The Young Outlaw - Chapter Two

Two days later…

Gabe was working on covering the picture of the nude woman hanging on the wall
in the back of the bar and setting the counter up for the Circuit judge…Judge
Albert Graham. He had been circuit court judge for the past several years and
Gabe was accustomed to what the judge expected from his makeshift courtroom at
the Diamond Dust. He set up the chairs and knew there would be quite a few
townsfolk coming to see what happened.

When Judge Graham arrived he picked his bailiff to assist him and began to set
up his court. He didn't talk about the cases, just heard the cases as they were
presented on his docket. He regarded Jalen Brooks steadily as he entered and
sought out the judge.

"Judge Graham?" Jalen asked, taking his hat off to show respect.
Albert Graham nodded. "Yes Sheriff Brooks?"

"You're goin' to hear a case on a young man whom I telegraphed you about…the
reason you're comin' today.

"Yes Sheriff, tell me somethin' I don't already know. Get to the point boy." The
older man commanded.

Jalen did just that. "I wanted to ask you about the new probation program. I
understand I could be assigned to that position by the court and I believe in
the case of Brett Montgomery he could benefit from such a program."
The old man pinned Jalen with his sharp brown eyes, then nodded. "It's a program
of intense supervision. I can tell you more after I hear his case and see if I
deem him appropriate for such a program."

Jalen nodded. "Yes Sir."

The judge regarded him and asked, "Is the prisoner ready to be brought over?"

Jalen nodded. "Yes Sir…I'll bring him right now."

Judge Graham nodded. He sat on a chair behind the counter in his black robes.


Roland Harrison entered the courtroom shortly and he nodded at the judge taking
his seat at a table.

"Mr. Harrison…I understand you'll be representing Mr. Montgomery today?"

"Yes Sir." Roland Harrison responded, standing as the judge addressed him.
"Do you have any documents you wish to present to the court before your client

Roland nodded and said, "Yes Sir." He had a prepared statement from the rancher
about the horse and the reports from the Sheriff and U.S. Marshall involved in
the stage coach robbery attesting to Brett's role in that incident, and handed
them to him for his perusal.

Judge Graham took the papers and nodded. "Very good, I'll look these documents

"Thank you Sir." Roland responded and returned to his seat at the table,
shuffling other papers around, while waiting for Jalen to bring Brett over to
the makeshift courtroom.


Jalen headed over to the jail to get his prisoner. He could see some of the
townsfolk were already heading for the saloon to watch the proceedings. He
stepped inside the jail and looked at Brett. He still looked scruffy and a bit
dangerous with his beard growth and black curls all over the place. `The first
order of business as his probation officer will be to get this young man a shave
and a haircut.' He thought to himself. Then wrinkling his nose as he drew closer
to the young outlaw added mentally, `Also a bath.'

Brett was pacing in his jail cell. And Jalen said, "You're wearin' a path in
your cell."

Brett shrugged "So what…you'll just find someone else to stick in here when I'm

Jalen wasn't sure what was bringing on this attitude all of a sudden…or at least
it seemed like it was sudden. Perhaps instead of him just being quiet all this
time the young man had been brooding over things and he hadn't noticed? He shook
his head to clear it and said quietly, but firmly. "Brett stop pacing and move
away from the cell door. The judge is here and I'm bringing you over now. I'm
goin' to have to cuff you." The Sheriff told his prisoner, a set of handcuffs
hanging from the bigger man's hands.

Brett's blue eyes widened and a hint of panic showed. "No! Why can't I just go
over the way I am? You have a gun!" He argued, pointing to the pistol Jalen
carried on his right hip.

"Settle down. I do have a gun, but I don't use it unless I'm fixin' to shoot
someone, and I'd really hate to have to put a bullet in that fine body of
yours." He said quietly.

Brett's mouth went a little dry at the Sheriff's words, not so much because of
him saying he'd hate to shoot him, but because he'd hate to put a hole in his
body…just the way he said that and the gleam he caught momentarily in those
bright emerald green eyes. "I don't like it." He pouted.

