Marcia Clark talks MORAL DEFENSE
The Second Samantha Brinkman
Nov 8th, 2016
Thomas & Mercer
Moral Defense by Marcia Clark brings back defense attorney Samantha (Sam) Brinkman. This second novel of the series is as riveting and suspenseful as the first, Blood Defense. What makes these novels by Clark unique is that within gripping crimes she allows the readers to gain a glimpse of the inner workings of the judicial system.
In this book there are four sub-plots. Samantha promises her dad, LAPD Detective Dale Pearson, to investigate the allegations of excessive force by his peer, Detective Kevin Hausch; the Oroczo family, gang members who expect Samantha to find who secretly arranged for Arturo to be killed; and DeShawn Johnson who needs her help in getting some drug dealers off his back. But these all take a backseat to the main plot, where an adoptive girl, Cassie Sonnenberg kills her mother, father, and brother.
Elise Cooper: What did you think of Sarah Paulson’s acceptance speech at the Emmys?
Marcia Clark: She is one of the rare people that has ‘ginormous’ talent and is a wonderful human being. The speech she gave just blew me away and was so moving. I went to support her and cheer her on. It was a lot of fun.
EC: Rumor has it that this series could be made into a TV show?
MC: We had optioned it out to the studios and ended up selling it to NBC based on the characters of Blood Defense. The next hurdle is for them to decide if they want to shoot a pilot and after that if they choose to make it into a series. We will turn in the script in November/December. By May we will get the decision if the series is to be made.
EC: With this plot readers see the moral grey area of a defense attorney?
MC: This is the biggest question mark; how to work with a client who committed a hideous crime. From the defense point of view you are requiring the prosecution to have the burden of proof. There are checks and balances we need to have a fair system of justice. A lot of times it’s getting a fair conviction. Sometimes the prosecution can over file a case or overcharge the defendant. The goal is to make the punishment fit the crime.
EC: It does not seem that Samantha is a slimy defense attorney?
MC: There are times she is not happy representing a client. But she would never put the blame on a rape victim. She would find another way and not ’slut-shame’ the victim. She tries to have clients from deprived backgrounds that are impulse challenged without a lot of support. They usually did not have intent to hurt someone. She wants to give them an opportunity to change their life and sees it as helping the underdog.
EC: Where did you get the idea for the story?
MC: I happened on a message board for adopted children. They were writing about their experiences. Reading them was a heart wrenching experience. I want these stories to have a basic truth that is relevant to the real world.
EC: What did you want readers to get out of the story?
MC: Cassie, the adopted daughter, who kills her family, has a dilemma. If she reports the abuse what will happen to her? Will she be thrown back into foster care, which she saw as horrible?
EC: Gangs play an important role in this story?
MC: I want people to understand that it is usually the defense attorney endangered by these clients. As a prosecutor for ten years before the Simpson trial I was very aware of the tensions between the minorities and LAPD. Because cell phones were not prevalent people did not hear about it. Now they show it and show it, and it becomes public within seconds. But cops are frustrated because people will only speak to them anonymously so cases can never get proven.
EC: You inform the readers about how gangs are handled today?
MC: Yes, gang injunction. This makes it hard for them to move around the community. Cops have an easier time yanking them up and throwing them in jail. They start to move out of the neighborhoods because it is too hard to do business. Because they had been terrorizing the neighborhoods this is one way to deal with them, especially since kids realize they cannot survive unless they join the gang. It is like a cancer that hits the community.
EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book?
MC: The issue will be revenge porn. Girls have sent nude photos of themselves to their boyfriend. But after they break up the photo is posted on nude websites as a means of revenge. One instance I knew of had the picture and underneath it the comment was, ‘I want to get raped. Come join my rape fantasy. Here is my name and address.’ This is a violation and really imperils women. It is just hideous. This has traumatized a number of women.