19 November 2008

Courtroom Drama Episode 8-And Justice Will Be Doled Out Like Trader Joe's Charlie Bears

All right. Started out the day, practicing my statement. No one here really all that interested. Thanks to all my pals that helped me out making it sound better. Not the pals pictured here. Pals like Donna and Bev and Mary. Good writers, all of them. No one wanted me to get up there umming and uhing and sounding like a dork. Wanted a nice, concise statement about how we used to self police ourselves, and now it's up to grouchy old rangers to treat lowly dog walkers like the new scarey people out there, and how it's all one big crummy situation now, so therefore, Not Guilty! But they helped me say it WAY better! So I sounded like a nice lawyer or marketing lady at least.

I saw Officer Borreson walk in from the parking lot at the courthouse. Saw her big ranger truck parked out front. She stood right across from the bench I sat on to wait for the courtroom doors to open. We both got there early. That was some good advice that Chris the hitman and Snoop the hitwoman gave Michael, the hitman in training, on the Wire. Always get there early. Not sure why I thought that applied to court, but I consider myself somewhat postmodern in my legal source getting so that's the advice I followed. Not sure if she recognized me in my financial advisor with glasses disguise. I think not. A dog walking comrade joined me on the bench. Super nice of him to come!

So there are a lot of cops, a lot of citizens, the usual court mish mash cross section of our fair city. We all scurry in to get seats.

First thing, we do the All Rise thing, and where is Judge Kim?

Oh My Gawd! She's not here and this is a new judge. Who introduces himself as a temp. A Pro Temp. His name is Judge JD Wells. He looks like one of those guys that is on a lot of tv shows, usually the kindly shopkeeper or the friendly farmer or the high school principal that really wants those football players to do well in school AND play in the big game. He called the roll. When he called my name, I saw Officer Borreson peek over at me out of the side of her eyes. Here I am! We both had the same hairstyle. But hers had bangs. She looked about the same as she did on ticket day, way back in July. Maybe lost a couple pounds. Looking Good Officer Borreson!

So lots of administrative blah blah blah. And then, guess who is going to have the Very First Case! That's Right! No sitting around and waiting here, Laura Hartwick vs. The State of California is up.

So we both approach the bench. First thing, I think that my temp judge has maybe screwed up since he didn't swear us in. But I am thinking, probably shouldn't be reminding him of that, not nice manners when you are the defendant? Miss Manners, help me out here? So I just keep my trap shut. Officer Borreson gets to go first reading her statement about the day of my ticket.

And boy oh boy. Am I thrown for a loop because she says some lies.

So I might be a lot of things. But a liar, I am not. Maybe she just got some stuff wrong. But she says I only put 2 dogs on leashes, and pulled out a red camera to photograph her gun. Uh, guys. I put everyone on a leash instantly. My camera, not red. And I was taking pictures of them both. She also totally makes up this statement that I said about knowing all the rules and reading them on the sign and just saying I will disregard the rules anyways. Said they asked me to leave the park, not threw me out. So I am sort of weirded out by that. Just not how I thought it would go. Duh, I am guilty. But do you have to do this weirdo embellishing to make your Ranger self look better?

So when she finishes, Judge looks at me. Asks if I have any questions for her.

Miss Manners, I am not sure if, "How come you just made all this shit up?" is appropriate question for cross examination period, so I just tell the judge No.

Then he says it's my turn to go.

I say, "Well, I had a prepared statement to read. But I am kind of thrown because the officer just said all this stuff that wasn't true." I just look at him like, help me out here. You're the judge and she gots a gun and duh, ya see why I like to take pictures of stuff?

He says, "Your case isn't dependant on the details of what you said or what you were photographing or when you put dogs on leashes. The only thing we are talking about here is whether or not you were guilty for having your dogs off of a leash, which she did mention. So you don't need to be concerned about other things she said."

That makes me feel better. And then even better when he's like, uh oh I didn't swear you guys in and here, can you sign a thing that says that and then he swears us in and then we're all sworn.

But he does ask her, "Do you want to change any of your statement after being sworn in?"

I am totally staring at her. She just shakes her head no.

So then it's my turn. I read my piece. I do an ok job. Not great but not sucky. I make eye contact with the Judge a lot. Starts out something like this, won't bore you with the whole thing:
The self policing that's historically always taken place in Lighthouse Field by dog walkers such as myself was a huge benefit to the city. The eyes and ears of the dog walkers created a consistent presence that kept those hours safe, and illegal activity at bay. Now, most of these eyes and ears are gone, and those of use who continue to cautiously walk there are villafied by the state, and are now in the same category as the drug dealers, drug users, and campers.

