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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
Legal Hour (twelfth in the HOUR series) 
5th-Jul-2007 08:25 am
HouseContemplative

Title: Legal Hour
Characters: House
Rating: PG
Genre: Angst
Word Count: 1200 (yeah, okay, I know--but I had a lot of rationalizing carefully thought-out explaining to do)
Summary:  House thinks he's got a way to help Wilson--but it means House must go to prison.  

The previous vignettes, in order, are:
Visiting HourHappy HourMidnight Hour,   Fifty-Minute Hour,  Random HourPainful HourDark Hour ,   Desperate Hour,   Witching Hour ,   Lonely Hourand  Dinner Hour.

LEGAL HOUR
 
House is twitching.  He doesn't like to be kept waiting, and he's been waiting for twenty one minutes.  His cane is threatening to wear a hole in the plush carpet beneath its tip; he estimates that it's hit the same spot at least three hundred and four times now.  Three hundred and five.
 
"Ms. Doyle will see you now, Dr. House," the receptionist says irritably--the man is driving her to distraction.
 
House smiles pleasantly at the grumpy woman, and sweeps past her into the inner sanctum of the one person who might really be able to help him--help WilsonIn the last three days, he's spoken with a private detective, a criminal lawyer, and a retired cop--and apparently, all roads lead here, to the office of the state's attorney, the woman who'd originally set up the deal for Wilson.
 
"I need to talk to you," he announces.  "There's a flaw in your conviction of Dr. James Wilson.  And--since you're all about justice--I'm presuming that you'll want to take care of it yesterday."
 
The woman frowns at him, then presses a button House can't see.  "Lydia, look up James Wilson's file.  I don't have the case number in front--"
 
House shoves a piece of paper at her.  She looks at it, then at him.  "Never mind, Lydia.  Found it."
 
Doyle presses the numbers into her keyboard, and begins to study the file.
 
For a minute, House is able to distract himself by studying Ms. Doyle, as she examines the file. He likes what he sees; intelligent brown eyes, short auburn hair swept back from her face, confident posture. A no-nonsense woman who’ll take him seriously. But House is tired of waiting.  "I'm here because Wilson said... he said I...."  House clears his throat and swallows.  "Did the right thing.  But I didn't.  I'm the one you want, the one who belongs in prison.  You need to release him, remove the sanctions from his license."
 
When Doyle doesn’t appear to hear him, House continues, ignoring the note of desperation in his own voice. “I’ve done the research; if you need a loophole I found it. Vicodin’s schedule III; this is a federal sentence. Wilson wrote me six legit prescriptions in five and a half months. You subtract the ones I wrote—which I’m confessing to—he comes in just under the DEA guidelines.”
 
Doyle is studying her computer screen, and frowning; she doesn't respond.
 
"Didn't you hear what I just told you?" House asks impatiently.  "You don't even need to go over his file.  I'm confessing.  Put me in prison, let him out.  Seems pretty simple to me!"  House's agitation has gotten the best of him; now he's up and pacing.
 
Doyle looks up slowly from the computer.  "You're... wrong, Dr. House," she says seriously.
 
"I know I'm wrong--that's why I'm here!  I'm trying to fix it, to... do the right thing."
 
"No.  You don't understand. Let me remind you that your case was dismissed. You could confess to all the charges now, and I couldn’t do a thing; double jeopardy attaches. It’s irrelevant now. But there’s something else.  Under federal law, you aren't the one who committed a crime; Detective Michael Tritter is."
 
House, speechless, stops pacing and stares at the woman.
 
"From what I can see here, Detective Tritter's raid on your home was... not legal.  He obtained the warrant on false grounds."
 
Never removing his eyes from Ms. Doyle's face, House sinks slowly into a chair.
 
"You should know," she continues, "that we've been investigating Tritter for some months now.  It came to our attention that his... methods... were a bit overzealous.  After a preliminary investigation, we've also discovered that many of his methods were also illegal.  And--the way the law works--when evidence and information are obtained illegally, and convictions are handed out on the basis of that initial evidence, those convictions are automatically nullified.  Further, any investigations which are begun based on the initial faulty presumption are also negated."
 
