Saturday, March 31, 2007

It occurred to me

I had to go to court to take care of a traffic ticket last week. Nothing major, just had to show the judge the paper that said I'd gotten my car inspected, and that was that.

But while I was waiting to pay my court costs ($15 -- it's gone up in the last two years) and get the hell out of there, I watched some guy's trial. He was cited for criminal mischief and was pleading not guilty.

The story itself is rather boring, revealed by the judge's "I will chew off my own arm to get out of here" expression during the entire six-minute proceedings. The kid allegedly set off a fire extinguisher, a lady called the cops, they wrote the kid a ticket. But nobody actually saw him do anything, so the judge dismissed the charges and everybody went home.

So why am I relating this story? One thing occurred to me. Before this little "trial" began, I saw an interesting sight: all three witnesses (the two cops and the lady who called them) stood before the judge.

"Okay," he said. "Raise your right hands."

They did so.

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"

They agreed to do so.

"Okay, let's do this," the judge said.

Yes. A kid was written a ticket for setting off a fire extinguisher, and three people were sworn in under oath.

Meanwhile, eight US Federal Attorneys were fired for grossly political reasons, the entire Justice Department has been subverted to become the strong arm of the Bush Administration, every word the GOP has uttered in response to the scandal has been abruptly proven false, and the President refuses to allow two of the principals to testify under oath. Or even in public. Or let them be recorded. Or even transcribed.

Like I said, it occurred to me.

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