Thursday, December 29, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Twenty-Three

What a boring day in court. This was probably the worst so far. Yet somehow, it was the most crowded. Weird. Also, there were a lot of super-super young women in court today. One of ‘em wore pigtails, I shit you not. She practically had a lollipop in her mouth as she danced her way up to see the judge.

Oh, the judge. Right. Last minute emergency, but the judge was called away. I wondered how that would affect my case. The worst part, though, was the fact that this new judge was TOO SOFT SPOKEN. I couldn’t hear a fucking word she said to anyone, so I don’t know what any of the cases were about.

I gave up quickly, turning to my book for solace. (It was so crowded, I felt it was safe to read without getting noticed.) Dominick Dunne’s THE LIMBO OF MANSIONS. Weird title, decent collection of articles. I’m supposedly related to the guy through my father’s mother’s side of the family (they’re all Dunnes). Not bad. It’s got some bite to it without being judgmental.

Anyway, by the time they finally called my case, it was continued for the day. There was just too much shit to go through, so the new judge didn’t want to go through the hassle. Instead, she continued it another month (after making sure that Ferguson would be back by then).

Fun, eh? I hope the DUI Diary is everything you hoped it would be. Did I mention that I’d just had my gall bladder taken out this week? It would have been nice to skip this court date, seeing as how it was pointless anyway. Did I mention that it feels like I’m recovering from a gut-shot wound? No? Well, I am. And it makes me fucking miserable.

More in a month, I’m sure . . . .


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Twenty-Two

Today’s excursion into the legal process wasn’t very interesting, maybe because I didn’t really understand a lot of what was happening. People watching wasn’t very optimal, either, since Don had me wait outside the whole time. I got to see a few prisoners get sent back to lock-up, but that’s about it.

Once the two of us were outside, I asked him what we had planned for today. “We’re going to continue trying to impeach the arresting officer’s testimony. You’re going to see a lot of bullshit happen in this room today.”

That was less than reassuring. After a while, I went back inside, and things were so slow I started reading my book, John Shirley’s WETBONES. It’s a good book, but there are far too many typos to keep my mind in the story. The ending kind of lacks, too. But anyway, after a few cases got knocked out of the way, we started mine again.

I looked at the clock, surprised to find that it wasn’t even noon yet.

Standing beside Don, I watched him launch into an unbelievable tirade, which I understood very little of. I got the basics. We’re still going after the arresting officer, and he’s got other precedents to refer to, but the crux of his argument this time is that missing correspondence between the arresting officer and the dispatch office. Apparently, this correspondence has been destroyed, even though it was promised to Don and never delivered. The prosecutor tried breaking in several times, but the judge would have none of it. Things were starting to look up for my lawyer, and therefore myself.

But when they got down to the knock-down drag-out, nobody gave a shit about whose turn it was to talk. It was a free-for-all, and the judge didn’t bother to keep the peace. Don and the prosecutor were practically spitting in each others faces. I didn’t understand a word, but it looked fucking awesome. John Grisham could stand to learn a thing or two from these guys.

You might be wondering why I didn’t understand a lot of this argument. Well, the fault is probably with the medication I was on. My guts have been killing me for a long time, to the point of me puking blood. Not fun. The previous day I’d been in the ER, and they’d given me some kind of Super Maalox with some belly number in it. This did the fucking trick. Boy-howdy! The thing is, it made me drowsy as shit. Usually, I stand before the judge with my arms crossed in front of me, hands by my belt. This was too much trouble today. I had to balance myself on the wooden counter by the clerk. Much of my time was spent in this manner rather than paying attention.

Finally, the argument came to a close, and it struck me that Don had indeed won this bout. The judge spoke to him in deference. However, at the same time, he spoke kindly to the prosecutor, since he was giving him another chance to fuck me up. So, bad news there. But at the same time, the guy couldn’t do it the first time, so HA HA, and fuck you.

Of course, there will be a next time. From what I’ve been able to tell, this is part of a hearing, not a trial. So there might be quite some time before this thing is over. I’m sorely tempted to start printing this early, but who knows who might read this? Don’t want to contaminate anyone, now do I . . . .?

Come August, this thing goes on. Hopefully by then, I won’t have anymore problems with my guts. We shall see. Until then, RISE UP, BOOZEHEAD!


Friday, December 23, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Twenty-One

So much for wishful thinking. The first thing I noticed as soon as I stepped into the courtroom was the presence of the two cops. They glanced at me, and the arresting officer whispered to his partner, nodding toward me. I think they were hoping I wouldn’t show up, either.

The judge was on break. In fact, it was the first of three recesses he made, not counting lunch. The courtroom was so sparse that it shocked me. After seeing everything about rising crime rates on the news and seeing something like a nearly empty courtroom, I’m starting to really wonder about what’s really going on. Sensationalism? Even a news anchor has to eat, I guess.

I settled in and pulled out my book. Douglas Clegg’s NAOMI. It starts out kind of slow, but when it picks up, it rocks. Normally, I don’t care for his work, but this is one hell of a book. I was so drawn into it that when I looked up, I saw a full courtroom. Oddly enough, most of the people in here were old. I’m not talking 60’s here, I mean 80’s. An entire row of little old ladies had appeared out of the blue. What could they have possibly done?

The judge returned, and the clerk started calling names. Mine was the first, and I said, “Waiting on my attorney.”

“Who is representing you?” Ferguson asked. “Wait, [the name of Don’s firm] right? Stay seated.”

They called the next three names, and none of them were ready due to absent attorneys. The judge decided to try a few prisoners, and it went pretty business-as-usual.

A second glance through the courtroom revealed a lot of teenaged kids with their mothers. I felt bad for them; considering the judge’s past history, these kids were doomed.

After a few more cases and recesses, Don showed up, and my case was called. I stood next to him and waited to see how things were going to go.

“Are all the officers here?” the judge asked.

“No,” the state’s attorney said. “The roadblock supervisor is on his way. He’ll be here shortly.”

“All right. This is probably going to take an hour. Did you want to give a shot at starting this at eleven? Or should we wait until after lunch?”

“Whichever you want, your honor,” Don said. “I have a case at 10:30, and as soon as that’s done, I’ll be ready.”

“All right. We’ll meet back here at ten to eleven, see how things look.”

I sat back down, and Don left the courtroom. Another delay. But at least it looked like shit was finally going to go down. My trial would finally begin.

They called a prisoner next, and they brought out a guy who looked like none of the others I’d ever seen in an orange jumpsuit. Very few such prisoners were white, and this guy was as pallid as anyone I’d ever seen. He was rake-skinny with a fringe of gray hair around the back of his head. He wore a thin mustache and looked more than a little like an emaciated Bryan Cranston. His mouth kept twitching, and I couldn’t help but wonder, what the fuck did this guy do?

The judge went on to say that the prisoner had missed two court dates, and that he’d wanted to issue a warrant for his arrest the first time, but a lot of people pleaded with him and said that the defendant had mental problems. However, when the guy missed his second date, the judge had no choice, hence the jumpsuit. “What I want to know is what kind of problems you have?”

“I have no problems. I’m fine.”

“A lot of mentally unbalanced people feel that way,” the judge said, and the courtroom erupted in snickers. Everyone was having a blast watching the judge cut down a mental patient.

“I’m all right, judge. I can defend myself.”

“A lot of people are worried about you. In fact, there’s a whole bunch of them sitting behind you.” He pointed to the little old ladies, who started waving at the guy. The prisoner stared at them blankly. “Do you recognize them?”

The guy mumbled something none of us could hear. The judge said, “Well, they’re your family and loved ones.”

More mumbles. The judge sighed. “Look, we have a problem in regards to your defense.”

“I can defend myself. I will defend myself.”

The judge grinned. “I’m going to look out for your best interests here. You already have the public defender—“ He pointed to a young woman. “—but your family wants to hire a private lawyer.” He pointed to a middle-aged man. “Who do you want to go with?”

“I’ll defend myself.”

“No, you won’t. You have a choice to make. What’s it going to be?”


“No. I’m making an executive decision. The public defender is already working your case, so you will continue with her.”

“No sir.”


“Sir, I have a wife already. A wife and kids, sir. I can’t—“

The judge rolled his eyes. “She is not going to be your paramour. She’s going to be your attorney. Understand?”

More snickers. The prisoner mumbled again.

“Do you take any medication?” the judge asked.

“No sir. I feel fine.”

The judge shook his head and rephrased: “Has anyone given you medication to take?”


“Do you?”

“No. I feel fine.”

“Has anyone ever told you you’re schizophrenic?”

More mumbles.

“Why did you miss your previous court dates?”

“I couldn’t get a ride.”

The judge nodded. “Well, we’ve solved that problem. I’m going to remand you to jail. What are the chances of someone bailing you out?”

The prisoner whirled around and shouted, “My mother had better bail me out because she’s my mother and—“

“Look at me,” the judge said. “I have a huge ego, and when I feel like I’m not the most important person in the room, it hurts my feelings.”

The defendant twitched a few times, staring at one of the little old ladies. Finally, he turned back to the judge and mumbled.

“It matters because I want to make sure you stay there until you get a psych evaluation and return for your next court date. If you don’t have access to any money, then I can simply order you back to jail. But if there’s a chance of someone getting you out, then I’ll order you to stay behind bars. I just want to save some paperwork.”

One of the attorneys went over to the little old ladies and whispered with them for a while. When he returned to the bench, he said, “They won’t bail him out.”

“Good. Back to jail with you. Bye.”

They led him away, and much less interesting cases took over until about 11:15, when Don returned. By then the other officer had arrived, and we were ready to begin. That’s when the judge told me to sit at one of the tables.

Just like in the movies! Finally, something I recognized. Nothing in court had seemed remotely like anything in, say, MY COUSIN VINNY. Now Don and I sat at one table while the two state’s attorneys sat at the other. The arresting officer got into the witness box and was sworn in. (The other two cops were sent outside the courtroom so they couldn’t hear this guy’s testimony. Why? Who knows? But it was Don’s idea, so it sounded like a good idea.)

