Wednesday, December 13, 2006

the verdict's in.

I had my first, first-hand experience with the US judicial system two days ago and I am still reeling from the experience.

I ended up there because I was contesting a ticket and it was everything you might imagine - prosecution, defense (me), judge, witness stand, procedure, procedure, and procedure. Given my lack of experience, I brought some unintentional comic relief to the court. I kept interrupting with my questions ("Will I get to testify?") and running roughshod over procedure (me:"Can I show [the witness] my picture?" Judge: "Only if it is entered into evidence first."). Everyone but the prosecutor was smirking. It was no fun; I didn't take it too seriously; I survived. And this is what I learned:
-the judge sees nothing before the trial (not even the traffic report - this can be good or bad)
-most of the people who appear in traffic court are unemployed, underemployed, and this is related to their frequent appearance in court
-the clerk of court despises you (unless you're found innocent)
-the court fees are punitive (again, unless you're found innocent)
-I'm innocent!

Frankly, I wasn't hopeful going into it (I relied only on circumstantial evidence and the only other witness was hostile - so I didn't call her to testify). I am still a little incredulous but there it is in black and white. (It is very fuzzy but I read that as a 'not guilty.')

5 comments:

kungfuramone said...

You fought the law and YOU WON. Power to the people, V!!!

Matto said...

Way to stick it to the man!

Esperanza Rossi said...

Excellento!

Cabiria said...

Bravo! You now officially have more experience in a courtroom than I do.

another kind of nerd said...

Well on you, V. I can't imagine they've faced anyone out there the likes of you.