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.