So I says to this guy, “Officer, do I look like the kind of guy who’d drive with an expired license?”
I didn’t actually say that, just thought it a good way to refresh readers’ memories to where we left off in the landmark “Blough vs. Law & Order” case.
To sum up, I had worked, and on the way home stopped at Jim Clingman’s shop party where I had my backside shaved for profit. I ran out of gas below Doug Blough Hill, walked home and was arrested for DWS an hour later while watching TV in my underwear.
Now in court defending myself against all odds that say “you can’t beat City Hall,” at several points during cross-examination of the officer, I removed Judge Webster’s glasses I had borrowed and paused before barking, “Is that not true, sir?”
My entire case hinged on a victim mentality crying out for justice against an oppressive officer who had me in his crosshairs. Even though I presented a rapier, compelling case, after a long jury deliberation, I was found guilty. Two separate jurors later told me they’d all have ruled not guilty had I only said someone else had been driving.
True, I was never under oath, but as is true with most lawyers, I refuse to compromise my integrity by telling even a little white lie.
This wasn’t my first courtroom rodeo, my premier coming a few years earlier in “The Rabid Police Chief Case.” I do believe most police officers in Small Town, USA, are honest enforcers, but this particular Chief was corrupt and I have the evidence to prove it. Hear me out before racially stereotyping me.
I was roofing the Trout Creek Pizzeria, which later burned down, so was up early, put my dogs in my truck and was getting ready when I heard the knock. It was the Chief of Police with a report my dogs had been in the truck barking all morning.
I knew immediately which neighbor called and explained the false report about my dogs days earlier. The female animal control officer alongside the chief confirmed my version, but it didn’t faze him, saying testily, “So? Lots of people lie to the police.” This terse exchange concluded with his exact words, “I normally would issue a warning, but not this time.” I snatched the citation from his hand and stormed inside, determined to fight this bizarre mistreatment.
I recall dramatically asking the under-oath chief, “Besides the fact I was up before noon, was anything else unusual that morning?”
He was forced to admit holiday, hot air balloons had been landing in the field across the street, causing all dogs to bark.
Well, I lost that judge’s ruling too, but remained curious why the highest-ranking officer would personally concern himself with a barking dog issue. It was only later revealed he was a close hunting buddy of the habitual complainant. He was eventually dismissed for unrelated offenses and moved away, but had I known pre-trial about that troubling bond, heads woulda rolled.
I did learn valuable lessons I’ll retain for future cases: Always do a pre-trial, background investigation, and never wear a headband to court.