That would all change very soon.
If you'll recall, Dear Reader, Boyfriend and I were involved in an accident in April. The insurance company paid for our totaled Mustang, though they took their sweet ass time doing it, so we thought we were finished with it. Then we got a letter in the mail stating that we were being called as Witnesses by the State, against the man we had dubbed "Javier Tortillachip" because his last name was actually 28 letters long and neither of us could pronounce it. Perhaps that was not very forward thinking of us, but this was the man who had, more or less, made our lives a lot more inconvenient for the last four months.
Boyfriend was wearing his black suit, and blue striped tie which coordinated with my dress. He looks so sexy in a suit. We, of course, are two very attractive people to begin with, but when we dress up, we look simply stunning. As we were waiting for the courthouse to open, I felt the eyes of the other victims and witnesses and people who had the unfortunate notices about serving Jury Duty in their hands on us.
We were the only two people who were really dressed up. Most of the older men and women were wearing nice slacks and polo shirts, but no one else called as a Witness/Victim (in other words, who would be appearing in front of the judge in order to make a claim against someone, or provide evidence for the state) was even wearing a tie.
Every other time I've been to court, it's been in "Maryland Proper", and people there would get dressed up, even for a traffic ticket. It was unusual to see someone without a tie in those courtrooms. Jurors wouldn't dress up, but anyone who appeared in front of the judge would at least have on a tie.
Boyfriend and I didn't care; he loves any opportunity to wear a suit, and I love any opportunity to wear a pair of heels. It just shocked me that people weren't more interested in making a good impression.
At 8:15, the doors of a the courthouse opened.
There were signs everywhere... You're not allowed to even take your cell phone INSIDE this courthouse, you have to leave it in your vehicle, even if it's turned off.
Fortunately, I didn't bother taking anything in with me to begin with, no purse, no phone, not even anything to read... I should have taken "War and Peace".
As we went through security, the guard wanded me and the underwires in my bra sent off the metal detector. Fortunately, it didn't cause a problem, because they let me continue on inside. But considering how the rest of the day was about to go, I'm really surprised I wasn't strip searched.
We were herded into a large waiting room, and I got a chance to look around at everyone who would have cases that day. Again, no one was wearing anything nicer than polos and khakis. Then I noticed a woman enter in a pair of yoga capris and matching top. Really? I thought. You couldn't even get out of your PAJAMAS? Behind her entered a man who was completely bald except for a perfect square on the back of his head, which sported a long pony tail growing from it. After Mr. Clean's Delinquent Brother, entered a woman wearing a "wife-beater" and plaid shorts, and plastic flip flops. Several more people entered in T-Shirts and Jeans. An older man with a long pony tail entered, looking as if he had just spent all night at a construction site, complete with workman's boots. His jeans were splattered with dust and dirt.
I tucked my feet, sporting my Nude Pumps under the seat so a woman wearing what looked like a long green nightgown, with marks that closely resembled hickies all over her neck, could squeeze by me. Her short reddish blond hair was teased up in a way I could only describe as "90s Bangs". And clinging to her hand was none other than Javier Tortillachip. He sat next to us, nonchalantly, wearing sneakers, faded jeans and a t-shirt that said "Mr. Right Now". How classy.
I didn't really think it was all that safe for the defendants to be able to sit right down next to the witnesses and plaintiffs. Boyfriend even said so out loud. I was also mad that I didn't have my phone to tweet snarkily about what people were wearing.
We sat in the waiting room until nearly 9:30. Keep in mind that our paperwork told us to be there by 8:15, and we were there at 7:50. Also keep in mind you can't bring anything to eat or drink inside the courthouse. At ALL. And that I had been up since 6 pm the day before.
At 9:30 we were herded to another room, this time an actual courtroom, wear a single public defender wearing sensible shoes and a bra that was desperately failing her waddled across the room multiple times, talking to the 20 defendants she, and she alone would be representing. Given that she spent about 15-20 minutes talking to each person, you can imagine how long that took.
It took so long that the Judge started to hear other cases, after asking if there was 'anyone else' in the Public Defender's office that could come assist. Apparently, there was not. And Mr. Tortillachip was the next-to-the-last person in line to talk to the Public Defender.
Around 10:30 court finally started, and one by one, the badly dressed were paraded up in front of the judge and made to answer for their crimes. Sadly, no one was convicted of being dressed inappropriately, but the girl in the plastic flip flops and wife beater was told to "dress appropriately" the next time she entered a courtroom.
We heard many cases while we were sitting there, hungry and thirsty, waiting:
One young woman had been involved with several altercations with her fiancee.
"And he's still your fiancee?" The judge asked. "Do you have a ring?"
"Yes, but I only wear it in Maryland."
Cue puzzled looks.
"You may want to rethink this relationship."
Thank you, Judge Judy.
Another young man had robbed his own mother's house... And someone who "didn't remember the incident in question."
And one young woman who was charged with "inattentive driving." I'm not sure what that entails. Probably texting.
As we drug on to 11 am, my stomach was starting to growl, and my head was starting to pound. Really, the last thing I needed was a migraine to bloom across my vision right now, when Javier was still 7-8 people away from talking to his lawyer.
That's another thing: I was once represented by a public defender because I was caught driving with a suspended license ( I did not know it was suspended at the time), and I was told to meet with her before my court date. Why are all of these people waiting until the day of their court date to speak with a lawyer?
So the judge alternated cases: She would hear cases from people represented by private lawyers, or issue bench wench for people who didn't show up, in between talking to the public defender's clients once their lawyer had taken a few minutes to counsel them. I sighed and wiggled in my seat a lot, trying to get comfortable without actually leaning against my boyfriend.
The judge seemed as impatient as we were and called for a 15 minute recess. There was no where to go to get anything to eat in that short amount of time, so my headache continued to worsen. My dress, which looks cute, is not meant for sitting on a hard wooden bench for hours. The backs of my legs are starting to itch from the friction against the "cushion" on the bench. And my fatigue is starting to set in.
After the recess, the judge decided to start a hearing for a drunk driving case so the Public Defender could waddle through her list of clients without interruption.
While I respect the defense attorney's right to get his client the fairest trial possible, at this point, as far as I was concerned, every one is guilty. It was after 12, and I was starving, my head was on fire, and my legs were itching like mad. And Mr. Defense attorney was playing Johnnie Cochran.
"Did you, Trooper So-and-So, receive any DUI training?"
"Yes, when I was with the anytown police department, I also attended the state police academy in 1999. There I was certified in DUI detection."
"So you've received no other training since then?"
"I took a 6 week refresher course when I joined the State Police in 2010, but DUI detection was not part of that course."
"What did that course cover?"
I don't remember what it covered, but the defense attorney, swift man that he was, says "So you've received no other training since then?"
It went on like this for some time, the defense attorney interrupting the other guy (I can't remember whom he represented, the state or a private person) every 5 sentences. It drug On. and On. Eventually, there was a five minute recess so they could look for some technicality to prove the guy wasn't tested properly.
Boyfriend asked the Public Defender if we could go. She disappeared for a while, and then said we could, because Mr. Tortillachip was going to cop a plea and our testimony wasn't needed.
Thank you, Georgetown, for wasting my entire day, giving me a headache, and making the back of legs itch.