OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO oOOOO OOOO. OOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" .OOOOOO OOOOOo OOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOO oOOOOOOO OOOOOOO. OOOO oOOOO
OOOO .OOOO OOOO OOOOOOOOo OOOO OOOO"
OOOO oOOOO OOOO OOOO "OOOO. OOOO OOOOo .OOOO'
OOOO .OOOO" OOOO OOOO OOOOoOOOO "OOOO. oOOOO
OOOO oOOOOOOO..OOOO OOOO "OOOOOOO OOOOoOOOO"
OOOO .OOOO"""OOOOOOOO OOOO OOOOOO "OOOOOOO'
OOOO oOOOO ""OOOO OOOO "OOOO OOOOOO
| There Ain't No Justice |
| #58 |
- "How do you Plead?" -
-- or --
- A Phyrric Victory Beats No Victory At All -
by Tal Meta
Wednesday, the 16th. 11 Hours to D-Day.
I dunno. Maybe I should be scared. Maybe I am, a little. But I'm also
cocky/arrogant. The evidence is that clear to me. I look at it, several
times an hour. I go over it in my mind, I've been planning my cross
examination for three days. I'm settling for general nervousness.
"Will the defendant please rise..."
I look at the stuff the cops gave me when I called for discovery. The
SprintDerf says I was trying to hack PBXni. He's wrong. If I had been, his
pretty list of numbers should read like an endlessly repeating prankdial.
It doesn't. It goes from 9860 to 9861 to 9862. A sequence of ascending
numbers, never dialling the same number twice.
I know little about legal protocol. I watch the occasional episode of L.A.
Law, does this make me capable of pulling this off? I hope so. The Sprint
charges I can destroy, I can make the SprintDerf disprove his own point.
Can't I? He'll have his $1000 an hour legal eagle from the company pool,
and I'll have the light of moral certitude shining from within.
"This is all circumstantial evidence..."
The receiving stolen property charge no longer worries me. I know the cop
who's pressing that charge, its purely a local thing. He hasn't a shred of
evidence. Nothing. Unless he's holding something back, which will earn me a
mistrial. And even if he does, if he obtained it AFTER the SprintDerf
returned my system (did I mention that the VICTIM of my "crimes" took
possession of my system, to do the analysis? Can you see the conflict of
interest there too, or do I need new glasses?) I can say that the evidence
"The police used to watch over the people. Now they're watching the people."
There's a feeling like elation in my heart. I truly believe I can beat
them, beat them at their own game. Me, some long haired cyberhippie,
bearding the giants of Law and Order in their most private sanctum. I'm
even considering changing my future plans, from programming to law. People
need protection from this sort of persecution. If I win this thing, I'll
believe I'm the person to do it. But thats a day away, yet. Alot could
"I have no further questions for this witness."
I have no witnesses. No evidence of my own. I don't think I need any. The
incompetence of the cops and of the SprintDerf leaves me trusting that I
won't need any. I should probably create some. A printout of the file I was
REALLY making dialing all those numbers. Gotta remember to bring copies of
FFejScan & CodeThief to court tomorrow, just in case I get a chance to do a
demonstration. Gotta remember... epiphany...
"You are in contempt!"
I have to remember to be humble tomorrow. To be quiet, and reasonable. So
tonight, I am loud, and obnoxious. I say all the wild, troublesome things
that could cost me the opinion of the judge I so desperately need to
convince. Thats how I handle stress. Before the confrontation, I say all
the things that would cost me points, loudly, to anyone who will listen.
Then, when the time has come, I can be calm, and rational.
"Does your heart not hear the call to battle?"
Rational is good. Long ago, when I created "Tal Meta" in my mind, he
represented the coldly logical side of my being. The side that could stand
in front of a gymnasium full of people and be spat upon, and take it. That
happened, once, long ago. Harry Eldridge, I think his name was. Big ass
wrestling dude. He could've broken me like a twig... and he knew it. And he
knew I knew it. What he never comprehended was that it didn't matter. I had
insulted him... over what, I can't remember. He wanted to fight me. I
didn't care to oblige him. So he spat on me, right there in front of 50
some odd people, one of whom was a girl I cared for deeply. She understood,
though. She was a Jehovah's Witness... people spat on her all the time. Two
months later, after he held me in a death's grip headlock over another
slight, (which a coach had to come and break before he made me pass out, or
killed me) I waited for him in a stairwell, and jumped on his ass from the
second floor. I broke his arm. I didn't even get expelled. I was one of the
"I stand before you, draped in my sins..."
Thats the key, you see. On one level, I know, that since this is my first
offense, the system is going to "go easy on me". But thats not what I want.
I want to win, I want the system to bow before me. I've worked hard at
becoming a "respectable" member of my community. Nobody really knows what
I'm up to. If "Fred" insists on pressing his unsupported case tomorrow, I
plan on destroying him on the stand.
"They agreed with that line from Shakespeare... 'Hang all the Lawyers'..."
"And just when did you become aware that a crime had been committed?" "Was
that before or after Mr. Aninnos there had the evidence 'analyzed'?" "And
where is your evidence of that crime today?" "Whats that? You say you've
misplaced it?" "This is not Traffic Court, Officer Fred. Your word against
mine is insufficient." "Your Honor, I move for this case to be dismissed
due to lack of evidence..."
"Nothing has to BE true, but everything has to SOUND true."
SprintDerf is another story. He's going to explain to the court how a PBX
works. Then he's going to tell us how to compromise one. And then, he's
going to explain to us how the evidence he's presented supports that
picture. The beauty of it all is that he can't. Thats my plan, anyway. Alot
can go wrong between now and then...
