Trial By Fire
The Silicon War Triology
Chapter 5 - Booking
Now what everyone fails to inform you of on TV is where the money comes from for bail, attorney fees, etc. Remember, my wife and I had just bought our first house six months before and to do it, we had to borrow $10,000 from Gopal as a 2nd mortgage. However, this attorney just requested a down payment of $2,000 to handle just the "Bail and Arraignment hearing".
Now... that shouldn't be a problem, right. Remember Gopal's bonus check. However, my bank informed that Gopal just canceled it.
Ok then... how about my severance pay from Maruman for all my hard work... right? The severance envelope contained a check for $1,364.72 for my last 8 days of work. My stock options, bonus, a thank you - you got to be kidding - absolutely nothing! They didn't even pay me to the end of the pay period.
It seemed that any money given to me now would be considered a bribe or some type of payoff for me to keep silent.
I knew I had just over $1,400 in the checking account, but if I used that, then there would be no food money for Maria and the kids to live on. So this is when you turn around and ask for help.
And this is also where you find out how many friends you really have.
Well… the rumors in the media of my associating with a ‘Commi Spy' well... is somewhat limited these friends' participation. I received "Oh... gosh... Bob, we would like to help you but under the circumstances, we're sorry. We just can't. We can't get evolved. My employer might get mad".
And to make thing even worse, on Thursday, October 5, 1978 at 4:00 pm, there was D'Alquist in full makeup:
"We are announcing the additional indictments and arrest of Andrew Bouré, Lee Yamato and Robert Contie on 5 additional counts of solicitation of a bribe, theft of trade secrets, possession of stolen property and conspiracy. More arrests may come".
The next day, my attorney went to D'Alquist and asked to allow me to surrender on Monday morning. I wasn't a flight risk and even if I was, I couldn't have afforded the plane ticket. It was very evident that the $2,000 I had given him would not be enough for him to represent me thru to a trial. He said "Bob, look! Let's be honest here, you will need to come up with around $150,000 retainer to start".
Gopal's bail had been set at $500,000 so we figured that mine would be in the range of $100,000. This meant I would need to come up with 10% or $10,000 to give to a bail bondsman.
I said "Well that just not going to happen. I don't have any cash like that on hand".
Therefore, if I surrendered and was held on Monday, I would be staying in jail until the trial was over. There was just no place to obtain this level of money. Even the arrested drug dealer who was just arrested in Santa Clara got out on a $25,000 bond.
Yamato had it much easier. He had the money for a private attorney since he had been in his house for 8 years and had recovered from that initial outflow of cash that takes place when you buy a house. His attorney got him $25,000 bail or $2,500 bond. He just used the equity in the house as collateral for bail and initial attorney fees.
For Bouré, he was also quit vocal on what was said during the meeting with Worth and Dunlap. He did not offer a bribe or kick back. "The words are right there in the [email protected]#ing contract" he said.
What he got back was that the meetings with Gopal were recorded by the Police and they knew exactly what he had said.
He then asked "Let me hear them..."!
He received back: "We have a transcript of the conversation that you can read. You can hear them at trial".
Whoever decided to arrest Bouré was never determined. No one would take credit because of what happened, but he was with his family in San Francisco for a fund raising dinner for Mayor George Moscone when he was arrested. Being small in stature, Bouré was televised being arrested "kicking and screaming out the door". What was not shown, but was witnessed to by many in attendance was Bouré's feet were kicked out from him as they approached the camera.
What made this arrest so visible - Moscone had run for Mayor of San Francisco 1975 and won in a close race against a very conservative Republican city supervisor John Barbagelata. Moscone was pro gay rights, Barbagelata was not. In fact, Democratic progressives won the other top city's executive offices. Joseph Freitas was elected District Attorney and Richard Hongisto was re-elected to his office of Sheriff. Neither of them was informed of the pending arrest and was caught by surprise at the action. Many others stated that this was just another attempt to embarrass Moscone liberalization of San Francisco.
Bouré was booked in Santa Clara County Jail on Friday night and promptly was "lost" -- as in the paperwork went missing. It was somewhere between Saturday night and Sunday morning, when Bouré was found alive but severely beaten, raped and hung.
Of course there were no witnesses to this. Some said that it was gay relate, other said it was gang related but most just said that "the Commi Spy deserved it".
My weekend was spent in solitude and disbelief. Maria was scared then very angry at me. She had contacted her parents to see if she could move in with the kids. She was working as a daytime nurse and brought home just about what her expenses were. The loss of my job said we would very quickly loose ever thing. As silly as it sounds, I was still looking for a job in the want ads on Sunday. There would have to be someone out there that would give me a job.
It was Monday, October 9, 1978 about 5:00 am when my eyes just opened up. The shower and shave went quickly. I still had a blue blazer from Sears that I had got 2 years ago to interview in. Can you believe it... it was made of polyester? I had a white shirt, stupid tie, dark socks, and black slip-on shoes. I had no idea where I was going or what was in store for me. I had just resigned myself to being in jail for some time because of no money.
Maria and I had said our goodbyes the night before and she now pretended to be asleep. Penny, our dog kept licking her and wagging her tail so I knew she was awake, but it was easier for me this way.
The walk out to the car was in solitude. It then took a couple of deep breaths to start the car. I was about to go into something I didn't know anything about but then the damn car started.
My drive to jail was done in slow motion.
I was supposed to surrender to the Santa Clara Sherriff Office at 9:00 am but I got there at 6:30 am. I wondered if they would ask me to come back?
Instead, I decided to have my last free meal and head down the street to a Denney's coffee shop I had passed earlier. Nothing seemed to have changed since I had worked for a different store during my 2nd year in school. So with a "Grand-slam, all bacon, over medium and coffee please", I had breakfast. After finishing breakfast and a second cup of coffee, I hit the head, paid the check and headed out.
As silly as this is going to sound, it dawned on me that all the parking around the city offices was paid parking and I couldn't park the car there. They would tow the car away before I could get out of jail after the trial. So I drove around for a while looking for some place to park the car for free. I figured I could call Maria and tell her where it was and she could come get it. I finally parked in an industrial complex, and walk the 2 miles back to the Sherriff's Office.
As I got there, it was just straight up the stairs to the Officer at the front desk and said "Hi, I'm Robert Contie. I was asked to surrender to you at 9:00 this morning. I'm sorry about being late".
"Yes Mr. Contie. We were expecting you. Would you like some coffee"?
"That would be nice". [Yea, I know but you will understand in a second].
"Cream" she asked as she poured the coffee? "We'll first be fingerprinting you and then photograph you over here. Would you please follow me"?
With my coffee cup in my right hand, they finger printed my left. I then changed hands, and they finger printed my right. They gave me a hand wipe to remove the ink, but the cup still had some ink on it. If you would have been able to see it in my mug shot, I was smiling with the coffee cup in my right hand.
"Well, Mr. Contie that should do it for now. Normally we would ask you to go down stairs but your attorney has taken care of everything for you. Also, the ADA, Toni D'Alquist has asked us to release you as soon as possible. He would like to speak with you as soon as you can get to the Superior Court. Here is his name and address to see him at. And he was quite urgent with this request."
And that my friend was my booking - my "one day in jail". You know what was funny, the coffee was pretty good.