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Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #1756168
Sensational biting incident pits two top canine law firms against each other.
Chapter I

The Incident

After the furor had all but died down and the last of the wags had their say in the press, more serious observers would note that the legal contest had all the makings of becoming a landmark case in animal jurisprudence. They were probably right and aspiring young pups in law schools everywhere would undoubtedly chew on through this case for years to come.  One observer who followed the case from the very beginning considered the case as quite possibly representing the very example of a quintessential American dogfight, pitting two firms, different from each other as day is to night, in a contest to the end where there could only be one winner. 

Where were the lines being drawn in this epic struggle? On the one side, there was the venerable old school law firm of Louie, Bella, Baxter and Raise Attorneys-at-Law, the habitual "go to" firm on the street, and best in breed when it came to matters of serious and complex litigation. Leading the defense team was the firm's senior partner Maitre Louie, long recognized as the champion of dog rights, professor of law and counsel to a long and distinguished list of clients. Maitre Louie, with his white mane worn fashionably long, was always the very definition of sartorial splendor. In the courtroom he was seen as highly skilled, a true master, eloquent and fervent, a passionate seeker of truth and justice. The plaintiff’s side was represented by the law firm of Dewey, Bytem and How Attorneys-at-Law. Leading for the plaintiff was a familiar figure to many, none other than the senior partner himself, Maitre Dewey a rough, back-street, take no prisoner brand of attorney who had worked his way up to the street from chasing fire trucks, stray cats in back alleys, poor children in side streets and tramps living in cardboard shacks. He always looked hungry, and a nagging case of the mange, the result of malnutrition as a pup. Maitre Dewey had the flair of a car salesman working on his next deal; for him anything was open for consideration if it closed the deal.  He believed in the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" as long as it suited his vision of the world. In fact, more than once Dewey and the firm had been investigated by the Dogs at Law Board for questionable if not, some said privately, unethical legal practices. But Maitre Dewey was no fool, he was good and brought his street smarts to the courtroom nor was he afraid to bare his teeth, up front and personal.

But let me go back and fill in some details for you.

The law firm of Louie, Bella, Baxter and Raise Attorneys-at-Law was a boutique firm small enough to be able to pick and choose their clients. Whether to take a case or not ultimately landed in the lap of the senior partner, Maitre Louie but there always a rigorous and healthy debate among the partners sometime going at it like a pack of wild dogs.  On this particular case, Bella and Baxter, junior partners and Raise an associate attorney presented the factual issues of the case, Max versus Missie.

Bella began her summary of the case. "On the 4th of July at approximately 7:30 AM, the defendant Max started on his usual daily early morning walk, patrolling the neighborhood and conducting spot checks at regular intervals, marking those areas that seemed suspicious and not belonging to the community. The defendant claimed that while he was in front 4645 Elm Street "merely sniffing", he was confronted by an enraged white poodle "Missy" adorned with a big pink bow and a partly shaved midsection, who proceeded to verbally taunt him and snarl all to the amusement, this according to Max, of  Missy's owner. The defendant further claimed that the poodle leaped in a forward direction as if to strike and harm him when he, Max, opened his mouth in a defensive gesture only but ready to bite and defend should Missy engage him.  It's at this point where there is still some confusion. The defendant states that Missy's owner intervened with a size 13 boot and aimed directly at Max's head that had no recourse but to bite the boot or risk serious personal injury; Max easily pierced the leather and apparently broke the skin around the ankle. The police report states that Missy and her owner (identified only as "Man") claimed they were both assaulted and threatened with their lives."

Bella paused briefly to go to the water bowl with Raise joining her for a quick sniff. Louie, having missed his morning meal, unwrapped a cookie bone leaving it on the table and reached into his briefcase; turning back he noticed his long awaited treat was gone. Baxter, sitting next to Louie, licked his chops, coughed then turned to show his rear. Louie could have snapped but it was pointless after all he may have done him a favor that was a fruit cookie the kind that never set well in his stomach. It was going to be Baxter's turn soon.