Don began questioning him. Pretty standard stuff. Things I’ve already talked about in previous chapters. Much to my glee, the officer seemed just as awkward as he had before. My attorney was kicking his ass. And then came the curveball. Don asked him why he’d stopped me for so long, and the officer said, “Because I was still waiting to hear back from dispatch about the status of his driver’s license.”

Which had never been mentioned before. Even Don was shocked by this development. He asked, “At the suspension hearing, did you have a fair chance to relate all of your reasons for this?” The officer said yes. “Then why haven’t you mentioned this before?”

“Your honor,” the state’s attorney said. “Could I get a page number in the testimony for reference?”

“You can’t,” Don said. “Because it’s not there. It doesn’t exist. I can’t give you a reference for something that doesn’t exist.”

Then both attorneys and the judge started arguing back and forth, throwing jargon and numbers at each other. I never saw such a polite, yet heated, argument in my life. Though I understood very little of it, it seemed to me that Don was a lot more reasonable than the other combatants.

Yet the judge took the side of the state. After a while, it seemed very clear to me that Don was quoting legal precedent in order to impeach the arresting officer’s testimony, which included all evidence gathered because of him. This meant that the field sobriety test he administered would be thrown out. The state would have nothing on me, and the judge would have no choice but to dismiss the case.

Don started quoting a legal text, but the judge seemed to have a different recollection of it. He actually had a copy of the book in question, but he couldn’t find the passage Don was referring to. Don said he probably had a newer edition, but it was, indeed, in the book.

Then, another argument began as a result of the first knock-down drag-out. Don asked the arresting officer if the correspondence between himself and dispatch was on a recorded channel, and the officer said yes. Don then asked, “Well, where’s the tape, then?”

“I don’t know.”

“I put in a request for all recorded materials in regards to Mr. Bruni’s case, so why wasn’t this supplied to me?”

“I’m sure it was given to him,” the state’s attorney said.

“I never received it.” And they started throwing barbs back and forth again. Soon, I realized that Don wanted the case dismissed because of the state’s oversight of this recording.

“Did you bring everything regarding this case?” the judge asked.

“I didn’t bring the box, no,” Don said. “I didn’t expect I’d need it. The officer’s testimony has frankly surprised me.”

“We’ll break for lunch. At 1:30, I want everyone back here. Look for the audio recording, Don. And get that book for me.”

On the way out of the courtroom, Don met me, shaking his head. “I can’t believe this. Before, I thought I had a good grip on the arresting officer. Now he’s up on the stand making things up.”

We split up, and I hit up Taco Bell. Their Cheese Roll-Ups are fucking amazing, and the Cheesy Double Decker is a work of genius. If a taco ever needed anything extra, it’s more cheese. [NOTE: Since I wrote this, Taco Bell has discontinued the Cheesy Double Decker. They can go fuck themselves, Triple Steak Stacker or not.]

Anyway, when I got back, we started everything over again. Don made photocopies from the book which contained what he’d originally referenced, but the judge still shit all over it. Don also said that there was no trace of the recording. He also had a shitload of legal precedent in regards to faulty testimony and missing recordings and impeachment of witnesses.

All of it sounded awesome. Don, in my opinion, was knocking it out of the park. And he also had just the right amount of moral outrage in his voice when he made these arguments.

But guess what happened? Yeah. I have to give it to the state’s attorney. He’s very, very well spoken, and he always had a ready answer. He never uttered a single “um” or “ah.” And of course, the judge took his side.

Which I should have expected. Justice isn’t for people like me, especially not in a state that’s teetering on bankruptcy and is desperate for any money they can get from someone like me.

The crux of the prosecutor’s argument? “According to this precedent, the witness’s testimony was impeached. It was the arresting officer, and everything he had to contribute to the case, like the field sobriety test, had to be ignored. The state had no chance of proving their case after this.”

Really? BOO FUCKING HOO, YOU SCUMBAG! Them’s the rules, and if you can’t hack it, then fuck you.

But of course the judge thought he made a very good point. After some heated argument, it came down to this: more paperwork needed to be filed. To be continued, etc.

Really? This could have all been settled with one question from the judge to the state: “Where’s that recording?” At which point the state’s attorney would have to say they didn’t have it. At which point, according to legal precedent (which is beloved and embraced by the LEGAL SYSTEM OF THIS COUNTRY), the judge would have to dismiss the case.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK. You think that would ever happen? There’s money to be made, folks, and that judge tenaciously wants some of mine to go into the state’s coffers. That’s all this is, and all it’s ever been. Maybe the submissive swine have a good idea: plead guilty and get it over with. The rape hurts a lot less that way.

No, fuck that. If they want me, they’re going to have to take me. There will be a fight. I will give them a run for their money. They’re going to have to earn EVERY FUCKING PENNY THEY GET OUT OF ME.

I gave Don the $25 from last time, and we went our separate ways. Behind me, I heard Don and the state’s attorney talking. “Why can’t we ever get a simple one, Don?”

“They never come simple,” Don said.

I guess not.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Twenty

Well, here’s another day I thought for sure I would go to trial, and here’s another day that I’ve been completely disappointed. Yes, the trial has been delayed again, and the only two people who were surprised were me and the judge.

I was grateful for the extra hour of sleep I’d gotten. Court was at 9:30 today, and when I arrived, I was surprised by the backed up line to go through the metal detector. Why? Someone in their infinite wisdom decided to close down one of the machines. We were packed almost all the way to the door.

As I pulled everything out of my pockets and balanced it all on my legal folder, I heard someone say my name behind me. I turned to find my cousin, Keli. She, like myself and many other members of my family, has had a few run-ins with the law in the past, and I wondered what she was in for. As it turns out, she was called for jury duty. As we made our way through the line, we quickly discussed my case. I told her about the violation of my Fourth Amendment rights, and I also told her about my feeling that the State of Illinois wanted to make an example out of me, especially since they need the money they’d get if they found me guilty. She wished me luck, and on the other side of the metal detector, we went our separate ways.

Once again, they asked me to remove my belt. I don’t know how the rest of you feel about this, but every time I unbuckle my belt in public, I feel like a pervert. Even as I buckle it back on, it makes me feel a bit slimy.

Still, the down escalators were not working. The up was, so I rode up to the top floor, to my courtroom. Once again, it was not crowded in the slightest. Maybe ten people were in there, tops.

The first thing I noticed was the judge; he was in a good mood. Jovial, in fact. As people were called, and they neglected to say HERE, he joked with them about it. This is unheard of in Ferguson’s court. Maybe this was a good sign. Maybe he would treat me fairly, after all.

I sat down and went into people-watching mode. There wasn’t a lot of weird shit to mention this time, although one woman went up to the judge with her hat on, and the bailiff did not ask her to remove it.

I did notice one thing this time. The thought had probably occurred to me before, but this was the first time it coalesced in my head. No one was ever found not guilty. Each and every defendant went away with a guilty verdict and sentence. To the best of my knowledge, no one ever plead not guilty, either.

Has anyone ever pled not guilty on a DUI? Am I the only one willing to roll the dice?

The arresting officer showed up, glanced toward me, and sat down. His foot immediately started tapping away, and I wondered if he had restless leg syndrome. Or was he nervous? For some reason, he kept looking over at me. I pretended not to notice. My entire body was still, and although I felt my guts churning nervously, I did not let any of it show. My hands remained motionless in my lap.

Center stage, the judge let a guy go with 90 days court supervision on a charge of driving without a license. He also warned the defendant that if he gets caught driving a car again, he will be sent to jail.

The bailiff brought out a guy in a jumpsuit and chains. I don’t remember the guy’s name, but he left quite the impression. You see, he’s enrolled in classes at COD, and he has every intention of becoming a psychologist. The problem? He was in for drug charges. I think it was for cannabis, but it was never specified. The judge started giving this guy the third degree until he confessed to wanting to be a psychologist.

“If you were the State of Illinois, would you hire someone with a drug conviction?” the judge asked.

I know what answer he was looking for, but the humanitarian in me thought I would definitely give such a job applicant a chance. What if the guy is trying to become a better person? What if that was the kind of thing he did in the past and no longer wanted to do? What if he just wanted to leave all of that crap behind? What if . . . .?

The defendant wasn’t smart enough to come up with these responses, and I felt bad for him. Because the judge had a definite black-and-white view of things, and shortly afterward, he sentenced the guy to more time in DuPage lock-up.

And then, the judge ran out of things to do. He took a break, and everyone scattered. I pulled out my book and started to read. Elmore Leonard’s RIDING THE RAP. If you thought FX’s show, JUSTIFIED, is awesome, you should read the books. Givens is even more interesting in paper format.

During the break, Don arrived, and he shot the shit with the other attorneys. Apparently, Don has been on Johnny B’s show several times, and he was discussing one of the cases he talked about on the radio, something about stolen Super Bowl tickets.

(By the way, the woman with the hat ran into a snag no one else had, and I thought it would be of interest to note. She tried to get a public defender, but she didn’t qualify. So the judge asked her what she wanted to do today. Meaning, did she want to hire a lawyer? I guess she didn’t want to go through the effort, so she pled guilty. I wonder what it takes to NOT be able to get a P.D. What if you can’t hire a real lawyer? I’m sure you can defend yourself, but what good is that going to do?)

The judge returned, and before long, I was called. Dutifully, I called HERE and approached the bench. Right off the bat, the prosecution told Ferguson that she and Don had discussed an issue the previous day. Apparently, since we were challenging the roadblock stop, we needed not only the arresting officer but also his superior. And guess who wasn’t in court that day? The sergeant was stuck doing some kind of training thing.

Which, if you ask me, is bullshit. Imagine if I told the court that I couldn’t show up for my date because I had some kind of training thing to do with my job. Would that have been tolerated? And how hard must it be to get out of training . . . TO GO TO COURT? What kind of hard-ass must the chief of police in Lisle be to not let one of his officers go to testify in court because they had to go to training?

