All Part of the Job [second daily dose of Doing Hard Time]

Meanwhile, back in prison, Lenora kept rounding up good recommendations from the prison guards, and had me coming to visit monthly for updates and new information (a 90 minute round trip).  I told her not to be optimistic – few pardons are granted.   She was on the next Pardons Hearings list when the Legislature passed The Sentencing Guidelines Law which included a provision that all currently sentenced inmates could request re-sentencing under the New Guidelines!  I quickly looked up the recommended sentence for a first time kidnapper – and called Lenora – only 30 months!  She had a good chance of getting out as soon as I could put the paperwork together.  Which is what happened.  She was excited as all get-out as her release date approached – calling me every day to make sure nothing had gone wrong.  On the day before her release she called and asked if I would come pick her up.  That thought had never occurred to me.  I assumed she had friends on the outside.  “Of course not,” I said, “I’ve got law work I have to do.”

“Well at least come join me for a drink after you’re done working,” she said.  “Okay,” I said, and we made plans to meet at the Corral Bar on Lake Street not far from my office.  When I got there she was the only one in a booth passed-out.  Turns out they really do hand you a $100 bill as walking money and wish you good luck.  That’s it.  No plans for a job, a place to live, or any kind of a reunification with the community.  It had never occurred to me that I needed to ask Lenora what her plans were once I got her out.  My job was to get her out – and that would be the end of my knowing Lenora.  Maybe I should have known better remembering she had no real family left.  I perked her up, found out she had spent the entire $100 on booze for bar patrons who had abandoned her after the money was gone, and loaded her into my car.  Every so often I pulled over so she could barf again.  She was finally sober enough for me to ask where she was going to stay that night.  “I have nowhere to stay – can I stay at your place?” she asked.  Again, this was totally unexpected, I never thought this would be part of my being her lawyer.  Well, what was I going to do?  “Okay,” I said.

When we got to my place I made some soup and fixed the couch for me to sleep on.  “You’ve got to be kidding,” she said, “I did hard time!  Get in bed with me!”  Well, what’s a guy going to do?  The next morning I called one of the prison guards who had written such a glowing recommendation for her pardon, and, fortunately, that guard quickly saw the whole picture, had quite a heart and a spare bedroom for Lenora until she found her own place.

Lenora kept calling me every so often and I’m very happy to report she soon met a really nice guy and started a new family – I even got invited to her son’s Sixth Grade Graduation.  All part of being a good lawyer.



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