My trial isn’t for another two weeks, but I went to traffic court this morning to see what it’s like at contested hearings.
Surprise, it’s not much different than the mitigation hearings. No police officers were there to testify and there was no prosecutor.
Two lucky dogs had their cases dismissed because of court/police error. One dude put in a request for discovery and never received anything. Bam. Dismissed. Another dude had his affidavit written for a driver named Jessica Smith. (Last name has been changed, because I don’t remember what it actually was. Pretty sure it was Jessica, though.) Bam. Dismissed.
One guy had a pretty good story. He was cited for following too closely. The judge said, “My guess is you were following so closely you tapped the car in front of you?” (Um, objection, leading the witness?) The guy didn’t fall for it. He said, “No, that’s why I’m contesting it.”
He was in the left lane, slowing down already for the traffic in front of him. A car (“A Suburban or some kind of SUV, with Canadian plates” – nice touch) moved from the right lane into his lane without signaling. He didn’t have time to slow down enough, so he hit it. The trooper who cited him wasn’t there at the time of the accident, so he didn’t know … and the defendant said the Canadian kept changing his story and refused to go on the record with the insurance company. Dismissed.
I have subpoenaed my officer … but I did it wrong. So stupid, but I blame the bitchy girls behind the counter. Granted, I’m sure they deal with a lot of scuzzy people, but I am not one of those people, and when I ask polite, educated questions, they treat me like I’m a moron, and a jerk.
Perhaps I deserve it, because I didn’t realize that the handwritten form wasn’t actually the subpoena. I filled it out and walked it across the hall to the Sheriff’s Office. Because along with the form she slapped down on the counter, the bitchy girl gave me a page of instructions on how to serve the subpoena, including that you can give it to the Sheriff’s Office if the officer is a Sheriff’s deputy. She didn’t say I was supposed to give her back the form to be processed before I did that. What can I say? I let the bitchy clerk girl frazzle me.
My greatest wish is that the officer doesn’t show, but for this to work in my favor, I have to prove that I subpoenaed him, and apparently, I haven’t. So I go back to the bitchy girls and ask if there’s any confirmation in my file that he was subpoenaed, and I am treated like the idiot that I am for doing it wrong. The bitchy girl insists that they wouldn’t have taken the form from me across the hall, because they charge money to serve subpoenas.
I fill out a new form and have to go back on Monday to pick up the Official Subpoena and serve it myself so that it gets to the officer on time. I ask if I do that by walking it over to the Sheriff’s Office. Again with the “You’re an idiot” face, and she says, “Well, they charge for that and it will take two days. You have to serve it yourself.” Me: “How am I supposed to do that? Doesn’t he work at the Sheriff’s Office? It’s not like I have his home address.” She looks at me completely confused. I say “He’s a Sheriff’s deputy.”
Then it’s, “Ohhh, he’s a Sheriff’s deputy. I though you were talking about a state trooper…” Yes, bitch, that’s why I kept saying Sheriff’s deputy, and yes, they can issue tickets, too. “I forgot they were right across the hall,” she adds. For real?
A switch flips and suddenly she’s smiling at me. Why? She was only being mean to me because she thought I was stupid? Now she feels stupid, and is being nice to me to make up for it? She tells me that, yes, I can walk the subpoena over myself on Monday, and I probably should check and see what they did with the form I gave them two weeks ago.
And even though I know that it’s not me, it’s her, and even though it probably works to my advantage anyway if they think I’m stupid … my voice actually cracks as I explain the situation to the nice people at the Sheriff’s Office (aka The Jail). I try to imagine what Rob would do in my position. He’d open with, “Check this out, I filled out a form across the hall…”
Anyway, they found the original form, which was in the deputy’s box (It’s been there for two weeks. Surely, he’s already seen it.) and gave it back to me. Problem solved.
Oh, except that I realized, upon seeing the original form, that I spelled the officer’s name wrong on the new form.