Monday, July 9, 2012

Courtroom confessions #3 or "The day I got thrown out of court..."

Warning: This post may be hard to follow--it has been weeks since I started this and since I have written anything really, and my children are home with me now, so you know what that means!  If you can't stick with it, I don't blame you. Just don't give up on me...I will be back again. It may be months from now, but I will be back!

I'm not sure why I called that little "series" a few weeks ago Courtroom Confessions, but I'm pretty sure that I thought I was clever. It is yet another one of those times when I want to go back in time and kick myself in the shin so that I can spare myself the embarrassment of doing something stupid. Like when I thought it was okay to make out with my psychotic boyfriend in the halls of my high school.  Or when my tenth grade English teacher told me to write about my most prized possession (I just realized that I typed POSITION instead of possession right there--THAT would have been awkward. I'm right back to the Beavis and Butthead  brain again...) and I chose to write about said boyfriend. Even typing this I feel a little queasy about it. Even if he HAD been normal, REALLY, sixteen-year-old me? I can only assume that I wrote it so that he would see it, but even THEN...REALLY?! My husband and I can barely write cards to each other without laughing through minor sappiness (like "I love you..."  (which is about as sappy as we get--at least as far as YOU know. Even right there I feel a little weird that I'm writing about it to you). And making out in PUBLIC?! My husband would rather PEE in public than make out or fight in public and I feel like I don't blame him. When I "chat" with high school friends on facebook, all I think is, "WHAT must these people think of me?" Hopefully, like me, they have their own concerns about "high school them" and have no desire to remember high school me. HOPEFULLY.

So I am sticking to Courtroom Confessions because at the time I thought it worked...even if there was only ONE confession--the other was just a story and it didn't really even take place in a courtroom--and it wasn't even about ME--quite a stretch with that title. It all stemmed from my actual courtroom confession--the one I promised to share and then never did. In my defense, there have been illnesses and trips and power outages and children out of has been mayhem, but I'm not going to let that stop me anymore...

Now that it is finally time for this story to be told, I am pretty sure that it will end up being a dud. I placed too much pressure on the story--your expectations are too high--it is destined to fail. Even so, I seriously need to tell it because it is one of those stories that makes you think, "Noooo--that didn't REALLY happen that way, did it?!" and I am here to tell you that YES. IT. DID.

So a few Tuesdays ago(when I STARTED writing this it was "a few Tuesdays it has been MONTHS)--when I was on another blogging sabbatical--I had to go to court because of the accident I had in April. The officer said that it wasn't necessarily my fault, but the crazy-lunatic other driver had the right of way, so I got the ticket. He told me that if I fought it in court, it would more than likely be dismissed. Great news, I know. He told me that I needed to go on a certain day at 9:00 and sit there until I was called. No problem. Only the FIRST time I went to court, my name was not called.

Let me first explain that our court sucks. It does. It is set up for repeat offenders. They assume that everyone walking through the door (or setting off their alarm) has been there before and therefore knows what to do. Only, everyone has to have a first time, right? So I walk in, set off the alarm and they tell me not to worry. Actually, they couldn't contain their annoyance at the fact that I paused after I beeped and both guards (who were not manning the station) yelled across the room for me to JUST come in already. Nice. Nice because I could have brought in a weapon and by the end of the day I was wishing I had. Just kidding. Kind of...

I know I don't necessarily look like a terrorist, but isn't that the point? And terrorists aren't the only bad people who may or may not bring weapons into a court room. What about irate mothers? I am DEFINITELY one of those more often than not. Or crazed wives? I could certainly pass for one of those. Possibly even a disgruntled woman who was trapped in court for eight hours? THAT is who I was by the end of the day.

After the beeping debacle, I walked in circles trying to find someone to answer my questions. Starsky and Hutch (Mutt and Jeff?) were no help and the line to speak to one of the eight people playing solitaire on their computers behind the bullet-proof glass put the line (and the service) at the DMV to shame.  I decided to open some doors to investigate. One room was an office of some sort--I cannot express to you how very happy I am that no one was in there. One room was for storage. I decided to try one more door and it seemed to be the courtroom, though I wasn't sure considering how loud it was and how much fun everyone seemed to be having. 

