Monday, January 5, 2009

Order in the Court!

On occasion, those of us in the law enforcement profession have childcare issues just as everyone does.  Plus my wife needed a well deserved break from her stepson.  So one day I have a scheduled traffic court appearance during the afternoon.  

I decided to bring my 6 year old son to court with me and show him how the criminal justice system works pertaining to traffic court....yeah right.  What was I thinking!!  Mind you he is a typical can't sit still and can't stop talking 6 year old which I'm bringing into a court of law where the only people speaking are the Judge, Officer and Defendant.

Me believing myself to be a smart parent decide to have a candy treat for my son if he can remain quiet during the numerous traffic court cases.  He agrees (which should have been my first clue) to the deal as we leave home for court.  

We get to the court house and walk through security and I'm immediately bombarded with questions like, "Why didn't you have to wait in line?"  "What was that beeping noise" (referring to the metal detector),  "Who was that person with the gun?" (referring to the court security Deputy Sheriff),  "Is it over yet?"

We take our seats in the court room and he sits next to me fidgeting the whole time.  As we sit there some of my fellow motor officers from my agency and other agency's slowly fill the room. We exchange quiet greetings as they take their seats.  There is a bit of small talk throughout the court room before court is in session.

The door to the Judge's chamber opens where the Bailiff announces the Judge and that court is in session.  The court clerk has everybody stand and take the "Oath", you know, the whole "Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, if so say 'I do'".  Well I have to tell my son to stand up and raise his hand while this is going on and get the biggest case of "stink eye" from my 6 year old.

Believe it or not, they no longer say "raise your right hand"  I guess the courts realized that more people than not didn't know which hand to raise so now the court clerk just states "raise your hand".  So much for public edumacation.

We all take our seats after the "Oath" as the Judge calls up each individual traffic case by defendant's name.  Needless to say, this was a heavy court day and all seats filled.  This building is no different than any other government maintained building where the heater works great in the summer and the air conditioning works great in the winter.

So the court room is stuffy and I notice one of my fellow motor officer's eyes slowly close and his head slowly nod forward.  I motion to another officer sitting next to me look over at the sleeping officer.  

Well the officer wakes himself up when his chin hit his chest and he looks around quickly to see if anyone noticed.  He looks over at us with his tired, red eyes and smiles.  During the next several court cases his eyes become more droopy as his head nods forward and backward.  The bailiff looks toward us and smiles being in on noticing the nodding officer.  

Finally my defendant's name is called and I walk up to the podium to present the People of the State of California's traffic case to the Judge for his unbiased decision.  After giving my testimony and listening to the defendant's testimony, the otherwise courtroom silence is broken by a child's voice "Wakey, Wakey!  Ha Ha you were sleeping!!"

My son not being familiar with court proceedings saw nothing wrong with pointing and speaking out to the sleeping officer by giving a kind wake up call to him and the rest of the court room.

I knew right away who was speaking as my son was the only child in court.  I'm expecting the worst from the Judge as the proceedings have been rudely interrupted by my son when the whole court room, including the Judge began laughing.  Whew!  I thought for sure that I'd be receiving a stern admonishment (legalese for ass chewing) from the Judge.

Needless to say, my son's little antic earned him a big slurpee!  

And who says being in court isn't humorous.   


  1. I'm reading this and all I can think is "your son", wait someone would have kid with a Motor officer.... (Just kidding, no really don't hunt me down)

    Love the blog, I'm glad you enabled comments. I was going to post a comment the other day (but I have already forgotten which topic it was).

  2. Ha Ha! Unconsciousness is implied consent isn't it?

    Gasda, I was sitting next to motor cop in traffic court the other day and he did mention that you are quite the comedian.

    I might have said being a motor cop is the best job in the world, but in retrospect I have correct myself and say being a dad is the best job in the world.

    Thanks for the comment.