Friday, July 23, 2010

All Time Worst Tickets #4 (Part 3, Epilogue)

          If you missed it, here is Part One.

          As the fort-like security of their station house grew on them, the mood grew friendlier which meant that I was mostly ignored. Someone did suggest they could take off the handcuffs. Someone else assured me they were going to get me out of there in no time, but I waited for over an hour for my Summons. Once they handed it to me, I was shown the door, shooed out like a little squirrel that had wandered in. My friend was parked across the street waiting all this time. He told me one officer had forced him to follow us in his pickup and ordered him to wait for me which rankled him. He didn’t need a cop to tell him to come and get me. Especially one who had ground his face into the dirt.

          He decided he wanted to keep the BB gun. He made a comment that implied I was responsible for it being confiscated. He seemed to think I could get it once it had been used in evidence and declared my Summons was bogus and if I appeared in court, I could ask for it back then. I assured him I would fight the ticket. That the Devil’s bargain I had made with the PVB (see other Post). Why would this be any different? And, as a favor to my friend who I almost got killed, I would try to retrieve the gun. I pled Not Guilty and waited for a court date.

          Sitting in the courtroom with a variety of other petty criminals was an interesting experience. Waiting to be called I heard some amazing stories, some silly stories, some stories that really make you root for one side or the other. How could you not cheer for the Mom and Two Kids who got a Summons for selling her kids outgrown toys in a tag sale in the park? Dismissed. Or not believe the hard working Livery Driver who had his license suspended, but picked up a fare on his way to seeing his wife who had just given birth at the hospital? $250.00 fine. Not sure what to think about a Schoolteacher who had a small amount of Marijuana planted in his briefcase by a jealous student. Effect on career destruction: priceless.

          As these stories played out, I also noticed a few other interesting things, like those around me and sitting next to me were not all savory characters, like every defendant has to take an oath to tell the truth and faking it is not as easy as it looked. I also noticed the officers who testify are well rehearsed in a testimony that scripts all the legal touchpoints, and the Judge… the Judge does not stand for any nonsense at all!

          My hearing went something like this. The ferocious officer spoke. I spoke. I could hardly deny I had the gun (the little matter of 10 police officers at the scene), so I pointed out the Summons stated “Possession of air rifles and pistols” which made it seem like I had a cache of arms which simply wasn’t true. I was merely a lone gunman. The Judge interrupted and asked me if I wanted to make a motion to dismiss. I heartily replied “Yes.” Denied.

          I think the ferocious officer may have even let slip a smirk at that little bit of formality. The ferocious officer spoke some more. The Judge asked him if he wanted to put the BB gun in evidence. The officer explained that it was in the station house evidence room. The Judge looked at him, then looked at me. He asked me if I want to make another motion to dismiss for lack of “prima facie evidence.” I didn’t have a clue what that meant and I had already been burnt, so I hesitated. Then hesitated some more. The Judge said “Say yes…” So, I took a chance. Granted! The ferocious officer exploded in exasperation. The Judge explained to him that he should have known to bring the BB gun as evidence.

          I saw my moment and asked the Judge if I could possibly retrieve the gun and he actually took a moment to fill out an evidence request ticket for me. I called the evidence room but was told that BB guns are illegal anywhere in New York City, so they could never return the gun to me. Someone later told me they routinely take these confiscated BB guns home to their kids. My friend was disappointed but appeased somewhat when he heard about the ferocious officer’s frustration.

          If it had been a parking ticket I never would have got off.

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