Do you have any questions? Anything Else?

Seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? Let’s put it into context…

For those of you who’ve never been to traffic court (the smart ones who just pay the fine ’cause you know damn well you did something you shouldn’t have), this is typically the procedure:
MC will get up and testify. You have the opportunity to ask questions. Then you have the opportunity to make a statement. If the judge feels I, as the representative of the State, have not met the burden of proof, you will be found not guilty (I just stop typing for a second because I was laughing too hard). More often than not, at least in my experience, the defendant is found guilty.
Here are a couple of procedural things that always nut me up….1) After both the defendant and I have done our thing, the judge will ask the defendant something to the effect of “Do you have any questions or anything else to say?” I swear that probably about 75% of people will reply in the negative….and then go on to say something else. Hey! Moron! When you say you have nothing further, how’s about just shutting the fuck up and being done. Not to mention that neither I, the judge, or the audience needs to hear for the eighth fuckin’ time how you totally stopped at the stop sign. 2) Here is where Booted Cop and I may differ a bit. BC takes a minor issue with our judge’s procedural view…I think the guy has the patience of Job for maintaining decorum when faced with idiocy at virtually every turn. While I understand BC’s point of view in that particular post, I offer an opposing view. Immediately after I’ve testified, the judge will ask “Do you have any questions for the Officer?” Almost 9 times out of 10, the defendant will begin by saying something like, “I was driving…”. Did you catch it? That’s right. Statement. Not a question.
Now, I can understand the first couple of defendants doing this. I understand nerves. But after a handful of cases, you’d think they’d wise up. Or even worse, I’ve seen defendants repeat their statements not twice, not three times, not even four times, but in excess of five times. reTarded.
Is it really that hard to differentiate between a question and a statement? I’d love to think it wasn’t. Apparently, I’d be sorely mistaken. And again, if you’ve nothing further to say, don’t continue to flap your gums. It’s irritating. And it makes you look stupid because it appears you can’t listen. Or follow directions. Wait…that’s what got you here in the first place. Carry on.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

13 thoughts on “Do you have any questions? Anything Else?

  1. You should object . . . say "Objection, your honor, that wasn't a question." And then keep objecting every time they do it. After 5 or 6 times they will be so flustered they won't be able to speak.

    Sadly, I've actually done this to licensed attorneys, too . . .

  2. I think most of us are hoping that the LE officer is busy or off duty and won't show up. Especially if the cite was written on graveyard. At least then, we get the satisfaction of knowing we cost you a few hours sleep:}
    For a rolling stop.

  3. DA…

    I would, but the judge stops them before they build up a good head of steam. He's good like that.

  4. MC–

    Yes I appreciate his patience too, but sometimes he is too freakin patient for my taste. As you said when the moron is allowed to repeat the same damn thing 5x, that is ridiculous, but he allows it to happen. You should be allowed to repeat something only once, to emphasize a point I suppose, after that you should be cut off, but even repeating once is unnecessary. Another "rule" I hate of his is the ''no wearing shorts" rule. Actually I don't mind the rule, but when he makes those defendants go last it only has the effect of punishing the officer testifying, especially if the officer is on his day off.

    Maybe I'm too harsh on him. He's a decent enough guy, pleasant to talk to, and generally fair. He gives defendants a lot of leeway which I have no problem with. He's pretty accommodating too. On a couple of occasions I had an important meeting or had to be somewhere immediately after court so I got there early and politely asked the bailiff if there was any way to ask him if I could go first. He accommodated me both times, and I appreciate that. I make sure not to abuse that privilege, and have asked for that consideration only when absolutely necessary and truly important. That being said, some of his quirks bug me and I think are unnecessary, but that's just my opinion and it's his court and he'll run it the way he wants.

  5. "the smart ones who just pay the fine 'cause you know damn well you did something you shouldn't have"

    I was ticketed for an "illegal U-turn." Not only did I prove the officer wrong in court, the judge chewed him out for ticketing me because the judge said I was clearly in the right. The no U-turn sign was not posted on the street as proscribed by law but on private property in a medical building driveway, so it was not visible until one already began a lawful U-turn at an intersection. I came armed with many photographs demonstrating it was not a lawful sign and not visible from the street, so it pays to be prepared for your "day in court". Needless to say the officer was not pleased when he was dressed down. The judge said it was the first "not guilty" in his court in almost a year.

  6. Do you ever worry that the judge might read your blog and get cheesed off at what you wrote about him?

  7. BC…agreed. Letting the defendant make the same ridiculous error is irritating.

    I Was Right…I've said it before and, apparently, it needs to be repeated. If I gave you a ticket, you derserved it. I would not have issued the cite in your case for obvious reasons. I don't cite for things I'm not sure of…specifically because I don't wanna look like a dipshit in court. I can't speak to the abilities or alleged lack thereof of the citing Officer in your case.

    Anonymous (1053)…nope. I don't think I've said anything even remotely negative in any of my posts. And, what's more, I don't think I've written anything that I wouldn't say to him. I enjoy going to court and typically show up early to watch because it's like a free show. Now, if they'd just serve food and cocktails, it'd be the perfect date nite.

  8. If I gave you a ticket, you derserved it

    So that begs the question about when have you given a citation you believed was justified but the driver nonetheless won in traffic court?

  9. Kitty…

    I can count on two hands the number of times (out of between 200-300 times I've been) I've lost. The majority of them were either due to expired traffic surveys (out of my control) or a witness to a collision couldn't make court and I can't testify using hearsay.

    The two times I specifically recall losing was for a pedestrian in a crosswalk and ashing out a window.

    With regard to the ped, the driver brought the ped to court and the ped testified he was illegally in the crosswalk. At the time of the stop, the driver said nothing of the kind to me and the judge gave him the benefit of the doubt. It happens.

    With regard to the ash, I made the mistake of not being more specific in my testimony regarding the ash smoldering or glowing as listed in the statute. Again, it happens.

    Not a bad batting average, you ask me. At the end of the day, I know the driver did what I cited him/her for and that's enough for me.

  10. There is an understanding amongst motorcops that losses when a temp judge is subbing in for the regular dude don't count. Some of the subs are so whacked that you don't know what to expect. I think one of them has a rule that every 4th one has to be a not guilty no matter what the testimony is. The freakin defendant can say I did it and it still happens.

    Best chance to win in court if you're a defendant is for me not to show up, and the best chance of that happening is that there's a major fatal wreck that happened right before court time starts, my car exploded on the freeway on the way to court if it's my day off, or some catastrophic event kept me from making it, in essence, not very likely. Just pay the damned fine, cuz if a motor stopped you, as MC's blog sez, you deserved it.

    MC maybe you should change the title if you got stopped…you deserved it and you'll lose if you challenge me in court"

  11. If a MOTOR stopped you he will be in court. Now, if a patrol stopped you, you may have a chance of him not showing up.

    When I worked on the DWI Task Force, I did not have to work extra jobs. Work at night, court in the mornings and sleep in the afternoon.

    So, the only chance you have is if a regular patrol stops you.

    I can see it now, "excuse me officer, what division are you in? I read on a blog……." lol

  12. Our commissioner will let them ask the same question three or four times before he starts cutting them off.

    He'll say "Asked and answered, next question." After a few rounds of this the defendant will generally figure out that they have no more questions.

    When a defendant begins with a statement, our commissioner likes to remind them that a question usually begins with "What, where, who or how many".

    Of course, people don't learn. Our commissioner does his schpiel at the beginning of court about turning your cell phone off outside and coming back into the courtroom, but someone will invariably tweet, warble or deedle deedle during court.

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