I Sentence You To A Year Of Awkwardness

, , , , , | Legal | April 3, 2020

At the start of my final year of high school, the school makes us all undertake a week of work experience. As I want to study law at university, I go to a local criminal solicitors’ firm. On my last day, one of the solicitors suggests I might be interested in going to a sentencing with him. On the way to the court, he tells me the client’s name and that they’re being sentenced for mugging someone. He parks the car, and we get out and start to head up the steps outside the court.

Solicitor: “Ah, that’s the family on the steps. Come on, we’d better go say hello. It’s polite and, you know, we’ll have to lend a bit of emotional support. I’ll also check they’re okay with you shadowing.”

Me: “Got it.”

I obediently follow him to a huddled group. As we approach, they fan out and say hello. I glance at them and then frown because one woman seems weirdly familiar. The woman is staring at me, as well.

Solicitor: “Hi, all. I just thought I’d come over and–”

Woman: “Don’t you go to my school?”

Everyone pauses and looks at me.

Me: *Very meekly* “Hi, Mrs. [Woman].”

It turned out that the client was the nephew of a teacher at my school. I hadn’t had any classes with her, so the surname hadn’t really rung a bell. Her family was incredibly lovely about me being there, saying it was at least nice that one of the teacher’s students could get some good out of it, but the teacher didn’t come into the courtroom — I think because I was there. For the remainder of the year, whenever we passed each other in the corridor, we couldn’t quite look each other in the eye.

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Does This Mean Google Maps Provides Legal Advice?

, , , , , | Working | March 18, 2020

(Many years ago, before cell phones and even before personal computers are common, I receive a court summons. I’m not familiar with the location of the courthouse, in a town over an hour away from where I am residing, and I can’t find a map that lists it — neither the mailed summons or phone book I find in the local library have a street address, just something like “Courthouse Square” — I call a week or so before the hearing date to get directions. My bad; the very short conversation goes something like this:)

Receptionist: “Thank you for calling [County] court; how may I direct your call?

Me: “I’ve received a summons to appear at a hearing on [date] and I’m unfamiliar with where the courthouse is located. I’ll be entering town on the main highway from the west; could you provide directions or connect me with someone who can?”

Receptionist: “I’m sorry, I’m not allowed to provide legal advice.”

Me: “I just need directions from the highway to the courthouse. I’m not asking for legal advice at all!”

Receptionist: “I’m sorry, no one is here who can provide you with that information. As I stated, I’m not allowed to answer legal questions. You’ll need to contact your attorney. Have a great day!” *disconnects the call*

(I didn’t have an attorney as I’d been called to be a witness and was not a party to the suit, but I did eventually find the courthouse, just a block off the highway, no thanks to her. Although, upon arrival, I discovered that the civil matter I’d been summoned for had been resolved out of court days prior, my presence wasn’t required after all, and no one had bothered to let me, or at least two other witnesses, know.)

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Unfiltered Story #189075

, , | Unfiltered | March 12, 2020

I work in a County Courthouse. Much of my day is printing old record documentation for customers. A woman comes in wanting copies of her husband’s arrest records. Despite looking under every conceivable spelling and combination of his name, I cannot locate any records from our county.

Me: Ma’am. I am not finding any records for your husband. When did the arrest take place? (I was thinking perhaps it was an absurdly old case that may require searching the microfiche)

Her: Oh, it was from 2007.

Me: Records from 2007 should be on the computer. I’m not finding anything. Does your husband have a hyphenated name by chance?

Her: No. I don’t understand why you can’t find him. I have copies right here, I just need court certified ones.

Me thinking to myself, it would have been way easier to give me that to start with since there would be a case number on those documents…She hands over the documents. I look at them and just what to slam my head against the desk.

ME: Ma’am these records are from Maryland. You would need to contact the county he was arrested in to find out how much they charge for certified copies and where to send the request, payment, and self addressed stamped envelope for them to process the request.

Her: You mean you can’t do it? I have the documents right here. I just need them certified.

Me: Ma’am, that’s not how this works. I can only provide you with certified copies of records from this county. I can only certify documents that I have personally looked up, printed, and verified as accurate.

Her: But I just need you to certify them!

This went round and round for awhile. I don’t think she ever got it. Eventually she stormed out, still muttering that she just needed them certified. Sadly this happens very frequently.

No Judgements, But Your Spanish Sucks

, , , , , | Legal | December 17, 2019

A buddy of mine told me this story. He is at the courthouse to pay a parking ticket when a woman approaches him and asks him, in Spanish, if he would help translate for her. My friend only speaks rudimentary Spanish, but he figures it is just filling out the paperwork, so he says yes.

The woman leads him to a window and tells the clerk, “This is my translator.” The clerk directs them through a door. It turns out to be an office. The man in the office at the desk introduces himself as a judge.

At that point, my friend is very confused and quickly asks the judge what exactly is going on. Turns out, the woman is here to dispute a ticket and they don’t have a translator on the grounds. They called someone, but he won’t be in until that afternoon, and the woman doesn’t want to wait. So, she went out and found the nearest Spanish-speaker on her own.

My friend then tries to tell the judge about the misunderstanding and that his Spanish isn’t the best. The judge only looks at him and says, “Did you tell her you would help her?”

My friend says yes.

The judge replies, “Well, then, if you said you would help her, you’re going to help her.” My friend just sits there, astounded, while the judge launches into the questioning.

Luckily, there’s a happy ending. It turns out the woman was in the subway with her baby, and unbeknownst to her, the baby dropped a toy. A policeman nearby then wrote her up on a ticket for littering — yes, really! Of course, the judge thought it was stupid and dismissed the ticket, so it was all over in less than thirty minutes.

But my friend still can’t believe the judge insisted!

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Unfiltered Story #177718

, , | Unfiltered | November 17, 2019

(Due to a set of confusing circumstances, I get pulled over for driving a vehicle with an expired registration. The cop gives me a ticket to pay off, which me and my Mom go do to so the following Friday as the ticket clearly states that there is a minimum of 4 days for us to come in to pay it. It also states that if we do not pay the ticket before 14 days have passed, they can put out a warrant for our arrest. We approach a clerk and give her the information she needs.)

Clerk: “Okay… And this would normally cost about $50, but since you’ve come in before 21 days have passed I can bring that down to $20 for you.”

Mom: “Oh, good! Wait… 21 days? But the ticket says we have to come in before 14…”

Clerk: “You would be surprised how many people come in after that.”

Mom: “Seriously?”

(The clerk nods, and we pay the ticket and leave.)

Me: “People really put it off for that long? But it says a maximum of 14 days!”

Mom: “I don’t know…”