Another day in court

16 Jun

I awoke to the sound of thunder. Looks like we might just have a rainy day. We can certainly use it.

The smoke got really dramatic yesterday.  The city skyline was shrouded in the stuff and during the worst of it, you couldn’t even see the buildings just across the river. Usually from my office building I can see for miles and miles, but it was all just a big gray/white smudge for much of yesterday morning. Plus, the whole city smelled like a forest fire.

As expected, we in HR got emails about the situation. People wanted us to do something about the smoke smell that was coming in via the air conditioning. Actually, turning off the air conditioning all together might have helped with the smell of smoke, but then we would have all been hot. Damn hot. Then someone sent an email suggesting we provide face masks for everyone. Being the caring employer that we are, we complied.

Yes, my company is providing face masks upon request. The masks fit over your nose and mouth and  have this kind of flap on them so they make the wearer look a bit like a duck. My boss modeled one of the masks and as people would come by she would screech AFLAC!

You had to be there, but it was funny.

One of the employees who was most concerned about the smell of smoke is, ironically, a smoker. Someone suggested that we provide a face mask for her that included a little round hole for the insertion of a cigarette. I can see why the smokers would be especially bothered by the smoke since we are in a smoke-free building, so if you want to smoke you have to go to a designated area outside to pursue your habit. They brave heat, cold and rain all the time but braving smoke in order to smoke is something else.

The irony–it burns!

I was back in court yesterday. Same case as before. A friend was along for the legal ride this time. I had told her all about the crusty old bailiff who is obsessed with making sure everyone’s shirt tail is tucked in and she was delighted to see him in action. “No talking in the court room!” he admonished everyone before entering. I was amused when he looked straight at a crowd of adults and warned, “No children in the court room!” Then he let us in.

It was as chaotic as I remembered. My friend noted that at one point she counted 30 lawyers milling around.

Some of the people there for pretrial hearings went ahead and pleaded guilty and were sentenced. But most of the cases that came up were, for one reason or another, put off until another day. This particularly vexed my friend. “All that time and money spent and then they just postpone it for later–that makes no sense,” she said afterwards. “The legal system is just institutionalized procrastination,” I observed. My friend did not like that.

My friend has a limited legal background, but she does follow the big trials (Caylee Anthony, Scott Peterson, OJ, etc.) and watches Nancy Grace pretty frequently. She told me how she would have handled things if she was a judge: “We have all of the players here. You’ve had plenty of time to study this thing, let’s just get it over with!”

Too bad she isn’t a judge. The wheels of justice would spin a whole lot faster with her on the bench.

It is no surprise that the case we were there to observe was rescheduled for yet another pretrial hearing, but they also went ahead and scheduled jury selection. That won’t be until nearly Labor Day. The accused has been in jail since she was arrested on March 31. As they say, “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” Still, so much for a speedy trial.

There were a lot of interesting characters in the courthouse. Before anyone was admitted to the courtroom, the bailiff asked that anyone who was there to see the judge sign in with him. As people moved toward him, one young lady who was there to lend moral support to someone I assume was her boyfriend, gave her man a little push toward the bailiff and admonished him, “Don’t let these people bogart you! People around here are nasty!”

I got the impression this gal had been to court before. Many times.

My friend and I were laughing about that for the rest of the day. “People around here are nasty!” That will surely go into our lexicon of  shared expressions.

All in all, it was a wacky Wednesday. Perhaps the rain will help the smoke situation today.

Have a happy Thursday. Whatever happens, don’t let anyone bogart you…

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