Monday, December 15, 2014

Judges are not easily fooled

There was a time, seems so long ago now, when Y County calendared eviction cases in the same courtrooms as criminal misdemeanor cases.  And since criminal cases have priority over civil cases [and eviction cases have priority over all other civil cases but NOT over criminal cases], sometimes we had to wait around all morning before our eviction cases were heard.

One morning, criminal arraignment calendar was in full swing.  One defendant had apparently violated the terms of her OR release ["own recognizance", she was released without bail], so she appeared in court to request her OR reinstated.  She brought her toddler daughter, carrying a bottle of juice, with her to counsel table when her name was called.

Judge:  "You brought your baby with you?"

Defendant:  "Sorry, I couldn't find a babysitter this morning."

We all knew it was because she thought the judge wouldn't revoke her OR and send her to jail if she was holding a baby.

Unfortunately for her, the judge ALSO knew her reasoning.  He nodded toward the bailiff, who steered the Defendant to the jury box and sat her there.

Judge, addressing Public Defender while nodding toward the jury box:  "Please take care of this for me.  I hate taking kids into protective custody."

The Public Defender whispered to the Defendant, wrote something on a paper, and left the courtroom.  Then he returned.

Public Defender:  "All taken care of.  It'll be about 30 minutes."

The judge continued with arraignment calendar.  About a half-hour later, a woman in her 50s entered the courtroom.  The Public Defender retrieved the child from the Defendant and placed her in the woman's arms.  The little girl smiled and hugged the woman, obviously her grandma.

And the Defendant was ordered into custody.

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