Bella continued. "The plaintiffs, Man and Missy are suing on multiple counts of damage in the amount of one million dollars and a lifetime supply of canned dog food and small dog biscuits. Damages are for medical expenses, personal and emotional trauma and one new pair of size 13 rubber sole boots. Missy's owner claims that now she refuses to walk in the neighborhood or in the vicinity of Elm Street; this has led her to relieve herself inside according to the owner. Further, Missy lost her prize winning pink ribbon when she was assaulted by the defendant." At that last comment, there were a few snorts of approval that went around the conference room table, high-five paws to paws across the conference table, tails were in motion all around "way to go Max I like him already! It's about time! And, that's what I'm talking about!" Louie peered over his glasses, raised a well manicured paw, "please, may we finish this then we can all go outside? I know some of us need a break!" he said looking at Baxter who appeared increasingly uncomfortable.

Attorneys Baxter and Raise noted that a motion had been filed by the plaintiff's attorneys Dewey, Bytem and How Attorneys-at-Law and that a court date for a preliminary hearing had been set.  At the mention of the law firm, Louie shook his head, wiped his nose and scratched himself discreetly. If ever there was a firm that made its name skating on thin legal ice, allegedly on behalf of justice for dogs, this certainly was the one. Anyone who had ever stared at a television was familiar with Dewey's voice and his pack of loose hounds as they appeared on never ending television commercials barking about one grave social injustice after another. They would whine that every self respecting dog had a right to redress their wrongs in court of law no matter how small or how petty their grievances. Noble argument, Louie thought to himself, if you like animal control car chasers. He could hear Dewey "have you or another dog been bitten recently, are you sick from taking the wrong medicine, have your owners left you all alone outside for longer than 24hrs, are you still using the same water bowl you came home with, were you read your rights before being locked up by Animal Control? Call us and you can have a lawyer today." Dewey and the hounds were never one to turn up their noses from a case -any case and once they sank their teeth into it anything was fair game including their client's wallet. 

Given the merits of the case, the partners were all in agreement on representing the defendant. Baxter and Raise were drooling for an opportunity to meet Dewey, Bytem and How in court. Both had a reserve of sticks and balls in their office and were itching to have a chance to finally use them. The decision having been reached they all went out for a good run. Maitre Louie watched from his window, the stiffness in his joints had returned once again. He would call his Doctor tomorrow.

The following day in the afternoon, at the uptown offices of Louie, Bella, Baxter and Raise Attorneys-at-Law at West 56th and Main Avenue, Max the defendant was ushered into Maitre Louis' office. Max dressed for the occasion in a pair of sweatpants and t-shirt, waddled into the room panting heavily, "phew it's hot out never seen anything like it" unhooked his briefcase, sniffed one of the leather side chairs, nodding approvingly, hopped on. He made two full turns on the chair than started "listen, it just happened, I don't know what got in to me, I mean yea, I've thought about  biting the dame but hey, I'm not alone on that score; I didn't want to hurt the poor little thing or that weird smelling guy who holds the leash. OK? So like I'm innocent and when is thinking something bad make you guilty, see?"

Louis took off his bifocals, wiping them with a tissue then placing them carefully to the side next to the yellow legal and his Mont Blanc fountain pen. His desk was usually quite neat even down to the silver picture of his human and a picture of the two of them having a good time outside. Louie began, "Max, if I may call you Max, would you like some water, we have a visitors bowl in the corner if not why don't you tell me in your own words what happened as best you can." Louie leaned back closed his eyes and listened.  Max started "yea sure thing, it's like this, see like I was minding and doing my own business, checking out things and looking for anything good and lots of sniffing I mean, that's what I'm all about right, look at my long brown ears? Anyway, so outa nowhere comes that little white dog-thing with a pink bow in its hair and lookin' all prissy-like. If you ask me, the day they decided to make those kinds of dogs, well it’s a pretty sorry day for all dog-kind and I mean around the world. But hey, I kept on going you know what I mean? Not sniffing that rear, dames like spell trouble, no two ways about it. So now jest as I'm walking keeping my nose to the ground, I sees the owner guy gives her more leash so she starts yapping and snarling like she owned the GD street and the guy was laughing. She charges at me, gets right in my face like and snarls at me so I open my mouth figuring my teeth would scare the dame and instead she lunges towards me and that's when the guy sticks his foot in my face to push me away and I scoot by him right between his legs. See, that's how it went down and I have a chronic back condition too!"

