I have represented many defendants accused of armed robbery with a firearm. But there was one case in particular that was so unexpected as to be unforgettable. My client, who plead guilty to these facts and was sentenced to a few years in prison, approached another teenage boy who was sitting at a bus stop and happened to be wearing brand new Air Jordan basketball shoes, which in certain Chicago neighborhoods (and elsewhere) are like the Rolls Royce of footwear, and give to their wearer a certain status shared by few.
“Give me them Jordan’s,” the man waiting for the bus heard. He looked up and saw a pistol in his face.
“I ain’t giving you my Mike’s, but I got a Gucci watch over where I stay. You can come with me and I’ll give it you.”
“All right, then. Let’s go.”
“Yeah, it’s at my grand mama’s house just a few minutes away. I don’t wear it out much, because someone might try to take it. And I ain’t getting myself killed over no Gucci watch.”
“But them Mike’s is different, huh?”
The two boys walked for a few minutes until they reached a certain house.
“Ok, wait out here. I’ll go get the watch.”
“All right. Go on then.”
The owner of the Air Jordan shoes went inside his grandmother’s house and called 911. Then he went back outside a few minutes later and gave the other boy the watch, but it was not a Gucci watch.
“Oh, I forgot. I already gave that watch to somebody. But that one’s good. Look at it.”
Right then, a police car pulled up. They put both boys on the hood of the car, patted them down and found a pistol on the one in addition to a watch, which they returned to its owner.
The armed robber went to the county jail. His mother hired me a few days later. I went to the jail to meet this young man. He told me what had happened.
I later walked out of the jail and drove home, feeling depressed that the world is such these days that people will go to prison over a pair of shoes made in China, and that someone else would die before losing them.