Thursday, September 10, 2009

Speaking of Idiots....

I made an earlier post about an idiot I ran into, so of course, I immediately start running into more. This latest one was not one of mine, or even of our agency. I'd been sent down to the southern part of the state on an extradition, for a young knucklehead who took off running several years back. He got pulled over for a minor traffic infraction, and guess what popped up when they ran the standard NCIC Wants/Warrants on his name? Some people just don't seem to realize that once a warrant is issued for you, and placed onto NCIC, it's there forever, or, at least until you get picked up, and the warrant gets served.

But I digress, the young knucklehead we picked up is not the focus of this particular tale, only a sidebar. When we got back with him, and went to take him in front of the Magistrate to have a bond set, there were several local deputies ahead of us. Seems the boys were out running a prostitution sting, and were keeping the magistrate hopping. The magistrate was busy enough that she was getting paperwork ready on half a dozen at a time, and then having them all approach the bench to have bonds set, going from one to the next in turn. She went through the bonds for our guy, a single charge from a deputy, and several pick-ups from the sting all at once.

The interesting one, was the single charge from a deputy. He'd brought in a rather large fellow, I'd hazard a guess at 6'5"-6'6" and ~280-300 lbs., on a charge a CDV/HAN(Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature), for which the Magistrate set a bond of $35,000.00. Now that's a fairly substantial bond amount for your average working joe, married, with kids. You could tell from the way this particular joe was getting red in the face, and screwing his face up, that he took umbrage at having such a bond set for him. Unfortunately for him, the Magistrate noticed it too, and turned to him with a raised eyebrow to ask him if he had any questions, or if there was something he'd like to say.

As an aside, I have seen people who had a high bond set by a magistrate based solely on the charge, get that bond reduced by the magistrate, before it was officially set. They usually do this by speaking politely, and respectfully to the magistrate, though I have seen some do it in tears, about extenuating circumstances. Children that have to be taken care of, a job that must be worked so that the family can be provided for, an elderly parent or grandparent for whom they are the sole caregiver, that sort of thing. Then pointing out that there is just no way they can make that kind of bond, and could the magistrate please reconsider it, so that they may at least have a chance of making bond, and providing for their dependent. I've seen this ploy used half a hundred times or more, and seen it work less than half a dozen times.

Big fella didn't take that path with the evening magistrate though. He blew out a big breath, and started off in a voice that conveyed exactly how stupid he thought it was, and proceeded to tell the magistrate exactly what he thought. He pointed out that when he was booked on this same charge, with the same victim, at about this same time, last year, his bond was about a third of what it currently was. Then he flat out said that he thought it was stupid, that his bond should be so much higher now than it was then. All the while, the deputy who brought him in, is jerking on his elbow, trying to distract him, or at least get him to stop talking, and thereby digging the hole he was standing in any deeper. It did not work.

Nothing stopped the big fella, until the magistrate told him that if he didn't watch it, he was going to find himself in Contempt of Court. This had the opposite effect of what you might think, and instead of subsiding, he got even more animated. At which point the magistrate informed him that he was being disrespectful to the court, and to the other defendants on either side of him, and that if he kept it up, he would find himself jailed for 30 days, and another 30 on top of that if he kept going, and another 30 on top of that. Even this was not enough to dissuade the gentleman in question, who kept right on going. At this point, the magistrate said enough is enough, and informed him that if one more word came out of his mouth, she would find him in Contempt.

The various LEOs in the courtroom at the time all had the same stoneface expression on(funny I don't remember a class on that at the academy), but the eyes gave it away for each of them. Some trying not to laugh, some trying not to shake their head in disbelief, some trying not to hang their head in weariness. Even the other defendants were wincing, and trying to lean away from this guy, so as not to be associated with what was going on. The magistrate had already pulled out the little slip of paper that is the order for confinement for Contempt of Court, and was just waiting for him to lose it again. She didn't have to wait for long.

To be honest, I was inwardly wincing, and didn't keep track of exactly how many Contempt charges he acquired for himself. I think three, but who knows for sure, except him. The thing is, even if he had to wait for a Public Defender, he might have spent at most, 2-3 days in jail before he could get a Hearing for Reduction of Bond, and then gotten out. As it stands now, he's got at least 90 days as a guest of the county, and even then he still has to make the high bond before he can get out.

Here's the tip of the day, if you want to debate a charge, or a bond, or even just a point with an LEO, or a Magistrate, or an honest to goodness Circuit Court Judge, yelling in anger isn't the way to go, because they're not going to respond to your urge for a fight. They're doing a job, and while they have a lot of leeway in how they deal with someone, whether cutting them slack or not, if the person is being a jerk, there's a clearly defined set of rules on how to deal with that, and they don't have to go out of their way at all to follow them. I'm sure this guy is now sitting in a cell, blaming the magistrate who found him in contempt, the deputy who arrested him, and the woman who got him into trouble in the first place, and will never see that each and every step that day was his own to make, and willfully chosen.



Rev. Paul said...

During my brief sojourn in law enforcement, I saw a few examples of your big fella. Always the same excuses, the same attitude, and the same epic fail.

And it's always someone else's fault.

James R. Rummel said...

Good post! LOL!