Let me take a moment to describe how people go to court these days. No offense to those of you who may fit into this category--I am just an old lady I guess. As I looked around, there were more people in their underwear and pajamas than there were people in street clothes. And by "street clothes," I mean STREET clothes. You know--clothes that are worn to walk the streets. Like for selling things--like your body or drugs. I am no good at math, so I won't pretend to know percentages, but over half (not so great at fractions either, but I'll give it a go) of the people were wearing some sort of pajamas or undergarments (boxer shorts, bras, undershirts...) as clothing. About two thirds of the others were wearing jeans and a T-shirt, and the rest  of us wore dresses or suits or something a little fancier (and a lot less comfy) than jammies or jeans. It turned out, the men in suits and the women in dresses were the attorneys. So I looked a little ridiculous and felt a bit over dressed. And I really longed for my jammies...

A few minutes after I found my seat (away from others with my fully charged Kindle because we KNOW how much I love to chat), we were all told to stand for the "honorable" judge and we did. There was still a bit of chatter around the room, but the judge went about his business anyway. After a while, I was worried. He seemed to be going alphabetically and he was on J--I'm C. I felt like I had missed an important part of the day--like checking in maybe? I didn't know, so I stepped out  to the never-ending-line to see. When I tell you that they barely had one person working, I am not even slightly exaggerating. The one (out of EIGHT) girl was running around back there, but would stop to chat with her coworkers as if she didn't have a line of fifty waiting to be seen. I actually don't blame her as much as I blame the others who did nothing to help. One woman was DOING HER NAILS. Yes, I know. It makes me want to go back to work just so that I have a chance to actually DO my nails. Unbelievable (yet believable...)!

When it was finally my turn, she asked me what I needed. I gave her my ticket and told her what the officer told me.

"Didjoo plead not guilty?"

"Yes--I mean--no--I mean--that is what I was going to do, but he didn't call me."

She quickly stamped like forty-seven different things in seconds, one of which had a new date for me to appear in court.


"I don't understand...why can't I do this today?"

'You were supposed to call first--you should have called to say that you were going to plead not guilty."

"But the guy just told me to show up--he never said I had to call--now I have to come back..." She handed me back my ticket, only she turned it to the back and highlighted the microscopic print at the bottom which read, "Not-guilty pleas must call with their plea within seven days of their court date." Oops.

So on my new court date, the morning is pretty much the same--Starsky and Hutch didn't even PRETEND to man the doors on this day--only when I was surrounded by my underwear-clad brethren, the judge actually CALLED my name this time. Not to speak, just to see if I was indeed there. I was.

Now I need you to know something about me. Okay--so most of you know this already or at least gathered that it could be true, but for those of you who do not know, I am a talker. That could very well be the understatement of the century, but you get the point. I tell you this because I KNOW that I am a talker. I don't pretend to NOT be a talker. Those of you who had classes with me or worked with me know that I have to go to great lengths to not talk so that I don't get myself or others into trouble. On my court days I made sure that I fully charged my Kindle and started reading a book that I didn't want to put down so that I would be eager to read and therefore not tempted to talk. Like my first visit, I found a seat alone and turned on my Kindle. Within seconds, a woman found the open seat--bench--next to me and started chatting. She was very sweet. She is a single mom--her ex lives in Florida and is unemployed, so her kids will stay with him this summer. She saw Beyonce perform the night before and didn't bring her daughter, so that caused a problem, but she [her daughter] is a good girl who will get over it. The woman was there for driving with an expired registration. With her mother. On Mother's Day. What kind of jerky cop gives a middle-aged single mother who is with her own mother on MOTHER'S DAY a ticket for an expired registration?! People do meth you know--find THEM.

I would continue on with her life, but you get the point. I was trying to read my book, but she was so nice and had so much to say. I figured I needed to pay it forward since so  many people allow me to ramble on about MY life (some of them even READ about it!) and I was truly interested. At about 10:30, my new friend was called to the front, plead her case and then was sent to wait for the prosecutor. She waved goodbye and I was able to get back to this Sarah and her key (in my book--you should read it). At 11:00, the judge left the room. He didn't tell us he was leaving. He didn't say how long he would be gone. He didn't say anything--he just got up and quietly left. At about 11:20 I asked  Bull the bailiff if I had time to move my car because I was pretty sure that they were going to tow it from where I parked. He told me I should have time, so I left. When I came back, there was still no judge. I continued reading and finished my book at about 12:30. I started a new book and hoped it would keep my interest like the last one had. It did. It's a good thing I wasn't reading The Hunger Games or that Christian Grey book--both would have put me in a really bad mindset given the circumstances. We were playing our own hunger games by 2:30...

