My Day In Court

I’m convinced the legal system is meant to intimidate rather than execute justice. It all starts before you even walk into the courthouse. As you approach the building, you can’t help but notice the monstrous size of it all. Right away, you are given the impression of David vs. Goliath. Suddenly, it all becomes clear that I’m this little man battling all-powerful government. Then, in an effort to further “keep the man down” you are not allowed to bring a camera or camera phone into the courthouse. I had to remove mine and take it back to my vehicle (parked about 2 1/2 blocks away). I guess the sight of a Sergeant First Class in his dress uniform gives the impression that I’m a terrorist hellbent on bringing down the legal system with my ringtones and 3.1 megapixels.

The next thing I noticed is that there are a lot of suits walking around with thick files. I’ve discovered the key to winning any case: dazzle them with paperwork. The more paperwork you can shove down their throats, the more likely your case is to win. Of course, the state pads their cases with drawings of stick figures with horns I’m sure. I think the prosecution just photocopies War and Peace and slides into their file to increase the size. My file was about half an inch thick. I was clearly outgunned.

Lucky for me, no one from the prosecution bothered to show up. I guess the “People of the State of California” are too busy ambushing other unsuspecting and ignorant taxpayers that will gladly hand over their hard earned money in exchange for traffic school. The entire traffic code system is set up to simply raise revenue. It has very little to do with public safety.

When my name was called, I approached the defendent’s table and explained the extra merits of my case. In an appeal, you have to file an appelant’s brief. The brief describes the mistakes made in the courtroom that you were found guilty in. In my case, I listed 5 areas that the judge messed up: no state representation (it was just me, the judge, and the cop thus killing the unbiased impression of the judge), lack of evidence sufficient to prosecute beyond reasonable doubt, my denial of a jury trial, violation of the best evidence rule (which states that if an original document exists, it MUST be shown in court. Photocopies are acceptable ONLY if the original is not obtainable AND it must be a certified copy), and the good guy rule (could a face like this really commit that crime?).

Unfortunately, when I created my brief I wasn’t as well-versed on the Article III of the Constitution nor the California constitution that backs it up. Article III specifically states “The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury”. In an appeal, you can’t go before the judges and just rehash what you’ve alreay written in your brief. Since I didn’t make a huge case out of my civil rights being violated, I took the opportunity to do it then. Some of the lawyers later asked me if I had any legal training or a degree. I don’t, but I like to know my rights so that I’m not forced to pay a lawyer to draft up 2,000 pages of documents just to have my sentence reduced and still be found guilty. I think every American should study the law for themselves. They say only a fool has himself for a lawyer, but I say only a fool needs to hire a lawyer (unless he’s guilty of molesting kids at his ranch and really needs to find a loophole only a highly paid lawyer can find).

So, the quick, 5-minute trial went well and I was told that they’d send me their written decision “shortly,” which in government time means about 2-3 months. Before I left, I handed the judges some AAP pamphlets and yelled “Yippee Kiyay Homies!!” before leaving the courtroom (then I woke up). It went well and I expect that my decision will be reversed. Of course, I didn’t expect to be found guilty at trial either!!

Let’s recap: In order to avoid paying a $146 speeding fine I drove 115 miles one way to the Superior Court House in San Bernardino twice and back. I drove to Barstow courthouse (a 40 mile trip) three separate times to file paperwork and be found guilty by an incompetent backwoods (sands?) country judge. If my conviction is overturned, I’ll have saved myself about -$6.72, but I won’t have a record and only more ammunition for the next time Officer Baldie wants to pull me over.

Also, I didn’t have a journal entry today. We were involved in a lot of fighting and hard driving all through the night and day and I didn’t have time on this day in 2003 to leave a journal entry. There is one tomorrow though.

One more thing: today marks the day that I broke $10 in the Parking Lot Pennies drive. I’m about halfway to ONE Ticket to Disneyland!! I could always lie and claim that Emily is my 12 year old daughter and only pay half price for her ticket too. Of course, that would look odd when we came out of the Tunnel of Love. But, if Michael Jackson can get away with it……….