Just then, this guy bursts in from behind me, saying, "I'm from the Friends of Lighthouse Field and I'd like to say something!" It's a nice older white haired gentleman, and he has just appeared from nowhere. Like Glinda the Goodwitch, just sailed in in her bubble, in a polo shirt. I hadn't heard anything from any of the Friends of Lighthouse Field. Just thought you guys were over it, guys. Cuz ya don't really let me know you're out there!

It is super inappropriate. To just sort of bust out into a court case. Like I've been working on this thing A LOT and what if he is going to screw it up for me now? I forget what else he wanted to say. He's just trying to help out. Thank GOD it was not Judge Kim is all I can say. Man oh man would she have been pissed. I'm sorta like, huh? Hi FOLF guy. Uh, Thanks? Judge has him go sit down.

So Judge says to me, and I have to paraphrase this because could not deal with taking notes at this point, "I agree with you! I like dogs. I have a dog. I think dogs should be allowed off leash in Lighthouse Field. But unfortunately, this is a court of law and you broke the law. And much as I agree with you, you broke the State's law."

I think I nod in agreement or something. I know, I know. I don't feel guilty, but according to the state and their handmaiden henchman Officer Borreson, I am guilty.

The nice FOLF guy has lept up again and is asking about community service. Me and Judge JD Wells, we hadn't even gotten to that part of our little conversation yet. We're all just sort of surprised, this FOLF guy back there piping up with all sorts of things. But I am like, yeah, what's the deal on the community service? Can I pick who I do it for?

Judge is all for that. I don't think he really wants to give me a fine, that's what I think. I bet he used to walk his dog out there. I googled him. Regular attorney in town. He donates money to the homeless shelter. Looks like a stand up guy. Doesn't shame me, just on to the next docket item, and that's that's that.

Dogs, sort of don't really care when I get home and go over how it all went down with them. I am sort of weirded out by the legal system, how a cop can just say anything they want, even if not all true. How often does that happen and do a lot of people go to jail because of it? A new thing to worry about. Along with global warming and what is wrong with Otterpop's brain and what REALLY happens to us when we die.

Black Beauty, very interested in stuff like this, the twists and turns people's lives take in the legal system. Everyone else, just all, So we going out to Lighthouse Field to run around now?

You bet.


Anonymous said...

Yay!!! Jupiter returned to Mars!!! No Judge Kim, Good Judge Wells! Everything went wells!!!!! You deserved a break today, and so got up and got away! (Now, think hallelujah chorus!)

Elayne said...

Cops lie all the time. As a teenager I worked at the gate of the lakefront/beach area of suburb of Chicago and though I was technically employed through the park district I had to check in at the police station every morning and listen to the cop radio all day long. Never ever trusted any cop after that summer and that was just a sleep suburb. I know a couple of DA's in a major city who prefer the company of their clients to the cops. One of them refuses to call the cops for anything no matter what sort of help he needs.

I was excused from jury duty for admitting to the judge that if there was testimony from a cop and it came down to his word against anybody else's I would assume the cop was lying.

Double S said...

Oh phew Captain, so glad that you emerged unscathed. Slightly shaken, def not stirred? Judge Wells sounds like a swell guy, I guess he understands the dilemmas dog folks face but he still has to be the Judge and Hand Down the Law n' stuff. Am so glad you got community service! Would that involve visiting old people in nursing homes with a certain young dog on a leash??

As an aside, how was Officer Borreson's hair color makeup scheme? Was it as matchy as it was on arrest day?

Ellen said...

It just shows, no matter how much you plan, life always throws a curveball. And a friendly judge. I have no doubt your staring at the crooked cop with the penetrating focused gaze was justice served. Good work!

OBay Shelties said...

You are my hero. Way to go!

dlpughe said...

Laura and Team Small Dog. I was cheering you on all day and am so glad the outcome was somewhat positive---and maybe they'll let you volunteer at the Dog Shelter, though there is the distinct risk that Team Small Dog may grow still more with that option. We've been reading your posts faithfully, always amazed by your humor and original eloquence---and so happy that Mister Dog got to travel in your pack for a day. You looked swell in your court clothes and triumphed in your own way. And the mean rangers are left with a pack of lies, you with your glorious pack of small black individual personalities bursting with agility talent and amusing quirks. Endlessly.

We salute you and Team Small Dog!

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Blitzkrieg doesn't like Charlie Bear treats. Now I think I know why.

Dog's should be allowed to run off leash. Homeless drug dealers not so much.

Anonymous said...

You my friend are nothing if not an ignorant bag of hot air. I am sure that you are one of those sheep who hate the sheepdog until the sheepdog has to save your ass.