The Bailiff, overstuffed in a blue jacket and stripped pants, waddled to the front of a packed court room. "All rise" she yelled "Hear ye hear ye, the U.S. District Court of Maryland is in session. The honorable Judge Grey Hound presiding. All having business before this honorable court are admonished to draw near, give their attention, and they shall be heard. God save these United States of America!"

Plaintiff, you may call your first witness...

Chapter II

The Trial

District Court, Courtroom number nine was at full capacity. Reporters filled the first two rows each one elbowing the other for a better vantage point.

Dewey, representing the plaintiff rose. "Your Honor, we call Doctor Athena to the stand." Athena came forward slowly, showing signs of stiffness in his joints; he held his tail in his left hand and raised his right paw solemnly swearing to tell the truth. Dewey decked out in red suspenders and a new bow tie that one style reporter later insisted was battery operated with lights, approached the stand wearing a smile reserved for friendly witnesses, pretty dogs and unsuspecting prey. "Doctor, you specialize in animal deviant behavior do you not?" Athena coughed, wiped his mouth with his paw, and then answered in the affirmative.

Dewey inquired, almost gently, "Do you know the defendant and if so, how?" Athena replied, "I am a specialist in dysfunctional dog behavior leading to a pattern of bites; further, I certified to provide expert testimony. Four years ago, I testified on a sensitive bite case involving him (pointing with his tail in the direction of the defendant) and an esteemed public official." Dewey puffed out his chest, "I know the court is as impressed as I am with your sterling professional credentials but would you be more precise, specifically what kind of official was bitten?" "An honored longtime employee of the United States Canine Mail Service Corps! One of the very best in the service and he bit him! It's a shame I tell you and outrage, it's it's more than that, its..." "Thank you Doctor. No more questions your Honor."

There was audible murmuring from the audience then somebody shouted "hey that's no crime that's just good dog work if you ask me!" The gavel came down with a thundering noise "May I remind you that this is a Court of Law. Any further outbursts and I will have you leashed and taken from my court room tail between your legs!"

Judge Grey Hound sat back, patted his wig back into place. How many years had he been doing this, even he of sound mind could not remember. With each passing day, it was becoming more like a kangaroo court than a court of law. He was getting too old for this and these days, Millie wanting him more at home. Let the younger legal pups deal with this riffraff. Just too many years, just too many years. Looking up he noticed the court was waiting for his guidance. "Does the Defense wish to cross examine?" he asked then followed with coughing spasms. Standing at the defense table, Louie read through his notes, pausing for effect,"aah, just one question your Honor, my dear Doctor are you a licensed medical doctor and authorized to practice in this state?" Athena leaned forward and replied "I have been practicing for more years than you've been on all fours!" Louie bowed ever so gently. "Indeed, one can tell, quite obviously, but the question still remains..." Athena rubbed his paws together irritated, "Listen mister lawyer, don't think you can pull any of your smart tricks on me, I have an international license from the Assembly of Four Legged Friends in Geneva, Switzerland which recognizes me as an expert in dog testimony and furthermore it is accepted in all parts of the world and most if not all states in this country!" Louie, turned to the Jury "that may be the case but apparently not in this state! No further questions your Honor." The good doctor stood up "that was a trick question, you don't know what you’re talking about, you don't understand!" "You may step down now doctor" said Judge Hound.

