Bar Association card in hand, Inessa wiggled through the throng to catch the attention of the overwhelmed public defender.
“How are you doing?” she said with a smile, showing the bulky young man her card. “I’m Inessa Regan. Some calendar you’ve got.”
“John Moore. What can I do for you?”
“Are you representing Susan Johnston?”
Continuing to sort through the stack of files before him, the gray-suited attorney stopped short of rolling his eyes.
“Her? She applied for a PD, but she’s done nothing but fight with me since we met. You here to take her off my hands?” The plea in his tone was almost palpable.
“I’m counsel in a domestic matter involving Susan and her husband. So, you’re finding her difficult?” Perfect.
“Heck, she’s right out there with Manson, that stare she thinks will kill you.”
He glanced at the woman in question, who was cursing at another female prisoner seated in the row behind her. The cacophony of voices in the room got louder as the time approached for the magistrate to begin.
“She hasn’t said anything helpful in the least.”
“You know she’s just back from Iraq? She had a hard time there.”
“She’s a vet? Oh, man.” He found the file he was looking for and flipped it open. All that was inside was a printed copy of the application for the appointment of a public defender and a set of the charges.
“She’s got some mental health issues. Listen, have you thought of invoking Rule Five-twenty-three-point-one?” Inessa handed him the printout she’d made earlier.
“Hadn’t really thought about it.” He looked over the paper. “I can’t use this unless I think she’s not competent. Or if she’s severely mentally disabled. I mean, don’t get me wrong, she’s unpleasant as hell, but I wouldn’t say she’s not competent.”
Talking quickly, before Rafe could hear her, Inessa gave the public defender the short version of Rafe’s story, and added Kurt’s observations.
“The woman’s not thinking right and not acting like herself. She’s either off her meds, or overdosing, and she’ll be no good to you as a client like that. You can request as a condition of bail that she be examined at the Behavior Clinic. Maybe they can give you solid grounds for your defense. At least they can verify PTSD or something that would give you a handle.”
Susan screeched across the courtroom at her husband. “Who’s that woman? You stepping out on me, Rafe? I’ll kill you!” Although the two broad-shouldered bailiffs had Susan back in her seat in a couple of seconds, she seemed in danger of popping up if they hadn’t held her there.