A National Irony

, , , , | Related | October 4, 2019

While on break from a statewide high school ceremony, my family got to watch as several hundred people were officially made US citizens at the courthouse across the street. It was a very moving ceremony for not only the participants, but we spectators were reminded of the greatness of this country and the spirit of the American dream.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the participants were paraded out to a very American Bruce Springsteen song. My daughter asked me why I was laughing. 

“Because,” I said, “none of these folks were Born in the USA.”

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Dismissed As Quickly As Enraged

, , , , | Legal | August 9, 2019

(I have gotten a ticket for supposedly not coming to a full stop before making a turn. Instead of paying the fine, I decide to go to traffic court to see if I can get it reduced by explaining what happened. While sitting in the gallery waiting for the judge to handle other cases, I can see that he is pretty strict and I start wondering if I’ve made a wise choice by going to court. I really become concerned when the next person, a young man around my age, is called by the court clerk and his charge is read.)

Judge: “You stupid little [expletive]! Didn’t I tell you what would happen if you appeared in my courtroom again?”  

(The judge carries on like this for a few more minutes while the young man stands there looking miserable. I can see that the judge is getting madder and madder. The young man apparently has a poor driving record and has been in this same courtroom several times before. Finally, the judge tells him that his license is suspended and to get the h*** out of his courtroom. While this is going on, I keep thinking, “Please, don’t let me be the next one called!” And, of course, I am the next one called. The clerk then reads the charge.)

Judge: “How do you plead?”

Me: “Technically guilty, I guess, Your Honor.”

Judge: “Hmm, how long have you been driving?”

Me: “About eight years.”

Judge: “Have you had any other tickets?”

Me: “No, Your Honor.”

Judge: “Well, that’s a very fine record, young man. Dismissed!”

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Courting Disaster

, , , , , , , | Legal | April 26, 2019

In his early twenties, my brother went through a rough patch. Although I say, “brother,” he was technically my cousin but was adopted as a small child as his mum — my aunt — was a heroin addict. My brother started to go down a similar path.

Upon returning home one day, my mother had found that he had taken every item of jewelry or value in our home. He had also stolen my engagement ring and TV. He had been stealing for years, but my mum refused to believe it until he went crazy one day and literally stole everything in sight.

We took him to court, and as my mother sat waiting to be called in front of the barristers, a police officer came to inform us that his trial wasn’t going ahead that day.

My brother, being an idiot, had been unable to find a lift to court. Instead, he walked up to the local police station, five minutes after the trial was due to start. He asked them for a ride to the courthouse.

They immediately arrested him for missing his court appointment.

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The Jury’s No Longer Out On Whether They Need An Update

, , , | Legal | March 30, 2019

(I’ve moved from one end of the country to another. Occasionally, my dad still gets a piece of mail with my name on it. Usually, it’s just junk mail, but if it looks official, he’ll open it for me to make sure it’s nothing super important. One day, it’s a jury summons, and we’re both stumped because I haven’t lived in the state, much less his house, in five years. I call his county clerk’s office.)

Me: “Hi. Um, I’m not entirely sure what to do in this situation. My dad got a jury summons for me the other day but–“

Clerk: “Then you need to report on the day indicated.”

Me: “Yes, but I can’t because-“

Clerk: “If you don’t show, you’ll have a bench warrant out for you.”

Me: “Yes, I know, but the thing is, I don’t live at that address anymore.”

Clerk: “Oh, then we need to update our records.”

Me: “I’ll say. I don’t even live in the same state as you and haven’t in several years. I’ve also gotten married, and the summons has my maiden name, not my legal name.”

Clerk: “Oh! Well, we get our records through the DMV.”

Me: “Right, well, I also haven’t had a license registered to that state in five years; I changed it when I moved, and then when I moved again, and then I updated it when I got married, so I’m not sure why your DMV gave you such outdated information. But anyway, I’m obviously not going to be able to go to this jury duty, so what should I do?”

Clerk: “Your dad is going to have to come in a sign a few things stating that you don’t live there anymore and it should be taken care of, but are you sure you can’t come in? I know jury duty can be a pain but–“

Me: “Er, I live thousands of miles away. That’s kind of why I’m calling.”

Clerk: *sigh* “If you say so. Just have your dad bring the summons in and fill out a form and we’ll take care of it.”

(I get a phone call a few days later.)

Caller: “Hello, is this Miss [Maiden Name]?

Me: “That was my maiden name, yes, but I’m Mrs. [Married Name] now.”

Caller: “Ah, yes, I see that. We’ve gotten your request about your jury duty summons, and I’m calling to let you know you don’t have to come to this jury panel.”

Me: “Okay, great!”

Caller: “The next group we have you in will meet in two weeks–“

Me: “Woah, woah, woah. Let me stop you right there. I need to not be in any groups in your county — actually, in your entire state. If you’ll look at the information I’m assuming you have in front of you, you’ll see my father filled out a form and gave you my new address.”

Caller: “Yes, I have that information right here.”

Me: “Perfect. Could you do me a favor and read back what state I live in now?”

Caller: “Zip code is… Oh. OH.”

Me: “Yeah, sorry to tell you, but your records really need an upgrade because I’ve moved states twice since I was a teenager, and I’ve gotten married. I’m legally not a resident of your state anymore. Please stop trying to summon me thousands of miles away for jury duty with really outdated records.”

Caller: “Er, yes. I will… take care of this. Have a good day!” *click*

(Turns out a few of my other hometown friends who’ve moved states have had this happen to them as well. One actually had to go to court because they had no idea they’d been summoned and had a bench warrant out for their arrest! Luckily, it was cleared up very quickly with just a few pieces of mail, their ID, and an understanding judge. I’m glad my father still lives at our old address, though; I can’t imagine the hassle I would have had to go through if my summons had just been thrown out.)

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Was That Drunk Driving Or Drunk Calling?

, , , , | Legal Right | January 11, 2019

(It is my first day as a part-time telephone operator at our district court. I have been given a list of the names of the employees and their respective positions so I know where to transfer the calls, but certainly have not had the time or authorization to know each and every single case they have been working on.)

Me: “[District Court], how can I help you?”

Caller: *obviously irate* “I need to speak to my lawyer!”

Me: “No problem. What’s his or her name?”

Caller: “I just need to speak to him!”

Me: “I apologize, but there are several different lawyers in this building. I need his name so I can transfer—“

Caller: “I need my lawyer! He’s supposed to be handling my case! I was driving drunk two months ago and the f****** police got for me for the third time!”

Me: *sighing, thinking that is way more information than I needed* “Sir, I’d be happy to assist you, but I still need the name of your lawyer to be able to transfer this call to him. As I said, there are more than one—“

Caller: “Just do it! How hard can it be? Is this even [District Court] I’m talking to?!”

(At this point I’m not really sure what to do, so I start guessing from the list of names.)

Me: “Is [Lawyer #1] your lawyer? Or possibly [Lawyer #2]?”

Caller: “Nooo! F*****g incompetent people in this city! This is my taxpayers’ money at work!” *hangs up*

(I was left stunned, just staring at the phone. Had this guy not been driving drunk so often, “his” tax money would not have to be spent on the police investigation or the trial in the first place.)

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