Sometimes the law is a slow and painful beast.
Sometimes the law is a slow and painful beast because nobody is committing crimes. THAT is a good slow and painful beast. THAT is the kind of thing that makes me take a big breath and a pleasant sigh that I live in a small community where we don’t have a shooting every week.
However MOST of the times the law is a slow and painful beast is because lawyers and judges get busy with other things and tend to ignore the small town areas until the very last minute thereby making their failure to plan into my emergency. That… isn’t such a good slow and painful beast.
And, of course, that is what I have right now.
Where did the dominoes start?
Our DAJ got a promotion. He’s the best man for the job and I’m glad he got the promotion! BUT… that creates issues. Because not only does that mean we have a judge leaving the bench; that particular judge is “on vacation” until his promotion goes into affect. So… a month.
Now, I don’t know how familiar you are with court structure so allow me to summarize:
MOST SERIOUS CRIMES are DJ
LEAST SERIOUS CRIMES are Magistrate
ALL OTHER CRIME is DAJ
And our DAJ doesn’t have a replacement or substitute for when they are on vacation and we don’t have anyone that is filling that spot until after his promotion.
Therefore… any assault causing injury, most drug offenses, most DUI offenses, most threatening statements, most thefts and property damages… they just… don’t have a court space/judge for a month.
For Defense Lawyers… this is a good thing. It means that there is nothing they can do for their clients in our county and therefore gives them sufficient reason to focus on all of the other counties they work in. They are getting a lot more things done, in theory.
For victims, recanting victims, and defendants… this sucks. It means nothing is getting done in their cases. Nothing. And I don’t think it takes too much thought to figure out why a month of inaction would suck for those people.
For me? It puts me in an uncomfortable situation. I know that as soon as we get a judge hired, shit is going to get locked and loaded. We’re going to need to play catch up, we’re going to be busy, and I need to be prepared for that. Also, I have to deal with the people who are losing their patience. Like the DV Victim who, when the incident happened, was certain that her husband was going to kill her… except now she’s pissed that the No Contact Order is still in affect and is demanding that we drop charges against her “sweet, misunderstood husband.” I keep telling her that there is literally nothing I can do for her because any action would require an order from the judge… and that isn’t going to happen.
Not to mention that it makes days like today feel… pointless. Just… borderline stupid. Because I have two things on my To-Do list.
(1) File a motion
(2) Sit in a room while someone speaks.
I uh.... I could literally do all of that from home. And I wouldn’t have needed to put on pants. Or leave my video games. Or drive through the snow. The only reason to be in the office on days like today is because annoying humans periodically call on the phone. And every single one of those calls (as evidenced yesterday) is some tool bitching about a speeding ticket. Personally, I’d like to pass. Send those assholes to an automated message service that says, “Thank you for calling about your speeding ticket. We apologize that driving in excess of posted lawful speed signs may cause you to lose your job and/or driving privileges. We are aware that in some instances, being convicted of a speeding violation may increase your insurance premiums. As this office is tasked with enforcing the law, we encourage you to either pay your ticket or appear in court on your stated court date at which time a trial may be set for you to contest the ticket. Thank you for your call. Drive safely and remember: Buckle up!”
But no. I’m just not the kind of person that could feel good about myself not coming in to work consistently. Even if they specifically said, “You can do this job from home. Don’t worry about coming in unless you have court”.... even then I’d still try to come in to work at least 3 days of the week. There’s just something about the optics of it all. People like to see their government offices working and even if it is an attorney typing at a desk, they feel like their government isn’t just… being lazy and misusing tax dollars. So… knowing it will be a slow, dead day… coming into the office… to type. Sure it is to prosebox and on FB Messenger and I’m re-reading internet comics and perusing the news and all of that… but the citizens can come by and see their government at work and know that one of the men that they pay to take care of the law is sitting at a desk and appearing to work. Not that I feel bad about my paycheck or my job. The kind of work I do? When it gets busy, I earn my paycheck PLUS. It all balances out.