Twice as Nice!

Yes, it is my second post of the day. Why? Because one post on Halloween just wasn’t enough — especially when this lady opted to wear THIS hat to her hearing today.

I’m suspect the Bailiff “suggested” that she remove it since she was no longer wearing it when I looked around a few minutes after this photo was taken. (A great reminder to snap those pictures when the moments present themselves!) I am pretty sure she was NOT in “costume” for today’s holiday. I am equally sure that this was a bad fashion call for the courthouse.


Happy Halloween

The scary thing in this photo is not the hideous, next to no one looks good in that color, mustard yellow henley this lady is wearing, although that is certainly frightening enough. The really scary thing is the large black thing in the pendant she is wearing. That? Is a spider. Nothing says Happy Halloween like a large arachnid around the neck (although to be fair, I snapped the photo a couple of weeks ago.) I hope this is not a look that catches on.

Jenn – 1, Weasel – 0

I just love when defendants appear in court and think they are going to pull one over on me and I turn it around on them.  Yesterday in court, a Defendant with whom I’d spoken at a previous court appearance — and whom I found to be exceedingly unpleasant, mostly because of his really bad attitude — approached me.  Usually that is not the way it works; usually the bailiff gives me the files of the defendants who are present, and I call them out into the hallway to discusses their respective cases, one at a time.  This guy attempted to skip the line by coming up to me directly as the chaos of the afternoon docket was just beginning. 
The courtroom door had just been unlocked, and there were way too many people standing in line and jockeying for position to check in with the bailiff.  At the front of the courtroom, defense attorneys rushed the various plaintiffs’ attorneys, in a hurry to get back to their offices to rack up more billable hours.  (Sorry, does that sound jaded?)  I was at the counsel table juggling defense attorneys and putting my orders with the appropriate files when the Defendant, whom I shall call “Weasel” due to his unsavory demeanor, walked up and said, “Hey! My attorney can’t be here today, so I am supposed to ask for a continuance.”  (No, there is nothing inherently wrong with what he said; just remember, it isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it!)   What weasel apparently failed to realize was I prepared my docket for court, so I was aware that he was, at least at that moment, still unrepresented.  The exchange that followed went like this:
“And who is your attorney?” 
“[Name of Attorney]”
That was where I became more amused than annoyed, because the attorney in question was standing maybe an arm’s length away from me with his back to Weasel.
“Oh, really?  That’s him standing right there.”
Needless to say, Weasel became very flustered, as the attorney turned around, asked Weasel his name, and indicated he had not ever met with Weasel.  Now, I think they did go out into the hallway where they had a little chat that probably resulted in the attorney accepting representation of Weasel, but still.  I got to have my fun.  Yes, I know it’s a shame that that is all it takes to amuse me, but at that moment, ruffling Weasel’s feathers was all it took, because, really?  I am not usually that difficult to get along with in court.  If a Defendant tells me they need more time to hire an attorney, I am probably going to agree to it unless the case has been dragging on for an unreasonable period of time.  Lying to me is really not necessary.
Oh, well.  I’ll leave you with a few pictures from yesterday’s court experience…

Nothing says, “attitude” like a mohawk and facial tattoos.  The coat he was carrying was oddly fuzzy/furry.  I’m not sure what that was all about, but it really didn’t go with the rest of his look.
I’ve had dark hair and red highlights before.  Currently I have ombre’ hair that is dark in the roots and slightly auburn at the ends.  With that said, I walked into the courtroom and was pretty shocked by this ‘do.  Trust me when I say this photo doesn’t do this red and black combo justice.  I know it is Halloween week, but something tells me this hair was not the result of a costume-gone-bad. 

This is a little hard to see — my fault; I waited too long to snap the photo — but these were some seriously painted-on leggings and a way-too-short-for-those-leggings top with silver sequined boots.  I am so sad that I didn’t snap the picture in time to get the full effect.  It is not a look I recommend.  For anyone.  This outfit is beyond acceptable limits for a quick trip to the grocery store at midnight when the store is empty, but for court?  Completely inappropriate.  You may be supposed to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”, but we don’t need to see the whole truth about every bump, bulge, and dimple.  Just saying. 

Court Encounters of a Rude Kind

So, today I had court in a rural Missouri County.  It is a court I attend semi-reguarly, and the only negative experience I’ve had there was the sighting of a female attorney who appeared in front of the court wearing jeans, a sloppy untucked polo-style shirt, and flip-flops (with, as my BFF pointed out, unpolished toenails), a few months ago.  It was shocking to me, since I appeared that day (and every day) in a suit and heels — I didn’t get the memo that it was “casual court day”, most likely because, oh, yeah… IT WASN’T!! — but surprising is all that was; it wasn’t offensive.