Jalen shook his head. "Like it or not young man, it's the way thin's are goin'
to be. You goin' to cooperate, or am I goin' to have to get physical and cuff
you and carry you on over to the saloon where they're holdin' court."

Brett, knowing that Jalen was quite capable of carrying out his threat stepped
back as he had been told, pouting the whole time.

Jalen secured the cuffs onto his wrists in front of him and then, carefully
taking him by the shoulders steered him out of the cell and into the jail's
outer office.

The feel of those large hands on Brett's shoulders was somehow both frightening
and comforting. They were strong and powerful hands, well calloused and hard,
but in an odd way gentle as they steered him out the cell firmly and with
assurance. Brett allowed himself to be guided by Jalen in this manner out of the
jail, down the boardwalk a bit, across the street and back onto the boardwalk
and through the swinging doors of the Diamond Dust Saloon.

As they entered Brett noticed the smell of stale alcohol immediately and the
scent of that and cigar and cigarette smoke reminded him of how he had ended up
in this situation. He swallowed hard and allowed the Sheriff to continue to
steer him to a table where another man sat. He was well dressed and stood up as
Brett and Jalen came up to the table.

"Roland Harrison, attorney at law, at your service young man. You must be Brett
Montgomery?" He asked in a calm, friendly voice.

"Yes Sir, I'm Brett Montgomery." Brett replied nervously.

"I will be representing you and your case today." The lawyer informed him.

"Sheriff Brooks told me you would. Thank you." Brett said.

"Happy to do it young man." Roland sat down at the table. "Please, sit down." He
invited Brett.

Brett took a seat and Jalen sat next to him. Roland went over the documents he
had prepared and asked several more questions of Brett, clarifying different
points and doing all he needed to attempt to demonstrate to the judge that he
should show leniency and award probation instead of jail time hard labor in
prison or the very worst…hanging.

Brett fidgeted nervously as he answered uncomfortable questions, scowling or
getting a bit snippy at times. At these times he'd find Jalen's large, warm
powerful hand on his arm and he heard him growl softly in his ear, "Easy now

Somehow this too had a soothing effect on the young outlaw and he was able to
settle himself enough to answer the questions to the best of his ability instead
of snapping and getting all huffy about them.

When it was over Roland indicated to the judge that he and his client were ready
and the court case proceeded.

Bret fidgeted in his seat as the charges were read and the plea was asked for.
As he was stood before the judge, the sharp dark brown eyes penetrated him and
he felt like he had been skewered in place. He answered the questions honestly
and pled guilty to the three charges against him.

Judge graham regarded the young man thinking.

Brett was quaking inside and was longing for the hands of the Sheriff that had
helped him feel calm, but he was on his own here.

Judge Graham reviewed the papers and conferred with Roland Harrison before
returning to the bench to address Brett. "Young man, tell the court why if it
were to be granted you would be deserving of leniency." The judge barked

Brett froze for a moment, unable to think, then said quietly, "I'm sorry for the
thin's I did to those people, scarin' `em and takin' the horse from the rancher.
I was with the Rocky Mountain Boys and I thought it was better to be with them
than alone. I had regular meals and companionship. I wasn't comfortable with
what they planned and did and tried to stay in the background as much as I was
able. I don't think I coulda ever really killed anyone in cold blood. I've done
it in self defense in a few gun battles while I was with the gang, but I never
shot first and only when it was my life or the other fella's." The young outlaw
confessed, He went on, "I'm young Sir and I could still lead a very good life,
turn over a new leaf if you will. I'd be able perhaps to get a good job, make
reparations to those I need to and become a law abiding citizen."

The judge thought about the young man's answer and then asked, "Why didn't you
turn yourself in to the law instead of running away?"

Brett had to think about this too, and then said honestly, "I figured I was
already a condemned man and I wanted to experience life as long as I could."

Judge Graham nodded and then barked, "Sit down young man."

Brett returned to his seat his knees quaking, but Jalen helped him and he sat

Judge Graham watched the younger and older man and then nodded. "Sheriff
Brooks…approach the bench please."

Jalen stepped up confidently in front of the judge.