House continues to stare at Doyle; he’s trying hard to hear everything she’s saying, but it’s difficult to comprehend anything past Wilson’s getting out; he’ll get his license back. The thought shouts and echoes in his brain, refusing to leave room for anything else. It isn’t until much later that it even occurs to him that he’s not going to prison either.
 
Doyle can tell that he's not quite processing what she's telling him.  "Let me put this more simply.  If I do B and C based solely on A, and it turns out, later, that A should never have happened, then the law considers that no matter how valid B and C are, they shouldn't exist.  Therefore Dr. Wilson should never have been imprisoned, never have had his license sanctioned.  We'd have caught this... grievous error... eventually, in the course of our investigation into Detective Tritter.  But it's fortunate for Dr. Wilson, in terms of expediency, that you've brought this to my attention now. We’ve… quite a backlog of cases to examine. Dr. Wilson might’ve had to serve out his entire term. I’m grateful to you for bringing this to my attention; I’m certain your friend will be grateful to you as well."  She smiles, but House doesn't smile back.
 
“How long before Wilson’s released? Before he gets his license back?”
 
“Normally, that process can take many weeks. But I’m going to expedite Dr. Wilson’s case personally. I’ll be in touch with you, and with his lawyer, very soon. And I must echo Dr. Wilson; you did the right thing.” Doyle smiles again, encouragingly, but she notes that the man in front of her is still distressed.
 
“So you’re gonna give ‘em another shot at killing him?” House glowers at her.
 
“What are you talking about?”
 
“He was shanked. A few weeks ago. He’s still being treated for the infection it caused.”
 
“I’m so sorry, Dr. House. I wasn’t notified. And I know it’s no comfort to you, but a situation like that is almost unheard of at that prison.”
 
“Damned right it’s no comfort! I’m on a first-name basis now with the staff at the infirmary; have to call ‘em every day. And believe me, Ms. Doyle, I’m not normally a first-name kinda guy!”
 
“I’ll have the judge take that incident into consideration; you have my word. Dr. Wilson will be released as soon as humanly possible.”
 
House takes a deep breath.  "And Tritter?"
 
"He's currently in jail for evidence tampering.  I can't go into the details with you, as that case itself is still pending."
 
House stands to leave.  “I need… I want to be the one to tell Wilson. Could you….”
 
Doyle looks sympathetically at House; it’s clear that this is a man not used to asking for favors. “Of course,” she responds warmly. “I’ll put in a call right away, arrange for you to meet with him privately. I assume you’re going there now?”
 
House nods. “Thank you. And… I’d suggest,” he says to Doyle, “that—what with his… pleasant personality, and his former career—you might want to put ex-Detective Tritter into protective custody.” He moves towards the door, but with his hand on the knob, he turns around. “Or… not,” he says—and now he’s smiling.

Let's go with House to see Wilson: 
Honorable Hour 
 
 
 
Thoughts 
(Deleted comment)
5th-Jul-2007 01:30 pm (UTC)
I really liked the additions here.

that's good, as i added them... uh... this morning, just before posting, as i'm (sometimes regrettably) wont to do. :)
5th-Jul-2007 01:23 pm (UTC)
::sniffs:: Do I smell a not-completely-miserable ending in sight?! I love this vignette. House's desperation is so touching. You've truly outdone yourself.
5th-Jul-2007 01:34 pm (UTC)
not-completely-miserable ending

the planned ending is maybe a tad bittersweet--but, i promise, not miserable, in any way, shape, or form! i think you'll like it.
5th-Jul-2007 01:30 pm (UTC)
Very good :) *is proud of House*. I like the last line, good one, Tritter was certainly evil in this series. I don't think he was necessarily so evil in the actual arc on the show though, I hate what happened between House and Wilson because of him, but haven't been able to find it in myself to dislike the character, to me, Tritter IS House, just a cop not a doctor.
5th-Jul-2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
I don't think he was necessarily so evil in the actual arc on the show though

i just... keep seeing him (tritter) intentionally tripping a man on a cane. for me, that far out-trumps house's initial refusal to take tritter's medical problem as seriously as tritter felt it should be taken.

as well, i keep remembering that (to our knowledge) house, in his weirdly honorable way, never mentioned the tripping incident to anyone, never tried to defend himself. i myself detest tritter--but adore david morse, the actor who played him! :)
5th-Jul-2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
You are my goddess, I bow down to you. I am humble before you. Thank you for imprisoning the evil one and having the good one released. (I'm still mad about his hero complex, but hey, it works and its Wilson!)

