A few weeks ago I attended court in Missouri. It was a day on which I was scheduled to appear in two divisions of the Court at the same time. I appeared in my “usual” division on the first floor of the courthouse, and in another division on the third floor. By the end of the morning, I felt like a little kid playing on the elevator, I was up and down so many times. (Sorry, but I don’t do stairs in heels and dress pants with any width to the legs after getting such a shoe caught in my pantleg a year and a half ago and pitching forth from the sixth step up to the ground below where I landed solidly on my posterior. Serious OUCH!)
It was a criminal docket day in the courtroom on the third floor, which meant my case, the lone civil case on the docket that day, was going to be the last thing to be heard. (Criminal takes precedence over civil, if you didn’t know.) As a result, I ended up sitting through numerous arraignments and plea agreements, none of which were particulary interesting, before the judge arrived at the last case to be heard before mine. It was a preliminary hearing, so there was going to be witness testimony. While we waited patiently (or impatiently, as the case may be) for the witnesses to make their way up to the courtroom from their holding area (aka, the victim/witness office), I hoped the judge would take up my case and I could skedattle on out of there. (I only needed one little bitty order signed.) As luck would have it, that did NOT happen and I ended up continuing to wait my turn through the preliminary hearing.
Let me just say, for those who don’t know, I used to be a deputy prosecuting attorney, and once upon a time, my primary area of prosecution was in domestic violence, so when I tell this story, please understand I am in no way minimizing or making fun of what the alleged victims in this case went through, nor am I judging the validity of their statements to the police or their testimony in court. I’m just telling you what I heard and sharing my commentary.
Without going into the whole long story, the gist of the situation is this: Defendant hit on Victim #1 in the parking lot of the Kum & Go, and when she rejected him, he “pulled out his penis and hit [her] on the leg with it”. Okay, SOOOO didn’t see that statement coming from the context of her earlier testimony. Then on a separate day, Defendant hit on Victim #2 as she walked down the street. She went in the Kum & Go to get a soda — Memo to Self: Stay the heck away from the Kum & Go, as it is apparently the root of all criminal and deviant behavior in Springfield — hoping to lose the Defendant. She was unsuccessful and he continued following her. She testified that he eventually got out of his vehicle and approached her from behind and “tried to grab [her] boob off”. She also testified that he stuck his hand up her shorts and touched her ladyparts. When asked by the prosecutor if there was penetration when this happened, she responded, “Umm…. Not that I know of???” (Okay, I’m not going to touch this statement other than to say you’d think one would know!!)
The kicker came on cross-examination when the defendant’s attorney asked if she was sure his client was the guy who did these things. She affirmed that she was sure, and he asked how she knew. She then stated, “I mean, I’m used to it. Guys look at me, the talk to me, they show me their penises, but they usually go away when I tell them to.” I’m sorry, what??? Where the heck does this young woman go that what naturally follows a glance or a pickup line is the brandishing one’s parts to her? Did she actually just say that?! The defendant’s attorney was recording her testimony with a micro-cassette recorder, so I’m pretty sure that phrase is going to be rehashed at some point down the road. I don’t think I have to tell you that the defendant was bound over for trial.
I think the guy, who had an entire courtroom pew filled with his cheering section, is a complete schmuck, and hope he enjoys those stripes he was wearing because I predict — and hope — he is going to be wearing a siminar outfit for a long time to come. Meanwhile, I’d really like to know where Victim #2 goes that guys look at her, talk to her, and show her their parts. I know already to stay away from the Kum & Go, but I’d like a list of the other location(s) so I can be sure not to frequent them…