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 . . . .
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!