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By Thomas G. Briody
A Gideon Moment columns.
The client’s name was Charley. He was about my age, and about my
size, but with fewer pounds on his frame. His face was scarred. Some of
his teeth were broken. He’d lived in Providence all his life, lived on
the street, lived hard.
I met Charley in the cellblock of a busy district court a few minutes
before his probation violation/bail hearing. The state of Rhode Island
had charged Charley with assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of
marijuana, and possession of a pistol without a license. Two policeman
had caught him hiding in an alley. He’d been seen stuffing a large
leather jacket under a car. Inside the jacket was a pistol. Inside
Charley’s pants was a bag of marijuana. A witness named “Scott” was
brought to the scene, and quickly identified Charley as the man who
threatened him with a gun.
Charley’s criminal history took up two typed pages. Drugs. Assault. Petty theft. Stolen car possession.
“I’ve done a lot of bad things,” he said. “But I never had a
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