The judge seemed to agree with my point of view. “This thing’s been kicking around for too long,” he said. “We’re rescheduling for April 26th at 9:30 am. There will be no training on that day, and no one is taking a vacation. Is that understood?”

Everyone nodded.

Ferguson looked at the officer. “You will let your chief know, right?”

“Yes, your honor.”

“This has to be wrapped up. Your chief is in charge of when training has to be scheduled, am I right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Make sure your supervisor is in court with you on April 26th. No excuses.”

Don then interjected, “Your honor, I just want you to be aware that since we’re challenging the roadblock, there are a lot of unusual circumstances that need to be discussed, and not all has to do with the motion to quash. It’s more complicated than it looks.”

“I’m aware of that.”

“We also appealed the summary suspension to the Illinois Supreme Court.”

“Noted. Until next time.”

Don told me to wait outside, and as I left the courtroom, I wondered about that appeal he’d just mentioned. That was news to me. I guess the appellate court didn’t go for the motion to reconsider.

Outside, Don told me that they’d just sent the appeal to the state’s supreme court, but he warned me that they might choose not to hear the case. “It’s a one-in-fifty shot,” he said. I decided not to ask what he thought the chances of them overturning the appellate court’s decision were.

He then presented me with a bill for $25. I’m not sure, but I think that’s what the filing fee was for the IL Supreme Court. If so, it’s cheaper than the appellate court by $125.

We then went our separate ways. This time, the elevators actually worked, and on my way down, I considered what had just happened. There is no possible way that I won’t go to trial next time. I know I’ve said that before, but this time, it really seems like the end of the line. The judge is getting fed up. He wants this case behind him.

I know I’ll be there next time. Will both of the officers be there, too? What if one of them isn’t? Would the judge be so annoyed with everyone involved that he’d dismiss the case? Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but these days, it seems like wishful thinking is all I have.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Nineteen

Well, it looks like I lost my appeal. I got a message from Earl saying that the appellate court got back to us, and they turned down our appeal. They didn’t seem to believe my Fourth Amendment rights had been violated by the length of the safety roadblock check. Also, they didn’t think the cases Earl cited in the brief were relevant. He did tell me that he thought this decision was unfair, and he intended to file a motion to reconsider. Failing this, he believes an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court would have a chance.

Considering all of this, I figured that I was going to go on trial today. I guessed wrong, as it turned out. I showed up at 8:30 sharp and found myself standing in a nearly empty courtroom. Maybe it was because New Years was just a few days ago; either that, or the crime rate is dropping.

The two gentlemen sitting in front of me were discussing baby names. One of them said, “Don’t you find it funny that girls are named after bottles of booze or religious moments?”

Religious moments? Like what? The crucifixion? He didn’t elaborate. And I don’t think I’ve ever met a girl named Wild Turkey (although I’m still hoping, fingers crossed).

The other guy said, “I’ma name my baby girl Stripper Pole. Folks be callin’ her S.P. Williamson. Some dude gonna’ ask her what S.P. stand for, and she be like, Stripper Pole!”

The bailiff then said to the second guy, “Take your hat off, please.”

He did. It was weird; I’ve been in court a shitload of times, and I’ve seen some guys wear hats. Some even wear hoods. Never before have I heard the bailiff ask someone to remove their hats. Come to think of it, down in the lobby, they asked me to take my belt off. They’ve never done that before. Is there some kind of new regulation, or something?

Removing one’s hood makes sense, but why should anyone remove their hat? Is it some kind of respect thing? I never could understand that bullshit.

Anyway, the judge entered, and everyone rose, as per usual. There’s another ritual of respect I don’t understand. If I didn’t rise, I’d be found in contempt of court, just the same as if I would have called the judge a cocksucker. The two actions seem to be equated. It’s all one big bullshit pageant, and after all the times I’ve been in court, I’m tired of it. We don’t need the pomp and circumstance. The judge should just sit the fuck down and get to work earning his taxpayer wages. If I wanted to jump through hoops, I’d go to church.

The judge heard a few cases, and then he ran out of things to do. There were just a handful of us in the crowd, all presumably waiting for our lawyers. I took a look around and didn’t see any of my team of bloodthirsty attorneys. I started wondering why they wanted me to be here at 8:30 and not even show up themselves for an hour and a half. What was the fucking point? Was this some kind of strategy? They certainly did it often enough.

One time, I heard the state’s attorney and the judge talking, and I distinctly heard Don’s name mentioned. The judge was looking at me. Were they talking about me? What the fuck was going on? Where were my lawyers?

I got up and went to the bathroom. Got some water. Blew a cobweb of snot into the rough paper towels. Because I’m sick. Fucking sick, again. I’m floating high on a cloud of DayQuil, and everything seems distant.

When I got back to the courtroom, I tried to relax with my book. Ed Gorman’s THE DARK FANTASTIC. It’s a collection of short stories from one of the awesomest writers working today. If you’re not a fan of Gorman’s work, you’re probably a corpse.

I got through a couple of stories before I looked up to see that the court was absolutely packed, elbow to asshole. The judge came back in, and he was ready to rock out with his cock out. He started taking cases left and right, hacking down defendants like he was Henry Lee Lucas. He was in a pissy mood, and anyone who didn’t follow procedure was summarily dealt with. God help the person who doesn’t call HERE when his or her name is mentioned.

There were some kids in for consuming alcohol at the age of 17. He intimidated the fuck out of them, which I felt was a bit unfair considering how they didn’t have attorneys. Then there was the guy who came up without saying he was here. He looked Latino, so the judge automatically assumed he didn’t speak English. “Habla inglese?” he asked in a mocking tone.

“Sure,” the guy said.

“Then why didn’t you say here when I called your name? Didn’t you hear those instructions?”

The guy apologized, and was then swatted like a fly by the System.

Then entered this woman who wore pants so tight I could see the distinct shape of her pussy . . . and she was wearing jeans. She was pretty, and judging from the rest of her clothes, I figured she was in for retail theft. It turned out I was right. I’m getting good at this shit.

There was another good-looking woman in court, and the judge was very, very upset with her. Apparently, she’d been found guilty of DUI, and she’d attended the victims panel, but hadn’t started taking the DUI classes. “Don’t you realize the seriousness of this? I can still throw you in jail for up to a year. Would you like me to do that?”

She played it cool. “My lawyer’s not here yet.”

“Who is your lawyer?”

The same as mine.

“Oh. I see. One of Don’s clients.” He looked at the court reporter and rolled his eyes. “All right. Have a seat. We’ll get to you later.”

At around a quarter to ten, Earl made his entrance. He held two folders. One of them was fucking stuffed, so I knew it was mine, and the other was much thinner. I supposed it was the other woman’s. He checked in, and just as he was about to walk out, the judge said, “Council. Don’t go anywhere.”

Earl got this pained look on his face, but he turned it into a smile just before he faced the judge. “Sure thing, your honor.”

The judge finished up the case before him, sending an 18-year-old drinker back to DuPage County Jail for 150 days. He then summoned Earl to stand before him. The woman joined them, and they argued heatedly for a while. The judge was hungry for flesh, and he seemed intent on taking it from Earl. They finally came to a decision to come back to court in a month in regards to this woman. She then escaped with Earl, and I hoped he would come back quickly. If he checked me in, then I was undoubtedly going to be called soon.

Earl didn’t come back, but Don arrived. As soon as he was there, my name was called. The judge went over the details of why we were here today, and Don agreed. Apparently, no one notifies the judge of when an appeal decision comes in. The sole purpose of my presence in court was so that Don could notify the judge that the appeal did not work out for us. He also mentioned that he was going to file a motion to reconsider.

The judge seemed to find this reasonable. He then said that I would need to come back on March 1 so we could finally get down to business.

Outside the courtroom, Don said, “OK, so I assume you read the appeal decision.”

I did.

“Good. We’ve got a few points we want to argue with the appellate court, and if it doesn’t work out, we’re prepared to take it to the next level.”


“So next time, we’re going to proceed with the second part of the charges against you. The officer is going to come back, and we’re going to go through pretty much the same thing we went through at the previous hearing. You need to make no preparations, just show up, okay?”

“Sure thing.”

“Happy New Year.”

And he was gone.

I go back in March. Two months after that will be the second anniversary of my arrest. This has taken so long the fight has almost been bored out of me. I remember how angry I was when I was notified that the judge frowned upon reading in the courtroom, but considering how much people-watching I got in since then, it’s been interesting. That’s the only interesting part about any of this now. Have you noticed that very few of the things I talk about in these entries are about me and my case? I’m always talking about other people.

This is what it’s like to be in a court battle, folks. First they suck the money out of you. Then they suck your interest away. Then, if you’re unlucky and lose, they suck more money out of you.

Is it all worth it? I hope so. I guess I’ll find out on March 1.

As I left the courtroom, I noticed that the down escalators were being worked on. I went to the elevator and pressed the down button. A faint glow lit it up, and I waited five minutes before deciding that nothing was going to happen. I took the stairs instead.

I didn’t realize that for every storey in the building, there were four flights of stairs. By the time I got to the bottom, my cold medicine-addled brain was twisted and dizzy. I felt like I’d just been on a carnival ride.

I hate going to court. I hate being sick. I hate being sick while going to court. FUCK!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Eighteen

Today was just about the most BORING day in court I’ve ever had. It was so bad, even the judge was yawning. There just wasn’t enough crime to make things interesting. So the next time you see someone complaining about crime around here, tell them to fuck off, because there was hardly anyone in court. At one point, the judge called a recess because there was nothing for him to do. He told the cashier to let him know if anyone else came in, ready to be tried.

So, I spent a lot of time sitting and staring. I read a little, but I was just too damned tired. I could count the hours of sleep I’ve gotten over the past few days on my fingers. Most of you know why, or will soon know, but it’s not my place to put it here. This is about my DUI case, not . . . well, never mind.

When they didn’t call my name, I decided to get some water and take a look at the docket. Guess what: I wasn’t listed there. I went back to the cashier and asked about this, and she said that my file was on hand. As soon as my lawyer showed up, they’d call me.

