A bit ironic… one day after Mayor Ford appeared in Court regarding “Conflict of Interest” charges, I had to go to court for a traffic violation. Several months ago I was stopped for running a stop sign: which I hadn’t thought I’d done, but I couldn’t really remember. All I know is I’d been travelling down a street I’ve known for years (where my high school is located) and I was stopped by the police. I was surprised; I didn’t know I’d done anything wrong. The officer said I’d not stopped at a stop sign and gave me a ticket. At the same time, he also looked at my license: and found it was four weeks (maybe six?) expired. Now I’ve lived and driven in several states in the U.S., and I never remember renewing my license before. (Unless I hadn’t lived anywhere long enough?) The total would have been over $400. But he said that all I needed to do was to renew my license and fight the ticket, and I’d never see him again. (At least that’s what I remember.)
So I did. I renewed my license very quickly; and fought the ticket. They scheduled a court date. That happened to be today, right when I was supposed to be investing the in a management seminar for the government. Much thought I did wonder, for a second, which should take precedence (work or court?), I decided I could only go for the morning of the seminar. I could probably make it up later. I explained the situation and had to run out after lunch, and after waiting a few minutes for the courtroom to open, was ushered in with about twenty others whom I assume had similar offences. We were asked to check in; I heard the guy in charge (the clerk?) checking people off a list and mentioning that there were “lower fines” that they could take to avoid a more serious one. He got to me, and all he said,
“We’ll see what we can do. Sit down.”
I was worried. Others sounded like they were pretty sure how their cases would go even before the judge came in. Guilty or innocent. A few were asking for other dates for various reasons. I knew nothing about mine.
At one point I looked over and saw the officer who had given me the ticket. Darn. I was hoping he wouldn’t turn up. But then maybe that wasn’t him. He was in a suit now, so he looked quite different. Darn, he’s in a suit. And I’m just in a shirt and sweater…
Turned out that I was second. The only thing I remember about the first guy is that they asked for officer “49632” about the charge: that was the same officer number I had, and the guy in the suit went up and spoke. My heart sank. Then they called me, and I went to the front of the small courtroom. I don’t want to say they were antagonistic stares: but I did feel all eyes on me. I stated my name, while I tried to figure out exactly what I was going to say. Then I heard the charges against me. And lastly:
“We’ve had some information from the officer. Apparently there is not sufficient evidence to pursue conviction.”
I looked around; the judge was actually smiling and the clerk was motioning me to go. “You’re done. Next.”
So I went home.