The Law of Innocence
Mickey Haller Series, Book 6eBook - 2020
Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller is back on the job in this heart-stopping thriller from a renowned #1 New York Times bestselling author.
"One of the finest legal thrillers of the last decade" —Associated Press
On the night he celebrates a big win, defense attorney Mickey Haller is pulled over by police, who find the body of a former client in the trunk of his Lincoln. Haller is immediately charged with murder but can't post the exorbitant $5 million bail slapped on him by a vindictive judge.
Mickey elects to represent himself and is forced to mount his defense from his jail cell in the Twin Towers Correctional Center in downtown Los Angeles. All the while he needs to look over his shoulder—as an officer of the court he is an instant target, and he makes few friends when he reveals a corruption plot within the jail.
But the bigger plot is the one against him. Haller knows he's been framed, whether by a new enemy or an old one. As his trusted team, including his half-brother, Harry Bosch, investigates, Haller must use all his skills in the courtroom to counter the damning evidence against him.
Even if he can obtain a not-guilty verdict, Mickey understands that it won't be enough. In order to be truly exonerated, he must find out who really committed the murder and why. That is the law of innocence.
In his highest stakes case yet, the Lincoln Lawyer fights for his life and proves again why he is "a worthy colleague of Atticus Finch . . . in the front of the pack in the legal thriller game" (Los Angeles Times).
A CBS The Doctors Book Club Pick
A People Book of the Week Selection
From the critics
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A murder case is like a tree. A tall tree. An oak tree. It has been carefully planted and cared for by the state. Watered and trimmed when needed, examined for disease and parasites of any kind. Its root system is constantly monitored as it flourishes underground and clings tightly to the earth. No money is spared in guarding the tree. Its caretakers are granted immense powers to protect and serve it. The tree’s branches eventually grow and spread wide in splendor. They provide deep shade for those who seek true justice. The branches spring from a thick and sturdy trunk. Direct evidence, circumstantial evidence, forensic science, motive, and opportunity. The tree must stand strong against the winds that challenge it. And that’s where I come in. I’m the man with the ax. My job is to cut the tree down to the ground and burn its wood to ashes.
I saw the Metro Division badge on his shoulder and four chevrons on his long sleeves. I knew they gave them out for five years of service each. He was a veteran Metro bullethead all the way.
Should anything happen to me, the deputies were behind an iron grate at the front : the driver and so-called safety deputy. Their role would be simply to sort out the dead and dying when whatever happened was over. They weren’t there to protect and serve, just to move people along in the underbelly of the justice system.
You ready on that, Bullocks?” It had been a long time since I had called Jennifer by her baby-lawyer nickname. I had hired her right out of Southwestern Law School, which was housed in a former Bullock’s department store. I had wanted somebody with a working-class law degree and an underdog’s drive and fierceness.
I had represented him for several years and through different charges and had somehow liked him even as I privately joined the public in their outrage at the scams he pulled. A weekly newspaper had once labeled him “The Most Hated Man in America” and it wasn’t hyperbole. He was a disaster con artist. Without showing a scintilla of guilt or conscience, he set up websites to take donations for survivors of earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides, and school shootings. Wherever there was a tragedy that caught up the rest of the world in horror, Sam Scales was there with the quickly built website, the false testimonials, and the button that said DONATE NOW !
“Right now they have me on five-million bail, which means I could get out with a ten percent bond. But you don’t get that money back at the end, innocent or guilty, and that would be about everything I’ve got, including the equity in my house. I can’t see giving all of that away for a couple months of freedom.
I smiled like I was some sort of comedian hawking his stand-up act.
My investigator was Dennis “Cisco” Wojciechowski and the stand-in was my law partner, Jennifer Aronson.
Legal Siegel used to say? ‘Look like a winner and you’ll become a winner’? You don’t look like a winner, Mickey. You can tailor your suits but you still look pale and sick. You need to get out of here and get yourself in shape for trial.” “He actually said, ‘Act like a winner and you’ll be a winner .’”
And it wasn’t just an NG. It was the rarest of all birds in the justice system. It was the Big I. My work in trial had proved him innocent. So much so that the state paid damages for their malfeasance in charging him in the first place.
The new buses were sectioned off by steel fencing into seating compartments of eight inmates each. This way, if a fight broke out, it was contained to a maximum of eight combatants.