Dewey rose from his chair "Your Honor, we call the defendant Max Tweeds to the stand." A hush fell over the room finally the plaintiff's attorney was getting to the heart of the matter and they wanted to hear every word. "Give 'em hell Dewey" barked an old dog wearing a frayed mailman's jacket "let em know dogs can't go around biting other decent law abiding dogs!" Judge Grey Hound barked, "Bailiff have that dog removed from my courtroom!" He wiped his nose, "I warned you this is my courtroom and won't stand for that kind of behavior...anyone else care to say something?? Then proceed with your cross-examination Counselor."

Dewey approached the stand, whipping a runny eye on his sleeve, did two quick turns before leaning in close to Max and asked in a low raspy voice, "Max have you ever bitten anyone before this incident?" "Of course not, what kind of dog do you think I am!" "A simple yes or no will suffice" reminded Judge Grey Hound, his deep red bloodshot eyes looking down at Max. "Then my answer is no, I have never bitten anyone before" replied Max. Dewey leaned closer opening his mouth and bearing a set of sharp yellowed teeth affixed in unhealthy grey looking gums. "Are you quite sure about that and may I remind you, kind sir, that is a court of law and you are under oath. So let me help you with your answer" Dewey went on "your Honor, I would like to introduce as State's evidence number 5, a report from Gruff Animal Control stating they were called out on a 410 - an animal disturbance/dog biting incident. The animal question was the defendant, Max!"  Dewey leered triumphantly towards Louie as if he smelled blood and was going in for the kill.  Dewey slid over to the jury "has not a pattern of deviant behavior on the part of the defendant been more clearly established. He will surely repeat this behavior perhaps next time it will have deadly serious consequences..." "Objection your Honor, the question is argumentative, assumes facts not in evidence and calls for speculation." The defendant's motion is granted and the jury will refrain from considering Mr. Dewey's last legal maneuver." 

Dewey grinned; it had been worth a shot. His team congratulated him with a few high-fives. It was out in the open that's all Dewey cared about. He worked the courtroom like a cheap suit at a carny, whipping the courtroom to frenzy. At that he was quite skilled even Louie would agree. But he was also one of those dogs that made you want to wash immediately after shaking their paws. One never knew where that paw had been!

Back at the witness stand, Max mumbled something inaudible which made Dewey put his face even closer, spittle flew in the air "I'm sorry would you repeat that louder so the court can hear" he said in a half mocking tone. Max cleared his throat "OK your Honor I was involved in a biting incident a long time ago, I was a young pup I smelled some questionable mail being delivered and did not want it in my house. I've changed now, I've paid my debt to society, and I’m a better dog now." "No further questions your Honor" Dewey oiled his way back to the table. 

Louie walked forward cleaning his glasses very carefully and asked "would you tell the court your profession please?" Max cleared his throat and replied "why yes, I assist dogs with failing eyesight and weak hips." "And is that all?" continued Louie, "no, I assist my Minister with the Sunday service and in the afternoons I'm a Big Dog to three young dogs on the other side of town; and on Christmas Eve, I help wrap presents for needy dogs." Louie chuckled looking at the jury, "yes I can see where you might be a serious threat to society! No further questions at this time your Honor."