If you know me, you know I am not someone who is terribly easily offended.  As a former deputy prosecutor, I spent enough years working with and around cops that it really takes something to offend me.  That hasn’t lessened in the years since my job title changed.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I could hold my own against a sailor in a cursing contest.  I’m not bragging about that, because I understand the use of such language is not particularly polite or ladylike, and I pride myself on my ability to censor and not abuse my profane vocabulary, but the fact is I do possess it.  What I heard today, however, was offensive.

I appeared for hearings on several files this morning.  My interaction with the opposing parties who were present went fine.  Polite and respectful behavior was in use by both sides.  The Judge was in a jovial mood, which is pretty much the norm (and one of the reasons I enjoy that court so much), and my portion of the docket ran smoothly.  Then I walked out of the courtroom.

When I left the courtroom, I walked over to the elevator to head to the first floor.  (Yes, I could have taken the stairs, but I made a rule for myself after I caught my high heel in my pant leg and pretty much threw myself down about six stairs at a courthouse a couple of years ago.  If I am wearing pants and heels, I take the elevator if it is an option.  I was, and it was, so the rule was invoked.)  I had just punched the call button when I overheard a conversation taking place in the corner maybe 5-6 feet to my left.  

There was a gentleman (utilizing the word extremely loosely) and his female companion seated in the floor in the corner, and there were a couple of other people seated at a table immediately adjacent to the corner peeps, and another couple of people standing in the vicinity as well.  The gentleman seated in the floor made the statement that “It’d probably all be fine if I’d just get the f*** out of the house.”  From the context, I gathered that he was there on an unlawful detainer action, meaning he had stopped paying rent, but refused to vacate the residence.  A couple more similar comments were made — did I mention I was waiting on one of the slowest elevators ever??? — and then I heard one of the females in the group say, “Shhh! She’s an attorney. You’d better be quiet!”  That was followed by the male’s dismissive comment, “S***! I don’t know her. She can suck my d***!” 

A quick glance around the area told me I was both the only attorney, and thus the only female attorney, in sight.  That pretty much eliminated the possibility that this crudity was in reference to someone other than myself.  I was shocked.  I was stunned.  I was offended.  I was borderline speechless (which is pretty rare for me).  As I was picking my jaw up off of the floor, the elevator doors opened.  I went to step inside, but before I did, I looked over at the offensive jerk in the corner and said, in just the right tone, “Seriously?!”  Yeah, that was all I had.  You have no idea how badly I wished I was the attorney on the other side of his case.  In fact, I’m pretty sure there are not words to tell you how badly I wished that.  What. A. Jerk.

Look, there is a time, a place, and a circumstance for everything, but that? Was entirely the inappropriate time, place and circumstance for that sort of statement.  I literally had nothing to do with those people.  No one that I spoke with today emerged from or retreated to that section of the hallway.  I was merely standing there waiting on the elevator, and in what I am going to interpret as an attempt to show what a bada** rebel thumbing his nose at the process he was, this jerk decided to spout off crude and vulgar language in reference to me.  

Yeah, I was offended.  I was stunned.  I was horrified.  I’m pretty sure that was one of the most inappropriate things anyone has ever said about me, at least within my hearing, at a courthouse.  I think that’s saying something since I used to be a domestic violence prosecutor, and literally used to try to provoke a violent outburst from defendants during cross-examination.  (One former judge still talks every time I see him about how he thought one of the defendants was going to get up and hit me.)  At least an outburst in that situation wouldn’t be uninvited.  This nonsense today?  Was uninvited.  Are people just not taught manners or common decency or respect anymore?  Nothing about me should have brought on such crudity or disrespect. 

I’m glad my sense of, “Oh my gosh, he SO did NOT just say THAT!!” took over and I was not possessed with the ability to run off at the mouth in that moment.  (The guy was a little scary looking.)  At the same time, I am glad I didn’t just step on the elevator without letting him know I heard him and was disgusted by his statement.  I’m pretty sure the full magnitude of my contempt was contained in the one word I uttered and anything else would have been wasted syllables.  Any further comment on my part might have been too much for my own good.  But wow.  What a jerk!

Stick It! (Revisited)

Yesterday I came out of the courthouse and got into my truck to go kill some time between the morning and afternoon dockets. When I prepared to back out of my parking space, something across the lot caught my eye. It was a family depicted in zombies in the rear glass of a Mercedes SUV. (Note the zombie FISH on the sticker.) Not only that, the SUV was “wearing” devil horns. Seriously. I drove around the lot just to get a closer look, and the thought that came to my mind was this: Money might buy you a Mercedes, but it doesn’t buy you a lick of sense…

Stick It!

It seems everywhere I look I see yet another vehicle with a stick figure family in the back glass.  Surely I am not the only one who finds this trend both disturbing and annoying?  Is it really necessary to announce to the world that you are married with 2.3 children, a dog, a cat, and a turtle via a vinyl sticker on the back of your minivan or SUV?  (And for that matter, is it really safe?)