About an hour later, Don arrived. There was another case before me that he was handling, and the judge forgot some of the materials in his chambers. As he went to retrieve it, Don started joking around with the prosecution about his Facebook page.

I took this time to look around at my fellow defendants, and no one stood out. This was a bad people-watching day in court.

Soon, I was called, and I found out that we still hadn’t heard back from the appellate court. The brief was filed in full two weeks ago, and we should have heard back from them a month ago. The judge asked if it would be good for me to come back in December to see what’s going on then.

I have ONE day of vacation time left. One. Tiny. Day. It’s all been eaten up by court and doctors and dentists. I can’t let this one go. It’s too valuable to me (especially considering one of my new problems, but that’s too much to go into here). I asked if we could put it off until January, which is when I get new days off.

Don was at first reluctant about this, but the judge took it pretty well. January 4, and goodbye.

Outside, Don apologized for the long time the appeal was taking. “I mean, if you want me to, I’ll call up an appellate judge and tell him to get his ass in gear, but I don’t think it will help your cause much.”

I told him that was all right. If I’m found guilty in January, I’ll have a much better chance of dealing with it than I would now. I’ve just got too much on my mind and too much debt hanging around my neck. By January, I’ll just have car payments left, and maybe some credit card bills. I’ll have my new tooth, and my education debt will be gone. Hell, I might even have built my emergency fund back up to where it was when this started by then.

2009 sucked. 2010 has been monumentally worse (and that was absolutely shocking). 2011? I don’t know. I think I’ll be in a better position. But what can I say?


Monday, December 19, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Seventeen

Today, court went exactly as I’d expected; it just carried on a bit longer than I thought it would. This sucked, because I was scheduled for a CT scan at noon. I was actually scheduled for it yesterday, but someone forgot to call me to reschedule because all the physicians were off. After twelve today, no one would be there to help me, so I had to get out of court by eleven.

I got out by ten-thirty, which worked out nicely. The courtroom was fuckin’ packed, and not just with DUI cases. In fact, very few of them involved booze at all. I don’t know what was going on with everyone, but we were getting domestic battery cases and animal cruelty stuff, and just crazy shit. It was so crowded that the judge paused a few times to check with other courtrooms to see if they could help out and lighten his load.

When he got to me, it was very quick. It was so swift and easy to remember that here is the conversation between him and Earl verbatim.

JUDGE: I see we’re waiting on the status of the appeal. Have you heard anything?

EARL: No, I haven’t, your honor.

JUDGE: Do you know when you’re going to hear from them?

EARL: I have no idea, sir.

JUDGE: Okay. Come back in August. Is the 13th good? Or would you rather have the 20th?

EARL: The 20th would be good.

JUDGE: Okay. 9:30 in the morning.

EARL: Thank you, your honor.

It was that fast and that easy. Nothing remarkable about it at all. However, the true star of the day was my fellow defendants. Get a load of these examples.

A Russian guy, probably late twenties, was in for animal cruelty. The judge asked him if he wanted to hire a lawyer before his trial, and the guy said no. The judge then warned him about the possible consequences, including jail time. He asked the prosecutor if she wanted this guy to go to jail, and she said yes. The judge then asked if the defendant was sure he didn’t want representation. The guy asked how he could go about it. The judge then had to describe the obvious process of how one could go about getting representation. The guy still wasn’t sure. The judge gave him his trial date.

An Indian guy, also up for animal cruelty, was asked if he was going to hire a lawyer. He said yes. The judge gave him his trial date. The guy then asked, “Can I ask you a question?” The judge nodded, and the guy said, “Is it possible to not hire a lawyer.” The judge sighed and explained that he didn’t NEED to hire a lawyer, that he has the right to defend himself, but it would be ADVISABLE to get representation. The guy decided not to.

A young guy who kept looking at the floor was called up for possession of cannabis. Apparently, he was in school to become a teacher. The judge asked him if he would hire a teacher with a history of drug use. The entire courtroom laughed at this one . . . except me. Maybe if the guy was gobbling PCP, I’d find an objection, but he was smoking weed.

A young woman, maybe about twenty, a bit too skinny, was in for retail theft. She sat one row and five seats over from me, and she was carrying a bag on her shoulder. More of a man-purse than an actual purse. When the judge called her up, she stood quickly. As a result, her jeans slid down her body, and her ass popped out. She only wore a lacy g-string under her jeans, and the guy sitting behind her started licking his lips. This is apparently a usual occurrence for her, since she casually pulled her pants back up and pulled her sweater down over her ass. She didn’t seem to be very concerned about this.

Believe it or not, she was not the only person to moon me today. During the whole ordeal, there were three party girls who were sitting directly in front of me. One was in for underage drinking, and she seemed to be the responsible one. The other two looked like they’d just dragged themselves out of bed, hungover from the night before. The one who sat in the seat in front of me—the real winner in court today—was the worst off, though. She had the shakes, for one. Her friend had them, too, but not as badly as the one in front of me. Every once in a while, she groaned and dropped her head back, bathing my lap and the book I was reading with her blonde hair. She didn’t seem to notice. This was before the judge showed up. When he arrived, we all stood. She got up first, and when she did, her jogging pants slipped down, advertising the fact that she was wearing nothing underneath. The seats are so close together that her ass was about five inches from my face. If she’d farted, I would have felt the breeze. She didn’t seem to notice at first, but when the guy sitting next to her started staring at her ass—very obviously—she figured out what had happened, and she yanked her pants up. It was a very loose fit, and I figured that they wouldn’t stay up on their own. Later, she tried putting her head on her friend’s shoulder to get some rest, but her friend shrugged away and said, “Don’t.” At that point, she slid down in her chair and tried to rest her head on the back. The back was too short, so instead, she accidentally dropped her head into my lap, her eyes closed. This was the first good look I’d gotten at her face (by then, I had a definite working knowledge of her ass), and I was kind of surprised. She was maybe—MAYBE!—eighteen years old. This is a specimen of the party girl during her early years. The drinking and promiscuity had not yet taken its toll on her face. She could still turn back, if she wanted to.

“Um,” I said.

Her eyes opened. They were unfocused. She muttered something that might have been an apology (if apologies usually involve the word “fuck”), and she sat up, swaying back and forth. I noticed that every male eye in the courtroom was on her, and whenever a new guy arrived, he always sat in the empty seat next to her, despite the fact that it was the hardest seat to get to. At one point, the guy who sat next to me very obviously looked over her shoulder to get a glimpse down the front of her shirt. Somehow, she didn’t notice. One of the many men who sat next to her put his arm around her at one point. She had an objection to this, especially since the guy looked like a fat, balding child molester. She pushed his arm away so hard that the bailiff looked over. I’m shocked that he didn’t notice something was wrong with her.

I’m not joking when I say that no less than three different guys hit on this woman. IN A FUCKING COURTROOM. This doesn’t include the guy who put his arm around her. She didn’t entertain a single one of these men, even in the fucked up state she was in.

I think that’s about it. Anyway, after I was dismissed, I went out into the hallway to wait for Earl. When he came by, he reminded me of the next court date. I then had a question for him. According to one of the letters from Jesse White I’d received about a year ago, I had to make a payment of $250 to reinstate my license. I could pay over the phone or with a personal check sent to Springfield. He advised me to do this. It would take a week with a credit card, but it might take 45 days with a check.

I have about 45 days until my year is up.

I asked about the appeal, and he said that the way it went, they sent the appeal brief to the appellate court, and they would make up their mind. This decision was actually due on Monday. Then, Don and the others would have to send their response/rebuttal, and when it was registered, the process was over. One way or the other, I’d be driving again on the 17th of June (provided the reinstatement went out on time).

I get the feeling that my next time in court will be my actual trial. The appeal can’t go on for much longer.

When I got home, I wanted to call up the Secretary of State to see if they accepted debit cards. I have no credit cards, as I view them being no better than the Mafia, except if you don’t pay them, they send financial thugs after you instead of actual thugs. Credit cards exist solely to keep you in debt, and if you don’t believe me, look at your interest rates. Are you paying only the minimum payment each month? Why is that? [NOTE: Since I wrote this, I have three credit cards. They were absolute necessities. Guess who’s in debt up to his fucking eyebrows with no sign of things letting up. Oh yeah.]

Anyway, when I looked at the form, I noticed that they only accepted credit cards. No debit cards would be accepted. Angrily, I wrote out the check and hoped that they’d get to it soon.

I don’t know how much longer I can stand being driven around. I know I have a month and a half left, but still . . . it’s getting to me. I dream about driving. If I ever struck it rich, I would never hire a limo to drive me around. I can’t bear to be out from behind the steering wheel. It’s probably a control issue, since I’m definitely a backseat driver, at least when it comes to other people driving my car.

Well . . . here’s a little secret, if you promise not to tell anyone. Back when this first started, when my grandfather was driving me around, he had bad cataracts. He could barely see. So . . . I steered for him from the passenger seat. Does that count as a violation?


Friday, December 16, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Sixteen

I’m surprised I made it through court today. The pain in my tooth has returned, and it has been hammering away at my head for hours. I will probably need another root canal, and who knows? If this tooth is fucked, too, I might lose that one, as well. If so, they can take the wisdom tooth, too. No implants. Fuck it. I’m getting tired of the bullshit.

But that’s neither here nor there. Today’s court date was not very interesting. No weird characters to tell you about. Nothing strange going on. The only aberration I noticed was that a defendant had signed a document that he had not read, so the judge had to read it for him to confirm that the guy understood what was about to happen to him.

Everyone showed up today. Even my lawyer was there early. All ducks were lined up, ready to be knocked down. As soon as Don showed up, he started talking with other lawyers, and it seems like he just won a case before the Supreme Court. I didn’t hear if it was the Illinois Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court, and I couldn’t hear the details of the case, aside from the fact that it was DUI related. This cheered me up; maybe he still had some of the magic on him. Maybe it would help him with my case. (One way or the other, it’s cool. Both are pretty high praise.)