The Defense team then called Missy La Rue! A hush fell over the courtroom as the guards pulled opened the courtroom doors and in that very moment Missy made her entrance as if it were finally her Oscar moment. She had taken great pains to achieve a total pink look as counseled by her team of trial experts. Everything was pink from her little pillbox hat with a veil barely covering her graying nose to stratospherically high heeled pink shoes. Careful research had shown that given the makeup of the jury, the time of day, the average temperature in courtrooms, that pink was a positive "feel good" color and would work to her advantage. Missy teeter-tottered over to the witness stand leaving behind a trail of sickly sweet smelling perfume - clearly drug store quality perfume. As she proceeded down the aisle, witnesses later recalled that some pulled out their handkerchiefs and covered their nose and mouths from the toxic fumes. As if she were a contestant in a beauty pageant, but without her Miss Poodle sash, Missy walked past the jury box and smiled then over to the judge who had by now affixed his glasses to get a closer look at this most curious sight. After much turning and sitting then standing again, Missy finally settled herself in the witness chair. She opened her large purse and withdrew  a mirror and proceeded to adjust a wandering wisp of hair then applied a sure swipe of pink lipstick. The courtroom audience, for once was quiet, more than one tongue was on the floor and more than a few ribcages received sharp elbows. At that very moment, time stood still; you could have heard a pin drop, it was later recalled.

Maitre Louie approached the stand carefully studying his notes; looking up, "I want to thank you for making a special effort to be here given the morning hour." Missy nodded her thanks, patting her hair oblivious of the dripping sarcasm that had begun to accumulate. "Madam, in my hand I hold the medical records, the doctor's evaluation and report from that fateful day. Evidence which will be introduced and all pertaining to the particular event which you blame my client for having left you so deeply traumatized" Opening the report, Louie read: "I reviewed the subject over a period of three days finding no evidence linking the subjects psychological trauma with her recent events. Subject appears to have suffered neck trauma most likely the result of repeated pulling and yanking on her pink leash and collar.  It entirely plausible that subject's neck trauma was cause by a human rather than any dog or other animal." At that moment Missy dove into her over-sized bag and retrieved a comb and nervously combed her pink locks over and over again. "No further questions your Honor."  "Cross examination Mr. Dewey?"

Dewey slowly approached Missy, she looked good and he was careful to keep his tongue off the floor. Missy blushed noticeably as Dewey circled in front of her, not once but twice! "My dear, I mean Madam, this has been a long dreadful ordeal for you and I'm sure the court realizes this fact. Madam, if you have the strength, please, for the sake of the jury, tell us as best you can the awful series of events which left you emotionally traumatized." Missy was ready for this question; she had gone over it more than once with Dewey- definitely her type. She carefully took out her chewing gum and placed it in a piece of paper then handed it to the Bailiff. "Well I guess you could say I was just minding my business you know what I mean? I had a new outfit on and wore my pink pageant bow that has a special meaning for me. Anyways, coming in my direction is this filthy creature, beastly and unkempt with hair in knots everywhere! Between you and me, I thought I smelled wine on his breadth, in the morning! He was pathetic I mean I'm a cosmetologist by training as you surely tell, this hairstyle don't come cheap let me tell you. Anyways, like I said I could smell him coming right towards me and I guess it's just a girl's instinct, self preservation or something you know what I mean? I told him to back off the sidewalk. If I had my nail file I most surely would have used it. He was monstrous, leering at me with all his saliva everywhere! He was low to the ground, his ears dragging in the mud. In fact, two days ago I saw him leering at me then he peed right where I always go! Sadly, I can't ever go back to that spot again. I think that says everything about that awful man don't you mister prosecutor sir?"     

It was that last comment, it was all but impossible for the audience not to break out snickering, a few sidelong glances and some knowing winks later Judge Grey Hound finally pounded the gavel. One court reporter later recalled that the judge most surely had a smile on his face.

Chapter III

The Reckoning

The Shaping of Hearts and Minds

Long before the first gavel ever came down in Courtroom Number Nine, the merits of the case were being hotly debated on the air, in newspapers and on every Sunday talk show. Some called it a veritable feast of fools. Across town, well heeled expensive public relations firms were oiling up their version of the truth in preparation for shaping the hearts and minds of the public who they saw as lost little doggies looking for their way. Who supported who was a veritable mishmash it was going to be the dogfight of the century and the PR boys and lawyers where already picking out summer homes. Two firms in particular, 2Snouts-a-Sniffing PR and Tail-Waggin Associates played important roles in shaping this debate. Both worked closely with Associations having access to deep pockets and who felt they had a dog in the race; they included well-known ones like the Firehouse Dog Association, Society of Big Dogs of America, Mail Carriers Union, Dog Food Preparers Union, Canned Meats Association (in partnership with) the Dry Dog Food Group. Like well trained animals they appeared on the Sunday talk shows spouting convincingly their version of the truth and spinning very clever arguments designed to convince even the average mongrel. It was slick and it was effective.

