Friday, May 7, 2010

Court Time...

I was sitting in traffic court this morning, waiting for my case to be called.

When roll was called my defendant didn't answer, so I knew I was in for a long wait. You see, when the defendant fails to appear in our traffic court, that case waits until the end to give them a chance to show up.

So I waited...

And waited...

And waited.

My case was called dead assed last.

When my defendant's name was called I walked up to the table and waited to be sworn in. Just then I heard the door open at the back of the courtroom and in walked my defendant. Only two hours after court started.

I guess she didn't want to exceed the speed limit today.

Thanks for showing up.

Maybe next time you could trouble yourself to be ON TIME...

14 comments:

Savage Henry said...

Hey, Officer Smith, I just wanted to say thanks for a great blog. I've spent my free time in the last few days reading the whole thing.

When I got out of the military I wanted to be a cop, and then I got bit by the health care bug. I guess I scratch my itch a little by reading blogs like yours, especially when I don't particularly feel like studying more stupid organic chemistry. Let me tell you, over the past few days while reading your blog, I've actually had the Application page for my local PD open on my browser, right next to my homework. You are not making my MD vs. PD choice very easy to live with, dude!

I'm really glad guys like you are out there. However, since I currently work in an Emergency Department, I hope our paths never cross while we're both working.

Keep your head down, man. Also, please write more. All this procrastination ain't gonna get done on it's own, you know.

Savage Henry

dfeyen said...

wow, that is lenient. I just had a court case this weeek where the defendant did not show. By 3 minutes after the time his case was called, the judge had found him guilty by default, assessed a fine and moved on to the next case.

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

I had a question about court time. Do you get paid the same for your appearance regardless of how long you actually spend at courthouse?

The Grumpy Dispatcher said...

And then you didn't even tell us the outcome? LOL.

Perhaps it was a given, anyway, as you pretty much always win, right?

Clive said...

Officer "Smith":

I found your blog a few hours ago--it was one of several referenced on another blog mentioned on PoliceOne.com. I expected to hit your front page just for a few minutes to skim. I ended up spending more than two hours reading through your archives. Your blog is great: it's entertaining, it's funny when it means to be, it's serious when it means to be, it's effective at conveying frustration you're feeling on the job or off, & best of all it humanizes a motorcycle cop--makes him seem like a human being with all his preferences and proclivities and hopes instead of just a bloodless, abstract emblem of law and order. I'm going to seriously look forward, in the coming months, to catching up several times a week on whatever you decide to share through the blog. You're bookmarked. Many thanks to you for providing the diversion and the counsel.

Officer "Smith" said...

Henry,

I'm glad there are guys like you out there too. We need docs for the times when our training and instincts fail us. We are, when all is said and done, humans. We make mistakes like everyone else.

Here's hoping we never meet like that.

Cleanville,

I was on the clock, so I get paid whether I'm in court or on the street.

I assume you are referring to overtime though, in which case each agency is different. Some pay time for time, some pay a minimum.

For instance I might get paid for two hours of overtime, even if my court only goes for one hour. That is because I have effectively given up my entire morning to come to court on my day off.

Grumpy,

Guilty. But not because I always win. Mostly because defendants rarely come prepared, and manage to lose on their own.

Clive,

Thanks for reading!

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

I am still not totally clear.

I thought it worked so that an officer would not be scheduled for patrol during a court session. So like if a court had three hour session where an officer's case was to come up, then that officer would not be scheduled for patrol during that three hours, and that the officer would be paid for the three hours (with ot, if applicable) whether he spent a half hour at the courthouse, or whether he spent the whole three hours. I didn't think the officer had to go back to the station to work if he was only there for a half hour and not for the full three (or two or four or however long a session is).

Is this incorrect?

HonkingAntelope said...

Since you've changed your avatar pic, does that mean you got put on the armed meter maid detail?

Having had 6 tickets in the last few years with three more still pending right now (don't ask...), I've had my share of traffic court trips. I don't know about your jurisdiction, but in my county, all the cases where the defendant doesn't show up are tried in absentia as long as the officer shows up, instead of waiting until the end of the calendar. One time, I've actually seen a defendant come late just to be told that the case was already decided and he was found guilty.

And yes, I agree that 99% of the time the defendants are completely unprepared even for cases that are 50/50 "beatable" by anyone who takes the time to bone up on the law a little bit.

Angie said...

Soo glad you are still here! Just came back to blogger. Say hi to Mrs. Smith for me

Front Porch Society said...

I hope she got what was rightfully comin' to her!

Expatriate Owl said...

This is why I try to avoid taking traffic ticket cases. I once had a client who seemed to get ticketed on a regular basis. He paid his fines and my fees, but it basically was a wasted day because of all the other slackers in traffic court. But as his collection of traffic rap sheet entries multiplied, it began to tax my ability to plead for mercy for him and maintain a straight face.

But this client moved out of the area about 12 years ago. A member of our congregation reported encountering him in Las Vegas about 5 years ago, but other than that, I have had no further reports as to his whereabouts.

The only other traffic ticket case I had since then was my own son's.

In my son's case (running a stop sign) I upheld his Constitutional rights, and advised him to accept the plea deal the Village Attorney offered to him, which enabled him to keep his license, provided that he took a defensive driving course. When we went before the Village Justice with the deal, I persuaded hizzoner to give my son 90 days to pay the fine instead of the usual 30 (I sure as hell was not going to pay his ticket from my own pocket).

The Village Justice agreed, and told my son to drive carefully.

My son, being gainfully employed at the time (as he continues to be today), paid the fine within 60 days. He has been a good boy behind the wheel ever since.

Officer "Smith" said...

Cleanville,

Not sure where you got that idea, or how that could work. I work four days a week, and there is court five days a week. If I were scheduled to court three hours a day I'd never get anything done.

I go to court, I finish court, I go write more tickets. Pretty simple.

Antelope,

Our "meter maids" are not armed. I am not a meter maid. My job has not changed, I just change my avatar pic every now and then for variety.

Angie,

Welcome back! You gonna stick around a while this time?

Jacob said...

Tried and convicted in absentia is more lenient than what they do here in Maryland. If you request trial on a traffic ticket, and you don't show up, it's a failure to appear. Your license is suspended and a bench warrant is entered.

Officer "Smith" said...

They do the same here, minus the bench warrant. When you finally do show up because you want your license back they bang you with a $300 civil assessment on top of the original fines.