We waited for a while, and during a recess, the state attorney went into the judge’s chambers with my lawyer, and they spent quite some time back there. I grinned, wondering what kind of back-door dealing might be going on back there. Were they bargaining for my freedom? I remember thinking that this was waaaaay better than anything that happened in MY COUSIN VINNY.

They were in there so long that I had to go to the bathroom. I crossed my legs, hoping to be able to hold it until my case was over, but it quickly became clear that this wasn’t going to happen. Yet, if I went and they came back from the judge’s quarters, I knew I would be the first one to be called. What if I didn’t make it back in time?

Fuck it. I went. I zipped through it as quickly as I could, and much to my relief, recess was still on when I got back.

As it turned out, I was not next to be called. The judge went through a few jumpsuit cases (the guys in the orange jumpsuits from county lockup) before coming to me. I noticed that he was in a jovial mood. I knew he’d just come back from vacation, and maybe during that time he got laid, because he was joking around and giving NO ONE a hard time, not even the guy who signed the paper he had only skimmed. At one point, he even laughed and said, “This looks like one of those DUI courtrooms.” Even I found this to be kind of funny. The only non-DUI case I heard that day was the battery guy, and he’d been drunk at the time. (He was ordered to abstain from booze for one entire year. I hope that’s not on the table for me.)

While the judge was hearing another case, Don came back to whisper to me for a few minutes. He wanted to know if I had received the appeal brief, to which I said yes. He also asked if I liked it, to which I said HELL FUCKING YES. It was very well written, and I was confident that it would work.

He then explained that he had gone back to speak with the judge to convince him to hold off on the trial until the appeal went through. At first the judge said no, but when Don mentioned that it would save time, the judge heard him out. One way or the other, the appeal would establish certain things, things that would make it unnecessary for the police officers to show up in court again, and it would also save the judge time from listening to arguments from the hearing. This appealed to the judge, so he agreed to let this happen.

This is good because if the appeal works out in my favor, then it will make the trial a breeze. If it does not, nothing changes. Not bad, huh?

My case was called, and we all went up to the bench. For the record, Don had to describe what he and the judge had talked about behind the scenes, and then they were able to discuss things further. The cops, of which there were THREE (holy shit, right?), seemed to see the wisdom in this, considering how they probably think courtroom duty is the worst of the things they have to do every day. The judge suggested May 7th at 8:30 in the morning for our next date. By then, it is possible that the appeal will not have gone through, but it was a good, arbitrary time for us all to meet again, to reevaluate everything at that point.

I was then told to wait outside. My grandfather and I retreated to the hallway and waited for Don to finish the other case he had in there. As we waited, Earl and Steve wandered by. We greeted each other, and Earl asked if we were going ahead with the case today. I explained what had happened, and he seemed surprised.

“Really?” As soon as I confirmed this, he pointed at me and said, “I love that!” I got the impression that he didn’t believe that the judge would wait for the appeal. He then added that he’d overheard the state’s attorney speaking with the officers. The former had asked the latter how long they usually stop drivers for roadblock safety checks, and the cops said they couldn’t hold us longer than a couple of minutes. Earl then interjected, “Not in the Bruni case!” I have high hopes.

Since Don’s other case was taking so long, I paid Earl. He made note and said he would send my receipt in the mail. In the meantime, he would see me in court in May. He made mention of my tie clip, which was surprising. No one ever cares about the tie clip. I received it as part of my inheritance from Grandpa Lon, who sent me matching cuff links, as well. When I was a kid, I thought it was all useless, but as I grow older, I realized what a treasure trove he’d left me.

Then, when Don came out of the courtroom, he commented on my grandfather’s fedora, and I wondered if maybe this was a company policy. Whatever. I didn’t care. I thought it was cool. Don said that he also wore a hat on a regular basis, and his younger associates didn’t understand. Earl said that he had a hat, he just grew it on his head (to which I would have agreed, despite my appreciation for fedoras). We said our goodbyes, and agreed to meet back in court on May 7th.

I wait with bated breath. By the way, it feels really fucking good to be totally paid up with my lawyers. If only I could find myself in that position with my dentists.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Fifteen

Okay, today was a waste of time. There isn’t much to talk about here, but I’ll mention a few things.

When I got to court, I was surprised to find how few people were hanging around. Then, I realized that we were between Christmas and New Years. Of course there weren’t a lot of people in court. I’m surprised the place was open. Even the courtroom itself, which was usually crowded, only had a handful of people in it. It was so slow that the judge took a break at 9:30, which for him was an hour after he started.

But then, when he returned, I was the first one to be called, and my lawyers were not there yet. I approached the bench, restraining a smile because I now had a beard, and the judge would probably not remember me from last time.

“What is your name?” he asked, looking over my file.

Ah, good. His memory is short. The beard ruse has worked. “John Bruni, sir.”

“And your representation?”

I gave the name.

He read more from the file. “Oh, right. This was continued from last time because your attorney was late.” He eyed me from over the folder.

Shit. Well, at least he didn’t seem as angry as he had been last time. In fact, he had not raised his voice once in all the time I had been in the courtroom this morning.

“Call your attorney,” he said. “Then, have a seat, and we’ll get to you.”

He seemed more tired than angry, which I took as a decent sign. As I retreated out of the courtroom, I heard another attorney say, “Don’t worry. I saw Don earlier today. He’s in the building.”

Just to be sure, I went outside and called the office. The gentleman on the other line told me that he would notify one of the attorneys, and they would be with me shortly. Sure enough, about a half an hour later, Earl walked in, ready to do battle.

As soon as he’d entered, and the judge had seen him, my case was called to the bench. Earl said, “We’re here to file a motion to suppress, your honor.”

“Testimony or evidence?” Ferguson asked.

“Evidence regarding the roadblock stop,” Earl said.

“The roadblock coordinator isn’t here today,” the prosecutor said. I didn’t understand the significance of this until it was explained later. Since we were challenging the stop, we needed the coordinator there. It wasn’t enough that the arresting officer was in attendance.

“Okay, then,” the judge said. “I guess we need a new date, then. Are your papers in order?”

“Yes,” Earl said.

“Pardon?” the prosecutor asked.

“Your papers. Is your case ready?”

“Yes, your honor. Let me just find out from the officer when a good date is.”

Ferguson shook his head. “Bring him over here so we can all hear.”

The arresting officer approached, and he was asked where the coordinator was. “He’s on vacation, your honor.”

“When will he be back?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Then, when would be a good date for you?”

“Anytime except for January 19-22. I’ll be on vacation myself.”

The judge looked at his calendar. “And I’ll be on vacation the week after. How does February 19 sound?”

“That’s good for me,” the officer said.

Earl looked at me, and I nodded. We were then sent on our way.

I am slowly starting to realize that going to court is usually a matter of delaying things to another date. If things get delayed again, I will probably be able to drive myself to court again.

Outside, Earl said, “Okay, what just happened in there is good and bad. Well, two goods and one bad. It’s bad because you have to come back for another court date, which sucks. However, it’s good because we just faced this judge with a roadblock case two weeks ago, so it’s fresh in his mind and might affect his decision here. We want that far away and forgotten by the time we come back, just in case. It’s also good because I really, really want that appeal to come through first. It’s unlikely, but on the off chance that this actually happens, and we win it, it will have a small effect here. If we lose, it will have no effect, so don’t worry about that. But if we win on the appeal, while it won’t make this go away, it will have some small effect on the decision.”

“Okay,” I said. This gave me some hope, and a month and a half sounded like a good amount of time for an appellate court to catch up to me, especially this time of year, when the caseload is a bit lighter.

I paid up (so I now owe them the mere sum of $313), and we went on our way. As we drove home, my grandfather said to me, “I think I like this judge.”

“I don’t,” I said, remembering my last encounter with him.

“I noticed his cheeks were a little on the rosy side,” Gramps said. “That means he’s a drinker.”

QUICK NOTE: I found my first judge, Daniel Guerin, on Facebook. The temptation to friend him for nefarious purposes is nearly overwhelming.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Fourteen (Interlude)

This is just a short update. Over the weekend, I received the appeal brief that my lawyers had written. It’s about twenty pages long, and it is extremely detailed. If I had any doubts about my ability to get out of this mess, this document dispelled it all.

I think my lawyers are going to file a motion to dismiss the field sobriety test. From what I gather, everything that happened to me that night after getting pulled into the roadblock was a violation of my Fourth Amendment rights. I was detained for an unreasonable amount of time, you see. I was in my car for “less than ten minutes . . . less than five minutes” according to the arresting officer. According to the laws, these stops are to be measured in SECONDS, not MINUTES. Such a stop cannot last longer than a half-minute unless something happens to make the officer suspect illegal activity. At this point, the officer had not even detected the “faint” odor of alcohol. This is according to his testimony, mind you.

And even if the motion doesn’t work, they still have their bases covered. The “faint” odor of alcohol is consistent with my admission of having one beer. Consumption and driving is not against the law unless the person blows over .08. If the “faint” odor of alcohol was enough to merit a breathalyzer, then the future of drinking in Illinois is doomed. Get familiar with the new .01 law . . . .

Couple this with the fact that I was pulled over at one in the morning, when most people are tired and would reasonably have “glossy” eyes. The case is not so open and shut now, is it?

Did I forget to mention in previous installments that the officer himself admitted that I never slurred my words, that I never mumbled, that I didn’t have any problems with my motor skills (outside of the field sobriety test)? That’s right, baby. My words were clear, and I never stumbled, not even when I got out of the car.

Judging from what I read in that packet, I am 90% sure that I will be found not guilty, and when the appeals court finally gets to my case, that the judge at the hearing will be overturned. Mahalo.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Thirteen

Maybe it was a bad idea to go into court with a hangover. Last night’s drinking kind of got away from me, and when I woke up this morning, the room was lopsided. I threw some aspirin, Tang, and Red Bull down my throat, but it wasn’t enough. By the time I got to court, my head seemed to be rocking back and forth, but I know I wasn’t moving at all. I couldn’t even read because the words were dancing around on the page.

