Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Wheels of Justice

Yesterday I had my second first-hand experience with the Justice system.

This is the fall-out from the wreck I was involved in back in August.  I am still not entirely clear why this incident went to court -- the fella that hit me received a citation for following too close.  That's not something that usually gets you put in jail, is it?

And yet, here we were, in a court with people who were receiving jail sentences.  Not long sentences -- five days, twenty days -- and most of them were being suspended, in lieu of fines or in favor of probation, but still.

Dr. Skull and I speculated that this guy who hit me maybe had several other accidents on his record.  (We speculate thus from something he said at the scene, to the effect that he had been through this, reporting an accident, plenty of times.)

Anyway.  He had a lawyer, someone we knew socially interestingly enough, the lawyer and the DA talked several times, fencing with each other as far as I could tell.  His lawyer had pictures that my guy had taken at the scene of the accident, which they thought exonerated him (because it showed I had been changing lanes, though both the DA and I and the police officer on the scene felt that made little difference in the case, since the charge was following too close).

This fencing went on for some time, while all the other cases were being swiftly tried or put off to a later date -- several people had failed to show, and had bench warrants issued.  One immigrant was brought into court in chains and the judge levied a four hundred dollar fine for driving without a license, and then informed him he wouldn't have to pay, since they were deporting him.  That was charming.

There was a DUI who plead out: $650 and a six-month suspended license, plus a mandatory educational course.  That was a first offense.  Also 25 days in jail, suspended.

There was a woman who showed up late to court, whose trial date was rescheduled to December, who also got a lecture from the judge on her improper attire.  "You're lucky I didn't issue a bench warrant.  Don't show up late again."

"No, m'am.  I won't."

"And I don't like what you're wearing.  Don't come in here dressed like that again."

"No, m'am."

To be fair, what she was wearing was pretty appalling.  No one except the lawyers was wearing a suit, and a few of the defendants were in jeans and teeshirts; but she had on what looked like a bikini sort of thing under a really tight drape that was cut in a vee down the front and up to her knees on the sides.  The bikini was black and the drape sheer and white.

How my trial turned out:  The guy that hit me lied like a thief on the stand, which everyone, even the judge, seemed to know.  The DA caught him in the lies, openly, several times, during the questioning.

The judge found him not guilty anyway.

I'm pretty much okay with this, though.  He's got two or three little kids, I think, and my car is repaired.  If the outcome was putting him in jail or taking away his license, I don't see what purpose that would have served.

I hope  he slows down on the roads from now on, though.

And my foray through the court system has been educational, I must say.

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