Part 307: Court

COURT

RECORD STORE TALES Part 307: Court

I can only say so much about this subject, for hopefully obvious reasons. I can say this: Yes, I have had to testify in court, in a case of stolen CDs.

It was the Monday after Mother’s Day, in the year 2000. It was a long, ongoing case, a break and enter. I had forgotten all about it. I had made my written statement a year prior. The store had done nothing wrong. We did everything exactly as we had to, when dealing with a situation like this. As per the instructions of the police, we took all the correct ID from the suspect when buying the CDs, and followed all the correct procedures. When dealing with stolen goods, the police actually preferred us to buy the goods rather than send the person away. That way, they get evidence.

Unfortunately since I was the buyer this time, I was a witness and was therefore subpoenaed to testify. Two of my co-workers from other stores also had to appear in court. I was the only one who decided to wear a suit and tie for my appearance. The other two came in jeans and T-shirts.

“Mike!” laughed Cam. “What are you wearing a suit for? You look like you’re the one on trial!” I looked around. Indeed, the only people who seemed to be dressed as nicely as me were the people who were on trial and their lawyers! And I didn’t look like a lawyer.

“I thought you had to wear a suit to court,” I said in ignorance.

Without going into details, here’s what I remember:

– Cam got a parking ticket because there wasn’t any parking available.
– We spent hours waiting in a room that looked like school class room. Hungry and unable to leave, we decided to order a pizza. We pooled our cash together but didn’t have much left for a tip. I remember that the delivery guy threw the extra coins back at us.
– A year after the incident, I couldn’t remember what the guy looked like. I remember him being big, and bald. That was not enough to satisfy the court that I could recognize the accused. My testimony was all but useless.

I remember reading in the paper a short while later that the defense lawyer got his client off. It wasn’t really a surprise to me.

I only had to go to court twice, both for this one case. The experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The store had paid cash for the CDs we bought from this guy, but we never got compensated for them when the police took them as evidence. In my experience, we only ever got compensated once, and that was just for four CDs. Although we always cooperated with the system, and made sure we always followed procedure, we got burned too.

17 comments

  1. Big? And bald? Are you sure it wasn’t ME?

    Also, you just know the cops divided the CDs up amongst themselves and were rocking them in their cruisers.

    The system is here to protect us, and we have to trust it, but a healthy dose of disrespect and cynicism will probably save us all.

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    1. Absolutely, people are people and everyone is different, even a law enforcement person. But I often felt like I was being accused, up there on the stand. Like, “You are a part of this crime.” That attitude irritated me so I made sure they knew how we bent over backwards to be in compliance with the law above and beyond the call of duty. I name-dropped the detective that collected our books and said we have always followed his instructions to the letter.

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      1. Yeah, they do that to see how you’ll react. You’re not meant to feel comfortable. And you reacted as they thought you would (which is like any normal person who hasn’t got a criminal mind), and that’s a good thing.

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  2. I know how it feels to be treated like a criminal when you’ve done nothing wrong. Back in the day I was walking home late at night. I met up with a few buddies and a few minutes later the cops showed up. Apparently, my buddies had done some vandalism and I was caught up in it. I had to go the police station and get questioned. It was a sobering experience. I had to go for fingerprinting. The case never got to trial because my buddies offered to fix the damage they caused. I know lie detectors are not admissible in court but I wish the cops had one in the station that night.

    P.S. Awesome Ricky in court clip. His rationalising of how he and Lucy raise Trinity is awesome. Dad of the year award goes to Ricky.

    “So yeah. I think we’re done here”

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    1. “Sorry, dropped my smoke.”

      I’m sure you have open liquor in your homes.

      Brian I’ve never been in that position and I’m grateful I never have! Glad it turned into nothing!

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      1. If it had gone to trial I would have made a request under the “Peoples Choices and Voices Act” to smoke and swear.

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    2. Good for you it ended up being nothing. I’ve never been taken to a station, but I have had a couple of speeding tickets. I generally prefer to keep myself on the side of the law where they are serving and protecting me. ;)

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