People were getting restless. I thought of the lack of security and wondered if any of the repeat offenders smuggled any weapons in (though I don't think that it would be considered smuggling if no one bothered to check or to tell them not to do it--there was a sign, though...and people always read and follow the rules on signs, right?) and tried to figure out who I thought would snap (out of hunger and frustration) first. When I realized that it would be ME, I decided I should take a break. I looked at the guy behind me and said, "I am going to do you a favor right now. I am going to get a drink and I am quite certain that the judge will come back the second I leave. You're welcome!" to which he responded, "He'd better..." yeah, he may snap first...

Sure enough, when I returned ten minutes later, court was in session again. I sat down and the girl next to me--another new friend--told me that I had just missed a show. Evidently when the judge walked in everyone cheered and yelled, "It's about time!" The judge was  highly displeased and yelled at everyone to be quiet and to stop acting like children, to which some replied, "YOU need to stop acting like a child and recess the court when you leave!" Maybe I'm glad that I wasn't there...

I have to say, I am torn. Yes, you need to be respectful to the judge, but the man left for like three hours and didn't even recess the court which indicates that HE had no respect for US. I know that I did not eat that morning and that many others didn't either. What if there were people with illnesses or conditions who did not have their medications or who needed to eat? Don't all courts dismiss/recess for lunch and/or bathroom breaks? And doesn't this man owe his court an explanation as to why he left for three hours and did not dismiss us? That said, he IS the judge and deserves some respect for that alone. People were there in their pajamas, with their underwear showing--and almost everyone in that room was talking incessantly--both days, but I am wondering if there was a reason for a lot of it. If you know that you are going to be trapped in a room for eight hours, wouldn't you rather be in your pajamas or your undies?  And maybe they had no respect because they knew that he had no respect...They must have had the inside scoop. Why can't I ever have the inside scoop? I digress...

I told my new friend that I was sorry to have missed the outburst and we both mentioned how rude this guy was. She then went on to tell me that she works for DYPHS and I told her that we couldn't be friends because she would probably take my children away from me. She felt certain that I was mistaken--me not so much. All of a sudden I see the judge stand and point and watched the courtroom in front of me split like the Red Sea as this booming voice yelled, "YOU!  Yes, YOU. Don't act like you don't know who I am talking about . You haven't kept your mouth shut since I got back"

I felt the color drain out of then fill my face. I looked around desperately hoping he was yelling at one of the many other chatterboxes in the room, but there seemed to be no one there. I still was not convinced that he was yelling at me.

"YOU--YOU in the dress. Don't act like you don't know that you've been talking this entire time. Get up here. GET UP HERE NOW!"

Yup. It was me. I still wasn't positive and half hoped that as I stood I would see another victim  woman (or cross-dresser) hobble to the front of the court. Only it seemed that the court was frozen. Silent and frozen. The only movement was my lackluster slithering to the front of the room and the only sound was the beating of my heart, the sweat pouring out of my face (think Ben Stiller circa Along Came Polly. Sweat DOES make noise when there is enough of it and there WAS enough of it. ) and the echo of his disgusted voice. Oh...and the sound of my pounding heart. In my face.


"Nika Corwin."


"Nika Corwin. Sir. your Honor. your Honor, Sir."

"Well, Miss Conrad, HOW DARE YOU come into my courtroom and run your mouth the whole time. I have a job to do and these people deserve your respect. Do you think that they came here to hear YOU speak?"

"No, Sir--I'm so sorr--"

"NO--they did not. GET OUT OF MY COURTROOM. GET OUT. And DO NOT come back in here until someone tells you to. GO NOW."

"Yes, Sir. I'm sorry..."

The walk from the front of the courtroom to the back took hours. I'm pretty sure that the room had never been so silent. It seemed that people were afraid to breathe after this. I stopped for my purse and glanced at my DYPHS friend who was desperately mouthing, "I am SO sorry..." to me as I brushed her off and I finally made it out the door.