By far one of the most irritable actors in this high-stakes drama was the well known "shock-jock" from BYTE Radio whose persona "Yo Hound Dog Daddy!" was well known as his unmistakable brown shaggy curls drooping over his face and his sunglasses. Every show began and ended with a long wolf like howl. The wolf-dog brought every imaginable junkyard dog on his show letting them chew into the story. One dog went on to support Missy and was face to face with a biker dog in a leather vest. The guest eventually left the studio in tears. It was in your face radio at its finest, that is if you were Hound Dog Daddy.

Over at the Marrow Bone Restaurant on D Street, where the glaringly white starched napkins on tablecloths stood at attention, one could stop in for lunch or the cocktail hour and observe the dogs who frequented this particular high-powered canyon of lawyers, lobbyist, PR types, staffers from one branch or another, it was the great power mixing bowl and of course Louie and his legal team would usually go there for lunch to wine and dine a client or perhaps discuss business over a heaping bowl of bones in a thick marrow sauce; it was the restaurant's signature sauce. Those who cruised this side of town were well dressed and even more well heeled. They were connected. A pat on the back, a sniff here a sniff there, a promise and a wink, it was all going down here one way or another. Louie and his team went through the day’s events and strategies for the next day. Of particular importance were the closing arguments and Louie had to be on top of his game. It was still difficult to tell about the jury, one moment they seemed convinced with Louie's arguments then another moment it looked as if they found Dewey's arguments equally compelling, if not more so! It was a question of balance and Louie just had to tip it in his favor. That’s all.

On the other side of town, at the Nose on Inn, it was a different scene; on Friday nights there was usually a local band, the Bad Dog Boys who were a local favorite. It was the sort of place where the beer was served incredibly cold because you wouldn’t dare serve it any other way, the scotch cheap because it was and the food came fast and fresh out of the microwaves. The Inn's sandwiches were well known as being the tallest stacked sandwich at the cheapest price anywhere in town. All transactions were cash based because, as the sign read in the bathroom, "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash." Dewey was well known here, he would show up usually late in the evenings with his usual overdose of aftershave, slug down a few scotches and hungrily survey the territory for a possible evening acquisition. The Nose on Inn was a favorite of the public safety and paramedic crowd, so you got a lot of German Sheppard’s, Dobermans, Dalmatians, Huskies and not a small dog to be seen except for maybe what was served on a plate. It was here that Dewey and his boys would hold court and map out the next day's events.

The Day of Reckoning

Before even the first hint of morning light, van after television van assembled one in front of the other surrounding the front entrance to the stately turn of the century courthouse. Setting up antennas and broadcasting dishes they looked like a mobile task force pre-positioning for a morning assault. Wire and sound technicians were scrambling laying hundreds of feet of wire all had to be in place and running smoothly before the gavel struck. Each station had their own version of jelled and sprayed duos including Vinn Tales and "Morganna" from television station WBRK. Both were reviewing their prepared notes, mumbling them as they walked around with their hair spray and makeup teams following anxiously behind should a wisp of hair get dislodged from the goo and decide to stray. Just back from a difficult assignment in the Bahamas, Vinn looked the very picture of fit, tan and ready. His wardrobe consultants had picked a tan suit, white button shirt and lime green and pink stripe tie to accent his island tan and appeal to his adoring fans. "Morganna" was a last minute addition since Vinn's on air partner had fallen sick. It was risky but WBRK management could not afford to do otherwise, there had to be balance!! "Morgana" was very good at what she did - the weather. She had come in from Atlanta and pretty much booted the peppy little Stormy Summers with her trade mark little red umbrella with yellow sunny smiles. Morgana looked as if she had been co-anchor from day one. Smooth, relaxed and quick as Vinn's with the silly useless remarks on air about a news story. "In stunning reversal, man bites dog but first our lead story about a banana slip and what does it have to do with sore joints!!" Smile, little laughter, camera one and, fade...

