Home > Charged (Saints of Denver #2)(12)

Charged (Saints of Denver #2)(12)
Author: Jay Crownover

Finally, the court clerk called my docket number and said, “The court will now hear the case of the State against Avett Walker,” and it was my turn to go stand at the podium and plead for my temporary freedom—well, let Quaid plead for it. It took a minute to maneuver around the remaining defendants and I almost fell over once without the use of my hands to balance myself. The bailiff shot me an annoyed look as several of the other accused snickered at my clumsiness, calling me a rookie under their breath. I almost melted into the floor in a puddle of gratitude when I was finally standing next to Quaid.

The judge looked at me and surprisingly over my head at what I could only assume was my father. His attention then shifted to the other man in the suit standing off to the left of us.

“Are we waving a formal reading, Counselor? Mr. Townsend has had a long day and I’m sure he would appreciate getting right to the arraignment.”

Quaid gave a dry chuckle and nodded his head slightly. “That’s fine and every day is a rough day for the prosecution, Your Honor.” The judge grunted and flipped open a file in front of him. I wanted to run up to his bench and snatch it away. Every single mistake I had ever made in my life was there, encouraging him to deny me a chance at freedom.

“What’s the people’s thoughts on bail in this case, Mr. Townsend?” Across from where I was doing everything in my power not to collapse into Quaid since my knees felt like Jell-O, the other attorney leafed through another folder full of my sins and shot me a frown.

“The charges are serious. The defendant is a known offender and there was an off-duty police officer involved during the commission of the crime Ms. Walker is accused of abetting in. The people can’t find a known address, work history, or any kind of solid ties to the community where this defendant is concerned. The people feel that she could be a flight risk, so we are asking bail be set at no less than $500,000.”

My knees almost buckled and I couldn’t stop the slight wheeze that escaped my lips. Half a million dollars? My dad made all-right money and had a pretty nice nest egg, but he wasn’t a millionaire by any stretch of the imagination, and even if he bonded me out that would still be more than he could comfortably afford to give up. Not to mention I would never, ever be able to pay him back. I was going back to jail; even if I knew I deserved nothing less, it still burned.

I turned to Quaid, ready to beg him to do something, to do anything to fix this, but he was looking at the prosecutor with narrowed eyes and a frown. The tip of his elbow brushed against mine. I thought it might was an accident, but then his gaze shifted back to me and the annoyance was replaced with calm assurance.

“Mr. Jackson, I’m sure you have plenty to say about the State’s recommendation for your client, so let’s hear it.”

“I think Mr. Townsend has forgotten that my client is only being charged as an accessory to this crime. There is an actual perpetrator in custody awaiting his own time before the court on actual charges, not just accessory charges relating to the commission, Your Honor. Yes, Ms. Walker has made some unfortunate choices in the past when it comes to following the law, but none of those charges are felonies and none of them resulted in time served. But because I’m realistic and know the court can’t overlook those prior indiscretions, I won’t push my luck and ask for my client to be released on her own recognizance. As for being a flight risk”—a grin pulled at his mouth, and again I wondered if he used it as a weapon because the damn thing was a killer—“Mr. Townsend was kind enough to point out that Ms. Walker isn’t working and doesn’t have a long employment history, so I’m not sure how the State assumes she would fund going on the run from the law.”

A deep chuckle rumbled from behind me and all I wanted to do was turn around and throw my arms around my dad. The judge grunted and made a “go on with it” gesture with his hand.

“As for her permanent residence, Ms. Walker has and still does keep a room at her father, Mr. Brighton Walker’s, home here in Denver. Once we agree to a reasonable bail amount”—Quaid shot the other attorney a hard look that made the man scowl—“Mr. Walker is going to pay it and take his daughter home. He has also given his assurances that his daughter will be present and willing to participate in her own case as well as the case the State is building against Jared Dalton. While Ms. Walker may not have ties to the community, her father has them in spades and I believe him when he says he will make sure Avett is present and accounted for as we move forward.”

I held my breath. It felt like an eternity passed as the judge returned his attention to the file in front of him and then once again lifted his gaze and let it settle somewhere over the top of my head.

When he looked back at me I stiffened my spine and tried to make my expression look as innocent as I possibly could. That was a challenge because I sure as hell didn’t feel very innocent. Quaid’s elbow rubbed against mine again and I realized it hadn’t been a mistake the first time. He was letting me know I wasn’t alone in this, that my fate wasn’t in my own hands. It was barely a touch, barely a connection, but that little bit of pressure, that tiny brush, hit me harder and more deeply than any full embrace I had ever been wrapped up in.

“Ms. Walker.” I jolted when the judge addressed me directly. I blinked at him a little stupidly and gulped before I spoke so I didn’t sound like a bullfrog croaking.

“Yes, Your Honor?”

“Your counsel is trying to make light of the charges you’re facing, but I need you to understand they are serious and that the State has every intention of pursuing its case against you.”

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