Know this about me. I have issues with older men yelling at me. Or talking to me. Or looking at me really. I'm not sure what it is, but I long for approval. When my dear friend Art  got upset with me once, I was devastated. I mean, DEVASTATED. I couldn't stop crying for DAYS. A few years ago, my grandfatheyelled at me for something and I was a bawling mess. It took me weeks to be able to talk to him again without tearing up--and I cannot even TELL you what he said!

This time was no different. This man, however, is nothing like sweet Art or my awesome Papa. This man is a stranger and kind of a jerk. Why I should care about what he thinks is beyond me, but it was more than the fact that I felt awful for getting in trouble. As a grown woman. I left the courtroom, took a deep breath, and lost it. I walked over to a seat in a corner and tried to disguise my sobbing. Within minutes, people started to leave the courtroom and walk by me giving me sideways glances. I thought for sure that they were annoyed with me for ruining their otherwise pleasant courtroom experience.

I looked up a few times to apologize, when a matronly woman said to me, 'Don't YOU apologize--you didn't do anything wrong!"

"Well...I WAS talking..."

"So was EVERYONE! He shouldn't have treated you like that. you were fine--don't worry!"


A younger guy walked out and asked if I was okay. "Yes--thank you! I am so sorry if my talking annoyed you."

"Pshaww! I wouldn't have been able to tell  if you were talking if he hadn't called you up there it was already so loud!"


My first friend of the day came out to sit with me. 

"I CANNOT BELIEVE he did that!  I am so surprised he didn't say anything to ME! I was talking to you all morning! He was making an example of you..."

'Well, it worked! It was SO silent in there when I left!"

"Yeah...everyone is still afraid to talk."

"So it worked..."

She went back in and I made the dreaded phone call to Just Another Tired Daddy.

"What's wrong--are you okay?"

" much do you think the ticket will be if we just PAY it? Because I am thinking that I should just pay it or this guy is going to make me pay MORE."

I proceeded to cry out the details of the last five hours.


"Well...I guess I should just go and we will see what happens."

"'ll be fine."

"Yeah--until he throws me in jail..."

While I was crying to JATD, people kept coming out and telling me that I needed to come back into the courtroom. Not people who worked at the courthouse, you know--other offenders. I was pretty sure that he didn't mean that I should wait for my other friends in crime to tell me to return to the courtroom, but no one else was doing it. And evidently, ten minutes after he threw me out, he left again--and didn't recess the court. People were LOSING THEIR MINDS. With good reason.

After several people (including my "friends" that I had made) came out to encourage me to come back in, i decided to enlist the aid of Mutt and Jeff.

"I was kind of...asked to leave the courtroom..."

"(Chukling) Why--what's you do?!"

"I was...talking..."

"(Still chuckling) yeah--that's not the FIRST time that has happened..."

I'm guessing he meant that it wasn't the first time a person was asked to leave the courtroom because he can't know what a talker I am--can he?!

"Well, people are telling me that the judge is gone again and that I should get in line to see the prosecutor, but I am afraid to go back in there!"

"Well, you have to go back in there!"

"Yeah...but he told me not to go back in there until he sent someone to get me."

"Well, he is gone, so he can't tell someone to come get you. You have to go back in there--this is why you are here! Just go in there, get in line, and for the love of God, DON'T TALK!"

Good advice. Only I wanted to wretch in the corner.  I armed myself with my Kindle and marched into the courtroom with my head held high. inched my way into the courtroom, hunched over with my eyes to the floor. It took several minutes for me to figure out that everyone in the room was talking. About ME.

"That man is lucky he didn't talk to me like that!"

"What a jerk he was to you--good for you for being so nice about it--"

"But I was talking..."

"No one even knew you were talking because everyone else was talking and cussing him out..."

'He was just making an example out of you. He looked out and thought, 'Who won't give me a hard time if I make an example out of them?' and there you were! He had no control of the room and he knew it--especially after not recessing for lunch!"

"Yeah...well, it worked! Though I was talking."

And so it did. One girl who was about twenty could not stop ranting about it. "That man is damn lucky that he didn't call me up there. I was in front of you and I was talking way louder all day. I thought he was pointing at me and then I though, 'Oh hell no,' and ducked down to the side."

