Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Rant #1,351: Time To Go To Court

My daughter's court date was yesterday.

I might have told you about it in an earlier Rant.

She parked where, evidently, she was not supposed to park, by her work, a spot that she had been parking in for months.

What must have happened is that since it is in a residential area, somebody who lives there got sick and tired of seeing people come and go who don't live there, called the police, and they did a sweep of the area.

All her co-workers received tickets too, but they paid up immediately--$50. Once I heard my daughter's story, I figured she should fight it, and she--we, since the car is in my name--did just that last night.

Mineola is a small town on Long Island, and it was small-town traffic court that we went to last night.

(No, it is not the one pictured, but I could not find a picture of the actual court we went to. This picture is of the main court in Mineola, which serves all of Nassau County.)

The problem was that it was us and about 400 others, and I am not joking when I say that.

We were all scheduled to be heard that evening, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The problem was that people were still filing in at after 7 p.m.

After a long, hard day at work for both of us, this was just an extra annoyance, on top of the fact that parking was atrocious.

It was so bad that I actually asked a police officer--who I did not know would be officiating at the court--whether I could park where I did, and he said he wasn't giving any tickets that evening, so I could stay where I was.

Anyway, we waited, waited some more, and waited even some more, and then, finally, court began.

It was almost like I was in an episode of "The Andy Griffith Show," but Andy Taylor was not presiding. The judge that was there must have been in his late 60s, with a mane of white hair. I guess this is his last job before retiring, since what he was doing seemed to be so easy.

So many people were in this place that there were no seats. It was really a cross-section of society--young, old, male, female, black, white, English speaking and non-English speaking.

Each case came and went in a flash. People pleading guilty, not guilty, or guilty with an explanation.

Since each case was so rapidly handled, things moved fast once court actually began.

We were lucky, as we were in the first 20 cases called.

We pleaded guilty with an explanation, my daughter told the judge of her woe, and he halved the fine to $25.

We paid and got the heck out of there, hopefully never to see those halls of justice again.

I am glad we expended the time on this, even though I didn't get home until around 9 p.m., some of that because I hadn't eaten, and needed to get some fuel in my body after court.

Not only was the fine halved, but I got to see how this type of process worked.

I hadn't been in such a court for years, and it was interesting that even in 2014, the small-town atmosphere continues to prosper.

No, I never want to go back there again--been there, done that--but it was good that we went.

The bonus was that I was able to see my daughter, who I don't see too often, so not only was the fine less than when we went in, but I got to speak to my first born.

For that alone, it was well, well worth it, although honestly, I am pretty bushed today.

I hope to not go "a-courtin'" again, and if I never see another such court ever again, that will be fine with me.

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