Magic Chair

One of my clients (a 40-something self-titled "unsuccessful career criminal") called me from jail last week. This is his story:

Everyone in jail goes to church. Religious or not, church is the only way to see other inmates aside from the few that live in your area of the jail. You see the same 30 people all week long, every meal, every rec hour, and church is your only chance to see a friend or relative who is being held on the other side of the jail.

Because everyone goes to church, it's also the ideal marketplace for contraband: Drugs, weapons, cigarettes and cash.

The guards know this and search everyone as they come out of church.

My client, who has been through the system a "few" times, is in a pod full of kids (teenagers and early 20s) who have never done time before and are crying for their mommies.

So, this week, they're coming out of the church, and the guard lines up all of the guys from my client's pod. The guard tells them that he's going to give them a few seconds of amnesty. He tells them "I'm going to turn around. If you've got any contraband - drugs, weapons, cigarettes or money - I want you to go to the back of the line and drop it there. Then I'm going to have each of you sit in this chair that can detect contraband. If you have anything, the chairs going to find it, and you'll be re-arrested for possession of contraband. So, go drop it now."

"Miss Justice," my client tells me, "these kids will believe anything."

So, he and another older guy go to the back of the line and clean up. They stuff their jumpsuits with drugs, cigarettes and money.

The chair, it turns out, is nothing more than a metal detector.

When he's done telling this story, I ask my client, "You're not calling me to represent you at a possession of contraband hearing, are you?"

"No," he says, "I just thought you'd like to hear a funny story."


  1. ARGH! So not FAIR! Why don't my clients call me with funny stories like that?!?

    What kind of chair did they think it was? A robot chair? A chair from Harry Potter? What???

  2. Actually, I left out the funniest part. When he first called, my client said "Miss Justice, you know the chair they got here?"

    My first thought, was "No, the 'holding' jail they have you in awaiting a misdemeanor trial does NOT have an electric chair."

    Then he told the story, and I remembered learning about the metal detector chair. I didn't mention it in the post because I thought talking about the chair first would ruin the surprise of the story.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. I can believe the story, all right. What I find amazing is that the jail doesn't have some kind of surveillance of this "clearing" room.

    Mister DA