Friday, October 11, 2013

Elvis and the Judge

There are three things known to draw additional attention from a judge I appear in front of regularly.

First:  Lying.  Almost every defendant will be asked if they’re taking any drugs.  It doesn’t matter if they were huffing paint in the janitor’s closet before walking in to court, if they are honest, it won’t be as painful as being discovered in a lie.  If the mom/girlfriend/grandma/buddy they say drove them to the courthouse really is waiting outside in the parking lot, there will be no problems at all after they are introduced to a Deputy.  Get caught lying though, and it’s going to be a rough hearing.

Second:  Drinking and driving.  Obviously it’s bad enough if you’ve done it once, but if you are on probation for such an offense and do it again, it’s going to be a rough hearing. 

Third:  When your momma cries.   If your misdeeds bring your mother to tears, it’s going to be a rough hearing.  The poor kid today didn’t see it coming.  He thought it was going to be a quick plea.  It wasn’t the crime of the century, but he was young and dumb and had done some pretty young and dumb things…enough to merit criminal charges.  His parents drove him to court and sat in the gallery watching their teen deal with the consequences of his actions.  The judge was administering an admirable “judicial counseling”.  Then it happened.  His mom did what mom’s do.  She cried.  The judge noticed.  He then invited the parents to the podium, and pointed out the tears.  “You’ve made your momma cry!  Are you proud of that?”  “No, sir” was the strangled reply. 

I’m not sure if the judge is an Elvis fan or not, but whether musician or jurist, the principle is the same.  It’s bad news when momma cries. 

Apparently no stranger to the experience, the judge continued:  “I made MY momma cry once.  Once, and I’ve never forgotten it.  Am I ever going to see you in this courtroom again?  Are you going to put your momma through this again?”  “No, sir.”  The emotion had clearly burned through the bravado.

In that moment, I think he was telling the truth.  I hope he was.  For his momma’s sake.

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