Punishment: Linda Rocker

You arrive at work and crave your morning cup of coffee but realize it’s going to have to wait. Entering the building where you work you are greeted warmly by your co-workers. Some even comment on your appearance and attire because you know how to turn heads. Casey Portman is a bailiff and loves what she’s does. Perks awarded to her at times, dealing with the individual needs of the judge she’s been assigned and hoping to start her weekend early. Greeted by her friend Ben, another bailiff, they both hurry to their respective places. But, something happens that will change the entire complexion of the day, send fear within the hearts and minds of those in this building and start a chain of events that will lead to one thing and one thing only: Punishment enacted towards many and why remains to be sorted out by the courts, judges and others who decide to take matter into their own hands. Punishment is enacted upon someone or a group for committing a behavior considered undesirable or negative. Something is taken from that person that commits the crime. It could be their freedom, their life or just a material thing or even money. This novel has many layers within it and many crimes that have or might still be committed. Someone set off a bomb in the courthouse disrupting the daily events, causing some minor injuries and alerting those that work within the confines of that building that someone better be on the alert.

The possible reason, The Dogicide case. Could or would someone use a dog to kill his ex-wife or common law wife? Would the animal rights people be angry for using the dog as one of the defendants? What about the parents of the young girl that was killed by the dog? What about the man who thinks he’s going to get away with the murder and has a close friend in the court? What about the rich parents of the young girl who might want to take justice into their own hands? The author relates the dynamics of the court, the way cases are given and then goes into the background of why the crime rate in West Palm seems to be high and the small town is filled with petty criminals, larcenous storekeepers and many others you would rather not encounter on a daily basis or ever.

Jack McGinty is a drunk from the early age of 7 when his grandfather would insist he join him in a drink. His life took a definite downward slide and in the present he was not the kind of person you would want for a friend. Charged with vehicular homicide he thinks he’s going to get away with it this time. Lucky for him his sponsor is a big time lawyer and he thinks his “friend at court,” will make it all go away. Punishment by Linda Rocker: Who will serve time?

Charlie Graham hoped to be the one to put Jack McGinty away for a long time. Lloyd Schwartzman his sponsor was his lawyer hoping to keep him free but do pictures really speak more than a thousand words? Plea-bargaining the author relates is really not uncommon but Charlie hopes to get the full sentence if not the death penalty. But, facing reality he might have to compromise. So, how did he get only 6 weeks of AA meetings for committing a serious crime? But, Jack had other things on his mind while serving coffee at this meeting. Jack was into drugs and his customers were waiting.

The trial of Josiah Diemert is the case in question right now and the presiding judge is Judge Kanterman. Amy Cohen and Josiah Diemert were so drunk on the night of her death that even his lawyer is not sure if it was murder. But, one thing for sure he’d better sober up before they start picking the jury. This kid does not deserve the defense of a top-notch lawyer. But, the fun has just started and the end result would yield a lot more than just criminal justice or punishment. The author even explains to the reader the procedures followed in a murder trial, the way evidence is filed and looked at and who is allowed in the courtroom and who is not. Interesting to say the least for those who want to study law or would like to become judges.

As the author allows us inside the judge’s chambers where she rules on several motions before the case and we learn that the judge in charge needs medical attention. The author even brings us inside the life of the victim, Amy Cohen, her thoughts and her relationship with the defendant and how she realized but too late that she might need her parents. Drugs, an intense relationship and naïve enough to think that she was escaping one horrible situation and going for something better, she never see the real blinding lights of life in front of her.

Punishment is imposed in many different ways. Sometimes it can be self- imposed by the choices we make in life and sometimes by others. Authoritative punishment, those imposed by family members or those administered to people who break the rules in school or in their community. Retribution, rehabilitations, deterrence and isolating those who are considered wrongdoers should be kept away from potential victims. Only retribution is part of the words true definition. But, how does it apply to the case within this novel?

Benjamin Toledo was murdered and Judge Kanterman was in the hospital. Murdered in the parking garage by at this moment an unknown assailant and the judge’s stomach aneurysm burst needing surgery. The jury kept and told the trial would go on as planned and Casey wondering about her relationship with the Chief of Detectives. One juror letting out some information to a relative while the others contemplated the day and the events. The author continues to allow the reader right inside the mind of Amy before she died, the abuse she took from the defendant and the secret she hid from her parents.

As the trial continues and a new judge is in place the reader learns the inner thoughts of one jury member, Casey and the father of the victim as you begin to wonder about his role in all of this, who he tried to hire to kill the defendant and the final outcome will definitely surprise you.

The end of the trial heats up and one person gets involved to complicate things for the presiding judge. As the lawyers present their closing arguments a father decides on his own simple verdict.

Caught in the web of her own lies and deceit Casey suffers at her own hand but not before more tragedy occurs. Just how could someone bring a gun into the courthouse? How bad or failed is security? Betrayed by the one person she cares about and a judge who suffers at the hand of someone she needed to be rid of. Just how this all plays out and what happens to the defendant that seems oblivious to it all? Who is behind it all you won’t get that from me? The verdict you will have to learn for yourself and what the final fate Casey and the Judge Clark you need to read for yourself. Punishment: Find out what happens next to Casey when we all hope to read Blame. But: Punishment: Was justice served? You decide. This is one book that will make everyone think before taking life fore granted, before entering a courtroom, listening to the evidence and wonder just what is really going through the minds of the judges and the lawyers. The jury wants it over and the lawyers just want a win. Who wins? Who loses? Punishment: You decide the winner.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

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