"He was probably not even sure who he was going to pick on--you were just the only one still sitting upright when he pointed!"

Throughout all of this I was desperately trying to read my Kindle and not talk. The thought of the judge returning and catching me in conversation horrified me. I looked up as yet another person was coming to my defense and saw JATD walk into the room. Let me just tell you that this is not how our relationship operates.  Or at least, up until this point our relationship did not operate like this. I took care of myself and would come to his defense if needed (and as far as he was concerned, it was never needed. In fact, when I came to his defense, it made him feel uncomfortable because it drew attention and JATD DOES NOT like attention.) and we pretty much fought our own battles. Of course, I told you about last year's events, as far as our relationship was concerned, so this was quite a turn of events. I was actually confused when I saw him.

"HEY! Why are you here?"

"I wanted to make sure that you were okay."


At this point, several  people explain what happened to his wife, the martyr.  I thought his silence meant that he was pissed. At ME. It turns out he was pissed at the JUDGE. Who knew? Well, I guess HE did, but do you think he could tell me? And men say that WE are difficult..

JATD: "So where is he now?"

EVERYONE in line: "He left...AGAIN..."

JATD: 'He hasn't recessed you all day? Not even for lunch?"

Everyone in line: "NO! Can you believe this guy?!"

JATD (to the people in the room and the listening Mutt and Jeff outside the door: "Well, I'm on my way to a meeting with the Senator...I'll ask him what he thinks about all of this..."

Now here is something else you should know. JATD is not a name-dropper. He is not a person who acts like (or even thinks) he is important. I have never heard him promote himself or even act like he knows someone worth promoting. He is humble to a fault. This guy in the courtroom--the one who swooped in to make sure that his wife was okay and who was going to get a senator to beat up a judge? I liked it. Of course, he let us all know (quietly) that his meeting with the senator was about something entirely different and there was absolutely no way the subject of an arrogant judge holding his courtroom hostage would ever come up in conversation, but Mutt and Jeff--and possibly said arrogant judge--didn't need to know that.

It turns out that before he entered the courtroom, JATD asked Mutt--or Jeff--about the general lunch policy.

Mutt/Jeff: "This is court. It's not supposed to be all fun and games."

JATD: "So they don't get lunch?"

MJ: "I don't always get lunch--it's his court--he can do what he wants. Sometimes I am here for twelve hours and I don't get a break. That's just the way it is."

JATD: "Actually, that's not the way it is. There are laws so that it isn't the way it is."

MJ: "Well, I don't know what they are complaining about--I was a cop for fifteen years--they are in there because they are in trouble--whatever the judge decides to do, he can do."

JATD: "So we are eliminating due process now? We're operating under the assumption that everyone who goes to court is guilty? What about in the case of an accident? Are both people just guilty? Why even have court--you were a cop--why couldn't you just carry out the sentence right when you  charged them?"

MJ: "Now that's not what I'm saying..."

JATD: "It kinda is..."


JATD enters courtroom and the previous conversation ensued. After he left, we continued to wait to be called to see the prosecutor. It was all that I could do to stay silent as everyone seemed to want to talk to the girl who pissed off the judge! When I was finally called, so was the mouthy twenty-year old and the guy behind me who desperately wanted to be friends. Part of what took so long that day was the fact that the standing prosecutor was training a new prosecutor. Mouthy and the standing prosecutor had words--though Mouthy could take her in a second.

P: "You really need to watch yourself, this is court."

M: "Don't you tell me to watch myself. I have been here all freakin' (Yup--that is what I am saying she said) day and you tell me to watch myself?!"

P: "You need to be respectful!"

M: "YOU need to be respectful! This is b@!!$^it! Rantrantrantrantrant..."

New lady prosecutor calms girl down, girl pleads case, girl leaves. My turn.

P: "She really needs to learn--she is going to get herself in a lot of trouble, don't you think?"

JATM: "Well, she is twenty and when you are twenty you know everything and fear nothing. (Plus she has been trapped in a courtroom all day with no food or water... is what I was thinking) This, coming from the girl who was kicked out of court..."

Bull, P, NLP all burst into laughter: "That was YOU?!"

JATM: "Yup. Not proud."

