I had to go to court yesterday. And no, I didn’t do anything wrong; I wasn’t on trial. I had to testify against a guy from a neighboring county that was on trial for misuse of 911. And guess who was the *lucky* call taker who took that gem of a call?!?!?!
I had known a few months ago that the trial was coming up and I was headed for court, when the deputy showed up on my doorstep to serve me with the subpoena. At the time I didn’t really remember this guy’s call; all I knew is that is must have been a doozy – because his place of residence was a small town in the afore-mentioned neighboring county (can you tell I am trying to distance myself geographically as much as possible from him?), and this small town was known by the quaint colloquialism of “the armpit” of that particular county. Not a nice place – you can almost hear “Dueling Banjos” as you drive through town, preferable with the windows of your vehicle rolled up tightly.
So I went back to the 911 center last week to listen to a recording of the call, to reacquaint myself with this man and his misuse of the 911 system. Yes, kiddies, the same 911 center where I was terminated 3 months ago. That could be a whole ‘nother post, right there. Maybe some other time, though. Clearly, it was a little weird going back. I had to do a great deal of praying before going there; asking God to help me keep my hands off certain people’s throat, for Him to please put His hand over my mouth so I wouldn’t say things I shouldn’t, etc. He must have listened, because no blood was spilt, nor foul words spoken. It was actually very uneventful.
And did I remember the caller and his story?
Why, yes I did. You see, this was the kind of call that makes you stand up in the com center halfway through it, look around the room and ask, “AM I BEING PUNKED?!?!?!” It was a very weird call. Something about his wife being held hostage by 4 guys that broke into his house. Then the line goes dead, and I call him back. Then I get him back on the phone, and he is has a very hard time focusing and answering questions. Then he hangs up again, and I again call back.
This time he doesn’t hang up, and I spend an outrageous amount of time trying to decide just what the *bleep* is going on at his house. He’s calling from a friend’s house – reporting something that happened an hour ago, and spends more time talking to himself and to his friend than answering my questions. His story includes 4 guys, who may or may not be white and/or black (because he may or may not have seen them), one of the intruders wearing a monkey mask, a “sex thing” cooked up by his wife (who may or may not have let them into the house), and the intruders being up on his roof. Or maybe that was my caller on the roof. I could never get a straight answer from him. Lots of shenanigans going on, whatever the case.
So now the caller is being hauled into court for misuse of 911. And my presence is “requested” via the subpoena. So I go, and show up when I need to show up. Sit on the bench outside the courtroom, along with the deputy who responded to the call. Then end up not testifying at all. Drat! I had kinda prepared myself for being in the courtroom, on the witness stand, answering questions – and geared up to do my best Jack Nicholson impression.
“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!”
The reason I didn’t have to testify is the defense agreed to admit the 911 tape of the call into evidence. That made it pretty cut and dried. I can’t add much to that call; it speaks for itself. Pun intended.
So there I sat, on the bench outside the courtroom, for two hours. The deputy got to go in and testify TWICE. And the judge found the guy not guilty! I guess his attorney went for the “It was real in his mind at the time” defense – he didn’t mean to misuse 911, he thought it was an actual emergency. “He has mental issues, and needs help.” Funny thing, though – part of the sentencing request from the ADA was that the court make sure the caller get the mental help he needs. So now, since he wasn’t found guilty, there’s a good chance he won’t get the help he needs – unless he seeks it on his own, and that probably won’t happen.
And the caller/his family from “the armpit?” They did not disappoint. There was lots of foul language used outside the courtroom (I have no idea what kind of language they used INSIDE the courtroom – since I never got to see the inside of it), and the basic sentiment expressed by them was that everyone, from the ADA to the deputy and on down (me too?) didn’t know their job. Their response was typical of people who take no responsibility for their own actions. It was everyone else’s fault. They were ecstatic at the verdict, and said they known it all along. The ADA had no case, they said. The deputy was only hassling the caller, they said. Grrrr, I said – although not within earshot of anyone. Hey, I had dressed nicely for court; I had no intention of getting into a fight that day. But if I *had* gotten into a fight – I think I could have taken the wife; she looked kinda scrawny.
But even though the day didn’t go like I expected, it wasn’t a total loss. The ADA told me they were hiring in the DA’s office for a new secretary, and that with my earlier work experience I would be well qualified. She told me to make sure and apply for the job, which I did as soon as I got home. After stopping by the county treasurer’s office and getting my pay for being a witness – a whole $9.80.