Wednesday, March 05, 2003
Back in September, I was in a car accident. I was stopped at a light and was rear-ended. Not much damage to my car as I was the last of three cars in a domino effect. Just before getting hit, I saw a blue car pull off to the shoulder. What we (me and my co-worker... the passenger) assume happened is that the blue car saw the cars stopped, pulled off to the shoulder, and the car behind him (not knowing the cars in front were stopped) hit the car that hit me (or hit the car that hit the car that hit me, I forget now).
Anyway, I gave the police my report of what happened, and they sent me on my way.... I wasn't sure who got the ticket when I left, but I assumed it was the driver of the blue car on the shoulder. A few weeks ago, I got a letter from the 41A District Court in Sterling Heights. At first, I was excited that I was being called for Jury Duty. Call me strange, but I've always wanted to serve. I've been called twice to a jury pool, but have never been selected for a jury. Not even been selected to be questioned. I opened up the letter and saw that it was a request to be in court. After seeing that, I freaked.... I thought I was being sued for the accident, when I was rear ended.
I read it over more thoroughly and realized I was being called in as a witness for the hearing. It said that as a witness, I was not required to appear, but if I did, the case was likely to be thrown out. I debated whether or not I should go. Part of me said that it was my civic duty to show up, and the other part of me said to be nice to the guy and not show up, and give him a better chance of getting out of the ticket.
After going back and forth, I decided to go to the court hearing. Something about going into government buildings makes me feel special. I'm not sure why. Maybe "makes me feel special" isn't the right phrase, but I just feel like I'm in an important place. Whether it's City Hall, the Police Station, or the Courthouse, I just feel different when I go. The court time was for 2:30 PM. I arrived around 2:10, and waited in a hallway outside the courtroom. They called the individuals into the courtroom a 2 or 3 at a time. When I arrived, there were about 30 people waiting. I didn't recognize anyone, but I wasn't sure that I would recognize the guy from the accident (it was 6 months ago).
Around 2:30, I heard the lady at the desk say to someone that he was just about done with the 1:30 cases. About 20-25 people left (some left, some new ones came), and I still don't recognize anyone. There were about 4 or 5 cops at the scene of the accident, so I couldn't tell if any of the officers were the ones from the accident.
While waiting, I saw a father coaching his son on what to say in the courtroom, and then told him that he wasn't going to go in there, in case the Magistrate recognized him..... I wonder what he did.
It's interesting to be in that setting when I have nothing to worry about. I'm not in any danger, so I am somewhat relaxed. I watched as people seemed really tense. The best thing was watching a group of 4 or 5 people get called into the courtroom at once, walked in, and then walked out like 5 seconds later with big smiles on their faces...... their officer did not show up, so they won by default.
Anywho, time goes on (and so does my long boring story), and the crowd goes down to 20......15......10.....there were 6 other people in the hallway, and I still didn't recognize any of them as being remotely familiar. Then I get called into the courtroom. The Magistrate said, "you're the witness, right?" and I said, "yes", and he said, "hold on...", and paged the defendent one more time. No one else came in the courtroom. He then said, "the defendent is not here, so he loses by default and will have his license suspended. Thank you for coming, you are free to go."
I find it amazing that people set up a court time to fight a ticket, and then don't show up and get their license suspended. That just didn't seem like a smart move to me.
I know, that wasn't a very exciting story, but I felt like telling it anyway.