Remember the guy who broke the window? Well, after trekking into the city for Grand Jury, the trial being rescheduled something like five times, me coming in and spending half the day waiting for trial—only to have the guy sack his lawyer and have the whole thing be rescheduled again—he was found guilty of an obvs misdemeanour and will be sentenced March 23rd. The date of the incident was November 8th.
I have learned that the wheels of justice/law turn slowly, like so slowly. Here’s how yesterday went.
6:15a-ish—Got to the bus stop, realised I’d forgot the damn subpoena, booked back home and back to the stop, only to see my bus zoom past before I reached it. Major lame. But, since I build paranoid leeway into commuting, I was totally at the courthouse on time to join the jury-duty swollen line.
8:15a—After a quick once-over with the DA I went to wait outside the courtroom. At first everybody (there were two cases against him, ours and one involving a smashed hatchback window) thought he wasn’t going to show. But he did, a quarter hour late for court.
9:15a—The DA, the guy and the guy’s court-appointed lawyer (who was adamantly not going to be canned this time), went into the courtroom and us witnesses waited.
10:30a—Though the guy wanted a trial originally, he started to think maybe he wanted to plead. The DA came out and we all went over the terms she’d set, which were totes basic and nothing to argue with (long probation, mental health stuff/anger management). She took those to the guy and his long-suffering lawyer. He rejected them. So, back to a trial again. But wait! The lawyers consulted in chambers with the judge, because seriously, just plead. So then there was deliberation.
11:45a—For realz decision time. He would plead on the hatchback window smash case and would trial on ours; probs as they had video evidence for the former and just me as witness for the latter. No pressure, right.
1:20p—Trial begins! Much waiting. I guess there is a lot of verbal setup before witness time. Things to know: it’s like instant drymouth on the witness stand, a combination of the feeling you get when you’re blamed for something you didn’t do and being at a crazy fancy dinner party with all the etiquette and flatware that you never learned about.
Questions I remember:
Guy’s Lawyer: “Have you seen the defendant on TV?”
GL: “Have you seen his webpage?”
Me: “Not his webpage, but we Googled him after the last cancelled trial and I found some Wikipedia articles he’d edited.”
GL: “You said ‘whoever broke the window,’ do you mean to say you could not identify the defendant?
Me: “Oh, no. I just was being polite, I didn’t know if I was supposed to be identifying him yet.”
DA: “How certain are you that [the guy] did this?”
Me: “Super certain.”
DA: “How—how certain is super certain?”
Me: “Um, like, so certain that I am sometimes uncomfortable coming in early for work to open up, since I’m there by myself?”
DA: “So—a 100% certain?”
Me: “Yes, totally.”
And so on.
I hate crazy blamey situations and being in the spotlight of authority and trying to remember with detail incidents that are five months old. I mean, I don’t even occupy the same cubicle any more. This damned window thing happened a week after Lindsay died and right at the start of busy season. It feels like a year ago, instead of almost half a year.
My experience from job interviews and meeting new people is that when I feel like a nervous, babbling goose it comes off as quirky and charming. I guess it held true here
3:30p—The other witnesses have done witnessed and I spent some time chatting about Black Sabbath with the officer, who was reading I am Ozzy.
The guy finished telling his side of the story, which—based on his lawyer’s questions—was an attempt to make it seem like some other person did it. The judge deliberated for about a million years and the DA finally came out to tell us the guy was found guilty. We waited awkwardly in the hall as the guy took his bags and bad vibes down the elevator and out the building before we go. Nonetheless, he was still there on the sidewalk when I left in a group of adorable chattering ladies who must have been jurors. I ignored him and walk to my train.
So, the guy who ruined my nerves and a window, pissing everyone off, succeeded in wasting 16+ hours of my time over five months (each time I had to trek into the city was my day off, too), which I guess isn’t too bad. But man was it tiring and dang did my butt hurt from sitting on a wooden bench outside a courtroom all damn day.