The Law Is Here To Clean Up The Streets

, , , | | Legal | June 17, 2018

(I’m a new legal assistant in a district attorney’s office, and have only recently moved to the state, so I haven’t had contact with many locals. The phone rings:)

Me: “District Attorney’s office. This is [My Name]. Can I help you?”

(I write down the caller ID’s phone number and displayed name.)

Defendant: “I need to speak to the district attorney.”

Me: “He’s not in right now. Can I take a message?”

Defendant: “Why the f*** would I want you to take a f****** message?! I want to speak to the f****** district attorney! I don’t want to leave another f****** message!” *lather, rinse, repeat in variations*

Me: *in every pause he makes* “Sir… Sir… Sir… Sir…”

(I hold the phone away from my ear, so the other legal assistant can hear, too, and look over at her.)

Coworker: “That’s [Defendant]. Just hang up. He’s the guy who lives in the abandoned hotel in [Tiny Town] and who the [Small Town] librarian had to kick out because he was trying to bathe in the library bathroom sink, and left the bathroom so filthy you wouldn’t believe it. And just wait until you see him in court!”

Me: “I’m afraid to ask what he’s done in court.”

Coworker: “He’ll take off his shoe and sock, and the bandages, and show the judge his amputated toes.”

Me: “You can’t make this s**t up.”

(THIS time, he claimed to have MRSA!)

911, How Can We Ignore You?

, , , , , | | Legal | June 16, 2018

(I come home from work at night to find a group of teenagers standing in the middle of the parking lot of my apartment doing drugs. Being a young woman with a small build, I feel immediately uncomfortable having to walk by these boys by myself at night. As I circle around to find a parking space, the boys keep glaring at me and approaching my car menacingly. I finally find a parking space on the opposite side of the lot, but still feel uncomfortable walking to my apartment alone. I call the police to see if they can come out to assess the situation.)

911 Dispatcher: “911. What is your emergency?”

(I go through the process of giving my address, stating that I need police, etc. I finally get on the line with a police dispatcher.)

Police Dispatcher: “What is your emergency?”

Me: “There is a group of teenagers doing drugs in the middle of the parking lot of my apartment.”

Police Dispatcher: “Can you describe anything about the vehicle they’re in?”

Me: “Um, they aren’t in a vehicle. They’re standing around the parking lot.”

Police Dispatcher: “Well, are they standing near a car? Can you describe it at all?”

Me: “I mean the boys are talking to another boy who is sitting with the door open out of a car, the rest are standing in the middle of the parking lot. I didn’t get a good look at the car because they started to approach me as I drove by them.”

Police Dispatcher: “So you can’t give me any descriptions?”

Me: “I mean, I can describe the boys. There are four of them, they are [race] and seem around [age range]. They are all wearing backwards ball caps and baggy shirts, and they are smoking joints and passing small pills between them.”

Police Dispatcher: “But you can’t describe the vehicle at all?”

Me: “There is no vehicle involved! One boy is sitting in his car talking to these guys, but the ones I’m having a problem with are literally walking around the parking lot. From the two seconds I looked at the car, while they were approaching my car, I saw that it was a small car, probably a sedan, in maybe silver or grey. But again, that has nothing to do with my call. I’m calling about the four boys walking around the parking lot doing drugs and hassling me. You can’t miss them! Look, I’m sitting in my car on the other side of the parking lot because they keep glaring at me and I don’t feel comfortable walking to my apartment alone in the dark with these boys here. Could you please send someone out to help me?”

Police Dispatcher: “I’ll try to send someone out to take a look.”

Me: “Thank you.” *click*

(I sat in my car for almost an hour until the boys finally decided to go inside an apartment opposite mine. No one ever came to help me. I called later to ask if something big had happened that prevented someone from coming out to help me. After finding the report the previous dispatcher made about my call, the operator told me a note had been made that the caller was “unable to give a full description of the other vehicle involved” and the call was deemed a low priority. I filed a formal complaint. I’ve always been the biggest supporter of the police department, still am, but I was furious that day at how my safety was completely disregarded by a jaded 911 operator.)

