Tag Archives: Erle Stanley Gardner

“A lawyer should seek the truth”

Mason shook his head.
“Why not?” Drake asked.
“Because,” Mason said, “it isn’t the truth.”
“Don’t be naive,” Drake said. “A lot of criminal lawyers I know don’t pay much attention to the truth. Often when the truth would get a client stuck a good lawyer has to resort to something else.”
“I’m afraid of anything that isn’t the truth.” Mason said. “My client tells me a story that’s almost impossible to believe, but it’s her story. If I, as her attorney, adhere to that story I at least am being true to the ideals of my profession. I may think it’s a lie, but I don’t know it’s a lie.
“If, however, I think up some synthetic story, then I know it’s false and I’m afraid of anything that’s false. A lawyer should seek the truth.”
“But your client’s story, from what I gather about it, can’t be true,” Drake said.
“Then,” Mason said, “it’s up to me to seek out the truth.”

Erle Stanley Gardner, The Case of the Glamorous Ghost


Opposite effect

Erle Stanley Gardner in [Perry Mason and] The Case of the Singing Skirt

Ellis hesitated, then said, “All right. I have lost around ten thousand dollars there in The Big Barn. I’m now satisfied that the game was crooked. If you want to act as my attorney to recover that money, I’ll pay you fifty percent of the recovery and give you all the expense money you need to prosecute. You can hire detectives or do anything else you need to do.”

“I may be disqualified on that action,” Mason said. “I already advised your wife—gratuitously of course—that she could probably recover the community funds that had been lost gambling, regardless of whether the game was straight or crooked.”

“Mr. Mason, don’t you understand what that would do to my reputation? I’d be the laughingstock of—”

“I don’t think so,” Mason interrupted. “I think if a few women would take action of this sort, it would give the big gamblers something to think about, particularly the ones where the games are crooked.”

“On the contrary,” Ellis said with some feeling. “It would have exactly the opposite effect, Mr. Mason. The ones who were running square games couldn’t afford to stay in business. If they were faced with the prospect of having to give up their winnings when some woman filed suit claiming it was community property that her husband had lost, the ones who were running a straight game would find that the percentage was too much against them and they’d go out of business. On the other hand, the crooked gamblers would stay in business. Or I will put it this way. The gamblers who stayed in business would be crooked.”

Sounds familiar?

From facts to justice

“Justice is founded upon evidence and evidence is founded upon fact.”

Erle Stanley Gardner, Foreword to The Case of the Angry Mourner (1951)