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Hell’s Ellis Island

February 5th, 2013

“May God Bless and Keep the Tsar…Far Away From Us”

What a fun morning.

I keep getting subpoena’d in a misdemeanor case involving a relative. Someone made a clerical error, and they put me down as a witness. I was not present when the crime took place, so I can’t be a witness. The first time the case came up, I showed up. The second time, I called the prosecutor, and she told me to stay home. This time, I could not get the courtesy of a reply, so I dragged my behind to the Gerstein Building.

In a Facebook status, I called this building dark, grimy, and Dickensian. I think that captures it. It’s as gloomy as a crypt. The last time I went to see one of my relative’s trials (felony, not misdemeanor), the room was so dark it made me wonder if the judge had some kind of problem. It was like the judge’s office in the movie The Natural. This time it was a little brighter, but still not a place where any sane person wants to be.

I dress like a lawyer when I think I’m going to have to speak, but when I’m forced to show up due to a clerical error, it’s work pants and a comfy T-shirt. I took a tablet with me so I could pass the lost time reading John Le Carre. I don’t usually read fiction, but I bought one of his books on a whim.

I was dressed in a way that would have gotten a lawyer cited for contempt in years past, but on this occasion it didn’t matter, and I looked a whole lot better than a lot of the characters in the gallery. One guy was wearing red, black, and white boxers, and we all got a nice eyeful when he stood to leave.

Some kid’s cell phone went off, playing the opening measures of “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees. It must have gone on for fifteen or twenty seconds. He was already on his feet and on his way to the door before he shut it off. The judge didn’t even look up. If it had been me, they would have brought the electric chair out of mothballs just to teach me a lesson, but everyone’s luck with judges is different.

The case was pleaded out. Twelve hours of traffic school, court costs, and a withhold of adjudication. What a waste of my time. I stayed long enough to be sure I wasn’t going to be needed.

The judge issued a pile of bench warrants, and she nolle prossed a whole bunch of cases because the cops didn’t show up to testify. My relative had a whole slew of cops waiting to sing. She allegedly hit one while he was trying to ticket her and then fled the scene. THAT will get them up in the morning to testify. And who can blame them?

I nearly wrecked on the way home. I turned left at an intersection, and some guy came barreling through without slowing down. This is the kind of accident that will get you charged, even though you’re not the idiot. You’re supposed to yield to oncoming traffic, but if someone is absolutely flying, and the visibility is limited, you can do everything you’re supposed to and still get charged. God looked out for me, and I managed to keep from smacking the other vehicle.

I’m finally done with this particular case. I don’t have to show up for all of the other ones unless I feel like it, and guess what? I don’t feel like it. I really hate the courthouse. I didn’t mind it much when I was practicing, but back then, I was jerking the chain. Now I’m always one of the people on the other end of it. A courthouse is where you end up when you get outside God’s protection and land in the hands of the secular government, which is a very stupid and merciless organization. I want no part of it.

So glad to be away from that place. May God help the people who are still stuck there. That building is like the market scene from Soylent Green, except they pass out jail time and devastating verdicts instead of orange dinner rolls.

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