Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The world of Traffic Court

What a morning. I spent all morning in traffic court. I was guilty of the crime of driving with an expired state inspection sticker. I chose to go to court to take care of this matter because there's always a chance that the fine will either get lowered or possibly the case will be dismissed.

I arrived about 25 minutes early for my arraignment. I thought this would be appropriate because of the various metal detectors/security screening checkpoints that I would encounter. I must have a jacket that was sewn with metallic thread. I beeped and squawked as if I were made of solid lead. So I had to be a human cross for about 2 or 3 minutes while I was screened to find out what exactly was causing the ruckus. I took off the jacket then resumed my "iron cross" position. Apparently the metal rivets that hold my shoe laces to my boots were causing a large amount of magnetic interference. Hmmmm.

After my interrogation I look at the docket displays on the wall, find my name and seek the appropriate courtroom. I find an open seat on a bench and await the proceedings. I find it unbelievable that people show up to court in such rag-tag clothing. I would think that we, the defendants, would rather impress upon the judge that we know how serious our situation is and that we dress in the correct (business smart) fashion. But no, there are athletic jerseys, untied sneakers, ripped flannel shirts, t-shirts and the like. The judge enters, we all stand, the docket begins. We get the "no cell phones allowed" lecture. We also get the "No talking, eating or reading" lecture. The judge begins with all the motions: motions to dismiss, motions to continue and other legal things like this. Ten or fifteen minutes later the actual proceedings begin.

I sit there and watch as the judge calls out a name "Jose Jimenez Ortega Oliveira Rodriquez" three people stand up. None of them is the man the judge is asking for. (By the way that was not a name that was called, that was an example.) I sit through "do we have an Arabic translator here?" "Does he speak Farsi?" and "Hablas Anglais?" for about another hour and a half. Finally my name is called. I proceed to the lectern and answer the judges questions with a "Yes Sir, Your Honor." The judge turns to me and says "Well as long as the trooper has no problem with it, your case is dismissed. Thank you for coming in sir." "Thank you Your Honor."

Time well spent, I'd say.