Friday, August 17, 2012

Night Court!

Harry Anderson wasn't there but we were.

To more fully explain, the wife and I went to a guitar show at a large expo center.  When we came out, there was a ticket on the car for parking in a handicapped spot without a placard.  As the placard was visibly hanging from the mirror, we were a bit confused as to the reason for the ticket.  Apparently someone saw this as a revenue generator (at $250+ a pop).

We chose to fight the ticket.  This was driven home by a loud pounding on the door early one morning.  The tiny little township with the big tickets sent a county marshall to my door to ask me what I wanted to do about the ticket.  He was left-handed and had a rather intimidating gun.  We paid $55+ for a court date and got it in short order.  The wife told me he was rather sheepish after being told I love to watch COPS.

Although we're all in the same county, the courthouse is about an hour away from my little township.  Our first mistake (after going to the show) was to get directions online.   Oh yes, the first few were accurate.  But this is how they reel you in.  As we got closer, the directions got increasingly inaccurate. We left an hour early just in case, which turned out to be a really smart move.   Suffice it to say that when Mapquest says 6 miles, they mean 4 and when they say .8 miles, they mean 3 miles.  No amount of obtaining directions online is ever complete without an additional stop on the way to ask directions.  It's an unwritten law.

The other unwritten law has to do with getting any information at all out of a *%&@ing smart phone when you really need it.  The optometrist told me that when one hits forty, bifocals are generally warranted.  I have what must be the largest and nicest screen on a cell phone these days, but Mapquest was no help here.  I pulled up a map of the area and found the destination but nowhere could I locate where we were at that moment.  I panned, zoomed, cursed, squinted, screamed, and made the device airborne, all to no avail.  Yes, I could have fired up the phone's GPS but I have it locked down for security and have never used it before.

We arrived at the courthouse with ten minutes to spare.  The sign-in/waiting area was mobbed.  After signing in, I started to become aware of some sort of howling coming from the direction of the courtroom.  The din got louder.  And louder.

#*(#$&@@@$))))%$#@! it's not FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Everyone in the waiting room looked up.

#*(#$&@@@$))))%$#@! it's not FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The waiting room started sporting raised eyebrows and smiles.

#*(#$&@@@$))))%$#@! it's not FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It became obvious that a lady with a thick foreign accent was taking exception to the Judge's ruling.

NONONONO#*(#$&@@@$))))%$#@! it's not FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[Judge:] Mrs Smith, please calm down.

NONONONO#*(#$&@@@$))))%$#@! it's not FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[Judge:] Mrs. Smith, I have made my ruling.

NONONONO#*(#$&@@@$))))%$#@! it's not FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[Judge:] Mrs Smith, please leave the policemen alone and leave the courtroom.

GODOHMYGONONONONO#*(#$&@@@$))))%$#@! it's not FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[Judge:] Mrs Smith, I'm trying to be patient but you're about to be charged with disturbing the peace.

GODOHMYGONONONONO#*(#$&@@@$))))%$#@! it's not FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[Judge:] Mrs Smith, please leave or the policemen will take you into custody.

GODOHMYGONONONONO#*(#$&@@@$))))%$#@! it's not FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GODOHMYGONONONONO#*(#$&@@@$))))%$#@! it's not FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At this point, Mrs Smith comes wailing through the corridor, screaming about how it's NOT FAIR, and requiring two policemen and a phalanx of lawyers to escort/carry her from the building.  One lawyer tried to intervene because it was the decent thing to do.  She wailed and hit him.

What, to my wandering eyes, did appear but Her Honor, resplendent in judicial robes.  She called the 6:00 sitting.  It was extremely difficult to ignore the fact that Her Honor could have been referred to, under different circumstances, as Her Hotness.

Her Hotness, I mean Her Honor, was interrupted while calling out names by none other than Mrs Smith, who had re-entered the building and was in the process of being re-escorted out by the police.  The police, for their part, deserved medals.  This crazy person all but assaulted their chests in the parking lot and they just stood there, politely urging her to just get in her car and drive home.

The 6:00 seating began with a Welcome to Night Court from the judge.  She added that this entire brouhaha was over a ticket for driving without lights.  Apparently the policeman who pulled her over was going to give her a warning and she started the histrionics on the spot.  I suppose it was a harbinger of things to come.  From her tone, you would have thought they were trying to take away her baby (or worse, her puppy).  Apparently this was Standard Operating Procedure for Night Court.  I mentioned to the wife that I'd like to throw myself upon the court's mercy and she laughed, as did the attorney behind us.

We had no idea what to expect.  It's not like either of us spend a lot of time in court for any reason.  We drive by a few.  The entire event was fascinating.  My wife said she could sit there all night and watch the proceedings.   The judge was engaging, intelligent, and impartial.  Every case except ours was speed-related and to watch her work with them was interesting.  She really sought to educate and give them one break.  Apparently in the country and her area specifically, males 25 and under are the most dangerous on the road (I though it was people with cell phones; people at work tell me it's African American women in large, dark SUVs).

When my turn came, I gave a brief summary and the judge immediately said, "Dismissed."
Those were two very sweet syllables.  My wife, who is professionally nervous, finally started breathing again.  That was three-hundred dollars that could go to other trivialities, like food.

My wife, the wise woman, noted that the judge was `expensive', by which she meant her shoes were in the several hundred dollar category.  I added that hitting on the judge probably wouldn't have helped our case either.  She agreed.  My wife has to put up with a lot, being married to me.

Bravo to this part of the county's judicial system.

However, someone should probably question giving expensive tickets to people coming to the county's huge expo hall, then sending a county marshall out to enforce them.


  1. What, no pics of judge hottie - and you didn't ask her about a threesome?

  2. There's probably an entire additional blog entry about Things You Shouldn't Do in Night Court but I don't think I'm up to writing now. Strangely enough, I did think of you when I posted the story.