He's In The Jailhouse Now

A buddy of mine had a day in the County Court of Warren County yesterday, and I joined him there to lend moral support. In the long run it was a disappointment because, after three hours sitting there, he discovered that he didn't actually have to be there at all yesterday. Despite that mix-up, I'll have to admit that my time there was fascinating. Let me reflect on what I observed . . .

First, the ambiance. Definitely lacking. Cinder-block walls, uncomfortable seating, and horrible lighting [no windows in the place] set the stage for someone to go all Jerry Springer there. As a newer resident of Warren County, I guess I should be delighted that of all the tax payer financed county buildings up in Lebanon, they saved money on the judicial center. There were, however, five or six cameras throughout the courtroom and the proceedings were displayed on a flat-screen television directly behind the judge. I'm assuming the multiple cameras were set up to change with motion detectors. Either that or it's run by some really bored Wright State student working on a broadcasting internship, wondering who he ticked off to end up there.

Oh and I'm glad I didn't go to law school. It was so not like Law and Order, Perry Mason, or even Ally McBeal. I know that each job has different advantages and disadvantages, but after three hours of "blah, blah, no contest", I was bored stiff. For excitement, I almost stood up and objected, but the bailiff was a county officer with a real gun and would've loved the opportunity to light some red-headed guy. By the way, so many people needed a court appointed lawyer, I bet the Public Defender didn't even go home last night.

Also, the charges were so varied: from domestic assault, to speeding tickets, to going down a street with a road closed sign [four different people went down this road, most to make deliveries, and were ticketed. If I find out where it is, I'll help you steer clear]. The best was this guy who was up for a second misdemeanors for his "vicious dogs" being loose. They were a bulldog and a boxer. Am I alone in this, or did I miss the memo to fear bulldogs? And I thought boxers were just hyperactive. So for this second misdemeanors this guy has now been fined a total of $2500 for these dogs. Dude, just buy a cat and ship it off to Balco to toughen it up.

Finally, the thing that fascinated me the most, was the number of times I heard someone tell the judge, "Your Honor, you'll never see me in here again." Eight was my count. I had to keep from laughing out loud. If I were that judge I would keep a knife with me and etch a mark into my desk everytime I heard the phrase uttered. It'd be interesting to guess how many times in his career he's heard that. I'd be a horrible judge. I've turned the corner so that I believe most sob stories. But this guy was pretty impressive. Just doing his job. All I knew was that by the time I had left, I didn't want to see the inside of that courtroom again either.

I obeyed the speed limit coming back into Mason on Route 42, wore my seatbelt, and kept the bulldog on his leash.