My past few posts have been a study in panic. Because those things keep overwhelming me, I sometimes seem ungrateful for the things I do get blessed with. And I actually have a very significant amount of blessings.
For example, I was arrested in March for Contempt of Cop. I had court for it yesterday. But my car got repossessed early that morning.
I was blessed enough to have another vehicle available. We still have the truck my husband bought in high school. It’s a huge thing with more on it that is broken than working. But at least it’s here.
Except, the battery is dead and it won’t start. But my daughter’s new friend’s un-grandma (it’s complicated) may have some jumper cables. She did and was over in just a few minutes. When jumping didn’t work, she gave us a battery…and brought coffee. The truck wobbled its way down the road and I made it to court only a few minutes late.
I got lucky again in court. To begin with, my defense attorney is a freshly minted idealist. And, totally unexpected, so is the prosecutor. These two did weird things like pay attention to actual justice.
For example, one woman was there for a typical drunk fight with her boyfriend. No injuries, just the neighbors calling the cops on a drunk couple who was shouting at each other. But she argued with the cop so she got arrested and they threw the book at her.
She was being covered in fines, fees, and restrictions relating to how she was released after she was arrested. In the meantime she lost her job, apartment, and boyfriend. Her age made finding a new job difficult, and having no place to live made it even more so. So the prosecution and defense got together and asked the judge to intervene. The woman left the courtroom on her own recognizance, without the extra fines, fees, and difficulties.
In my case, my defense attorney was on a mini crusade to reduce contempt of cop arrests. She hadn’t lost a case like mine yet. But the really surprising part came when the prosecutor himself decided to drop the charges.
There was video, but the cops did not release it. They pinned their entire case on the cop’s word against mine. Since video existed, but wasn’t being released, it called everything the cop was claiming into question. (When I was arrested, the supervisor asked the arresting officer if he had turned on his dash/body cam. When the arresting officer said “no” the supervisor said “good”.)
From what I gathered, the prosecutor requested the video again and was again denied access to the video. This puts the prosecutor in a bad spot.
For one thing, it handed the defense their reasonable doubt. A lot of people are willing to go along with whatever a cop says in these cases, but only if there is video. The existence of video, and the willingness to present it to a jury, can win a case. Just look at how often there are blatant cases of brutality on video…and how often the public at large still sides with police. The act of releasing video is essentially the cops proclaiming that they have nothing to hide; which makes the jury more likely to side with them even if the video is questionable.
However, NOT producing existing video makes it look like the cops are hiding something. Since I’m an almost 40 year old white housewife/history geek, whose only criminal record are “papers please” violations, the jury was already going to be more sympathetic to me. Even if I was convicted, the resistance of the officer to produce the video would overturn my conviction anyway.
Bottom line, if the cops didn’t produce that video they had no case against me.
Five minutes into my prep the prosecutor walks in to the defense’s office and tells me that he is dropping the resisting charge himself. He wasn’t willing to risk taking a hit to his newly forming courtroom reputation for the sake of one cop’s ego. He told the judge that the cop’s resistance to producing the video called the entire matter into question and he wasn’t willing to take the risk.
In the end I faced only one charge, my expired license. The charges connected to my car were dropped since I no longer had the car anyway. I was given nine months to pay my nearly $500 in fines and my bond was released. I am completely free(ish) again.
I was blessed again.
When I came out of the courtroom I was again blessed to discover a guardian angel had donated some money to my cause…enough to clear everything up and make our truck completely reliable. In just a few days the entire thing will be behind me. My papers will be in order and I should have no more problems.
The car being taken turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We got caught by a predatory car loan in 2008 and had been trying to hold on to something that we could no longer afford. Between the payments and the insurance the car ate up almost as much as our rent.
But, now that we only have the truck we have no payments. Plus, insurance on the truck is less than $30 a month. This cut our monthly debt in half.
I’m not going to the Historical Society Meeting. The truck may be cheaper to own, but it’s not cheaper to drive. It drinks gas like you wouldn’t believe, plus, we still have to get all of our papers in order before we can risk driving through some of the speed traps and other small town income generators between here and there, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen by this weekend.
And that’s ok too. I’m disappointed. I’m heartbroken over not being able to go. But I now know that I’m worth cheering on and I’m going to live up to that.
Besides, if I don’t have anywhere else to be anyway, I can spend more time at the historical society archives. And if I don’t have anything else to spend money on, I can buy the records I need too.
For all my complaining, I also recognize my blessings. I am blessed with people who care and are willing to help us. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who can see through my poverty to see the person that I am.
Most of all, I am blessed with an abundance of love in my life.