The Guardian- Season One

Episode: 16

Production #: 116

First Air Date: March 5, 2002

Writer: David Hollander & Michael R Perry

Director: Lou Antonio

Guest Stars:

Rusty Schwimmer as Barbara
Morgan Rusler as Tim Coker
Johnny Sneed as Brian Olson
Missy Crider as Minette
Frank Novak as ?
Conrad Gamble as ?
Ben Lang as ?
Idris Muhammed as ?
Angela Sargeant as Judge Sulton
Svetlana Efremova as Maria Braczyk
Paula Newsome as ?
Lee Thompson Young as Levi
Tom Ormeny as ?
Aloma Wright as ?

Fan Rating: 9/10 (Average of all fan submitted ratings)


Gary Edwards, C.E.O. of Edwards Electric, comes to Fallin & Assoc. for help in resolving strike issues. If the strike is not settled, Gary will have to close the plant all together. Nick Fallin learns through one his clients at Legal Services that the union workers are not as united as they appear. His client, Maria Braczyk, revealed to Nick that there is division along gender lines as the women are afraid to lose their jobs and the younger men want to fight. Maria is particularly nervous about losing her job as she is fighting to hold on to her son, who is trying to emancipate himself from her and is scabbing at the plant to support himself. However, once the strike ends, he will lose his job and Maria needs to be able to support him when that happens. Meanwhile, James Mooney takes on a case that hits especially close to home when his nephew shoots his mother's boyfriend, Terry, after discovering that Terry has been abusing his mother. Sadly, James' sister is more concerned about the loss of Terry than the fate of her own son.

Case Law:

There are a number of interesting legal issues in this episode. The story involving Levi and James raises questions of how the criminal justice system treats juveniles. In Pennsylvania, Section 6322 of the Juvenile Act provides that a minor charged with a criminal office shall automatically be dealt with by the juvenile courts, unless the crime is murder or a crime of violence (such as manslaughter or assault) where a deadly weapon was employed. In such a case, as in this story, the defense attorney can ask for a de-certification hearing in the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division. At the hearing, a Judge decides whether to treat the minor as a juvenile or as an adult. In making that determination the Judge is mandated to take into account the following factors under Section 6355(a)(4)(iii):

(A) the impact of the offense on the victim or victims;
(B) the impact of the offense on the community;
(C) the threat to the safety of the public or any individual posed by the child;
(D) the nature and circumstances of the offense allegedly committed by the child;
(E) the degree of the child's culpability;
(F) the adequacy and duration of dispositional alternatives available under this chapter and in the adult criminal justice system; and
(G) whether the child is amenable to treatment, supervision or rehabilitation as a juvenile by considering the following factors: (I) age; (II) mental capacity; (III)maturity; (IV) the degree of criminal sophistication exhibited by the child; (V) previous records, if any; (VI)the nature and extent of any prior delinquent history, including the success or failure of any previous attempts by the juvenile court to rehabilitate the child; (VII)whether the child can be rehabilitated prior to the expiration of the juvenile court jurisdiction; (VIII)probation or institutional reports, if any; (IX) any other relevant factors....

In the corporate story, Nick and Burton have to deal with the thorny legal question of whether Nick can continue to represent Davey Electric when he has already represented Maria Braczyk at Legal Services in an emancipation hearing for her son. The problem is that there is a potential conflict of interest; On the one hand he has a duty to represent the interests of both clients zealously. On the other, their interests clash. For example, in representing Davey, Nick might have to address the issue of hiring replacement workers, which would obviously be adverse to Maria's interests. The controlling Rule 1.7 of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania's Rules of Professional conduct states:" A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to another client." There is an exception, where the lawyer reasonably believes that the representation will not adversely affect the interests of the client and the client consents after consultation. This is not tenable in our story so Nick terminates his representation of Maria.

©2002 Almost Human