The Sign said ‘Suicide IS Painless’ Apply Within’ [Part 2 of 3]

His name was Ebben. It was an unusual name, so Alan repeated it to himself.  “Ebben Hilbert.” Ebben stood accused of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Although he could not provide a credible alibi, only a few sketchy (read: paid) witnesses seemed to place him at the scene. The physical forensics were crappy, the digital trail was weak. Still, a kid had been crippled, it would take years of PT to get him walking again; and property had been destroyed.  So someone had to pay. That’s the courts, these days. Alan sighed.

Alan felt the old despondency arising again in his psyche. No matter how many of the new depressor-suppressors he took, it still always lurking around the edges of his consciousness. Especially in circumstances as bleak as these.

But what options were there for Ebben, considered realistically? Justice, as his father used to tell him, was expensive. Never more than now, he thought. Without money, Ebben had no route to getting an appeal opened. He could, in theory, petition the Governor Executive for his Clemency. But Ebben was an unknown person in the larger world, his media Q was negligible, and the crime of which he was a popular target in political campaigns. For who, standing for office and having paid to enter the lists, would want to be painted as weak on violent crime?

Or should he start a Tweeterer campaign, pleading for attention in the media where some of Ebben’s compadres might see it and be roused to action? If Alan were caught at that tactic, his personal penalty would entail immediate disbarment.

“I have no rich friends, so there was no meaningful plea to be made for a patronal stake via one of the state’s Registered Plutocrats. That was a dead end, too.

He swigged the last of his drink. What about CrimStarter? That would be a truly desperate move. The ‘fill up the boot’ plan, a derivative of the old Kickstarter and IndieGogo models of the early 21st century had been cobbled together by a few of the remaining tech giants and the Big Law firms. The basic idea was you, a criminal advocate or family member on the outside, set up the appeal for funds based on the known and estimated court costs and filiing fees, but didn’t collect the money unless a specified threshold was reached. It was considered legit, although a poor-town strategy, since the Big 10 firms had put up the cash to build its initial operations. A means of unjamming the wheels of justice – using cash to grease the wheels, as had gone on for centuries.

But, Morel reasoned, even if the tech weenies got onboard with the case, he’d never get to a meaningful money threshold in time. The minimum to open a case, pre-filing was $50K. Way out of his league.


No, that was a terrible idea. It would be his death sentence as a lawyer, once it was found out. For honest people, there weren’t any secrets any more. Or worse, he might be charged with a crime and enter the system himself. That, Alan knew, he knew he couldn’t face.

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