As usual there are no descriptive sexual scenes in this story.
Please don't crucify me on the legal aspects I use here. I wrote this the way I think things should happen but perhaps, no it's definitely, not true to life. Damn shame but after all it's a fictional story.
Constructive comments, emails, and critiques are welcome and appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my work.
"But Your Honor," the attorney complained. He was representing the husband, John Elliott, in this divorce case
"But nothing counselor," Judge Lowell responded. "Your objection is overruled. Make another objection, present some evidence or sit down."
Bill Simpson looked back at his client, shrugged his shoulders, and sat down.
Mrs. Elliott's attorney, Dennis Johnson, stood. "Your Honor, we would like to submit..."
"Sit down Mr. Johnson. I believe I have the pertinent information." Judge Lowell looked at his notes. "Let's summarize shall we and cut to the chase. Mrs. Elliott has sued for this divorce and Mr. Elliott had filed a counter suit."
He leafed through a few pages on a legal pad. "It seems that Mr. Elliott and one Miss Jane Taylor were involved in a sexual affair. Mrs. Elliott, through her attorney, has submitted photos, video and audio discs as evidence. Miss Taylor also testified that she and Mr. Elliott were, shall we say, an item. Are we all together so far," he asked. The question was more rhetorical than an actual question.
"Yes Your Honor," Mr. Johnson answered.
"It was entrapment Your Honor," Mr. Simpson objected. "My client was out of town at a business conference. He was alone, missing his wife and drank too much. Miss Taylor met my client in the hotel lounge and seduced him." Simpson paused theatrically. "Mr. Elliott admits his fall from grace and has apologized and tried to explain to his wife that it was a onetime indiscretion."
"That is correct Mr. Simpson," Lowell said. The lawyer started to smile and the Judge continued. "That's right as far as it goes. However, this entrapment came after Mr. Elliott told Miss Taylor that he wasn't leaving his wife as he had promised her." He nodded at Mr. Johnson.
Johnson stood and put another large envelope on the bench in front of the Judge. "This additional report from the private investigator was done for a period of five weeks prior to the incident at the business conference," Johnson said. "It will prove that this was an ongoing affair and a single instance as stated by Mr. Elliott."
"So that'll put to rest the charge of entrapment, don't you think?" Lowell asked. He gave Simpson and his client an evil grin. Looking directly at the plaintiff the Judge said, "Mr. Elliott you broke your marriage vows, you broke your marriage contract, and you broke your wife's heart. You will pay sir."
Lowell reached down and picked up the proposed property settlement. "Did you agree to this settlement Mrs. Elliott?"
"Well ... I don't have much choice sir."
"Why is that Mrs. Elliott?" Lowell asked. She hesitated, cleared her throat and hesitated some more. "Let me guess Mrs. Elliott. Your husband said that if you didn't agree he would draw this divorce action out forever and you can't afford to pay a year or more of legal fees."
Mrs. Elliott looked at her attorney. He was trying to hide a smile, nodded at her and nudged her to answer.
"Yes Your Honor," Mrs. Elliott replied. 'That's almost word for word what John told me."
"I thought so," Lowell said mostly to himself.
Turning back toward Elliott and Simpson Lowell ordered, "Stand up please gentlemen. I'll give my ruling now. Pay attention Mr. Elliott." He paused for several seconds. "Mr. Elliott you will continue to make the payments on the house that you shared with your wife until such time that she decides to move. When and if she does leave, the house will be sold and the proceeds divided equally or if you want the house you can pay her half the fair market value."
Elliott's face began to turn red and he looked at his attorney. Simpson put his hand on his client's arm and shook his head.
"In addition, you will continue to make the lease payments, pay the insurance, and maintenance on Mrs. Elliott's car; a 2009 Mercedes ML-350 I believe," Judge Lowell ordered. "The lease has three more years to run. At that time Mrs. Elliott will have to make other arrangements for transportation."
Elliott's face deepened in color and he sat back down. Simpson's face turned a little pale but he continued standing.
"Your savings, checking, money market and other investments will be split equally between you and your wife Mr. Elliott. Oh and Mr. Elliott, don't' try to empty those accounts, I froze them this morning." Lowell smiled grimly and added, "We didn't want something to mysteriously happen to those monies now did we?"
