What I Learned in Court Today


I had the pleasure of visiting a local municipal court this morning. I was only there long enough for the person to whom I gave a lift to plead not guilty and get a future court date. But in those few minutes, something struck me. Those waiting for their turn at justice were overwhelmingly minorities.

I estimate there were 60 to 75 people there on this bright Monday morning. That probably equates to 40 cases given that most had friends or spouses with them. Of the 40 only 4 where white. And of the 40, only two had lawyers and, yep, both those people where white. The rest were, for the most part, black with maybe 6 or 8 Latinos scattered around the room. I had to ask myself, “Why?”

Obviously, minorities are hassled and arrested at a much higher rate than whites. This I already knew. Is is out of prejudice? I’m sure that factors in. Is it because minorities are more lawless? No, white people break the law in the same percentage as minorities, but minorities bear the brunt of the legal system. Cops obviously hang out in “the black part of town” to meet their quota make their arrests.

Once a case is in court, it is all about the money. If you’re guilty, you pay a fine. And in this particular municipality, the State reimburses the city for expenses incurred for every DUI conviction. That’s like getting double the money for every DUI. Quite an incentive to turn the justice system into a game of pick the poor man’s pocket. I say this because the overwhelming majority of people in this morning’s courtroom where unmistakably poor.

This is no scales-falling-from-the-eyes revelation. For all of history, money has bought “justice.” It was the the cattle lined up for the grinder image that surprised me. Based on how many there had lawyers, I guess only two were pleading not guilty. The rest were there to be fed into the legal system’s shake-down machine. They would leave the court and be faced with the windows on the way out. One window to sign up for driving school and two windows to pay fines. I think that tells you which is more important, safety or money. And for the two pleading not guilty, it’s only a matter of who gets the money, if not the State then an attorney. Either way, you pay.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy, but while chasing it, don’t speed and for God’s sake, don’t drive drunk.

EDIT
Coincidentally, I found this video from The Young Turks where a white guy and a black guy try to open a locked car without keys. At one point you’ll see a cop just cruise by as the car alarm is blaring for the white guy, but watch how fast the cops show up when the black guy is working on the lock.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Add yours →

  1. You just described the same experience that I witnessed countless times during my life. I was a little luckier (and perhaps a little smarter) than most of my friends (who, surprise, surprise, happen to be either minorities or po’ white trash), and didn’t get sucked into the shit-stem (yet). Most of these shakedowns were for bullshit like simple possession and open container, but many of my friends were sucked in the system for over a year and bled out for several thousand dollars; over misdemeanors!!!

    And the beauty of the system is that if the poor scumbag cannot pay everything the State demands, they lock em up, so they can pick up roadside garbage, dig ditches, or mow grass for free. Don’t forget, Randy, that slavery is also a motive for our ‘justice’ system.

    I wouldn’t dream of boring you with my snake’s-eye view accounts of miscarriages (abortions?) of justice, but boy, do I got stories; perhaps I might write them down someday. Anyhow, thanks for your compassion, because, truth is, most people in your fortunate station don’t even bother to notice (let alone care)!

  2. What a sad state of affairs this country is in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: