Justin is accused of doing something he says he didn't do.
Will he be cleared, or will he be found guilty?
“Justin Carver, please come to the front of the classroom.”
I looked up at Ms. Ratliff. There was a girl from the office standing next to her. She wore one of those bright green wraps that proved that she did in fact come from the office and thus was official. I walked up to the front. All the kids in my class focused on me and what might be happening to me.
“Yes?” I said.
The girl from the office said, “You’ve been called to the office to see Mr. Pearson. You’d better bring your books and backpack with you.”
I went back to my desk and packed my notepad and chemistry book in my backpack, picked it up, and grinned at Devin. His seat was behind mine, and he looked at me and whispered, “Good luck, Justin.”
I grinned and nodded my thanks, then walked back to the front of the classroom. Ms. Ratliff handed me a sheet of paper. “This is today’s homework assignment. It’s due tomorrow. I don’t think you’ll have any problem completing it. And don’t forget, we have a test tomorrow.”
“Follow me,” the girl from the office said. When we got outside the classroom she added, “My name is Felicia. I don’t know what the problem is, but there are two policemen with Mr. Pearson. Please don’t tell anyone that I told you.”
“I won’t tell anyone, and thanks, Felicia.”
We walked downstairs, then outside past buildings 300 and 200, cut across the quad, and entered the Administration building. Felicia led me to Vice Principal Pearson’s office. I’m glad she did that because I had no clue where his office was located. It was about halfway down the corridor, and on the left.
Felicia knocked on his door, and he called out, “Come.”
She whispered, “Good luck,” then turned and left me standing in front of the closed door. I opened it and entered. Mr. Pearson sat at his desk, facing me. To my right there were two police officers standing and staring at me.
“You’re Justin Carver?” Mr. Pearson asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“These officers say they need to talk to you. I will be present when they do so, and if you agree then everything that's said by the officers and by you will be recorded. A copy of the recording will be sent to your parents. The officers have already agreed.”
“Parent, my dad. My mom died,” I told him.
“I’m sorry for the way I said that, Justin. I’m sorry to hear about your mother.”
“That’s okay, it happened a long time ago. And it’s okay for you to record what’s said during this meeting.”
Mr. Pearson set up a microphone on his desk. “I’m using the digital record feature on my laptop,” he said.
The taller of the two officers, the one closest to me, pointed to one of the chairs.
“Please sit down, Justin.” I sat down, and he remained standing.
“What’s this about?” I asked.
“We received a complaint and as a result we’re going to have to arrest you.”
“A complaint? Arrest me? What for?”
“You’ll find out when we bring you to the station.”
“First, I’d like your names and badge numbers, please. Second, you will tell me now what the complaint is, who filed it, and what the charges are that would lead to an arrest warrant. I assume you have an arrest warrant? Unless you do, I’m not going anywhere.”
My answer obviously didn’t please him.
“My name is Officer Leonard Salcedo, badge number 746. I’m sorry, we don’t have to give you that other information you’ve requested.”
“My father is Robert Carver. He’s an attorney. I’m very familiar with legal procedures relating to arrests, including arrests of minors, and the California Penal Code. Maybe it’s easier if we do this step by step. May I see the arrest warrant?”
The other policeman spoke up. “I’m Sargent Phillip Hayes, badge number 702. There is no arrest warrant. The complaint is regarding a felony; therefore we can arrest you without a warrant.”
“No, you cannot arrest me without a warrant unless you observed the felony yourself, or if the complainant is present. Since you didn’t observe the so-called felony yourself, and there’s no complainant present, if you arrest me without a warrant I’m sure my father will be very excited about the lawsuit that he’ll file in my name, listing the two of you and the City of Shell Ridge as defendants. However, what you can do is ask me to voluntarily go with you to the police station for questioning, which I will do in the presence of my attorney. However, I need to know what the complaint is and who filed it before I offer to go with you voluntarily.”
“It’s for rape. The complainant is your sister.”
“My sister? I don’t have a sister. I’m an only child. My mother died when I was still a baby, and my father has not remarried. So, I don’t have a sister.”
Sargent Hayes looked confused. “Are you certain? Her name is Susan Carver, age fifteen.”
“I’ve never heard of a Susan Carver. If I had a sister it would be very unusual for her to be fifteen since I’m fifteen, unless we were twins. But I don’t have a sister, and never have had a sister, and most likely never will have a sister. You can phone my father and ask him. Or even better, phone Beth Wolman in the District Attorney’s office. She’s a family friend.”
I saw the two police officers look at each other when I mentioned Beth Wolman’s name. I thought it might have had an impact, and it had.
I repressed a smile and kept talking.
“That brings up another question. A complaint is sent to the District Attorney’s office and they file it with the court. A judge may then issue an arrest warrant which would include the complaint. You don’t have an arrest warrant, so how did you get the complaint?”
“We were given the complaint verbally by Lieutenant Brandon Gage, and he instructed us to arrest you. He told us because of the nature of the crime an arrest warrant wouldn’t be necessary.”
“Verbally? An arrest warrant wouldn’t be necessary? I think you need to get confirmation about what you were told. In my opinion, it’s not valid. I suggest you phone Beth Wolman in the District Attorney’s office.”
“I don’t have her phone number.”
“Well, I just happen to have it in the contacts list on my cell.” I brought it up on my screen and magnified it so it was large. Officer Salcedo dialed the number, then stepped out into the hall and closed the door. He did it so the call would be private, which meant he did it so I couldn’t hear his side of the conversation.
He was on his phone for several minutes. When he returned to Mr. Pearson’s office his expression made it look like Beth Wolman had reamed him a new butt hole. I made sure that I didn’t seem to enjoy the tongue lashing he’d apparently received from my Aunt Beth.
“So, did she confirm what I told you?” I asked politely.
“I have to tell you that you’re free to go. I’m at least able to tell you that you aren’t to leave the county. Is that understood?”
“That’s very clear.” I turned to Mr. Pearson. “May I return to class now?”
“I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t return to class.” He smiled.
I grinned. “Thank you.”
I turned and left the office, ignoring the two cops.
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing Justin Carver
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