So here is the new one. And to cement the deal, here is an excerpt from Island Justice.
The bailiff called the case, Commonwealth vs. Susan Pemberton. The prosecutor then addressed the judge, explaining the charge and how it might be affected by the presence of Erin and Allison. The judge nodded, listening intently, then he addressed Harriet and me.
"Counsel, do I understand that your clients are willing to plead guilty to possession of less than one ounce of a controlled substance, if the charge against Ms Pemberton can be likewise reduced?"
We said yes. The judge indicated that he wished to make sure, and spoke directly to Erin and Allison.
"I admire you for returning to help your friend, ladies, but as you are aware our laws on drugs here are very specific and there are penalties for drug use. Has it been explained to you what those penalties are?"
"Yes, Sir," said both girls in a small voice.
"And do you both wish to enter a plea of guilty to the possession charge?"
Both girls looked at each other, then at Susan, then answered in the affirmative.
At this point the prosecutor jumped in and said that his office recommended leniency in the form of immediate deportation for all three defendants. Harry spoke next pointing out that Susan had spent 10 days in jail already. I got up and told the court that the girls had been punished already (without being specific as to how). The judges eyebrows arched up at this bit of information. At this point our hopes were high. Those hopes, however, were dashed by the next pronouncement from the bench.
The judge indicated he was ready to rule. "The defendants will rise,"
said the bailiff.
"Susan Pemberton, Erin Hand, and Allison Carter, you are all guilty of illegal drug use. That is a serious crime on St Johns. Drugs are a cancer on our island society. Year after year you American students come down here and think you can flaunt our laws and get away with it."
Uh-oh, I thought. This was bad. The guy was working up to something. The girls were standing there, trembling as he continued the tirade.
"Well, you young madams cannot, and I'm going to make an example of you three so you can go back home and tell your friends, tell the newspapers, tell anyone you care to that drugs in St Johns will not be tolerated!" He was almost shouting.
When he stopped you could hear a pin drop in the courtroom.
"I'm going to reduce the charge for you Ms Pemberton, but under the reduced charges I'm sentencing you three to the maximum permitted by our law. Erin Hand and Allison Carter, you will each receive 24 lashes to be administered in the approved manner for juveniles by the department of corrections. Susan Pemberton, you will be given 36 lashes to be administered according to proper procedure for adult female offenders. And, ladies, I hope this punishment is a salutatory experience for you three. Sentence will be carried out within 24 hours and you are then to be deported. That is all. Bailiff, take Ms Hand and Ms Carter into custody. Call the next case."
Then climactic scenes follow. But there is a twist. In violation of the rules Erin and Allison shout encouragement to Susan as she is led to the post to be birched.
"You're just in time to witness a little supplementary punishment for your clients here, thanks to that little disturbance of theirs. Our rules absolutely forbid any catcalls or cheers on the part of spectators. When prisoners break this rule we are authorized to punish the offenders. And don't bother calling. I have already spoken with the judge--he witnessed the whole thing and he agrees with my decision as Director of Discipline. They will receive four strokes each with the junior cane."
I was indignant. "You can't be serious. Four strokes with that cane on top of what they have been through--it's barbaric!" Both girls looked at me with frightened eyes, helpless, hoping I could do something.
Anna Klochek smiled and shrugged. "They should have obeyed our rules. Now they pay. With their bare little fannies."
My attorney friend Harriet jumps in:
"Well...whose fault is that? Isn't it your business to know these things and to advise your clients?"
"It's mine," said Harriet, looking Anna Klochek in the eye. Harriet was wearing a suit with a short skirt, white blouse and a jacket. She moved over to a table and began to unbutton the jacket. "It's my fault so cane me instead."
My jaw dropped. "Harriet you can't...". Her look silenced me. "I know what I'm doing, Rollin." She had decided. The determined look said it all.
One of the matrons chuckled and shook her head. "Sorry, honey, nice try, but our procedures don't permit..." Deputy Klochek held up her hand, stopping her underling in mid sentence. Her face broke into a broad smile.
"So, Mrs. Reeves, you are willing to take the punishment for these two?" indicating Erin and Allison. "That's a very interesting proposition. How courageous of you. I must say it's unusual. I've never seen an attorney prepared to accept her client's punishment as her own."
The other matron spoke. "Anna, you can't...". Anna gave her a hard stare.
"Shut up, Officer Vasquez, this is my call and I can do anything I want." Then she turned to Harriet, regarding her thoughtfully. I could not take my eyes off of thin flexible cane that she flexed with her hands as she considered Harriet's offer. She could bend it almost in a circle. "Hmmm...I'm inclined to say yes to your proposal."
She wasted no time. Moving to Harriet's rear, she took a stance and lined up the cane, tapping it gently against Harriet's nether cheeks. Harriet tensed at the sensation of the cane touching her bared seat. Ms Klochek raised her arm to shoulder level and whipped the cane down in a blur. It made a distinct whining sound before it impacted the crowns of Harriet's buttocks with a sharp retort. The fleshy mounds rippled and a red line appeared.
Harriet told me later that she had been totally unprepared for the searing line of pure agony that that first swipe of the cane caused her. It felt like a white hot wire, she said, and the pain spread out from her bottom to engulf her nervous system totally.
When the stroke hit, Harriet's head flew back, her fingers splayed out, and her whole body jerked at the shock. Klochek stepped back, savoring the moment. Harriet had gasped sharply but had not cried out. The blonde matron paced, swishing the cane, waiting. Harriet said later that this must have been deliberate. She knew how to time the strokes because the pain actually peaked several seconds after the cane struck. The skill in timing was to catch the penitent just as the pain was subsiding, because that was when the dread of the next one was starting to build.
She took her stance again. Swisshhh... thwack! Harriet writhed. A second red line appeared. 30 seconds went by. More pacing by Klochek.
SWisshh...thwick! "Arrhh...ah...ah.." Harriet fought to keep her composure under the onslaught of stinging agony from the whippy cane.
Erin and Allison looked on, horrified. Three vivid weals spaced about half an inch apart adorned Harriet's bare wriggling fanny.
Sweee.....huick! "Ahh....oh God, please...ah...ah.."
"Beginning to feel it I see, Mrs Reeves." The blonde matron smiled. She was in her element. "That's good. I like to know that the message is getting through."
She lined up for another stinging cut. Harriet jerked as she felt the gentle tap-tap -tap, then...
Ssswwwiiissshhh....thwack! The hardest one yet, delivered with the full force of Anna Klochek's arm.
Harriet lost it. she shrieked. A look of triumph came over Anna Klochek's face.
Klochek didn't rush the last one. I sensed she wanted to savor it. Her obvious objective--the delivery of maximum pain within the strictures of our little agreement.
She planted her feet at Harriet's left side then raised the menacing cane for the sixth time.
Swiiissshhh....thwack! Harriet's body jerked and she let out a plaintive wail. A sixth weal appeared. Harriet sobbed, partly because of the atrocious pain, partly in relief that the ordeal was over. She could not control the sobbing even as she was let up. She had been whipped. Well and truly whipped in every sense of the word.