Jail For Life

, , , | | Legal | June 15, 2018

(Years ago, a young friend gets her first moving violation. She is nervous so I agree to go with her for moral support. It is my first time live court-watching in years, so I look forward to it. Most of the cases that day are all young drivers. One case is a young guy, maybe 18. He is dressed casually, but clearly isn’t poor. His answers to the judge seem like he is avoiding answering and is trying to go off-topic. I think to myself, “This young man is an idiot.” No sooner do those words go through my head than I hear the judge say, “Young man, you are an idiot!” Go, Judge! He throws the book at the idiot. My friend, also roughly the same age, is a good kid, behaves properly with the judge, and leaves the court with just a fine. After the cases are cleared, I am still there. I go up to the bench.)

Me: “Judge, I have to say that I’ve done some court watching over the years; some are good, some are bad, but I must say you did a good job handling those kids today.”

Judge: “Thank you very much.”

(We talk for a little while about this and past cases.)

Me: “Is there ever anything you regret dealing with here?”

(The judge looks at me for a moment, but it isn’t to collect his thoughts. He actually has an answer ready for me.)

Judge: “Yes. There was one girl, just 16. She had already been my courtroom several times for speeding, reckless driving, and so on. Each time she said she had learned her lesson, but I had to escalate fines and give her community service, and I finally had to threaten her with jail time. When she did it again I was ready to put her in jail. She pleaded with me not to and since there had been no injury, I gave in. I gave her another fine and community service. She thanked me, and then left, and on her way home decided it was a good idea to race a train to the crossing. If I had given her the jail time, she’d be alive today.”

(Heartbreaking. And this is just one reason I didn’t want to pursue a career in law.)

It’s A D’oh!

, , , , | | Legal | June 14, 2018

(I think my mother’s car has some sort of psychic connection with animals, because my mom quite often has run-ins with deer in our area. She’s already had an accident on her way to work once, so sometime later, she is driving to work really early in the morning, when the street is practically deserted, and is going below the speed limit on a 40 mph road. I don’t know how slow she is going, but she is apparently going slow enough to catch the attention of a policeman. The guy asks for her license and says:)

Officer: “Ma’am, are you aware that you are driving under the speed limit?”

Mom: “Yes, officer, because I don’t want to get hit again.”

Officer: “Pardon?”

Mom: “I recently got into an accident with a deer in this street. I really don’t want to get into another one.”

Officer: “Ma’am, I’ve patrolled this street hundreds of times before, and I’ve never seen a single deer. I think you can go the speed limit.”

Mom: “Then, sir, would you be so kind to look ahead of us real quick?”

(My mom points up ahead of the street and, lo and behold, there’s a doe not twenty feet away, just staring at them.)

Officer: *hands Mom her ID back* “Have a nice day, ma’am.”

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served In Secret

, , | | Legal | June 13, 2018

(We have been called out to a residence who has had the front of their garden driven through by a car. It seems the driver swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle and lost control. He has already offered to pay for the damages. I am taking a statement from the homeowner.)

Homeowner: “I need to get revenge somehow!”

Me: “For what reason?”

Homeowner: “He destroyed my garden!”

Me: “You believe the damage was intentional?”

Homeowner: “Of course not, but I still need to get revenge.”

(She thinks in silence for a few moments.)

Homeowner: “How about setting fire to his house?”

Me: “…”

Homeowner: “Would that be good?”

Me: “I don’t think you should be discussing this with me.”

Homeowner: “Why not!”

Me: “I’m a police officer!”

(I mentioned it to my superior and we agreed to monitor her in case she tried to act. Thankfully she didn’t, and the damage was fixed at the driver’s expense, without any trouble.)

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