Thu, 29 Oct 2009
In the criminal justice system, there are two separate but equally important groups...
...my bicycle, and the dude who stole my bicycle.
As I discussed back here my bike got stolen back in August, and the guy was caught up the hill from my apartment by the Ypsilanti Police. A bit over a month ago I got a letter in the mail from the District Attorney's office, telling me that there was a final settlement conference in the case, and that I had to appear in court for it.
I'll write more about that later --- in short, court is a lot like what you see on TV, just much more boring. There really is a guy who tells you to stand when the judge comes in, and people do in fact say "your honor". But it's less drama and more like recitation of the justice incantation or something.
Anywho, the guy who stole my bike was charged with larceny. He was going to request a jury trial for that. The same guy was also there for a domestic assault case. There was a slightly harried middle-aged woman I talked to, who said the guy would plead guilty to a lesser charge, and was I okay with that. Since I have my bike and don't really care about the minor damage done to my bike rack, I really didn't care. He did that, there was the whole incantation of "you're saying you are guilty, here's what this means, do you understand each of these bits", and it was over. Then it moved into the guy asking for a jury trial in the domestic assault case, and then they moved on to the next guy.
When I left the courtroom the lady asked if I understood what had happened, and she explained a few things. She said I could appear at the sentencing part of the case, but I told her I wasn't really interested, and that the guy seemed like he had bigger issues than how long he's going to be in jail for yanking my bike. She sighed and nodded yes as I left the building.