On the safety front, I am also troubled by the activity decals that so many parents put in the back glass identifying not only each and every activity in which their little darling participates, but also the school/team for which the kiddo engages in said activity, and the child’s name.  Really?  Do these people not watch the news, read the paper or spend any time on the Internet?  Really??  I do have at least one friend who shares my anti-decal view.  She has a daughter who is cheerleader at her junior high school.  At dinner recently, she said hers is the only family that didn’t do the window decal or the yard sign.  She said she is paranoid enough without advertising that a cheerleader lives there or rides around in her vehicle.  I completely support her position on that, and as soon as she said they didn’t do the window decals, I was cheering for that decision.  It’s sort of like the decision to NOT put a child’s name on his/her shirt.  Any old perv could approach the kiddo and call him/her by name, which, I’m sorry, has to give Mr. Pervy a little more credibility when trying to abscond with someone’s offspring.  

Here is an example of what I’m talking about.  I snapped this outside one of the courthouses I visit regularly.  It caught my eye because of the crossed batons.  While I am thrilled that this competitive baton twirling team exists, Anna’s mom might as well have printed the entire performance schedule on the back glass, because in this day and age, that sort of information would not be too difficult to obtain. (Note: No, I didn’t try.)

Anyway, back to the stick figures.  As you  have no doubt gathered, I am not a fan.  I think they are goofy.  They make me roll my eyes, and given the volume of the stick figure families on vehicles and the amount of time I spend on the road these days, well, all that eye-rolling gives me a headache.  I’ll be glad when that trend is over.  In the meantime, though, I have taken to paying attention to out of the ordinary stick figures.  Here are a few of the, um, different ones I’ve noticed.  I know some of these examples are real because I photographed them myself; it’s quite likely that others are not, but they are still worthy of being shared.

Swell.  Now we know your vehicle may contain mom, dad, and two sons, all of whom are Dallas Cowboys fans.  Spectacular.  Hard to get that from traditional stick figures, though, so they’ve plumped up the drawings a little bit and added color and “fan gear”.  (Note: I’m not a Cowboys fan; this just caught my eye in the grocery store parking lot last week.)

I don’t recall where I acquired this one.  It’s a little more descriptive than most, and again, plumps up the traditional stick figures, at least to a certain degree.  I’ve heard there is a debate on as to whether parents should tell their children they have a favorite.  I think putting this on the back on one’s minivan sort of eliminates the need to come out and say it.  It also eliminates an question as to mom’s opinion of dad.

I am the first to admit, I totally do not get the entire zombie thing that has become so popular.  Vampires? I understood.  Harry Potter?  Yep, I’m with ya.  Zombies?  Yeah, not so much.  (Side note: I also do not understand the thing with the mustaches.  What is that all about?  I’m not sure which makes less sense, but I’m pretty sure I follow the zombies further than I follow the mustaches.)  If memory serves, I pulled the photo on the left of the Internet.  (Someone’s facebook, maybe?)  The one of the right, I snapped — not very well, apparently — in the parking lot of a local bagel restaurant.   Again, these “stick figures” are less stick, more figure, and in the case of the one on the right, a little bit of blood and guts.  The one on the right cracks me up with the declaration that your stick figure has been devoured.  Even given my complete and utter lack of zombie-understanding — I work with someone who bought (and wore) a rubber bracelet in support of “Zombie Awareness Month” a few months ago.  Did I mention I DON’T GET IT?!?! — these decals are suitably sarcastic and, in my opinion, an appropriate response to those blasted stick figures.

I saw this online yesterday.  Nothing like putting oneself out there, right?  And mom appears to be doing just that.  With this SUV, one gets a mom, a daughter, a son, and either a cat or a dog.  (The photo isn’t quite clear enough for me to the able to tell which four-legged family pet.)  Great.  And I get the distinct impression that mom is needy, clinging, and doesn’t think she can function without a man.  (Yeah, I’m getting all of that from the window decal and shoe-polish addendum.  This blog is called JUDGED by Jenn, is it not?  So yeah, maybe I’m “judging” a little bit.  Go figure.)  This is a great lesson for the kids, and in my paranoid, former deputy prosecutor mind, as good as an engraved invitation to predators.  

Part of a parent’s job is to scar his or her kids for life, right?  Oh, is isn’t?  Well, apparently this mom didn’t get the memo.  Look, I did divorce work for too long not to find this completely hilarious.  It is, however, inappropriate.  We have mom and her passel of small children on the left, and “Beer guzzling baby daddy and his ho” on the right.  It’s just a gut feeling, but I don’t think this is an attempt to demonstrate family unity.  I’m also pretty sure it would go against the “no disparagement” provision that is present in the standard visitation order of at least a couple of the courts I have practiced in.  And besides all that, aren’t all those super-sized stick figures blocking the view out the back window?

And finally, I give you my personal favorite:

I think this says it all.