Scorpion’s Sting-A Jack Reno Novel
Reno has his hands full when he finds out he may have been a victim of a conspiracy involving a group of judges in bed with a corrupt, rich businessman. He not only gets mixed up with the world of talk radio and some shadowy conspiracy figures, but throw in a couple of ex-cops with bad reputations, and a pair of enforcers from his prison days, and it makes you wonder how a guy is supposed to reform. If that’s not enough, he gets involved with a beautiful woman mysteriously linked to his buddy, the pimp. He might even get back with one of his ex-wives-or say good-bye to her forever.
Sneak Peak at Scorpion’s Sting:
Assistant District Attorney Cathy Rankin was almost through with her argument. “So, Your Honor, while the people are aware that the PreSentence Investigation done on Mr. Bell recommends probation, we ask for harsher measures, so that something more serious doesn’t happen in the future.”
She paused; she was a full-figured woman, bordering just on the fun side of plump, but her gray dress and jacket, with a thin pin stripe, along with her heels made everything look just a little stretched.
After a second she simply said, “Thank you.”
Then, fighting back a smile, she sat down.
Judge Henry Cassidy also paused, seeming to read something. In reality this was the moment he liked best. This was the scariest moment most defendants would go through in their entire lives, waiting to be sentenced, and Judge Cassidy liked it.
John Bell was 43 years old, divorced, with 2 children, ages 10 and 8. The PSI said he was active in their lives, and they were both there, along with his ex-wife and what looked like his parents. Fifteen years earlier he’d had his only other brush with the law, a DUI, and that’s what made him perfect.
Judge Cassidy cleared his throat, putting the most compassionate look possible on his face as he looked down at Bell.
“Thank you, Ms. Rankin,” Cassidy started. “Mr. Bell, I want you to understand that I have two roles here. One is to make sure that justice is served on behalf of the people of this state, and to make sure they are protected. But the other role is to make sure that you have the best opportunity to change your ways and become a productive member of society.”
Bell smiled, and nodded, hopefully. Cassidy continued, “Mr. Bell, you are charged with two counts of vehicular assault, a Class 4 felony, each carrying a sentencing range from probation to six years in the Department of Corrections. On Count 1, it is the ruling of this court that you will serve a sentence of five years in the DOC.”
All color left Bell’s face, and his ex-wife gasped.
“On Count 2, it is the ruling of this court that you will serve an additional five years, DOC, to run consecutively to count 1. This court is in recess.”
The judge banged his gavel and hurried to his chambers. Behind him the entire Bell family cried as a deputy moved forward to put handcuffs on John. ADA Rankin would normally say something to the victim at this point, but she was by herself. There didn’t seem to be any victims.
Six months earlier John Bell had gone out with his two best friends, Steve and Sean, to celebrate a raise he’d gotten. They went to a local bar in the small mountain town where they lived. John didn’t drink that night; as he aged he lost interest. Since he wasn’t drinking he volunteered to drive.
As they drove down the sloping driveway from the bar sometime after midnight, somebody spilled a drink in the backseat and as he turned to look, Bell realized, too late, he’d shot down across the two-lane road, and rolled the small Subaru down a steep embankment on the other side of the road.
Bell woke up twenty hours later in a hospital with his right arm in a cast and his head throbbing. Steve suffered a dislocated hip, and Sean had a broken arm, but they had been released from the hospital.
One month later Steve got a certified letter from the DA’s office telling him he was the victim in a case of vehicular assault the state was filing against John Bell. There was also a restraining order prohibiting Bell from having contact with him or coming within 200 feet of him.
Steve called the DA and explained that not only was John Bell his friend, they were also roommates, and neither he nor Sean had ever considered filing charges. The polite lady said it didn’t really matter; the state was pushing the case.
At the same time two sheriff’s deputies went to the store where John Bell sold plumbing supplies and arrested him on two charges of Vehicular Assault. He spent the night in jail, but bonded out the next day, convinced everything would be straightened out.
Five months later his court-appointed attorney had convinced him to take a deal, otherwise ADA Rankin stood ready to file four additional counts against him, each one of which he would have to fight and beat.
Bell’s attorney assured him that the real danger was to fight and lose. Then the state would always throw the book at you. Cooperation was the path to leniency, so John Bell cooperated right into a 10 year prison sentence.
Within minutes of pronouncing sentence on John Bell, Judge Cassidy was in his chambers and on the internet. He went to a restricted website, and through a series of commands and passwords known only to a few people, found himself updating what looked like a scoreboard.
The 10 year sentence, plus three year parole, had helped him extend his lead. Judge Cassidy was firmly in first place in the Million Year Club.