Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Black's Justice 101

In Marlowe Black's mind justice within the confines of a corrupted judicial system became as transparent and fleeting as the promise of a first kiss. Not a kiss of affection mind you, but a kiss of invitation that can easily twist into a warning of devouring consumption of the innocent.

However, to compare Marlowe Black to a historical figure like Robin Hood would be an error. He did not question a man's background or personal history when he needed to make a decision to help him. For if the justice meted out by the system did not meet his requirements than that weighed heaviest in his resolution to involve himself on behalf of another.

He did not believe that all who walked into his small Flatiron Building office would be truthful, therefore he needed to trust his own instincts, or his "gut feeling" as he thought of it. That trust carried him through some of the worst fighting in Europe during WWII where he watched friends die brutally.

Yet even when he felt in his gut that he should help, he was wrong occasionally.

As a consequence of his three years of experience with the New York City police force, Black found himself willing to accept the cases the cops could not solve, or cases they did not investigate due to evidence they had that they felt conclusive enough to convict the suspect in hand. He took on the latter when he believed they'd overlooked something not quite obvious, or perhaps too simple to stand up in court under the scrutiny of a well paid criminal attorney.

Marlowe Black could be quite convincing during one of his interrogations, which some times took place in a deep freeze meat locker in a butcher shop off Third Avenue under the El.

Occasionally, he accepted cases for which no crime had been committed but a person had been wronged. Often those proved most difficult.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Intro to Marlowe Black Philosophy

1950 was both a simple and perplexing time. When Marlowe Black resigned the NY Police Force, he understood legal limitations. They allowed some vicious criminals to walk free due to what he perceived as a flawed justice system. Laws on the books included loopholes for the wealthy, or men willing to convince witnesses to forget what they saw or knew using threats of violence against their person or a loved one would gain their freedom. He knew as a private cop he could do better.

However, the shield that a blue uniform provided, albeit a sometimes thin layer of theoretical armor afforded cops by those who feared the consequences of crossing them, disappeared and left Marlowe Black vulnerable to those same people he was unable to jail when he worked for the city.

His solution became a way of life. If you can't get the evidence to convict in court, get enough to execute punishment that fit the crime in a style that became known as Black Justice.

Black never crossed the line into illegality, but always exacted payment regardless of what anyone thought, including his army buddy Paul Dunbar with whom he'd fought Nazis at the Battle of the Bulge.

Perhaps his war years taught Black about revenge and justice coated with a thick viscous layer of crimson, but he was not a man prone to self-incrimination if he considered his actions prudent and necessary. When he leveled his old army Colt .45 automatic, he did so with intent, and often deadly aim.

Criminals learned to avoid him, help him, or desired to put him in an unmarked grave. His reputation grew rapidly as did his successes and long list of enemies. Yet as Marlowe Black said, "A private cop is not doing his job correctly if he doesn't accumulate enemies and their respect."
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