The sharp brown eyes were now pinned on Jalen. "Sheriff Brooks, If I should
remand this young man into your custody as probation officer, what do you have
to offer him so he can become the law abiding citizen he professes he'd like to

Jalen said without hesitation, "I can offer my experience in life, consistency,
guidance and appropriate consequences for breaking the rules of probation." He
added, "I can train him to the job of deputy if he does well enough to earn it."

Judge Graham nodded, and then outlined the rules and expectations by the court
of a probation officer, including the monthly reports that would be submitted to
the circuit court.


Judge Graham regarded the Sheriff. Jalen Brooks had been Sheriff of Diamond
Springs for about five years now. At thirty-three he was still young for his
position, but had the maturity of life experience behind him. Albert thought the
Sheriff and the young man would be able to connect despite the difference in
their ages. At least one of them had enough maturity to steer clear of trouble.
He nodded to himself.


Jalen tried hard not to squirm under the intense gaze of the judge. He hoped he
wouldn't be found lacking and would be able to give Brett a chance. He had been
granted that chance, the chance to steer clear of trouble and to learn to govern
his actions and make better choices by a man to this day he respected as his
mentor, but who still now could bring a dull ache to his heart. Dallas Kincaid.
The man had shown him how to make the shift from being a boy to a man. Jalen
shook himself out of his reverie as he heard Judge Graham speaking to him again.

"Sheriff Brooks, "Are you aware of the huge responsibility you will be taking on
if you choose to accept the position of Probation Officer in this case? Mr.
Montgomery is a young man, not a child and you would be responsible for keeping
track of him at all times and will be held responsible for his behavior, choices
and compliance with the court rules. Are you prepared to accept such a
responsibility if granted?"

Jalen thought about what Judge Graham was saying and peeked at Brett out of the
corner of his eye and replied. "Yes Your Honor…I am ready to accept full
responsibility if the court should see it's way to grant Mr. Montgomery the
opportunity to serve probation."


Brett squirmed a little as he listened to the judge speak to Jalen. He peeked
out of the corner of his eye at the lawyer, but couldn't really tell what he was
thinking. His attention was brought back to the judge and Jalen once more as the
judge began asking the Sheriff hard questions.

Brett found himself biting his lip and fidgeting nervously as he waited to see
what answers Jalen would be giving the judge. When he heard him speaking about
the responsibility of the probation officer he held his breath waiting for
Jalen's reply and breathed easier when He heard him say he would accept it.


Jalen watched Brett out of the corner of his eye and could see him anxious and
fidgeting and then relax as he told Judge Graham he was ready to accept the
responsibility of a probation officer.

Jalen's attention was drawn back to the judge when he heard him say, "We will
adjourn for one hour. At that Time I will make my decision in this case. Court
dismissed for one hour!" Judge Graham declared.


Jalen went back to the table where Brett and Roland awaited him. "Roland…what do
you think?" Jalen asked quietly.

Roland said, "I think there's a good chance. Things are looking pretty good so

Brett asked anxiously, "Truly? Do they look favorable? Do you think I'll get the

Roland chuckled. "I'm not sure Brett. I'd say it looks favorable, but only Judge
Graham will be able to tell us for sure."

Jalen looked at Brett. "Do you need a drink of water? To use the facilities?" He
asked after the comfort of his prisoner.

Brett said, "I'd like some water."

The Sheriff poured a cup of water and brought it to Brett. He handed it to the
young man.

Brett took it carefully as his hands were still cuffed, even though they were in
front of him he had to use both hands to drink.

Jalen watched Brett drink the cup of water and smiled. He thought the young man
would clean up nicely and he liked what he saw already.


Once the judge returned, the makeshift courtroom grew quiet. Conversation had
been buzzing all around Jalen and Brett.

The bailiff bade everyone to rise as Judge Graham returned and then once he sat,
so did everyone else. He gave Brett a stern look and the young man quailed in
front of it. He began to shift nervously and bit his lip.

Jalen placed a hand on Brett's arm like he had done before and Brett felt able
to settle down.


