Continuing yesterday's blogspot, I now move to my dealings with "Cyndi" the clerk with extraordinary powers of persuasion (& an even more surly disposition than stretchpants, the assistant district attorney.)
I approach the clerk's window - you know the glass with the little hole protecting the side from riffraff on the other side - namely us. I first question the situation from D's case - asking if the case is "final", explaining that I have some problems with the charge & the way D handled it. (Of course, I carefully assign blame to D, rather than accept D & bf's description of the attitude of the clerk.)
"Cyndi" tells me that that case is final, and that D needs to have her money to pay for the $22 for the inspection sticker (and proof the car was inspected), as well as the payment on the open container. I say something to the effect that we will deal with that in a minute, let's go ahead with the case at hand.
I hand her the documents stretchpants gave me. She glares at me. I'm figuring she is angry because she had told bf the day before that if he didn't plead guilty immediately, there would be no deferred on the alcohol case (and here I was holding the deferred offer) and that he would be required to pay $500 in full immediately (and here I was with a $240 offer & 45 days to pay.) She looks through the papers, huffs, then says that I did not file a notice of representation. I said that if she had a form (like they do in real courts where people are facing jail or prison), then I would sign it. Otherwise, I would write a notice on a piece of paper & attach a business card. I write up the document and hand it to her. She instructs me to sit down; I do. (D & bf inform me that as I walk away, "Cyndi" is smirking, laughing, & shaking her head.)
A few minutes later, another woman comes out from the clerk's area into the hallway and starts berating bf about coming without a letter of representation. I'm sitting right beside him & she knows it. I tell her that he told me about the letter but I did not have time to prepare one given the short time period between 2 yesterday when he was in court and 1 today, given that I had to appear in Harris county criminal courts that morning. She starts in on a bunch of bunk on why it is required. I tell her I wrote one which I gave to the other clerk. She then tells me that it has to be faxed, but she "went back and talked to the judge" and he okayed it this time, but I better do it properly in the future. (FUTURE?! She MUST be kidding! There is NO future for me at that hell hole!)
But then the telling sign - she speaks with very old man about his situation and, in the course of the conversation, says that the judge is not there!!!! but she will talk with the judge about the man's situation tomorrow and call the man. (EXCUUUUUUSSSSEEEE ME! Okay, I wanted so badly to jump up & ask to speak to the judge but I held my tongue. I still had hopes of working out D's situation. . . . Damn liar.)
Anyway, I get called by up by "Cyndi", and she gives us the documents for the classes bf has to take. I then inquire about D's situation. She tells me it is "too late", and that D has to pay the money. D is standing beside me. I instruct her to pay the $22 for the inspection sticker violation (while I explain to "Cyndi" that the wrong person was ticketed for the offense.) I then inform "Cyndi" that I will be filing a motion for a trial de novo (a new trial - because this is not a court of record one can appeal to the county court and get a real trial - start completely over. I figure that someone with a brain might work there.) Anyway, I ask her about if D pays the $125 toward her open container fine, how does it work to get it back. She questions what I mean. I explain that I am POSITIVE that when I file for a new trial that D will NOT be paying a $500 fine, if she is even found guilty. "Cyndi" confers with the other clerk whose name tag cannot be seen; she says just forget about collecting on that fine for now. Since we are filing an appeal, they don't want to deal with refunds. (Ha ha. Guess they've been down that road before.)
Last bit - I didn't think to get the fax number to send the appeal (which must be done within 10 days of the no contest plea) so I send D back in. I also tell her to get the name of the other clerk. She gets the number & the other clerk's first name - which I have forgotten, but the clerk refuses to give her last name (as does "Cyndi".)
It is clear that this is nothing but a railroad situation. These clerks have been instructed or trained by someone to push, push, push to get guilty pleas, and to LIE about what the consequences of demanding the right to a jury trial will be. In addition, they are rude, and dead wrong about the law. I'm considering filing a complaint but I'm not sure where I would do that. Suggestions? There really is just no excuse for their treating people that way.
One last bit - a very nice lawyer who practices in Brazoria & Galveston counties - volunteered to handled D's appeal. He posted an attorney bond (which meant no $ for the bond) & will handle the appeal, which he feels will either be dismissed or, at most, court costs and an alcohol related class will be assessed (both of which I think would be fair.)
So, what is the purpose of this "story." Multifold: 1) to entertain readers - I enjoy casual writing; 2) to call out lying, rude simpletons, 3) to let you know that if you get treated like crap by some clerical type - you aren't the only one, and 4) to tell you that if you get a ticket in LaMarque, you definitely will be better served (and save $ I feel certain), to "lawyer up."