My 4 a.m. wake-up at Twin Towers resulted in me getting to my private conference room at 8 : 40 a.m., a total travel distance of four blocks.
“There’s one other thing from Harry Bosch,” Jennifer said. “What’s that?” “He said he also wants to help with the defense, if we want him.” This was cause for hesitation. There had always been a low-level friction between Cisco and Bosch that stemmed from their origins as investigators. Bosch was retired now, but from law enforcement. Cisco was from the defense side from the start.
A report that was leaked to the Los Angeles Times during the news-starved week after Christmas resulted in a New Year’s Day exclusive on the front page that concluded that deputies had been listening for years to privileged conversations, the contents of which were then used to create tip sheets from nonexistent jailhouse informants. These were then turned over to police and prosecutors.
Counselor. Driving what? Who?” “Me. I work out of my car and I need a driver. It’s a Lincoln.”
I smiled at my daughter, winked at Kendall. Just as I was about to turn to the defense table, I saw the courtroom door open and Maggie McPherson enter. She scanned the gallery, saw our daughter, and slid in next to her. Hayley was now sitting between Maggie and Kendall, who had never met.
“If you’re accused of a crime, you’re entitled to a speedy trial,” she said. “In California that means they have ten court days from your arrest to hold a preliminary hearing or seek an indictment from a grand jury. Either way, you then get formally arraigned on the charges and the state must take you to trial within sixty calendar days or drop the charges and dismiss the case.”
Innocence is not a legal term. No one is ever found innocent in a court of law. No one is ever exonerated by the verdict of a jury. The justice system can only deliver a verdict of guilty or not guilty.
“Okay, so this is the Cerritos Channel right here and we are looking north,” Bosch said. “That’s Wilmington directly across the water and Long Beach to the right.” “Okay,” I said. “What exactly are we looking at?” “The center of the California oil business. You’ve got the Marathon, Valero, Tesoro refineries right there. Chevron is farther up. The oil comes in here from all over — even Alaska. Comes to port by supertanker, barge, rail, pipeline, you name it. Then it goes over there to the refineries and it gets processed and from there into distribution. Into tanker trucks and out to your local gas station and then into your own gas tank.”
“You know what they say: the FBI doesn’t share. It eats like an elephant and shits like a mouse.”
It’s true that these are serious allegations but sunlight is the best disinfectant, Your Honor, and this hearing should remain open to all.
California statutes required that all subpoenas be delivered by process servers or licensed private detectives. It was a safety rule designed to circumvent the possibility of lawyers or their clients serving subpoenas and other legal documents on the people they were engaged in disputes with.
A trial often comes down to who is a better storyteller, the prosecution or the defense. There is evidence, of course, but physical evidence is at first interpreted for the jury by the storyteller.
“If we have the goods on him, it’ll be about the questions we ask, not the answers. He can take the Fifth all he wants. The jury will hear the story in the questions.”
“Is that what they teach you at USC Law?” I said. “How not to jinx a case?” “No, that’s third year.”
“Besides, it would be your word against two agents’. Do the math on that.” “Is that why you guys always travel in pairs?”
It would be the word of two agents against a video. You would lose.”
CNN reports on the ongoing impeachment saga as well as the mystery virus in China. The Centers for Disease Control had announced that it was deploying medical staff to LAX to meet flights from Wuhan and check passengers for fever and other symptoms of illness. Those who were determined to be sick would be quarantined.
They’re the government. The beast. And the game is always rigged in the beast’s favor.”
“Legal precedent holds that once the death penalty has been taken off the table, this is no longer a capital case, notwithstanding that I face a sentence of life without parole.
“Is it legal? Is it within code? Perhaps. I’ll give them that. But is it fair? Is it in the pursuit of justice? Not a chance.
“What’s a Touhy letter?” Cisco asked. “Step one in a protocol for demanding a federal agent’s testimony,” Jennifer said. “Named after an Illinois convict whose case created it.”
I was placed back in K-10, the high-power module at Twin Towers where they housed inmates on keep-away status. The only problem I had with this was that I wanted to be kept away from the jailers more than from the jailed.
Wednesday, February 19 The world seemed to be on the edge of chaos. More than a thousand people were dead from a mystery virus in China. Almost a billion people were on lockdown there and American citizens had been evacuated. There were cruise ships out on the Pacific that were floating incubators of the virus, and no vaccine was on the horizon. The president was saying the crisis would pass, while his own virus expert was saying brace for a pandemic.
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