One of my scariest experiences took place when I was a new deputy district attorney working at the Orange County Juvenile Courthouse.
My office door was closed and I was seated at my desk working on cases. Suddenly, without knocking, a woman flung open the door and quickly stepped into my office unannounced. She reached into her purse, pulled out a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun, and said, “This is for you.”
My life passed before me. I was not ready to die, but I knew that criminal prosecutors made enemies of a lot bad guys. I thought I was going to be murdered. I briefly wondered how she had bypassed our security and gotten to my office with a loaded gun in her purse.
But instead of shooting me, she gently placed the loaded gun on my desk in front of me. She explained that she was a legal secretary. Her attorney boss gave her the loaded gun to give to me as part of a plea deal I had made weeks early.
I had prosecuted a juvenile for burglarizing a police department outdoor shooting range. Among other things, the minor stole a detective’s brand-new service gun, and he wanted it back. I agreed to reduce the minor’s sentence if he returned the stolen gun.
I cannot believe that the attorney was so clueless as to give his secretary a loaded gun to bring into the District Attorney’s Office. At the very least, she could have been prosecuted for carrying a loaded concealed firearm.
The lawyer didn’t call ahead to forewarn me that she was on the way. Many prosecutor’s carry firearms. If I had been armed, she would have been dead. Her killing would have been justifiable self-defense.
But both of us lived to tell the story.
P.S. The detective was so excited to get his gun back that he wrote a praise-filled “atta-boy” to “the” Orange County District Attorney, who placed a copy in my personnel file. This enhanced my reputation in the DA’s Office and with the police department.
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