Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I had my day in court.......among other things

Blogging in the summer is a bitch - I'm not around often enough to post regularly - right now all my discipline is going into managing my food and working out.   So, the good thing is, despite a not so great week with this WW thing (worked about a gazillion hours this week and only worked out twice), I still managed to lose a half pound, so I'm down six so far (yippee!!).   I am on a break from my personal trainer, but with her blessing - I'm focusing more on cardio and building endurance right now, once I start getting a good rhythm down, I will go back. 

On to the most exciting part of my week - my day in court.  As you may have read, I was pulled over and had my Pathfinder impounded.  Today was my day to appear.   I was in court 12 years ago to finalize my divorce, so needless to say, I am a neophyte in this area.  I headed out and went into the court administrator - who told me there was no court today...but wait, it's on my Blackberry!  Oh shit....didn't I tell you?  I got ANOTHER ticket that week (it was bad karma car week) because I drove over some crossed yellow lines at the beginning of the passing lane - after three other folks who'd done the same thing, but I was the one the cop picked - must have been that big peace sign magnet on my car - with my Chico's outfit, I must have SO LOOKED LIKE A RABBLE ROUSER.  I digress... I realized that I had crossed the two dates in the calendar.  So I had to run back, pick up the necessary paperwork and skedaddle over to Edgewater Park court.  I knew I'd be late, so I called the court.  I explained that my situation and was told "Oh, don't worry, honey, our regulars sometimes don't roll in here till noon!"  I assured her I had no intention of becoming a regular but thanked her for letting the court clerk know. 

I arrived at court (not at all late - the judge was running a bit behind); and found it FULL.  I entered my plea with the clerk and asked to speak with the prosecutor.  I took my seat and watched the circus begin.  This town is essentially a blue collar town that borders a low income area.  While there are some lovely areas that are being restored (the kids' dad bought in on that restoration trend), there are still many more areas that are home to a lot of immigrants, first generation Americans, and a transient population.  As a result of that, this town has a pretty tough reputation that may or may not be deserved and the police don't cut many breaks.  All I can say is that it was a surreal experience - watching the "regulars" trot up to the judge, greet him and because of their "experience", they have an astounding knowledge of the law.  Two guys were up there because of restraining orders - one, the parents of the victim were vouching for him and he ticked off what was permissible and what wasn't, and the other guy had a mediation agreement not to see some other guy's kids.  They were back in court because the father had seen this other man with his kids, taking them to the bus stop and in the supermarket (I'm assuming the man with the mediation agreement was the present boyfriend of the kids' mother - it seemed there was a relationship between them and she yelled out in the court room).  The kids' father had taken out the complaint and when the judge questioned the defendant, the defendant noted that the father had CALLED him and asked him to pick up the kids!  The father allowed that he had not seen the man around the kids in some time (since the phone call) = there was no crime. The mediation turned into a court order and the men dismissed.  You could hear them out in hallway screaming at each other.  

When they called for everyone that wanted to talk to the prosecutor to make a plea agreement, I went with the crowd.  I do mean crowd.  The line stretched through the ENTIRE building.  It took an hour just to reach the guy - by the time I got to him, he was cranky and ornery, but I got the charge reduced to failure to present insurance and registration, and because it was a first offense, charges were suspended and I only had to pay court costs.  Cool! Great! I can just go pay and leave, right?  No lady, he says, you can just go wait back in the court until the judge calls you.

The next drama was this guy who sauntered up when called and knew as much about the penalties for driving on the revoked list as the judge - except for one thing - when he cockily told the judge he wasn't worried, it was just a 10 day sentence - the judge told him, "Wrong, for you, it's a 20 day sentence"  Everyone in the courtroom cracked up.  The rest of the day went on with DUIs, vandalism and the like.  Three hours later, I finally get called, questioned by the judge and sentenced to pay the court costs.  I leave to go to the court clerk and find an absolute party down by the clerk's office - This one woman who was pressing charges against one person, and trying to get another bailed out of jail had her three kids in tow, her boyfriend trying corral the kids who were bored, tired and hungry and therefore screaming their heads off.  She was chatting with the 20 day guy who was entertaining the crowd....it took another 30 minutes to just get to the window to pay the ticket.  My head was splitting, because one screaming kid was positioned on a bench, right next to my ear.  The clerk told me, "I told you this was old home week - what a party!"  I smiled, paid my court costs and said, thank you so much for your help, but this is one party I hope to never attend again!!

1 comment:

noble pig said...

Oh yeah, I was in court for a ticket and it was every dirt bag I could ever imagine...it was amazing to think it all goes on every day...everywhere...bleck...I'll just keep driving the speed limit!