LA Times LogoLA Times | James Queally - The first case Bruce Nickerson took on as a young trial attorney seemed straightforward.

His client had been arrested when a San Jose police officer saw him engage in lewd conduct inside a booth at an adult bookstore. Prosecutors offered the man a plea deal that would have spared him from jail time and registering as a sex offender.

For most attorneys, the deal would have seemed like a gift. But Nickerson had a plan, and urged his client to take the case to trial.

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