It was going to be one of those classic summer days. The sun rose like a mass of burnt orange threatening to destroy everything in its path. By 8AM it was already 85 degrees with a chance of light rain. The humidity, not wanting to be out done was showing 90 degrees. The air hung over the city and the morning congestion with the cars belching fumes only added to an already toxic mix. By 9:00 AM a long line of placeholders, who were paid to do just that, were waiting in line until the courthouse doors opened at which time the deity took their rightful place in line. Security was clearly present for this event. Municipal law enforcement had been reinforced with Cop in the box were stationed at the front screening every bag and briefcase as each person walked through metal detectors. Two knives were apprehended as were several canisters of pepper spray, one flask of whiskey and more than a few little bottles of vodka. Despite a ban on bringing cameras or tape recording devices of any kind some found their way into court and streamed data to the various television and radio stations.   

A black limousine smoothly pulled up curbside in front of the steps leading up to the courthouse. An eager young assistant jumped out and opened the rear door letting out Louie and Max the defendant. Louie was attired in a dark blue suit, white shirt, spread collar and discrete stripe tie. He adjusted his gold bone-shaped cuff links, paused for a few photos and several "no comments" or "we are optimistic but time will tell." Vinn and Morgana - the dashing due of television both stuck their microphones in the mix with Morgana yelling, squeaking "how do you feel this morning Max? What did you have breakfast?" Vinn took another tack "Louie do you consider this a make or break case for your legal career? Are you considering a run for public office?" The crowd moved up the steps a sea of cameras and lights. Behind the defense team followed behind each carrying two briefcases. This was the brain trust.

No sooner had they disappeared from view, a stretch white limousine pulled up to the curb. The swarm of TV crews, lights and cameras began a quick descent to meet Dewey who stepped out first in a black suit, black shirt and silver white tie. He turned and assisted Missy the one person who all social editors were hell bent of getting her story. This time her image consultants had opted for a pure white bridal look. All the pink had been washed out though one social editor cattily confided that she had seen a trace of pink exactly where it was never disclosed. Dewey acted as if he had all the time in the world and answered more than one question saying nothing but the giving the assembled press hungry for new, tidbits that only made them want to know more. The press appreciated Dewey because he fed them something to go with even if I was little or nothing if could be stretched into two minutes of air time. "We have just learned that the prosecution team plans to...more news and a look back at Mr. Dewey's meteoric career from poor car salesman to prosecution attorney on one of the most sensational cases we have ever seen. Live from the courthouse steps this is Vinn Tales and I'm Morgana with more news and the weather at the top of the hour!" 

Chapter IV

The Verdict

The Bailiff, overstuffed in her blue jacket and stripped pants, perspiring in the poorly ventilated courtroom No. 9, waddled to the front of a packed court room. "All rise. Hear ye hear ye, the U.S. District Court of Maryland is in session. The honorable Judge Grey Hound presiding. All having business before this honorable court are admonished to draw near, give their attention, and they shall be heard. God save these United States of America!"

"Mr. Dewey, as the Plaintiff, your closing argument if you please." Dewey patted Missy as he rose to address the jury. It was now or never. Just think of it as if you were selling a lemon of a car to a sucker, as he thought to himself. Earnestly studying the Jurors one by one, as if he had never seen them before. The barrel chested one with the long chops in the back row had slept a lot so did that long sausage-like one who kept waking up only to balance on two paws for a better view of Missy. There were a few attractive ones who were, thankfully, seated in the front row but between a large black lab with grey whiskers and a perpetual drool problem. There were others of course.  Dewey, one paw casually placed against the bench, for that intimate moment with the jurors, sniffed the air, and then spoke. 

