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| There Ain't No Justice |
| #37 |
- Adjourned Again, Naturally... -
by Tal Meta
When last we left our story, my case had been adjourned because the Ocean
County Prosecutor's office realized they had no evidence. What happened
next is the stuff of sitcoms...
Two weeks go by. I receive another letter telling me to appear in court on
such-and-such a date for my probable cause hearing. So I take yet another
half day off work and go downtown to the courthouse. I sit outside the
courtroom for about an hour, waiting for my PD to appear. Finally, during a
break, one of the Prosecutors informs me that he is in another trial, and
has moved for the case to be adjourned. So I depart the courthouse, and
journey on over to the PD's office to confirm this fact. They, of course,
know nothing about it, and tell me that my lawyer SHOULD have met me at the
appointed time and place. So I wander over to Criminal Case Scheduling to
see if THEY know anything about it. They direct me to a courtroom in
another part of the complex where my lawyer is supposedly in trial, where I
can ask him what the deal is.
So, I find that courtroom and begin the process of cooling my heels again.
Two hours later, the case he's in breaks for a few minutes, and I get a
chance to talk to him about my case. He tells me that U.S. Sprint has
entered some new evidence into the proceedings, and that he wants me to go
over it with him. We make arrangements to meet, and I depart.
Two weeks later, I get another notice to appear. Wishing to meet with my
attourney, I attempt to contact him about going over the evidence. It never
gets arranged. So I show up for court, blind as usual, and am greeted with
the news that my case has at long last been remanded back to the Municipal
Court. Uncertain of exactly what this means, I drag myself over to the PD's
Office and quiz the secretary as to whether this is good or bad. She says
it is very good, as it means that the Prosecutor's Office feels that there
is no cause to indite me on any of the charges. What this really means, I
was soon to learn, is that I lose my Public Defender and a right to a trial
Time passes. Confidant that everything is again "right" with the world, I
begin once again to quiz my police contacts on the actual location of my
computer equipment, with an eye towards receiving it all back someday.
They inform me that it is all safe and sound in their evidence locker at
the station, and that all they await is word from the court to release it
to me. Oh, Joy. Eventually, I get a notice to appear in Municipal Court
for a hearing on the matter.
Of course, now it is no longer the State of New Jersey vs. Tal Meta, its
John Anninos of U.S. Sprint vs. Tal Meta. Mr. Anninos fails to appear,
resulting in yet another adjournment. I try to push for a dismissal of the
charges on the grounds that Johnny Boy has failed to show again, but the
court clerk produces a letter from my archnemesis indicating that he is off
in a Superior Court trial somewhere. I am also informed that since I have
a job (even though more than half my salary goes towards paying rent, and
the rest is barely enough to keep the lights, car, and food supply running)
that I do not meet the requirements for a Public Defender. So, after doing
a little research into how much a real lawyer would shill me for, I make
the giant leap of faith and decide to at least ATTEMPT to defend myself.
So, taking all of my previous experience in hand, I remember that my
previous shyster had mentioned once about the right of "discovery". What
this means basically is that the Prosecution has to provide the Defense
with the sum total of its evidence against the felon. I reason (quite
correctly) that if I decide to represent myself, then I qualify for those
same rights. So I phone the Courthouse, and am informed that I do indeed
have that right, and that all I need do is contact the police department
and that they will give me everything I need.
So, once again I find myself in the tiny hallway that abutts the Police
Dispatcher's cubicle. The latest version of this lower lifeform is female,
and after a bit of calm, reasoned explaination on my part, passes the buck
to someone more intelligent. Another officer appears, and informs me that
for the cost of a mere $5, I can have all the copies of all the evidence I
want. So I send her off in search of my file.
Now, I should mention that during the course of my adventures, the Seaside
Hts. Police Detectives branch has been done away with. The detective who
arrested me is now a lowly patrolman again, as is his partner. So I guess
it took the officer helping me awhile to unlock the vault containing all
the cases they'd handled inside the now-defunct detective's office. She
finally apears with a few pages of photocopies, which she lets me just have
as she didn't have change of a $20.
Wishing to examine this evidence in comfort, I retreat back out to my car
to read it. After about 3 minutes of scanning the material, I realize that
it contains nothing except police reports, interoffice memos concerning my
case, and property lists. No "evidence" of any kind. Uh-uh. Nope. Sorry. So
I go back in, and ask to speak to the officer who was helping me before,
who, I am informed, is, (of course), no longer on the premises. So another
officer tells me to come back the next day and speak to the former
detective about the rest of the paperwork.
Well, as I am leaving, I am hailed by a friend of the family, who also
happens to be the Police Commissioner. Who should he happen to be speaking
to but the very officer I had been dealing with not 10 minutes before. Now,
once she sees that the Commish and I are friends, she renews her interest
in helping me find what I need. In the end though, I am told once more to
return the next day.
That brings us up to tonight. I had originally hoped to bring this "series"
to an end with this file, but it seems that I have battles yet to fight.
The title of this file is apt, I think, for in the end, everything is
adjourned again, naturally...
Music by Gilbert O'Sullivan
Words and (if you'll call them that)
Scansion by Tal Meta
(To the tune of Alone Again, Naturally)
In a little while from now,
when the prosecution rests its case,
I imagine I'll find that I've come a long way,
simply to lose it all.
After coming and going insane,
to try and try to regain,
Just a measure ofthe security and the peace that I once did know...
Left standing in the court,
with the sweat pouring under my shirt,
And the judge he say, to come back another day,
because the prosecution hasn't a case, yet!
Adjourned Again, Naturally!
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