Keira next calls Poppy Parker to the stand.
"Ms. Parker, you work for Social Services, is that correct?"
"Yes, that's correct."
"And you have reviewed the files concerning the defendant, yes?"
The social worker looks troubled.
"Yes, I've familiarized myself with the case."
"Please describe to the court the situation outlined in those files."
Keira steps back and leans against the podium, allowing the social worker to tell the story in her own words.
"Miss St. Clair was left on the doorstep of an adoption agency in the city as an infant, only a few hours old. The agency did what they could to place her, but . . . the homes in which she was placed were . . . unfortunate."
Keira nods at Miss Parker to continue.
"The first attempt to place Miss St. Clair ended with her return to the agency when the potential adoptive parents separated with the intention of divorcing. The second home in which she was placed was acceptable at the time of the first home visit, but had deteriorated so remarkable in condition by the second visit that she was taken back to the agency. By this time the child was four years old, and virtually unadoptable because prospective parents always have a preference for infants. She was placed in a series of unfortunate foster home situations in which she was either neglected or abused. When she was twelve years old and showing signs of puberty, Mr. Fuller contacted the agency regarding being a foster parent. It was a bit unusual for a single man, but he passed all interviews and inspections with flying colors, so the agency reluctantly sent Miss St. Clair home with him."
Miss Parker pauses, then looks down in order to avoid the defense attorney's eyes.
"I am ashamed to admit that at that point Miss St. Clair fell out of the system. It does not appear that there were any follow-up visits after that point in time. There was one half-hearted attempt to contact Mr. Fuller, but the mail was returned with no forwarding address."
She raises her eyes to Keira's, her concern and regret obvious on her face.
"Those poor girls!" Tears spring to her eyes.
Keira glances at the jury and notes that they are similarly moved.
"Your witness." She gestures toward Lucien.
"Miss Parker, were you the case worker assigned to Miss St. Clair's case?"
"Why, no," she answers, puzzled that he would ask such a question when it is obvious that she was not. "This occurred years before I came to Social Services. The case worker to whom Miss St. Clair's case was assigned passed away several years ago."
"So you have no first-hand knowledge regarding the case, is that correct?"
"I have no first-hand knowledge, but the files . . ."
"And you have never met Miss St. Clair in person, is that correct?"
"Look, Mr. Kozlowski . . . . I don't need to have met Miss St. Clair in person to know what a horrible life she's had. I feel so awful for those girls! The system failed them, and even though I wasn't involved and didn't even work for the system at that time, I still feel personally responsible."
Lucien has made his point, and signals to the judge that he has completed his cross-examination.
"May I leave?"
"You may step down, Miss Parker."
I'd like to 'step' down on HIM.
To be continued . . .