I’m not a criminal…

As promised earlier on Facebook…

Today brought another fun filled court experience….and another Bitterman episode.

Ofr. Bitterman and I coincidentally had morning traffic court at the same time today. Bitterman thought he was lucky going early in the calendar. Poor hapless Bitterman.

The Judge called Bitterman’s case. Bitterman walked up and waited for the defendant to walk up. The defendant didn’t appear to be in court. Bitterman gave his testimony, the Judge found the absent defendant guilty. Bitterman was just about to the threshold of the doorway when this happened:

SET (to be explained): I DON’T GET TO SAY ANYTHING???

Silence fell upon the courtroom. All the cops looked to the back of the room. Then at the Judge. Oh man, this is gonna be good. Bitterman just froze in the doorway, a small shake of the head at his shitty luck.

SET (wait for it….): I’M NOT A CRIMINAL. I’M A SPECIAL ED TEACHER! (ergo SET).
Judge: Uh, I called your case why didn’t you approach?
SET: No one told me what to do!
Judge: Alright. Why don’t you have a seat and watch a few cases to get a feel for how they go. Ofr. Bitterman, you don’t mind do you?
Bitterman (teeth set just so): No, your honor.

The judge called a few more cases, mine not amongst them. This was just fine with me…I needed blog fodder.

Judge: Calling SET.

Bitterman walked up and stood at the lectern. SET walked up in a huff and dropped her bag on the ground.

SET: Now that I’ve been totally humiliated…

Oh. Sweet. Lord. This just keeps getting better.

Judge: Excuse me?
SET: I said I’ve been humiliated.
Judge: Go sit down.

I watched Bitterman’s jaw tighten and I had to stifle a chuckle. The judge continued through the rest of the calendar leaving SET for last. My case was heard (Victory, thank you), but I sat in the back of the courtroom because, well, fodder! Oh…and I forgot that halfway through the calendar, we saw the bailiff walk to the back of the courtroom with a box of kleenex. Priceless.

Judge: SET.

SET and Bitterman re-approach their respective lecterns. The Judge is truly a nice guy and I’ll be the first to say I have no clue how he keeps his cool and maintains his patience in the face of such obvious idiocy (this case notwithstanding). He explained to SET that he called her last on the calendar to give her more privacy because of her comment about being humiliated. (I must admit to staring at my iPhone pretending to do something besides listen, because I’ll just bet you looked at me with eyes that said, “Will you take a fuckin’ hint and get out?!?” Do you people see the sacrifices I make for your entertainment?)

At any rate, she continued to whine about the injustices of apparently not having a full time sign spinner, a la Round Table, with a large “No U-Turn” sign in the middle of a busy intersection so she would take proper heed and not violate the law. Alas, SET, if only the Town had the disposable income to do such a thing…oh, and we could hire one of those cats that paint themselves silver and stand like statues for hours on end. I’m not really sure what purpose they would serve, but those dudes are cool!

The Judge asked if she would like him to go out and take a look at the intersection and make sure it was properly marked. She sobbingly requested he do just that. Here’s where the Judge takes the easy way out…I know the intersection Bitterman testified to. SET violated the law. It’s extremely well marked. The interesting thing is the Judge will take a case like this “under submission” which translates to (at least in this case and in my opinion) “I’m gonna find you guilty and mail you my decision so you don’t freak the fuck out in my courtroom”. I couldn’t agree more with the tactic!

Much like me, Bitterman tends to get some weird people to interact with. Here’s to another entertaining morning in the justice system!

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

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16 thoughts on “I’m not a criminal…

  1. That's so funny! That's almost as funny as saying, "I'm not a criminal because I'm a soccer mom!"

    Very entertaining story.

  2. LMAO! Great story MC. I've given up on fighting tickets. (not that I've gotten a lot). The one time I went to court and tried to explain my side, the judge stopped me mid sentence, hand in the air and said, "Honey, you need a lawyer." I changed my plea to guilty and paid the ticket. Not worth the hassle. If I get caught, I deserve it and pay it.

  3. 85% of the SET's I've met are completely nuts! One is actually certifiable, literally. Thanks for the laugh!

    -Cori

  4. Oh my God, I truly hope this wasn't my mom…she lives in "the Town" and is a SET – and I'm afraid she's a bit of a drama queen. But…she would have told me about the injustices & humiliation she suffered in court, right?…right??? Oh, Mom…
    🙂

  5. There is just no making this shit up. And no need to do it. Apparently even if you're a judge. But once again, I enjoyed your take on the idiocy that continues to run rampant.

  6. Are you sure she was a Special Ed teacher…or just Special Ed, period?

    "The blind leading the blind" just became very relevant here. (facepalm)

  7. "…I needed blog fodder".

    "I sat in the back of the courtroom because, well, fodder!"

    This one was laugh out loud funny. Thanks MC.

  8. MC, I have small question for ya. Did you notice any increase in contested tickets and court attendance after the fine hikes at the start of 2009 and mid-2009?

    Recently, I was trying to attend a walk-in court session in Fremont so I could try to negotiate down the fine or the charge for a VC2239a ticket I got in July. Sadly, i missed the last slot by two people despite showing up nearly 40mins before the opening of the gates. I heard of people coming in at 5am on some days to guarantee themselves a spot.

    What struck me the most is the number of people showing up just to ask the judge for a reduction (AFAIK, monetary reductions aren't given often, but I'd love to get a reduction to a non-mover like a cell phone violation if it was given). The last time I went to walk-in court, 90% of the cases involved missing lic/reg/ins/all of the above. This time around, I saw a whole bunch of people with red light camera tix and other minor violations who waited in line just to see the judge and ask to lower the fine.

  9. This story was pure poetry even before the box of Kleenex was introduced.

    In my two times in traffic court (arraignment & victorious trial) here in SoCal, I could not believe how unprepared, slovenly dressed, marginally coherent and downright stupid the defendants were. I don't know how the judge kept his temper and the cops didn't burst out laughing.

  10. I swear the vast majority of my traffic court defendants ARE special ed.

    The difference in our court is that our commissioner would just let them stand there and blather on, all the while taking up everyone else's time.

  11. I used to be a traffic court judge in Wa. state and would get (more than one or two) middle aged women who assured me that their Dodge Dart with its 6 cyl. engine couldn't possibly have gotten all the way up to 71 in a 55 zone … (roll eyes) …