Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Court Date

So we got something from the court that told us our date was June Somethingth. Our attorney (paid for by the fabulous legal insurance plan at work) attended that hearing and then advised us that our new date was August 2. I patiently waited for another letter from the court to confirm, and had received nothing by July 31, so I sent Attorney Lawyerman an e-mail. He confirmed that we were to show up for the 1:30 docket, but that he had not heard anything from the prosecutor.

Son went to band rehearsal and came home shortly after 11:00. We got gussied up in matching black suits and headed into downtown.  I intended to be there by 12:45, but due to a comedy of errors, I made it into the right place at 1:23. Our lawyer was somewhere in the building, according to the lady behind the bulletproof glass, so we sat and waited and watched the people. My observation of the day, which was corroborated by our attorney, is that people don't seem to take court seriously any more.  Son and I had on our funeral suits.  The next-best-dressed person who was not a lawyer was a teen of middle eastern descent who was wearing black cotton pants and a black long-sleeve shirt.  After that, it was the kid who looked like he was from Tidy Suburb (or similar white-bread suburb) who was wearing jeans and casual shoes and his fashionable long-sleeve shirt, no tie, with the sleeves rolled up and a massive dose of entitlement. After that, it was shorts and t-shirts all around.  Those kids all ended up paying their tickets. Our lawyer kept up a whispered commentary about what was going on and why those kids' sartorial and behavioral decisions were contributing to the fact that all of them walked out with tickets in hand and directions to pay up at the window.

 The bailiff was a tall, imposing, older man whose job it was to keep the courtroom moving. When one of the kids approached the door to the room, the bailiff told him to tuck in his t-shirt. Our lawyer leaned over to us, and whispered, "That kid just got the best advice he's gotten all day, and he doesn't even know it. The bailiff has a thankless job, but you'll notice that he's trying to keep these kids out of trouble."

 Our story was a bit different, though.  The fresh-faced, just-out-of-law-school prosecutor woman in her knee-length skirt and six-inch heels (flaunt it if ya got it, I guess) had lost Son's file and hadn't prepared anything for the hearing, including subpoenas for the sheriff deputy. Our lawyer smiled and nodded as she was explaining a deal she wanted to make. Then he mentioned that this was the same deal he used to hear about 20 years ago, and that he would decline it for now, but that he'd get back to her. I guess he was punishing her for not doing her job.  It threw her off a bit.

 When we got into the courtroom, the magistrate seemed a bit taken aback that we were suited up and polite. I guess she had been irked with all of the other people before us. Our lawyer did his required introduction in his most stentorian tone, which also seemed to throw off the prosecutor.  The magistrate actually had to prompt the prosecutor by saying, "Would you care to go over the facts before the court?"  The prosecutor blushed, shuffled the papers, and then described what had happened. There was some back-and-forth, which included Son responding with "Yes, ma'am," and "No, ma'am," as I had coached him, and then the magistrate explained the offer - if Son has no more moving violations in the next 90 days, this ticket just goes away along with all of the fines and fees. If he gets another moving violation, then it all comes down at once. We took the deal, and the prosecutor sighed with relief, because she didn't get caught out being completely unprepared.

 We got out just before the next block of cases was supposed to start.  We were exhausted. We got into the car, and Son asked, "What do we do next?"  I told him that we would get some late lunch, head home, and just relax. He leaned back in the car seat and said, "Chillin' with my dad."

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