As it turned out, this was the least of my worries. Today was Rage and Stupidity Day in my new courtroom, and apparently I wasn’t immune to either one.

Remember when I said about how I might get a fair shake from my new judge? Well, as it turns out, she’s not my judge. My case will be heard by a fat guy with a comb-over who resembles the Empire Carpet guy. His name is Ferguson, and he’s a cunt-faced prick. In fact, I found myself missing Guerin, this guy was so bad. He sat behind his desk with the State of Illinois slab towering behind him, kind of like the monolith in 2001, but gray instead, and he ruled with an iron fist.

One defendant who was defending herself reached over the judge’s desk to hand him some paperwork. “What does it say in BIG BOLD LETTERS right in front of you?” he asked. “Or don’t you know how to read?”

The lady read the sign, which said, “DO NOT REACH OVER THE DESK.”

There wasn’t a single defendant who came up to stand before Ferguson who was not berated in an over-the-top fashion. He was like a clean version of R. Lee Ermey in FULL METAL JACKET.

In some cases, I could understand. There was one guy on crutches who didn’t seem to know if he had a lawyer or not. Kids, if you are standing before a judge, and you don’t know the answer to this question, you deserve what you get.

There were also people who had been here before, who had been ordered to hire a lawyer, and who clearly didn’t follow this order. Threats were handed out like porno pamphlets on the Vegas strip. If they didn’t get a lawyer by next time, they would go to trial without representation.

By the time my name was called, I was full of dread. I was confident that the judge would find nothing wrong with me, nothing he could rag on, since I was dressed well and I was conducting myself with respect. However, my lawyers were nowhere to be seen. I figured I’d tell him that I was waiting for my attorney, and he’d pass on me.

Ferguson gave me the routine. What’s your name. Do you know what you’ve been charged with. Etc. And then, he asked, “Do you have representation?” I could hear the challenge in his voice. He was looking eager to tearing me a new asshole if I said no.


He seemed disappointed. “Who is your representation?”

I gave him the name.

He wrote it down. “Well, let’s see if he shows up. Have a seat.”

I sat back down, forcing a smile from my face, and I settled back to start watching people.

There was a guy sitting behind me who kept muttering to himself. At first I thought he was on a cell phone (which is prohibited in court), but when he started humming to himself, I figured it out. When he was called, I got a good look at him. Ever see THE BRUTE MAN? This guy was a black, bearded Rondo Hatton. If not for the nice-looking coat and the lack of stink, I would have thought this guy was homeless.

The guy sitting next to me reminded me of a porn star I saw once. Tall, skinny, bespectacled and black, whenever I saw him, I couldn’t help but think of the time his doppelganger with a foot-long dong took on Bridget the Midget (who could only get his glans in her mouth, and nothing more). Every time someone did something stupid in court, he would shake his head or put his face in his hands, as if he couldn’t believe God made people this dumb.

Every time someone spoke louder than a whisper, the bailiff would shout, “If you want to have a conversation, you take it into the hallway! Otherwise, keep your mouth shut!”

I looked at my watch. I’d been there for two hours, and I still hadn’t seen my lawyer. I wasn’t worried, though. This was typical. One of the lawyers would show up, and then they’d get on with my case.

Wait! Is that the cop who arrested me? Yes, there he was, sitting in the jury box with other officers. Holy shit, this was really going to happen! I was going to be on trial today, and my freedom would be soon determined. Jesus!

A guy with more gold than Fort Knox around his neck was called. He wore a baseball cap and was texting on his cell phone as he approached the bench. The guy was so incredibly disrespectful that the judge was struck dumb. But not for long; the man was dealt with and thrown away. “Thank you, goodbye,” the judge said, which was how he ended each case. He said this as he tossed the envelope containing all the case information to the side.

Another guy was called, a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy. Sadly, he’d forgotten his belt; his pants were so far down his ass was hanging out. At first, I thought this was a fashion statement, but soon the guy must have sensed something was wrong, since he then pulled his pants up.

Yet another guy showed up in his best striped clubbing shirt . . . except the arms were torn off. Court is a classy joint.

The courtroom was starting to get empty. A couple walked in and sat in the same row as me. This was unfortunate, because the woman kept moving around. The seats are so poorly put together that if one person shifts slightly, everyone in the row feels it. My hangover did not thank this fidgety person.

I was called again, and the judge asked me where my lawyer was. I told him I didn’t know, and he asked if I had talked to him today. “No, I didn’t.”

“Well, aren’t you a smart one,” he said. “You know, if I were in your shoes, I’d be scared to death and nervous about my lawyer. I would have called him. Then again, you’re not all that bright, or you wouldn’t be here, would you?”

If he wasn’t a judge, I would have reached across that desk and bashed his fucking skull in. I’ve never been so thoroughly disrespected by someone whose salary my taxes paid. In fact, I’ve NEVER been disrespected by an official until now. The cop who arrested me was polite, the prosecutor might have been a dick, but he still treated me fairly, and even Guerin, who thought things over more than Hamlet did, treated me with respect.

I don’t have a lot of pride, and I’ll take a lot of things from people, provided that those things are true. What I won’t take is disrespectful cunt-faces impugning my intelligence. The urge to throw ten-dollar words at him to make him feel just as degraded was overwhelming. I’ve never found my pride harder to swallow.

“Okay,” he said. “We’ll give him a few more minutes. Have a seat.” He then told the court clerk to email everyone at Don’s law firm to see if they could get someone down here.

I immediately went out of the courtroom and called my attorney. I talked with the secretary and explained the situation, and I was told that Don would be there as soon as possible. Wait, what? You mean, he’s not here? But she was gone.

Shortly after I walked back into the courtroom, I was called again. “Okay, he’s not here,” the judge said. “Please note that the defendant was in the courtroom while the attorney was not.”

“Sir, I just talked to my lawyer,” I said, mustering my politest tone. I was using my gay phone voice that I usually utilized at work. “He said he was going to be here in a minute.”

“Oh, so genius here called his lawyer, huh?”

I bit my tongue.

“A prudent man would have made that call as soon as I’d called you the first time. Okay, we’ll wait for Lord Tardy. Have a seat.”

I followed orders and watched as someone else tried her luck. I wasn’t listening, though; I was too busy fuming, thinking about what I’d do to the judge if I’d run into him at a bar. So I don’t know what happened between the judge and the defendant. All I know is that the judge started yelling at her. Apparently, her lawyer wasn’t there, either, and this lawyer had done something to incur the wrath of Ferguson. He went on and on about how unprofessional this lawyer was, and how she shouldn’t even be in practice. The defendant said that it was easy for him to say these things when she wasn’t there. The judge snarled back that he’d say the same things to her face if she was here, and that she was welcome to take this message to her lawyer.

By the time he’d said, “Thank you, goodbye,” Don had showed up, and I was called up next. Don led off by apologizing to the judge profusely. Apparently, what had happened was that one of his clerks had misfiled my paperwork, so they didn’t get their usual alert that they had to be in court for today.

“I have more of an objection with your client,” the judge said. “A smart man would have called you sooner. This genius here waited and waited and waited until the last minute. It was pretty stupid, don’t you think?”

“Your honor, my client is under a lot of stress because of this case.”

The judge rolled his eyes. “Right. Of course. Let’s ask the officer how disrespected he feels? He’s been waiting here all day, and for nothing.”

I’m sure he was all broken up about it. He got a pretty good nap while he was waiting, a nap he probably wouldn’t have gotten if he was on duty.

“If your bright boy client hadn’t waited, these proceedings would have been over with,” the judge continued. “Now he’s got to come back again.”

“What’s a good date for you, John?” Don asked.

“No,” the judge said. “The officer will decide when you come back. When’s good for you?”

After some haggling, we decided on Dec. 29 at 9:30. Great. So, the way things are looking, maybe I’ll celebrate New Year’s behind bars.

On the way out, Don apologized to me. “But if it’s any solace, we are doing thousands of dollars worth of appeals work for you for free, so there’s that.”

I nodded, dumbly. “Have you heard anything about the appeal?” I asked.

“No. You’re not going to hear anything about the appeal for quite some time.”

I couldn’t help but think about everyone driving me around all the time, and I felt like punching the wall out of frustration. It was beginning to dawn on me that even if I win this case, the whole thing just wasn’t worth the trouble. “So, I’m stuck with my suspension?”

“Believe me, by the time this appeal goes through, you’ll be driving again.”

Then, what was the point? But I just didn’t have the energy to ask this question.


Monday, December 12, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Twelve

I don’t know what to say about today’s court appearance. There were positive things and negative things. Mostly, this was the SLOWEST day in court EVER. Practically nothing got done. None of the attorneys had their cases ready, and those without representation were quickly dispensed with. My file was apparently lost, so the judge had to put off my appearance. Deep down in my heart, I hoped that losing my file might mean getting my case dropped. It wasn’t likely, but it was nice to think about.

I have never seen so many cops in court than I did today. They sat where the jury usually sits in any other courtroom. There were maybe twenty of ‘em, but one of them caught my attention more than the rest. Maybe his superiors thought it would be okay for him because he’s not in a uniform (presumably, he’s a detective), but this guy has to eventually face the public as an officer of the law.

I understand that in the ‘Thirties, what would shortly be known as the Hitler mustache was all the craze, but Hitler kinda’ ruined that for everyone. WHY IS THERE A COP IN THIS COURTROOM WITH A HITLER MUSTACHE? I appreciate the symbolism (and I used it once in a short story), but still. How is it this guy has a job, being paid with taxpayer dollars?

But there was one thing that annoyed me more than this. At about nine-thirty, it was announced that a case was going to be put off for another day, and that any officers there to testify for this case are dismissed. All but two officers got up and left, and I couldn’t help but wonder at how interesting that case would have been to watch. Who the fuck needed 18 cops to arrest him? What’s the story behind this? Fuck, I’m never going to know!

Of the two remaining cops, one of them was the Hitler guy. Aside from the ‘stache, he was short, pudgy, and bald, and he had beady brown eyes poking out from behind thick glasses.