Elliott slumped down in his chair. For all appearances he was a broken man.
"Mrs. Elliott I understand from Mr. Elliott's petition that he demanded the return of your engagement ring. He said it belonged to his grandmother; you will have to return the ring to him." Turning back Lowell said, "Last item Mr. Elliott. You will pay alimony of $5000 a month to Mrs. Elliott for a period of ten years or until such time as she remarries. You will also pay the attorney fees for Mrs. Elliott and the court costs. Do you have any questions gentlemen?"
John Elliott stood and looked daggers at the Judge. He was a cocky, arrogant man and no one had ever treated him the way Lowell had. Before he could say anything his attorney whispered in his ear.
"After splitting the assets you'll still have nearly a million dollars," Simpson whispered. "Don't piss this Judge off. He'll take the rest of it from you too."
Elliott looked at his attorney and then at Lowell. He nodded and said sarcastically, "No sir, no questions. I understand."
"Don't take an attitude with me Mr. Elliott," Lowell admonished. "You're the one who broke the vows you made before your family, friends and before God. You are the guilty party here. Mr. Simpson I will expect a signed property settlement as I've outlined on my desk by end of business tomorrow."
Turning to the court reporter he asked, "Betty will you type up the transcript of these proceedings and messenger a copy over to Mr. Simpson's office this afternoon please? Add the cost of the messenger service to the court costs for Mr. Elliott. That's it, we're adjourned."
Johnson and Mrs. Elliott smiled at Judge Lowell. "Thank you sir," Mrs. Elliott said.
"You're welcome Mrs. Elliott. Mr. Johnson let me know if you have a problem getting that property settlement decree."
"All rise," the bailiff ordered as Lowell left the courtroom.
"Jesus Christ," Elliott complained. "Lowell was brutal."
"I told you that we would have a hard time when I saw he was presiding on the case," Simpson replied. "We didn't stand a chance when that report hit his desk. If it had been the one time liked you claimed you still would have taken a hit but not this big. Face it John, you screwed up big time and now you're going to pay for it"
Judge Randal Talbert Lowell entered his chambers. He took off his judicial robe and hung it on a wooden clothes tree. Almost falling down into his chair he ran his hand over his face. Maybe I should resign, he thought. I could go back to being a working attorney or I could teach maybe. There's got to be a better way, he said to himself.
Randal was too young to retire, he was only 52. His once dark hair was streaked with silver in places. The neatly trimmed beard and mustache were salt and pepper in color. At 5' 10 and 175 pounds he actually weighed less than he did when he graduated from college. This was the result of his wife of 28 years putting him on a healthy diet and forcing him to exercise.
The bailiff stepped into the Judge's chambers. "You okay Judge?" He asked with a concerned tone. He'd noticed the sad, tired look on Lowell's face as he left the courtroom.
"Yeah Percy. Just feeling sorry for myself," Lowell answered.
Percy Jacobs was well over 6 ½ feet tall and his body was very large. At first glance he appeared fat but if you bumped up against him you quickly changed your mind. He was as hard as a granite boulder. Everyone called him P J except for Lowell. No one else was close enough or had the nerve to call the big man Percy.
"Mrs. Elliott was sure happy," Percy offered with a big smile trying to cheer the Judge up. "She came in thinkin she was gonna get next to nothin. Instead it was her husband got the shaft and she got the mine. I thought Mr. Elliott was gonna have a heart attack." Percy chuckled and when Lowell grinned back it changed into a full belly laugh.
"What's botherin you Judge? I think you did good today."
"I thought when I became a Arizona State Superior Court Judge* I'd be presiding over felony criminal cases or major lawsuits. Instead all I get are divorce petitions." Lowell sighed and then gave Percy a small smile. "I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to do something worthwhile."
"Judge you do make a difference and I think keeping families together or protecting people is worthwhile," Percy said. "Course I'm just a bailiff but that's what I think."
He looked at Lowell for a few seconds. "I was in the attorney lounge last week and heard two of them talkin. One said that if he saw you were the judge on his case and his client had been cheatin on the marriage he advised them to reconcile with their spouse. He said that a cheatin spouse didn't stand a snow ball's chance in hell if you were the judge."
.... There is more of this story ...