Great chapter, I'm slightly angry at the DA for not noticing Wilson's case. I have an idea, can Tritter get shanked in prison? No better yet, be someone friend? *grins evilly* Please? Pretty please with sugar on top? I'll make a worship service of digital coffee!

PS- I knew House wasn't going to let it go because he didn't think it was right. That's what I meant last time, I'm sorry I'm not very clear with things when my mind is racing five different ways all at once. Great job!

*Happily goes off whistling*
5th-Jul-2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
I knew House wasn't going to let it go because he didn't think it was right. That's what I meant last time

honey, i got (and appreciated) what you meant--and if your mind's currently going in only five directions, may i please give it a few of the directions my mind's going in--which'll then bring me down into the low thirties, in terms of unrelared-thought-processes-all-clamoring-at-once-for-my-attention. ;)
5th-Jul-2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to see that someone finally picked up on all the legal atrocities of the Tritter debacle. The only thing in House worse than the medicine is the law! Yeah, I'm a lawyer .

The search of House for drugs at the traffic stop would have been illegal (no probable cause; beyond the scope of a weapons' patdown). Also, carrying drugs for which you have a valid Rx is not a crime and would never be sufficient to get a warrant for a search of House's home. Thus, everything that came from that initial search would be (as you note) inadmissible under the "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine.

Also, Tritter violated House's 6th Amendment by speaking to him when he knew House was represented by counsel. Big no no.

The Tritter arc may have made for good TV (we can debate that one), but it gave the false impression that a single rogue cop can create havoc in people's lives w/no respect for procedural due process. Not suggesting it can never happen (see the Duke lacrosse case), but it's more likely to be an overzealous prosecutor or judge vs. a state cop (who has very limited powers in the overall justice system).

One minor point -- states' attorneys can only prosecute state crimes, not federal crimes. And, if Wilson was convicted of a federal offense and is in a federal "prison farm," only a federal prosecutor (title is Assistant US Attorney) could intervene. DEA offenses are federal offenses, although drug trafficking and possession offenses can be federal or state -- or both.

Also, I would be shocked if the DA would move so quickly on Wilson's case. I kept waiting for the punchline -- "yeah, I'll get to it eventually." :) Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of interest in getting people out of prison who were "wrongly" convicted. Should be, but there isn't, sad to say.

Still, I'll be happy to see it here! And love that House was willing to put himself in jail to save Wilson. Somehow, this series reminds me of the Gift of the Magi -- and that's a good thing!
5th-Jul-2007 03:18 pm (UTC)
ARRRRRGGGHHH!!!!! i bet myself that a lawyer would show up as soon as i got a bit "creative" and i was RIGHT... sigh.... :)

(and mayhaps the state's attorney's sibling is the assistant u.s. attorney, just by amazing coincidence, and happens to owe her a really big favor, and getting wilson quickly released'll clear the slate?)

can we call it... dramatic license? in my own defense, i think i abused that particular license a bit less than the script writers did.... ;)
5th-Jul-2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
*smiles*

And the circle closes -- House offers to go to prison for Wilson, just as Wilson offered for House.
5th-Jul-2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
the circle closes

i... seem to have a need... to make circles, and then to close them neatly (or maybe not so neatly). but it makes me feel good, so what the heck?

