+1 to the American justice system for being pretty fair, although biased toward the rich like everything else.
-1 to the American justice system for being slow as molasses and inefficient.
I drove a hundred miles and spent six hours in court today just to get a chance to present documentation that proved that I was innocent of a misdemeanor charge, as indeed I was. By twiddling my thumbs for six hours, I saved about $130. Was it worth my time? Yes, based upon my current income. Could I have improved the efficiency of the courtroom? Yes, by thinking about their problem of chronic inefficiency for a single day, I could have made changes that would have increased their processing speed 500 - 1000% at little or no cost. I saw a lot of court employees, about ten as a matter of fact, standing around doing little or nothing but looking bored and counting the minutes to quitting time. Those cannot be happy employees, because time slows down when one has nothing to do. Employees generally prefer to be doing something productive with their time, or at least that is my general impression. They could have been busy gathering information from people. Simple communication with defendants would reduce waiting time dramatically and allow the court employees to go home earlier. I do not know why I had to appear in court to begin with. I could have faxed or emailed my documentation to court employees and saved myself a trip, if they had offered that option. But the court system has remained about fifty years behind the times for no reason other than mere incompetence on the part of the people running the system. This has to be the fault of the Republicans, who are always cutting budgets and never willing to invest a penny in government. Since poor people are the main ones to wind up in the court system, the Republicans let the court system rot from neglect, because they hate the poor.
The judge played a video with a speech by another
judge that said there would be no negotiation of fines, which means no
mercy for the poor, many of whom paid fines of over $400 for such offences as "improperly equipped vehicle," whatever that means.
About two hours after I took my seat, a guy dressed in an expensive suit walked into court. He looked like either a lawyer or a politician. I sat on the front row and watched him carefully. He breezed past the clerks and court officers and talked with the solicitor without waiting his turn. It was obvious he was connected. The judge heard him next and began speaking in a very soft tone, but I heard enough. "I'm sorry to meet you under these circumstances," the judge said, before shaking hands with the defendant. He pled guilty to the same offence I waited six hours to prove myself innocent of. Instead of paying $130 like everybody else, he paid half that amount. Then he said bye-bye to the judge and walked out. No wait or worry for Mr. Expensive Suit. Everybody else, that is, those who have to work for a living, had to sacrifice the mandatory 6 to 9 hours of time, whether guilty or innocent, and pay the full fine if guilty.