In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

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The world I have known is lost in shadow

Suffice to say, my day in court did not go well. It was a pretty horrible experience from start to finish and worse than that, it's shaken my belief in the system to some degree. I've always believed that the government is basically fair and positive. There are always going to be spotty problems but I've always felt that overall the system works. That belief got rocked a bit today, as did my pleasant feelings for police officers the last time I had to have a run-in with the Elizabeth PD.

To start with, I went to Walgreens this morning to print out the pictures I thought I'd need for court. This used to be a speedy process but the photo monkey running the show managed to screw it up pretty good. Despite the fact that the photo processing is supposed to be more or less instantaneous (well, at least started immediately) he wanted me to pick a time later in the day for when I would come back for them. My response was 'Umm, sure. I pick right now.' He then rattled off a list of crap that he had to do to prep, which apparently hadn't been done earlier for some inconceivable reason. The photo processing promises that you will get your pictures in 30 minutes or less and the photo monkey walked right up to the line and maybe even stepped over it by a couple minutes. He passed me my prints and they looked like a fucking murder scene. There were giant red blotches all over the pictures. Apparently, photo monkey messed up somehow and exposed the film to light. He offered to try again, perhaps mashing a different set of buttons would produce a better result, but I was already running late. I told him I'd just take the fucked up ones and call it a day.

I got to the courthouse with no time to spare and, not surprisingly, couldn't find parking anywhere. I ended up having to park in the pay lot where there wasn't an empty space other than at the very, very, end of a long stretch of parking. I made my way breathlessly to the court room only to be then informed that my case was being heard in an annex building down and across the street. In the end, all my angst about being late meant fucking nothing. I got to the right building, went through the metal detector 3 times (I was flustered and kept forgetting metal crap in my pockets) and took a seat. It was another 90 minutes before things even started. At one point, a police officer called me into the hall and it turns out he was the one who had towed my car. I showed him the picture and he brought it over to the DA. She said there was no way she was dropping the charges but that she would waive the $58 parking fee and charge me $33 in court costs. That seemed like sorta bullshit to me since from my perspecive, I had been parking in a perfectly legit handicap spot. The officer said I was basically screwed unless I took the deal and that in his experience, he had never seen anyone get away with not paying the fine when the went to trial.

I sat and chewed that over for a while, thinking that maybe I'd be lucky and the judge would be an actual human being who would listen. Yeah, big mistake there. The guy ended up being a gigantic prick. Now, I should preface this with the fact that if I had to deal with his job day in and day out, I might be (more of) a prick too. It still doesn't fully justify the fact that he was a major league asshole, berating anyone who didn't follow the nazi-esque timetable. I kept feeling the urge to snatch the gun from the cop sitting in front of me and pumping two rounds into his forehead. When it was finally my turn, I got up to the table and tried to ask a question about the towing fee. At which point, he blew up and said he didn't care about that since it wasn't any of his concern and that he wanted to know if I was pleading guilty or not guilty and that was it. I can fully understand why people shoot up courthouses now. Anyway, I told him I was going to plead not guilty, which exasperated the prosecutor since she had worked out that little plea deal.

I sat back down and proceeded to wait and wait and wait. While waiting, I moved to where the cop who was involved in my case was and told him that I was sorry that he was going to have to stick around to have the case resolved through a trial. God knows he didn't want to be there any more than I did. We got to talking and that's when I realized how fucked up Elizabeth is. Here's a question, when you see 2 handicapped parking sign on the side of the street, is that one parking spot or two? Everywhere I've been with them has each spot indicated by a sign. One spot, one sign, right? Maybe I'm the one who's insane here but I was told that in Elizabeth, 2 signs = 1 spot. You're only allowed to park in between the handicapped signs. Well, no fucking wonder I couldn't figure out why I had been towed. I thought I was in a handicapped spot that didn't really exist. At that point, I just wanted to get the hell out of dodge. The cop talked to the prosecutor about reversing things and she rolled her eyes a few times. Ya, she was a bitch too. When the judge finally came back into the room, he called my name, I said I was wrong, and left. I payed the $33 for court costs and came home feeling dejected.

So in the end, I went through all of that to save a gross total of $25. Subtract the parking and gas involved in going to court and I figure I came out $17 ahead as opposed to just paying the fine right off the bat. Oh, and the whole thing took around 5 hours from the time I left home to when I got back. Fucking fabulous.

Oh, I guess I should mention that there was one positive event. At one point, one of the women up in front of the judge was told to raise her right hand and swear an oath she was telling the truth. Unnoticed by anyone not in the audience, she raised her left hand. Comedy.
Tags: parking

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