[koda--if you're reading this, i did hear you say "hell" last nite when you crashed your nascar racecar into the wall whilst playing on your laptop. that is... unacceptable. please note mom's choice of 'h' word, above.]
5th-Jul-2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
There is light at the end of the tunnel!! I was beginning to doubt but you have restored my faith. Thank you!
5th-Jul-2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
was beginning to doubt

ahh, but we must never doubt the power of the house-wilson bond! ;)
5th-Jul-2007 04:22 pm (UTC)
YaY a happy fic. :)
5th-Jul-2007 04:30 pm (UTC)
and--believe it or not--tomorrow's vignette falls into the 'happy' category as well! hmmm... this is... not characteristic. must be time for something to go wrong.....
5th-Jul-2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
Oh yay, Wilson's getting out. But you are the queen of angst and cliff hangers, so I'm not holding my breath.
5th-Jul-2007 04:38 pm (UTC)
Wilson's getting out

i could mislead you here... but i will, instead, confirm that yes, wilson's getting out. seems i promised a few people i'd write some stupid sequel to something else i [vaguely] remember writing, so i'm really, truly endeavoring to release the poor man! ('course that part hasn't been written yet....)
5th-Jul-2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
Woo! Like others have said, yay for pointing out the serious violations of numerous laws' letter and spirit, yay for getting Wilson out of jail, and I'm crossing my fingers for a wrongful conviction settlement that makes some pretense to offer material compensation at the least for all that suffering. Not as though it matters, but I wouldn't mind seeing Wilson come out of jail knowing he'll be able to afford a decent place to live once he makes the transition back to life. I imagine for now someone's couch will serve just fine as a transition point. :)

(I notice you keep mentioning this infection that isn't clearing up. I know you and trust you're going to something, however small, with that. This knowledge makes me happy.)
5th-Jul-2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
know you and trust you're going to something, however small, with that

oh, sigh. i must be getting predictable.... :(
5th-Jul-2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
happiness yay!
5th-Jul-2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
glad to (occasionally) oblige! ;)
5th-Jul-2007 06:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is a really good section (I may be somewhat biased by the fact that someone is saying that Tritter was not behaving legally. I'm with House - make sure he isn't put into protective custody. And I'm usually a nice gentle person XD)

It's so House to want to make things right - and I love this line:

It isn’t until much later that it even occurs to him that he’s not going to prison either.
5th-Jul-2007 06:32 pm (UTC)
and I love this line: It isn’t until much later...

that line was written as i was posting this vignette! sometimes, house and/or wilson remembers to tell me something at the very last minute--and oddly, these last-minute proclamations often turn out to be the lines that really touch people. weird.
5th-Jul-2007 07:23 pm (UTC)
I love, love, love this series. I can't wait for more!
5th-Jul-2007 07:29 pm (UTC)
can't wait for more

then you'll be pleased to know that i'm polishing the next one right now, and it'll be up early in the morning!
5th-Jul-2007 07:36 pm (UTC)
Yay! One of the things I hated about the Tritter arc was that he never really got into any trouble for any of the shady things he did.

(And I still want to know who, exactly, he was shagging so violently, without lube, that he ended up in the Clinic! We know that Tritter himself was convinced that this hapless and unnamed partner had given him an STD. Shouldn't that have figured into the later story somehow?)
5th-Jul-2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
Shouldn't that have figured into the later story somehow?

you really, truly are trying to restart my rant-against-the-writers, aren't you? ;)

yes--it should have figured into the story, but if we began listing all the dropped subplots and the poorly-researched medicine in season three, we'd be here a day or three. my own, personal favorite? in Top Secret, when House lets Wilson get away with calling house's urinary retention "a major side effect caused by the overuse of a particular narcotic painkiller."

it's a side effect, all right--but it's neither "major" nor caused by "overuse." it... happens. just a temporary glitch, nothing to do with dosage. it's uncomfortable. it's annoying. and--instead of using it as a tool to illustrate one of the difficulties of narcotic dependence for pain--the writers use it as a tool to illustrate that house "overuses" his medication. right after wilson acknowledges having just written a vicodin scrip for house. ummm. all-righty, then.

toldja you don't wanna get me started!! ;)
5th-Jul-2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
House takes a deep breath. "And Tritter?"

"He's currently in jail for evidence tampering. I can't go into the details with you, as that case itself is still pending."


Loved this. Tritter in jail. Wondeful.
5th-Jul-2007 08:18 pm (UTC)
Tritter in jail.

one of the joys of fanfic is that we can right a lot of wrongs!! and that whole tritter-as-king-of-the-world arc was just... so wrong, on so many levels. it gave me great personal satisfaction to type "Under federal law, you aren't the one who committed a crime; Detective Michael Tritter is." i was actually smiling, as i typed it!
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