Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief by Mason Bill & Gruenfeld Lee

Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief by Mason Bill & Gruenfeld Lee

Author:Mason, Bill & Gruenfeld, Lee [Mason, Bill]
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Publisher: Villard
Published: 2005-04-12T04:00:00+00:00

Cheryl was a good person and a good friend. So my heart—and I wouldn’t have thought it possible—sank even further when I saw the hard, all-business look in her eyes. It wasn’t hardness toward me; it was Cheryl keeping a tight grip on herself so she could get through the next few minutes.

“You got serious problems, Bill,” she said, getting right to the point. “I can’t let you out.” Then she waited, probably to allow the panic she saw rising in me to set in. Even through my fear I could see the kind of determination she’d worked up, and I figured she must have rehearsed all of this. “On account of the VOP charge. And if you get convicted of everything, you’re looking at life plus forty-five years.”

Before I could stop myself, I blurted out, “But I didn’t do anything!” It was a dumb thing to say for several reasons. For one, Cheryl was now my P.O. and not my friend, and she couldn’t do anything for me unless she could defend it to her superiors as reasonable under the circumstances and no different from what she’d do for any other person in my position.

“Personally, I don’t think you did,” she said, “but if I let you go, they’d throw my ass into the street and keep you here anyway.”

Maybe you noticed her strange phraseology, about how she couldn’t let me out, she couldn’t let me go, as if she were the supreme authority here and due process and civil rights didn’t enter into it. Well, she was and they didn’t, because in Florida you could get your parole revoked just for being arrested, even if you weren’t convicted. And since the court based its decision almost entirely on a report submitted by the P.O., she had your life in her hands. There were no “beyond a reasonable doubt” kinds of criteria and few procedures available to fight back. The whole thing was purely judgmental, like the probation condition that forbids you to consort with undesirables or known criminals. “Known” meant known to the police, even if the supposed criminal had never been convicted of anything or even arrested. How do you defend yourself against something like that?

I asked her about this life-plus-forty-five-years business, and she explained that as well, starting off with a real gem: “If you get violated, you have to do the whole twenty years of your original sentence.”

This was getting worse by the minute. “But that sentence was suspended,” I protested. “Probation was for seven years!”

“Suspended doesn’t mean dismissed. It’s technically still in effect. You’re out but still under parole, and if you fail to keep your nose clean during the parole period”—she flipped a hand up and let it drop back onto the table—“back you go for the whole stretch.”

I couldn’t believe this and was unable to say anything for the moment as it all bounced around in my head. She let me have the time, and then said, “Just between you and me, pissing off Joe Gerwens and the TAC guys wasn’t your smartest move.


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