Judge Graham announced, "Bret Ashton Montgomery…please approach the bench for

Jalen assisted Brett to his feet and escorted him to stand in front of the

Judge Graham once again pinned the young man with his sharp brown eyes and said,
"Brett Ashton Montgomery, you have three charges against you. I will announce
each charge and the decision of this court. For the charge of horse theft, this
court finds you…not guilty."

Brett relaxed visibly, but stiffened as the judge continued.

"This court finds you for the charge of being an accomplice to stage coach
robbery…guilty." He gave Brett an even sterner look, if that was at all

Brett shook a little and Jalen gave his arm a squeeze. "

For this charge you are sentenced to two years hard labor at the State prison."

Brett thought he was going to faint, but Jalen continued to hold him upright.

Judge Graham went on. "Your prison term for this charge is being suspended in
favor of the new probation program. You will serve four years probation under
the guidance of Sheriff Jalen Christopher Brooks. The guide lines state there
will be two years probation awarded for every year of a prison sentence."

Brett wanted to cheer, but the judge was not yet finished with him.

"For your third charge of accessory to murder…you are found not guilty." The
judge gave the young man a sharp look. He continued. "You will make reparations
of Fifty dollars to Harman Wells, the rancher whose horse you borrowed." When
Albert Graham said the word borrowed, he said it in such a way that Brett knew
he meant stole and cringed a little.

"Lastly, you will pay this court the sum of one hundred dollars at the rate of
twenty-five dollars each year you are on probation to cover court fines and
costs." He banged his gavel. "Case closed!" He declared.

A loud murmur went up from the people who had come to see Judge Graham hand out


Jalen took out the keys and undid Brett's handcuffs. He then urged him toward
the judge. "You thank Judge Graham for his leniency now Brett."

Brett at first resisted the move, wanting nothing more than to get the heck out
of there. "It's not necessary." He stated.

Jalen raised an eyebrow. "I told you before we started this young man it would
not be easy; now go do as I told you." Jalen told the younger man in a stern

Brett responded to the stern voice and approached the judge. "Judge Graham…thank
you for showing me leniency and giving me this chance at a new life."

Albert Graham looked at the young man and said quietly, "Don't make me regret my
decision young man. I hope you do make it through your probation and come out of
this a better man. Good luck."

"Thank you Sir." Brett said, and then shook the judge's hand.

"You're welcome young man. I'll be checking on your progress every time I'm in
the area."

Brett looked surprised and glanced at Jalen.

Jalen smiled and nodded, knowing that would be exactly what would be happening.

The Sheriff went over and shook Roland Harrison's hand. "Thank you Roland for
being willin' to represent Brett."
"You're welcome Jalen, I was happy to do it; I only hope you know what you are
doing taking on this kind of responsibility and being Sheriff as well."
"Don't worry; I'll be able to handle both things well."
Roland chuckled and said, "I can say I have no doubt of that Jalen." He shook
Brett's hand then and said, "I'm glad things turned out well for you young man.
Both you and Sheriff Brooks did well up there."

Brett smiled and nodded. "Thank you Sir and thank you for your excellent

Roland smiled and said, "You're welcome. Just stay out of trouble from now on."

Brett nodded. "I will. Thanks again."

Roland smiled at the two men and said, "I'm heading back to my office. If you
need me you know where to find me." Roland stepped out of the Diamond Dust and
disappeared down the boardwalk.


Jalen went over to Brett and said, "The first thing we're goin' to do is get you
over to the barber shop and get you a bath, shave and a haircut."

Brett balked. "We're goin' to do what? You're not cuttin' my hair…I like it this
way. I'll take the bath and shave, but you ain't cuttin' my curls."

Jalen gave him a look his emerald green eyes sparking a bit. "Brett…I'm not
goin' to argue with you over every little thin'. You're getting' your hair cut
along with the rest. After that you and I are goin' to sit and have a long talk
about our probation and what it means and how things are goin' to work."

Brett wasn't sure he liked the sound of that, but felt that he had no choice. He
went along with Jalen to the barber shop.

Jalen sighed inwardly. He realized just how much of a handful Brett was going to
be, but he knew the cure for that and if he kept things up it wouldn't be long
before his outlaw learned the cure for himself.


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