Finding an Attorney

This is the second part of a series that began with A 70s Reminiscence

Needless to say getting a ticket for speeding that was overwritten at 62 mph when I wasn’t doing more than 45 in a 35 mph zone back in 1975 put something of a damper on my visit to Sam Goody that Sunday morning.

When I got home, I called my friends Brian and Jane in State College.

“Jane, that cop was prejudiced against long-haired young people! That’s why he inflated the speed on the ticket. He’s a redneck bigot Southern asshole who just happens to live in Pennsylvania!”

“Nonsense,” replied Jane, trying to calm me down. “Long hair is just another style these days. That prejudice went out years ago.”

I wasn’t convinced. After all I did have long hair. And a beard.

JT circa 1972

The ticket indicated that I could pay my fine and take my lumps, or I could request a hearing. Not wanting to take my lumps, which would have meant losing my license for several months, I requested a hearing.

In due course I received the Hearing Notice which said I could be represented by counsel. I don’t think that had even occurred to me. Did I need a lawyer for a traffic ticket? Well, since I was being railroaded by a corrupt bigoted cop, perhaps I did; there was no telling how corrupt the rest of the criminal justice system in Norristown might be. The District Justice’s name, Leonard Flack, didn’t especially fill me with confidence.

The only lawyer I knew was my former Sunday School teacher, Hart Beaver. When last I saw him, he had been an Assistant District Attorney for Lebanon County, but since then he had resigned that position and he was now in private practice. So I gave him a call.

I explained my situation.

“Yes, I was speeding,” I said. “I was going about 45 in a 35 mph speed zone, no question about that, but they wrote me up for 62 mph and I wasn’t doing anything like that. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday June 17.” That was less than two weeks away.

“The way these things work,” he replied after listening to my tale of woe, “they’ll be more receptive to a local lawyer than to someone coming in from out of town.” That certainly made sense. Those rednecks are always suspicious of Yankee outsiders.

He continued: “I’m going to give you the name of someone I went to law school with; he practices in that area. Tell him what you told me, just the way you explained it to me. He’ll take good care of you.”

He gave me the name of Mike Shekman. I still have his name and number scribbled on the back of the envelope that the Hearing Notice came in.

So I called Mike Shekman’s number. And got a secretary. Mike Shekman wasn’t available so the secretary connected me to a another lawyer, a woman whose name I didn’t jot down.

I explained that Hart Beaver had referred me, and I went over my situation with her again. And I concluded:

“At this point I’m just trying to find a lawyer to represent me.”

I could hear her smile at my desperation through the phone.  

Without actually saying so, she indicated that my case was a little bit on the, uh, small side for her firm, but she could refer me to an attorney who was hungry enough to take my case. No, she didn’t put it like that, but that was her meaning.

So I called Stephen Sosnov. Oh, sorry, Steven Sosnov. On my envelope I wrote his name as Stephen, apparently thinking he spelled it like Sondheim, but he actually spelled it with a “V”. My bad. I still have his number as well.

I explained the whole chain of referrals to him. He seemed to be impressed that the woman lawyer, whose name I no longer recall, had referred me to him. It sounded like there might be some history there. But no matter. I finally had a lawyer to represent me at the hearing!

To be continued

Hearing Notice

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