A couple of times, Earl and Don came around to update me about my missing file. It might take a while. In the meantime, I got to watch next to NOTHING happening in court. It got so boring that the judge threw down his pen and retreated to what I presumed were his chambers.

I whipped out a book and attempted to keep boredom at bay. Finally, at ten-thirty, my file arrived, and we could proceed. The judge had come out long enough to get rid of a handful more defendants without representation before he decided to sink his teeth into my case again.

My name was called, and I stood next to Earl as Guerin went over my file. He asked a couple of questions I didn’t understand, and then Earl said that Guerin’s decision at my hearing was working its way through the appellate court. The judge then asked about the status of my appeal, and Earl said he hadn’t heard anything yet.

“Court 4005,” Guerin said, and Earl wrote it down. He told me to wait there for him.

I had no idea what this meant, but when I walked into the new courtroom, I had a sneaking suspicion that my trial was about to begin. So much for the delays.

The atmosphere of this courtroom was vastly different from the other one. Whereas the first was a chaotic mess of attorneys and prosecutors talking with each other while cases are heard, this one was dead silent except for the judge and the case before her. The lighting was muted and cold, and the wall behind the judge was slate gray. The first courtroom was designed to be carefree and friendly; this one was built like a jail cell.

The first defendant I saw was dressed in an orange jumpsuit and was manacled, wrists and ankles. Holy shit, I thought. Welcome to the big leagues. This wasn’t going to be some game of pattycake, not like with Guerin. Was I a fool? Was I doomed?

Get a grip. There are others around me who are dressed in their regular clothes, although God knows, none of them were dressed in suits like me. Maybe this fact would help me when it was my turn.

The judge was asking the defendant where he lived, and the translator was asking him in Spanish. I noticed that the translator was leaning on a cane, but he was a fairly young man. My writer’s imagination started running away with itself. Perhaps a defendant sought revenge for being fucked over in court and had put this poor guy in traction. More likely, it was some kind of skiing accident.

Regardless, the defendant didn’t seem to know where he lived, but he was pretty sure it was either in Addison or Melrose Park. Granted, both are shitholes, but one is considerably closer to the city than the other. It wasn’t a mere topographical error on the defendant’s part; he was stalling, for whatever reason. The judge was at the end of her rope; she was practically yelling at this guy before he admitted to living in Addison.

It was a short-lived victory. She wanted to know if the guy lived under his own name, and he said no. Who did he live with? A friend. What is this friend’s name? No se. Not much of a friend, then, is he?

Good God, it seemed to go on forever. It was funny at first, but after a while it became painful. I’d already been bored to death in the first courtroom, now I had to die a second death by the same method?

Earl showed up, and I was called shortly thereafter. This judge also asked about the appeal, and she seemed very understanding about my situation. Could it be I would get a fairer shake out of her than I did out of Guerin? Instead of scheduling me for a month from now, she said to come back in two months.

Two months? Plenty of time to hope for that appeal to work out. Earl was very happy with this, and he also told me that this new judge was a pretty good one, that we’re lucky to have her.

One way or the other, we’re stuck into going to trial now. However, if the appeal works out within two months, it will be very, very helpful to the outcome of my trial. One way or the other, the criminal side of my case begins on the 16th of November . . . .


Friday, December 9, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Eleven

OK, today was a short day in court for me, the shortest so far, but I learned something very interesting in regards to our tactics.

I was scheduled to show up in court at 8:30 in the morning. Everyone who has ever gone to court knows this is bullshit. Court doesn’t start until the judge shows up, and the judge is always late. What happens if you and I are late for work? We’re reprimanded, or maybe our pay is docked, or worse, maybe we’re fired. The judge operates on DGT, or Daniel Guerin Time.

Regardless, I’m always there early. I want to get a good seat, because court is actually kind of fun, at least if someone is willing to fight. All the losers who plead guilty are boring as fuck. They go like clockwork, and the scripts are always the same. It’s a shame there are so many of them.

I didn’t get the chance to find out which cases were going to be fun or not. As soon as Earl showed up, he waved me outside and explained exactly what we were going to do today. Rather than begin my trial, we were going to ask for another date.

I didn’t have to ask why, but he graciously explained anyway, mostly for my grandfather’s benefit. The best tactic in my case, he told us, would be to keep asking for new dates. Best case scenario: we keep getting new dates, and during this time, the appeal might work out in my favor. If I get my appeal, and the new judge overturns dickhead’s decision, then my trial becomes unnecessary. Big smiles all around.

Worst case scenario: the judge turns us down, and we begin the trial anyway. Again, it all comes down to a roll of the dice. My attorneys are very good at their jobs. I trust them implicitly. If they think this thing has a chance, I’m with them. I gave my OK immediately.

We went back in, and I was the next case called before the judge. Earl asked for a new date, and the judge nodded and said September 21. Thank-yous were given, and Earl asked me to wait outside for him.

I walked out the court’s doors, and it wasn’t even nine o’clock yet. This is the shortest amount of time I’ve ever been in those considerably unhallowed halls.

Outside, I gave Earl an envelope with $500 in it, and he gave me a receipt. There were additional costs on my bill, mostly for various transcriptions. I noticed that there was a fee for $150 for submitting my appeal. If that was all it was going to cost me, why not roll the dice?

I now have about $440 left to pay my attorneys, and by the next time I see them, it will probably be more, but if they can get me out of this mess, it will be worth every penny. Until next time . . . .

On a related note, when I got home and got out of my hideously hot suit, I noticed that my fly was open. How long had it been like this? I cast my mind back, trying to remember the last time I’d opened my pants.

Sadly, I thought the last time had been when I took a piss before heading out to court. This means that every moment I spent inside the court, my fly was open. How many people had noticed? Had the judge noticed? This is horrible! I was wearing flimsy boxers beneath. What if my johnson had decided to make an appearance?

No, someone would have noticed, if that were the case. I decided to forget about the whole thing . . . .


Thursday, December 8, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Ten

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a very, very angry chapter of THE DUI DIARY. It was also a very, very drunken chapter, as I was hammered out of my mind while writing it. At the same time, I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that I still managed to do my homework, quoting actual members of MADD. While this rant may sound crazy, considering how many times I wished gang-rape on public figures, it still makes sense. Read at your own peril.]

Let’s talk about the BAIID. I was willing to play the State of Illinois’s silly little game. I understand rental fees and maintenance fees and such, but they broke my cardinal rule. They fucked with my money. And now, I’m through with them. This will, of course, mean that I won’t be able to drive until June 2010, but that’s OK. I will never pay the State of Illinois money that it doesn’t deserve.

Maybe I should explain why I want Jesse White to be gang raped by Ron Jeremy, Lexington Steele, Peter North, and a resurrected John Holmes (complete with AIDS). Perhaps saying that I want Judge Guerin (and I WILL mention his name, because he is a public figure) to have his genitals gnawed away by rabid bats would seem a bit rash at this point. Maybe, just maybe, saying that I want everyone in MADD to be drawn and quartered in a salt pit would be a bit excessive right now. Let me tell you about what I received in the mail yesterday.

If you’ll remember from the last time, I was willing to get that stupid BAIID thing on my car. Not because I’m guilty, but because I’m sick and tired of people driving me around. After what Jesse White’s office sent me yesterday, I can safely say that I’m happy having others drive me around. Of course, I reimburse them somehow. Gas money, pizzas, Red Bulls, etc.

The State of Illinois is packed with fascists, and you will understand my position soon. I received a document that would have been right at home in Stalin’s Russia. Allow me to elucidate.

Do you remember last time? When Earl said that the payment would be about $200? Well, he must not have taken into consideration what Jesse White would request of me. Before I can get the BAIID installed, they want me to pay the maintenance fees upfront.

Yes, on Jesse White’s letter, it asked me to pay it all up front at $110 a month. Wait! There’s a problem. Since things have run late for me, I’m only on TEN months, not eleven. Therefore, the maintenance fees should be $220 short. But it doesn’t matter. It’s what Jesse White says it is. All 12 months, unconditional and non-negotiable. Remember my appeal? If my appeal is successful, I would NOT get that money back. It’s non-refundable, according to White’s letter to me.


In addition to this, White has the GALL to ask me for a permit fee for this BAIID. Granted, it’s only $8, but still, it sounds like an attempt to squeeze just a little bit more money out of me. It’s fucking insulting. Just imagine if you went out to dinner at an expensive place, and the restaurant asked you to supply an additional fee, just for the privilege of allowing you to eat at their establishment. Am I alone in thinking that this is bullshit? I doubt it. Do you think I’m lying? If I don’t pay $338 for the BAIID IN ADVANCE, I don’t get to have it.


But let’s move on. I have too much bile in me to waste on Jesse White right now. Sure, his tumblers were cute back in the day. But FUCK HIM. He’s sold out. He’s no longer concerned with helping the little people out. He’s out for NUMBER ONE now. Fuck him in his tender asshole.

Let’s go over the points in the BAIID letter I just got. I won’t go over every point, but I will go over everything I find objection to.

Like point four. It asks that I bring my car in for examination after the BAIID machine asks me to do so within five working days. First of all, what if I can’t do so? I have a job. I’m a useful member of society. I can’t be at their beck and call. Well, if I don’t make it, I will have my suspension extended, which will cost me $330 additional. FUCK THAT.

Or how about point seven? If I fail my BAIID blow, for a variety of reasons, I need to bring my car in for a check up. That might sound reasonable at first, but think about it. Excessive amounts of mouth wash or soda will set off your BAIID. Doesn’t that sound fucked up to you? Every time you set it off because of mouth wash or soda or bread (yes, bread will do it, too), you have to apologize to the State of Illinois? NO! If you agree to this, you have been brainwashed by fearmongers. You are a fool.

Think about point nine for a second. If my suspension is extended three times, my car can be IMPOUNDED for 30 days at my expense. Followed by point 10: if my suspension is extended four times, my car can be seized and sold at an auction. FUCK YOU, JESSE WHITE! FUCK YOU! YOU THINK YOU’RE IMMUNE TO OUR HATRED BECAUSE YOU HAVE TUMBLERS?! YOU SUCK, AND SO DO EVERY ONE OF THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH!

