Friday, February 22, 2008

Upholding truth and justice pays $12.50

I went to court yesterday. Not because I had done anything bad or wrong (that I had actually been caught doing, I should say), but because I had witnessed a car accident and had stayed around to give a statement to the police.

Traffic court is a strange experience. In most cases, people come in and argue their cases and are found guilty. They are rarely—and by that I mean never—eloquent speakers. We did see one case thrown out, since the cop hadn’t witnessed the accident and only one of the people involved showed up.

Fairbanks is a small town. You constantly bump into random people in random places. When the D.A. walked in, Rowan recognized him as one of her students. He called my name, and I went and told him what I saw. Then he came and asked Rowan if she had also seen the accident, which she had. She reiterated my story.

The D.A. then called the guy who was challenging the charge into the hallway, where—I am assuming—the D.A. told him there was no way the charge was getting dropped with two witnesses against him.

We were told we could go home, but I was still entitled to the $12.50 witness stipend. I felt good for having done my part to uphold the standards of truth and justice, and for having made some money while doing so.

Later that night, Rowan said we should go to traffic court more often, sort of like live Court TV. And it didn’t seem like a bad idea. I had quite enjoyed my time there.

But after participating in the justice system, and helping to create justice, how could I return and just be a passive observer?

It would be like Clark Kent entering a phone booth just to make a phone call.

And it wouldn’t pay.

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