers in question including you Bob must attend a city council meeting and justify your actions and tell the city and the council why your office should not be eliminated and all officers terminate immediately," Randall wait for the coming explosion.
"You better not be telling me the city council has agreed to this," Ironside roared.
"Yes Bob, they have." Randall put up his hand to stop Ironside from talking. "But the entire council and the Mayor have assured me this is nothing but an attempt to pacify the Police Brutality group."
"You tell the city council not one of my staff members will be attending this meeting. If they want to bring us up on charges then tell them to have us investigated by the Internal Affairs," Ironside continue to roar.
"Bob, listen…"Randall tried to calm his top detective.
"No you listen Dennis. I will go to friendly press. How do you think the people of this city would react if I go on TV and start telling them what this department has accomplished? Solving of the co-ed serial murders; capture of the Moonlight Killer; 126 arrest busting the drug ring that was running here, Los Angeles, and San Diego which included taking down a corrupt district attorney, police sergeant and the Governor of California; busting up a near fifty year child trafficking business masquerading as an adoption agency. Those are just for starters. I can go back as far as when this office began. Then tell those same citizens we might not possibly exist to protect them any longer. And all because my staff protected me and my brother from an ex-special forces trained killer. You tell the city council to grow a spine or they will regret tangling with me," Ironside growled. "Who do you think will come out on top?"
"I am fully aware that you are a bit of a hero to this city Bob, and rightly so. This is a hot potato. I am just trying to figure out a way to quiet this down. It strictly political," Commissioner Randall said.
"Politics," Ironside said with disgust. "Whoever created politics should be behind bars. You handle it. My staff did their job and they are not going to be subject to public ridicule. They have better things to do with their time and so do I. So if there is nothing else….." Ironside said in dismissal.
"Alright Bob. I will see what I can do." Randall got up to leave. He touched Ironside's shoulder on the way out.
"Welcome back from vacation," Ironside grumbled to himself.
Connor Wolff celebrated his newfound freedom with a drink at a bar. He laughed to himself. Looked like he did not need that high priced fancy lawyer after all. Wolff could not get Hamilton Burger out of his thoughts. That man had cost him thousands of dollars. He just spent six weeks wasting his time in a courtroom. So what if he killed five people. They deserved it. They got in the way.
Burger had to pay for his meddling in his affairs. Wolff never let anyone get away will interfering with his operations. He had to find out more about Burger to figure out how to make him pay.
He wondered what would be the best way to hurt him. Wolff decided it was time his holier than thou attitude needed to be taken down. Yes, that is what would hurt him the most. Destroy his integrity and appearance of honesty. Now he just needed to find a way to do it.