Thursday, the 17th, 3 hours PAST D-Day.
I went to court. I sit waiting... for what, I don't know. I wait as the
caseload is called out... SprintDerf is nowhere to be seen. They call my
name. I rise, and enter my plea. "No, your Honor, I'll be defending
myself." I say. No SprintDerf in appearance. Am I happy, or sad? Shit. The
Judge is a substitute. He doesn't want to be there, you can hear it in his
voice. Says he has to be in another town by 3 today. (I wonder if he made
it?) Every time he speaks he sounds like an auctioneer. Time passes. I
watch those pleading guilty get their sentences. Fines mostly. One of the
cops I know comes in... (Fred) The one with a complaint against me. During
a break, I ask him one last time if he has ANY more evidence concerning my
charges. He says SprintDerf has it all. I ask him to point out SprintDerf.
I go ask him for more info. He says the cops have it all. But he's carrying
this HUGE binder. The Binder has two things written clearly on it. U.S.
Sprint, and my last name.
"Can you hear me screaming?"
I follow SprintDerf back to Fred. They converse, and tell me they're going
to talk to the Prosecutor. They vanish for about ten minutes. I stew in my
chair, wondering whats in that binder. I get called into the little room at
the back. The Prosecutor offers me a deal. He says that he's got enough
evidence to bury me. He shows me some. He might even be right. I complain
that SprintDerf's binder is about eight times the size of all the data I've
been allowed to see thus far. The Prosecutor wants to cut this deal though.
If I take his deal, he'll drop the receiving stolen property charge, if I
plead guilty to the other two. Says he'll push for minimum fines, and no
restitution. If I DON'T take his deal, and ask for another adjournment to
study the evidence, he'll press for maximum fines, jail time, and
restitution. I ponder the odds. I ask about my equipment, and begin to form
my counter-offer. The Prosecutor has no clue, so he calls back in Fred &
"Stay Alert. Trust No One. And Keep Your Laser Handy!"
Seems my "buddy" Barney has put in a motion for me to forfeit ALL of my
seized equipment. I'm not amendable to that, so Barney gets called in.
While we wait for Barney, we chat about world events. Somalia, and such.
SprintDerf has a brain in his head. He's the epitome of evil in my world
right now, but I still can respect that. Barney arrives. The look I gave
him would have melted steel, but he seems oblivious. We "discuss" who gets
what. Barney wants my laptops. (I guess his grandkids will be happy this
Christmas...) He also wants my IBM. I want my Commodore system back. I want
to trade him the cheesy word processor for a laptop, but no go. In the end,
we all agree that I get my Commie system back (worth twice what the IBM was
worth in today's market) and I get the mouse card out of the IBM setup. I
get copies of all the software on the IBM. I get all the other software
too. And my VCR, the phones, etc.. Oh Joy.
"Sometimes, in order to win, you have to lose a little..."
I'm still stewing. I'm NOT guilty of what they want me to plead guilty too.
It sticks in my pride like a white hot knife to plead otherwise. But it
will get my equipment back. It will end this charade. It will give me my
life back, to do with as I would. So I agree to this devil's bargain, and
we go out to face the court again.
"Do you think you could twist the knife in my back a little to the right?"
I sit there, as another case is heard, and I want to scream. I would really
like to hurt someone. Preferably SprintDerf. I watch them, Fred, Barney, &
SprintDerf, all chummy on the other side of the room. The Judge calls my
case again. I rise, and walk towards the bench, wishing I had a weapon. I
stand there, mute, as the Prosecutor explains the deal to the Judge. He
asks me if thats what I want. I say that I do, but anyone with an ounce of
empathy would have known I was lying. I'm forcing myself not to snarl, like
some caged animal who's been tormented by people he can't reach, and can
only huddle in one corner and snap at them.
"Jesus wept. I prefer firing on full auto."
The Judge reads the charges, and unique as they are to these small town
courts, he has to look up the penalties. He gets sidetracked for a moment
by some obtuse ruling involving theft of electrical service, that carries a
minimum $500 fine. I'm groaning inside, trying to visulaize myself paying
off a $1000+ fine. The Prosecutor & SprintDerf look at one another, and
silently agree that this shouldn't be considered under those rules. The
Judge, who still wants to get out of here soonest, reads off the fines
almost too fast for me to add them up in my head. In a mere twinkling, its
"Not with a bang, but with a whimper..."
I go downstairs, and fill out a check. $400 isn't too unbearable. But I'm
wishing this had made it to a probable cause hearing at the County Level.
It all might have gone away there. But I suppose I can live with it. I
guess I'll have to now. A career in law looks very appealing to me now. A
chance to strike back. A chance to make a difference. But I probably won't
do it. Ask me six months from now, and maybe I'll have a different outlook.
This is HOPEFULLY the last "Legal TANJ" I'll ever write. There may be more
written by others, but I'm planning on covering my tracks well enough never
to be in a courtroom again.
ú ùþ ú
ÛÛÛÛÛÜÜÜÜþÜÜÜÜ ú ù ú
²²²²Ûß ú ù
±±±²²²²²²ÛÜ Phoenix Modernz Systems: 908/830-TANJ
ÛÛ±±±±±±²²²Û The Syndicate: 908/506-6651
ÛÛ±±±±±±²²²Û The Matrix BBS: 908/905-6691
±±±²²²²²²ÛÜ First United Church Kalisti: 602/753-3784
±±²²²ÛÜÜÜ The Cell: 817/870-1060
²²²²Ûß ú ù