July 29, 2013

An Open Letter to the Judge in Anytown, NC...

Dear Judge So-n-So:

I get it.  You are busy.  Apparently, there is all kinds of law-breaking going on in that teeny-tiny little town that you preside over.

I was a front-seat witness to it last week when I took a day off work to drive my son back up to Anytown, NC (his little college town) so that he could testify on his friend's behalf regarding the threatening text she received.

To discover that your courthouse only has one courtroom and, presumably only one judge, caught me off guard, I must admit.  Although your teeny-tiny town is just a wee bit smaller than ours, I guess I expected more.

At any rate, upon discovering this, I quickly surmised that you must be super-busy.

But even so, I have to question your methods.  You see, this was actually the second time this summer that my son has made the trip back to Anytown to testify.

The first time was back in May, about two weeks after school let out.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend because of work commitments - which distressed me to no end.  I'm sure you understand - your only child has to testify, in court, you kind of want to be there for him.

As you know, he never had to testify that day because the defendant didn't show up.  According to his attorney, he had high school exams.  So, apparently, he is an exemplary student but his character is questionable.

What thoroughly amazed me though was the fact that all you did was continue the case rather than handing down some sort of punishment like - oh, I don't know...contempt.  That's what I would have done.

But then, I'm not a judge am I?  Lucky for that kid and a few other people I can think of off the top of my head.

The new court date was set for last week.  In addition to taking a day off work, as I mentioned earlier, we had to be up and out of the house at an abnormally early hour.  But we did it.  My son because he has an outstanding moral character and me because I'm an exceptional mom (despite what you may have heard to the contrary).

As you know, the case once again did not take place.  As the exceptionally young prosecutor noted, this is a "really young" case (which in my mind translated to "You've only come to court twice - get used to it").

The reason this time?  Because the defense attorney was on "sanctioned leave."  Which we discovered meant that YOU okayed this leave.  Which is fine, really.  I mean everyone, even defense attorneys, sometimes need time off.

What wasn't fine was the fact that no one bothered to inform the rest of the participants in this case.  In fact, the victim received a call from the Sheriff's office reminding her to be in court that day.  We had to drive two hours just to get to court and the victim had a three hour drive.  Which meant that we all had a four hour and six hour round trip, respectively, for nothing as the case was once again continued to September.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things this is a small - maybe even paltry - case in your eyes.  It sure isn't murder, that's for sure.  But here's the deal - despite inconveniencing several people, allowing this kind of thing to happen over and over again, which according to the exceptionally young prosecutor's comment tells me is the case, all you are doing is delaying the inevitable AND adding to your already overflowing docket.

So here is where I want to give you just a little bit of friendly advice, Your Honor.  Deal with the cases as they come up.  I'm fairly certain that if you become the judge with that reputation this kind of thing can be prevented from happening over and over again - I'm sure you've heard of the "Rocket Docket"?  As you can imagine, there is no dilly-dallying in that courtroom.  And there wouldn't be any comments about "young cases" in your courtroom, which really would be a good thing.

Also, Your Honor, what kind of message are you sending to the youth that think they can hide behind a screen and threaten people?  In my mind, the message that you are sending is that while it isn't okay, per se, it's not too bad so go ahead and do what you will - because in this courtroom you can delay punishment indefinitely...and I'm sure that's NOT the message you intended to send.  At least, that's not the message *I* would want to send.

So, if it pleases the Court, can we safely assume that come September there will be a resolution to this case?  Because, between you and me, I know my son didn't sleep at all the night before the last two court dates.  And I can easily imagine that his friend didn't either.  And this next court date - well, to be honest, it falls right smack at the beginning of school and these kids really don't need to be missing classes and losing sleep right at the beginning of the year if we expect them to keep up their grades now can we?

Knowing what a busy person you are, I'll end this correspondence in the hopes that you take my advice in the spirit it was intended - to help you ease up your heavy workload.  I work with attorneys, I KNOW how exasperating they can be, but seriously, if you just wrap up the cases ASAP life will just be that much easier for you.

Sincerely yours,

3 comments:

  1. He could use a whip-cracker like you! You could clear that docket right up and everyone could take a vacation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, this must be so stressful for your son, your family, his friend and her family.
    I hope this gets resolved soon, for everyone's sake.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would be beyond frustrated and angry about this. How disrespectful to everyone involved to behave this way. I hope things get resolved in September.

    ReplyDelete

I generally respond to comments via email...if your blog/id is not tied to your email, I will attempt to respond here...but I would strongly suggest that you make your email available if you want to continue the conversation.

Unfortunately, for some reason people with Yahoo emails are receiving bounce-backs. Your comment will be published but I won't be notified; but I will respond once I realize you've left a comment.