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!

1 Thumbs
607

Marshalling Kids Is Harder Than Catching Criminals

, , , , , | Learning | November 5, 2019

(I’m the kid of a federal defense attorney, and my dad signed me up for a take-your-kid-to-work day event, which takes kids whose parents are employed by the government in the judicial branch and helps them learn all about court, complete with some lectures, sentencing, mock trial, and court marshall activities. We’re on the court marshall activity, and keep in mind that I’m pretty small, especially my wrists. One court marshal asks for a volunteer for a demonstration, and I eagerly raise my hand and he picks me.)

Marshall: “So, we’re going to be showing you how we handcuff people now, with our lovely volunteer.”

(He goes through all the steps and fastens the handcuffs, but I quickly notice they aren’t made for children, so if I squeeze very hard, I can get them off. I hold the cuffs with one hand in front of me while the marshall continues to talk, one hand on my shoulder to demonstrate that you should not let go once they are handcuffed. The other kids start to giggle, noticing I got out.)

Marshall: “What’s so funny?”

Random Kid: “She’s escaping!”

(The marshall looks back at me in surprise.)

Marshall: “Well, I guess you’ve demonstrated the need to keep your eyes on the person you’re handcuffing!”

(Later, on a different activity, he started to teach me a move on how to use my small size to my advantage. He was a pretty awesome guy, especially as a volunteer!)

1 Thumbs
667

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.”

1 Thumbs
343

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!”

1 Thumbs
645

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.

1 Thumbs
540