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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Here come da judge

Yesterday I had my day in court, only my first though, as it was just the arraignment. I plead "Not Guilty," in a very tiny, breathless squeak, to the charge that I was doing 36 mph in a 20 mph zone, an offense punishable by a $180.00 fine and four points on my license. Being a "SAFE DRIVER" for the past 20 or so years, I am totally unfamiliar with the implications of the dreaded points, other than that they are apparently highly undesirable and should be avoided at all cost. I was still in a 35 mph zone having passed only the "REDUCED SPEED AHEAD" sign, not the actual posted slower speed limit sign, when the officer shot me with the radar further down the road than he should have. Honest mistake, the blank backside of one sign looks pretty much like any other. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. I'll be busy for the next few days drawing diagrams and proving the impossibility of the charge with the basic R x T = D formula.

Anyway, I was all prepared to defend myself yesterday -- you'd think someone with a judge and a bunch of lawyers in the family would be a little more familiar with legal proceedings -- but no, instead I received a second date for the trial. We'll make a day of it! A field trip! This will be a great opportunity for the kids to see the inner workings of the judicial system. And an opportunity for me to pretend that I'm still actually participating in some kind of homeschooling activity with them. Let's hope the system works.

Speaking in public is one of the few things that I can honestly use the word "hate" to describe my feelings for. This however, seemed like it wouldn't be too bad. We sat packed in a small office and waited for the judge who would be presiding from a fold-up table. Pretty nonchalant, fairly unintimidating. My composure was mostly intact, in other words, I was still breathing, until the judge entered. Then I spied his tie -- a tie emblazoned with the climax of the Stations of the Cross. Yup, the finale of the Good Friday events silhouetted in black on a fiery red-orange background, dangling there, hypnotizing me.

Was his message "Judge not lest ye be judged" or perhaps, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" or maybe that we were about to be crucified?

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