"Distinguished members of the jury, this has been a long and drawn out ordeal and one I know has not been particularly easy on any one of you. Today, I can only speak about the truth, the truth that has been made clear to you over these past few weeks. It is the truth that the defense has attempted to portray as being something less than that. You heard testimony, convincing testimony, from several witnesses attesting to the defendant's history of aggravated, bestial biting. I dare say, we can sadly enough, expect the defendant, unless stopped by decent law abiding citizens such as yourselves, to go on biting little innocent dogs, older dogs in the sunset of their years and dogs of all stripes, unless checked once and for all! Safety and your security in neighborhoods and homes are at risk. In conclusion, I leave this weighty matter and the future security of dogs everywhere, in your capable hands. Thank you."     

"Mr. Louie, for the Defense please" said Judge Grey Hound. Louie pushed away from the table, briskly moving to the Jury box and speaking as he did. "Ladies and Gentleman, you have just head a version of the truth as outlined for you by the plaintiff. It is cleverly constructed indeed with innuendos, half-truths, conflicting sequences of events, witnesses of some question and all bundled together with a flimsy set of facts which will not hold up to scrutiny. Mr. Dewey wants you to believe that my client is a menace to society and deserves to be incarcerated, and perhaps left to rot in the public pound.  You were lead to believe, that his key witness, Missy, was truly victimized by my client and that she suffered emotional trauma; but we know her trauma reached back considerably further than the alleged "incident." Ladies and Gentlemen, my client Max has been an upstanding and contributing member of our society for a number of years. Whatever may have happened years ago, in one's youth, should not be permanently anchored to our shoulders for the rest of our lives; all sensible dogs can agree to that. Let us remember that Max has committed himself to a life of public service, serving the less fortunate. He is truly an upstanding, model citizen and I hope and believe you will, see it that way as well. Thank you all for your service. Your Honor..." 

Judge Hound then instructed the jury on the law, the case now completely in the jury’s “hands.”

"They're back already!" someone shouted in the hall outside Courtroom No. 9. 

They hopped in and quickly filled the Jury box. "Have you reached a verdict?" asked Judge Hound? "Yes we have your Honor" replied Juror No. 5. The Bailiff took the verdict and delivered it to Judge Hound who read it carefully for legal correctness then handed it back to the Bailiff. Juror No. 5 read "On the question of dog attack, we find the defendant guilty on all charges." Dewey's mouth spread wide open, grinning from ear to ear. Looking over to Louie with a triumphant glee, who's the real attorney now??" At that very moment, Missy jumped up screaming, "Max is not guilty!! It was a set up from the beginnings!! I couldn't bear to see an innocent creature go to prison on lies. He's the one who set this all up...." pointing to the retired dog mailman, the one who had been bitten so many years ago. He made a move for the door, "officers stop that dog from leaving" said the Judge as two burly black labs pushed him back.  "It would have worked if it hadn't been for that dame!" barked the retired mail dog. "I would have finally had my revenge!"

"Officers take that mail dog away. This case is dismissed; the defendant is free to go." Judge Grey Hound slammed down the gavel.   

"Barbie and Ken" were waiting outside the courthouse with their TV crew. "Well Morganna, this certainly has been a real roller coaster ride, a real doozie of a case wouldn't you agree?" "I should say so Vinn, the case had everything one would ever want, excitement, tension, so many questions and a surprise ending. What more would you want?" "That's right Morganna  and well said. We will have more on this developing story at the top of the hour from our special correspondent, Suzy Lee, inside the courthouse. But first, a message about nutritional labels on dog food and what you should know."   

Learn more about this series in:  The Making of Dog Days in Court - Behind the Scenes and Director's Cuts. 
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