My night in night court

kangaroo-court-1I spent last night pleading a recent traffic violation in Middletown, NJ’s, handsomely appointed night courtroom. My offense? Allowing my registration to lapse for a month.

The hour-long experience was entertaining, if not surreal.

Before entering the courtroom, I first had to pass through three separate security checkpoints, including one that featured a thorough pat-down. I appreciated the extra security procedures knowing how dangerous traffic violators can be.

Once in the courtroom, I was thoroughly entranced by the tales of woe told by my fellow lawbreakers. To wit:

Judge: “Says here Mr. Martinez that you’re just now responding to a violation that occurred in 1993. Been on several around-the-world cruises since then?”
Witness: “No your honor. Doing time.”
Judge: “Prison time?”
Witness: “Yes.”
Judge: “20 years? What did you do?”
Witness: “Oh, lifted weights, worked in the library and laundry rooms….”
Judge (growing increasingly agitated): “No, no. What was your crime?”
Witness: “Three separate counts of armed robbery.”
Judge: “Do tell? Well, you’ve paid your dues to society. No need to worry about a 22-year-old speeding ticket. Case dismissed.”

There were some other cool cases as well: One included a guy who had managed to collect three speeding tickets in a single day. Judge’s comment, “You must have been in some kind of hurry that day. License suspended for six months. Next?”

Then, there was the woman who protested her speeding ticket. She insisted she was driving below the legal limit AND had a passenger/witness to verify her story.

Judge: “So, you’re telling me your passenger was actually watching your speedometer as you drove past a digital radar gun that is 100 percent accurate?” The witness nodded. Judge: “Well, that’s a physical impossibility. But, I admire your creativity, so I’ll only put two points on your record.”

When my turn came, the judge didn’t even look up.

Judge: “Driving with an expired registration, Mr. Cody?”
Me: “Yes, your honor.”
Judge: “Were you involved in an accident?”
Me: “No, your honor.”
Judge: “Pay the $89 fine and good luck to you.”

Talk about theatre of the absurd.

Nonetheless I went home and slept soundly knowing that Middletown’s finest were making the world a little bit safer by dragging in miscreants like me and making us pay for our transgressions.

Suggested tag line for MPD?

“Wasting your time to ensure our safety”

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