NLP: "Well, we are dropping the charges, so you just need to hand the judge this form when he calls your name and then you can go."

JATM: "I have to see him again?"

NLP: "Yes--it will be fine--maybe he'll forget..."

Two hours later (maybe it was only one--my math isn't adding up!), I was dismissed. And his evil glare tells me that he did not forget. Though we didn't take the time to talk about it...

Have you ever heard of a court experience like this one? I'd love to know if other judges abuse their power like this one so blatantly did. I'll take responsibility for talking and being disrespectful, but leaving court for hours at a time and not dismissing people for lunch or bathroom breaks...surely that doesn't happen elsewhere, does it?


  1. I can't even tell you how mad this got me. That guy has no business being a judge at all. I'd like to meet him somewhere outside his courtroom!

    1. I know! I really do wonder how that even happens--you know people have had to tolerate his arrogance for years for him to be so blatant about it--it's disgusting, really...

  2. Man, does that piss me off! What a complete and total jerkface. Your hubs was right in his assessment, in that it appeared as though the judge and the cronies think due process should be thrown out the window. Oh and I totally would have cried too. I cry angry tears A LOT! Awesome read sister...xoxo

    1. I know--I get worked up every time I read a new comment! Thanks for the validation on this one--I know it's really long and I started to lose myself a few times, but I appreciate you hanging in there! And don't you HATE those angry tears?!

  3. Holy Cows!!! That's just plain crazy!!!!!!!!!
    Saw your funny FB post on my wall. For some reason I can't comment, but I loved it!!!
    Don't be such a stranger in blog land!!!! I'll be here waiting for your next post!

    1. I'm glad to see that you haven't forgotten me! I also feel a little better that I am not the only one who has posting issues!

  4. I have only had one incident. I was in small claims suing my old landlord. She lied. And had people lie for her. I had all of my evidence, testimonies, receipts, and witness statements in order. She had her daughter in law. Anyways, believe me when i say it should have been open and shut. I had PROOF. But without even so much as thumbing through my STACK of evidence, the judge says(after hearing the lies from the defendents), to ME mind you,"Little Girl. You cant be sue happy and expect to get money. These two women are business professionals. They have no reason to lie. Case DISMISSED." I was in shock. Like you, I am a talker. But I can sell icecubes to Eskimos. And his decision made me speechless. All i could say was, will you at least look at my evidence? He said he already dismissed the case and to exit the court room. I don't know what the statute of limitations on this case is. But she claims i still owe her $700. And you can bet your butt if she ever sues me for that money i will counter and i will TALK. And my first sentence will be,"your honor, my name is amber. I am a 32 year old mother of 3, and medical biller." Little girl my foot......(i will also bring a friend that's a lawyer just to watch and be able to possibly file a complaint if process isnt followed.)

    1. This makes me SOOOO mad! When I was in grad school, I rented an apartment from a woman and her daughter. They tried to pull something very similar and would not give me my deposit. I wanted to take them to small claims court, but my uncle (an attorney) told me that it would never work in my favor, as they own homes and pay taxes in the town and I am pretty much a nobody. He was right, but it was SOOOO aggravating--just like your case. Keep me posted--I'd like to see you put them in their places!

  5. I've made several trips to traffic court with my daughter recently (she's been having driving issues) and I've never encountered anything like this. Sure, there's an interesting array of people present, but the court staff and judges are all polite, helpful, and even tempered. They all seem to work to explain the process and put everyone at ease. Someone needs to file a formal complaint about that judge.

    1. I know...I bet people always say they are going to complain and then don't--kind of like what I'M doing...I really do need to write a letter...

  6. I just love that you had to clarify what STREET clothes are and what they are for...thanks for sharing the story and for the laugh :)

    1. HA! I'm glad you enjoyed it--I always like to clarify! :o)

  7. Wow, that judge is awful! I've never been in court, other than to get my license for the first time but from what I've heard, many people describe 90% of the people in court wearing their street clothes as well..that probably does not help the Judge's already bad attitude.

    1. I'm pretty sure that man is burned out. Still no excuse, but it has to be hard for him to know that most of society has no respect for him or anyone really--including themselves. I'm sure years ago he was treated with reverence and what he did made a difference. Kind of like teaching, don't you think?!


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