|As first seen in Green magazine
My clients are criminals and dysfunctional families. I am a solo law practitioner. Every day is a circus. But even so, some cases stand out. Sometimes it’s the players, other times it’s the system and it’s my job to make everything right. Let me tell you about three of the wildest cases I’ve taken on.
Son of a Sheik
One of my first clients had a scenario that would have been at home on a John Walsh TV special. He was Tunisian — we’ll call him Rosh Al Camino — and he got a cocktail waitress that he picked up pregnant. Rosh was movie-star handsome, from a highly educated and wealthy family. Waitress thought she had won the life lottery. When she had their son, she named him “Rosh Al Camino, Jr.” She tried her best to create an instant family, but Rosh wasn’t interested in settling down with her then, or ever. When Waitress started to get the cold shoulder from the wealthy Al Caminos, she figured if it couldn’t be all, it’d be nothing. She took off with the baby for parts unknown. Time, indeed years, went by. A few vaguely worded affidavits allowed her to change the baby’s name to the Americanized “Randy Cooper,” without notifying Rosh.
As Rosh grew older and more mature, he felt that he needed contact with his son and that his son needed him. He was sobered to realize that his son would now be 14. When I was retained, I had to find the boy, serve Waitress with papers, and win. After interviewing about 20 people, I got enough tips to conclude that the boy was living just a few miles away all these years! In fact, Randy played soccer in a park that Rosh often visited to think things out. The Al Caminos couldn’t decide which was worse: that they hadn’t seen the boy in 14 years or that he was no longer an Al Camino.
Waitress wouldn’t open the door to my process servers, so 6 police cars ended up driving onto her lawn and blocking the street to give her the summons. This was after a few calls to the local constabulary by the Al Caminos, emphasizing the missing child aspect, and I suppose, their financial largesse.
Many Al Caminos flew in from Tunisia on the day of the hearing; they spoke only Arabic and a smattering of French. Rosh’s mom was in Islamic veil from head to toe, with just her eyes and a pair of Birkenstocks peeping out. I conversed with the Family in French — I’m sure they were amused to be relying on a young, Jewish lawyer. Suddenly, Mrs. Al Camino started screaming in Arabic and hitting me! I jumped up. She had just spotted Randy and the family resemblance was too strong for her to handle.
Well, I won some visitation for Rosh, but sadly, the father-son bond just never happened.
|Suddenly, Mrs. Al Camino started screaming in Arabic and hitting me!|
Another hard domestic case was for former pro basketball recruit, “Lamont Adams.” Just under 7′ tall, he was quick and agile with his pick-ups on the court and in the bars. One day, he walked into one of his steadier girlfriend’s house, but she was busy with someone else. The guy had a handgun on the dresser, but Lamont got to it first and shot him dead.
His world came crashing down. He was convicted of mansalughter (Maryland is very forgiving of the hot-tempered cuckold) and spent three years in prison. While he was there, four separate one-night stands gave birth to four of his sons. One was with a woman we’ll call Vanessa.
Vanessa, as her neighbors would say, “was a trip.” Mildly retarded, her big goal in life was to become a cheerleader and snag a ball player. Since she was pudgy with a spooky case of lazy eye, that didn’t happen. So, she became a stalker. Against his better judgment, Lamont took her home one night and — bingo! — She was pregnant.
On her own, Vanessa made some very poor decisions. One of them was to hook up with “Reverend Ike.” Rev. Ike got his title in the back of a magazine and started his own cult. Among other things, he preached that Halloween was the Devil’s tool and that toys and books are wasteful. He moved in with Vanessa quickly, took his sweet time to marry her, and eventually got her a lawyer from his cult. The lawyer proceeded to file pleadings in crayon – I’m not making this up – so we had a pleasant diversion as I reported her to the proper Bar authorities.
I then had a private investigator check out ol’ Ike. He left a wife and daughter behind in the deep South. He trashed one apartment. Then, I found out that Ike left another apartment –but not before chaining his dog inside a closet to die.
In court, Killer Lamont triumphed over Cultie Vanessa; he got full custody of his son. That is, until the Appeal, when on a technicality, the son is now being raised by Vanessa and the good Reverend. Sorry, real life doesn’t have a fairy-tale ending.
Just Say Whoa
Another amazing case involves a pervasive problem in this country: narcotics. Anytime that anyone tries to defend the use of drugs to me, I tell them about “Clem Walker.” Clem started his adult life in the Army. He made the Inaugural Honor Guard that paraded in front of President and Mrs. “Just Say No” Reagan. He learned five languages. He was selected to guard Nazi Rudolf Hess at Wiesbaden. But while stationed there, he got hooked on Turkish Heroin. His life did not immediately fall apart. In those days, the drug tests weren’t always accurate. So, Clem made it through the Army decorated and praised.
Then, he became a correctional officer for a prison. Dealing, buying, using… it all became a haze. Soon, he migrated from one side of the prison bars to the other.
Sadly, Clem comes from a family of drunk drivers and drug addicts who’ve kept me quite busy over the years. Many are HIV positive, too.
I got Clem out of the pokey and into rehab — judges love a veteran — but, I hear he’s using again.
‘Til next time…