It gets worse. If I’m caught breaking ANY other law (even non-traffic laws), I can have my suspension extended. How the fuck does this make sense? Is the State of Illinois populated by asylum escapees? Really? Fuck Pat Quinn and his predecessor. Hook ‘em up to perpetual assfucking machines. The studded ones.

Feast your eyes on point 14. If I drive a vehicle without a BAIID on it, I can be put in jail for anywhere between 30 days to 3 years, and I will have to pay a fine up to $25,000. Did I kill anyone? Did I fuck your mother? Did I rape your daughter or your wife? No, I operated a vehicle while slightly intoxicated. I would have made it home fine, if not for your unconstitutional roadblock stop. I broke no moving laws. You are a fascist, and you want money from me. Cut your own dick off and stick it in your own asshole, OK? That would make me happy.

My grandfather took one look at this document, and he said, “What the fuck country do we live in? When did we bring Hitler back to life?” In his day, do you know what they did with drunk drivers? They slapped them on the wrist and drove them home. At worst, you wound up in the drunk tank for the evening. When you were sober, they sent you home. I don’t see what was wrong with that.

Seriously, if you were pulled over because you were swerving across lanes or going through stop lights, you deserve a DUI. If you were acting like a responsible driver, like me, you shouldn’t have to deal with this Nazi bullshit. This is a persecution the world has not seen since Jesus was crucified. In fact, the Romans who beat and whipped Jesus through the streets, as seen in Mel Gibson’s THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, were a lot more forgiving than the State of Illinois.

You think I’m exaggerating? The Chicago Tribune recently published a falsified article to show that the BAIID isn’t really that bad. It said that to get it installed, it would only cost $100 to get it installed and $110 to have it monitored and serviced every month. But they don’t mention that everything must be paid up front. This is an old journalist trick to fool readers into being on the writer’s side. Give ‘em some of the truth, but leave out a few details. Surprised? Remember, journalism isn’t about truth, it’s about a business. If you don’t toe the line at your respective paper, then you get fired.

Do you know who got this law passed? MADD did the trick. If they had their way, DUI suspects (not those who have been convicted, but SUSPECTS) would all be castrated and have the word “LOSER” tattooed on our foreheads. They believe anyone who would drink and drive should be jailed and probably waterboarded. Guess what? Most people drive impaired at some point in our lives. The only way to stop this is to OUTLAW DRINKING. And that really worked out the last time we tried that. I’m sick and tired of bullshit. If you think ingesting a particular substance is wrong, you should ban it, right? But we don’t. Why? Because all of the really good civilizations on this planet were founded on BOOZE. That’s right. Name ONE country that wasn’t founded by drunkards. Go ahead. You can’t. It’s impossible. Philosophers are all hardcore drinkers. Or they’re opium fiends. Or they smoke weed. Why? Because altered states help you see through the bullshit to the truth of the universe. If you can’t see through it all, YOU ARE NOT HUMAN. You’re a douchebag who thinks he knows what he’s talking about. [It should be mentioned here that the inebriated me is not talking about calling non-drug users douchebags. What he’s suggesting is that people who can’t see through the bullshit our universe is made of tend to be douchebags who talk a lot and don’t know how it really is. Just thought I’d clarify, as drunk me isn’t being very clear.]

Some of us can handle drinking .08. In fact, I know FOR SURE I can drive on .2 successfully. It’s all relative. If you can’t handle it, you don’t belong on the road. You belong in jail, where you will be raped repeatedly by a guy named Otis with tats on his arms proving conclusively, in Braille and expressionist art, that you are his bitch.

BAC is not a reliable method of judging how drunk someone is. If you are breaking moving laws, you should be pulled over and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If you can handle yourself while drunk, you should not be subjected to these horribly unconstitutional safety roadblock checks.

Then, why would the BAIID be such a successful campaign? I hear you ask. Actually, it’s not as successful as the State of Illinois would have you believe. Of all those accused of DUI in this state, guess how many have the BAIID installed on their cars. Of 50,000 people a year, only 25,000 get it. Even though only 40,000 are first time offenders (like me), most decide to eat the suspension. Why? I can only give my reason for skipping it: I refuse to give the State of Illinois money it doesn’t deserve. Still, this is NOT making money for Pat Quinn (even though it’s supposed to be a money making scheme). The executive director of Illinois Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Susan McKeigue, can’t even admit to this. She said recently that, “It could go better, but it’s going well.” Really? When only 25,000 people out of 50,000 go for the hideously illegal BAIID, things are going well? That’s only a two-to-one proposition. That will net you the least amount of money on any proposition. How can that be considered a winning situation?

Think about this: how many people have you ever seen with a BAIID on their cars? I’ve driven all over this state, mostly for the City of Elmhurst four years ago, and I have NEVER EVER seen a BAIID on ANYONE’S car. Even now, driving 16 miles to work and 16 miles back from work EVERY DAY, I have never seen a BAIID. Why? I live pretty fucking close to Chicago. If there were BAIID’s out on the road, I would have seen them, right? At least one, right? I haven’t. What does that tell me? NO ONE GETS THIS FUCKING THING. I saw a picture of a guy in the Trib getting it installed on his car, but for all I know, it was a staged photo. I challenge you to show me ONE person in the State of Illinois who has this thing on their car. I know you guys are all hardcore drinkers (well, mostly). I’m willing to believe that NONE of you knows someone in this situation. Am I wrong? Let me know, and I’ll correct myself immediately.

The only way to stop drunk driving is to outlaw booze entirely, and that has never successfully worked in history. Honestly, if it was legal, I’d smoke weed all the time. It’s not harmful, and it doesn’t cause permanent injury to the user. Hell, I’d trip my ass off on shrooms all the time. I find that such excursions into the mental realm are always rewarding. But booze is sanctioned by the US government. If you want to regulate this, you’re saying the US government is wrong. Good luck telling Obama that he’s a fool. After everything you people have said about his health care plan, he’s used to your Nazi gibberish.

Stop persecuting me because I love whiskey! How would you like it if I started giving you shit for liking salads, for example? I hate salads. You don’t see me trying to make salads illegal, do you?

Think twice before calling me a criminal. The hangman comes for everyone, eventually.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

THE DUI DIARY: Chapter Nine

Once upon a time, Kurtz said the right thing in HEART OF DARKNESS. Maybe not for the right reasons, but still. “The horror! The horror!” Yes, the horror indeed. I lost today before I even showed up for court. How does that grab ya’? It went for the short and curlies and savagely yanked. Go directly to jail. Fuck Go and fuck your money. Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

This morning, I showed up to court on time to find that the judge was late. You bet. If I was late, the world would have probably ended, but the judge? Well, he can take his time, right? Where are you gonna’ go, bubba? You’re already in the jaws of the legal system. Good night and good luck.

I’m jabbering like a fool! But can you blame me? No, I don’t think you can. When I talked to Earl, he asked me if I’d applied for the BAIID yet. I told him that last time I’d seen him, that he had told me not to, at least not yet. He wanted to try the motion to reconsider, which was what I was really counting on today.

Well, about that motion to reconsider . . . . Apparently, Don and Earl played golf with the judge recently, and the main topic of discussion was my case. They talked about it over a few holes (and hopefully more than a couple of cocktails, but that’s just conjecture), and it became very clear to my lawyers that the judge was definitely not going to change his mind. Why file the motion to reconsider if the judge is this adamant?

“So, I have to get the BAIID now?” I asked.

“If you want to drive.”

“Shit. What else can we do?”

Earl smiled. “We’ll skip the motion in favor of an appeal. If this guy won’t change his mind, we’ll get another judge who will change his mind for him.”

See? This is why I love my lawyers. Nothing is ever the end for them. As long as I’m willing to fight (and motherfucker, you bet I am), they’re willing to fight. The problem is, an appeal can sometimes take up to four months (if I’m lucky) to two years. Am I going to not drive in all that time? Fuck that. I’m tired of being chauffeured around.

So, I gotta’ give my car head every time I want to drive somewhere. I guess I can live with that. It’s going to cost out the ass, but fuck it. I’ve gone 41 days without driving, and I’m sick and tired of it. Besides, if the appeal works out, I can have the BAIID removed instantly.

Earl went back into the courtroom to get the paperwork filed. While I waited for him, the woman sitting next to me said, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to stick my nose in, but I overheard your conversation with Earl, and we have the same lawyer. My husband—“ She nodded to the man next to her. “—was stopped at a safety roadblock in Carol Stream, and this is our first time in court. What is it like?”

Ah. My first audience members. This is, after all, the reason I’m writing this, to let others know what it’s like. I asked a few questions and found out that the guy’s case is almost exactly like mine. I told them what to expect, but most importantly, I said, “Get ready to sit around and wait. Most of this ordeal is about the waiting.”

I don’t know if that was any comfort to her (I doubt it), but at about that time, Earl came and got me to sign the papers. In 10-14 days, I would receive a notice from the Secretary of State to get the BAIID, and where to get it. I would then have 14 days from when the notice was mailed to get it installed. It’s about $200 up front, and then, every month I have to pay $110 (for rental and maintenance). Motherfuckers.

My grandfather and mother, who were my ride (as usual) had this to say about what transpired today: “Fuck the judge, fuck the system, fuck the state. They’re cocksucking motherfucking sons of bitches pieces of shit.” My grandfather also offered this for my consideration: “Do you think, during that golf outing, the judge had more than a few drinks before getting in his car and driving home?”

It’s a delicious thought, but I honestly don’t think so. That’s not really the behavior of a man who is trying to get reelected. But it’s nice to think about.

On the way out of court, I asked my lawyer if he thought my chances were good, in regards to my appeal. “I wouldn’t waste my time doing a bunch of research and writing 30 pages of legal briefs if I didn’t think we had a chance,” he said. This made me very happy.

Well, at least I only have a couple more weeks of depending on other people to get a ride. My next court date is in a month, and that’s when my real trial begins . . . .