Stanley: Day in court goes from funny to sad to tragic
By Brian Stanley Life of Brianemail@example.com March 9, 2013 6:02PM
Updated: April 11, 2013 6:55AM
As the bailiff says, there’s never a dull afternoon in bond court.
Thursday was no exception as the proceedings shifted from hilarious to intense to sad and back again before Will County Judge Roger Rickmon.
Using cameras and microphones, most suspects “appear” in court via video from the county jail. Some people have their own lawyers, but a lot of them turn in the affidavit form asking for a public defender.
I always thought that form had to be filled out before you turned it in.
But the man accused of pulling a fire alarm as he was being kicked out of Harrah’s Casino believes otherwise. Claiming to be unable to read the document without his eyeglasses, he yelled at the judge to “be quiet” so he could explain why he wanted a lawyer but wouldn’t fill out the form for one.
I support the fundamental idea of protecting your rights, but the form remains the same from the man’s most recent arrest two months ago, for which he’s reportedly using a public defender in the legal process.
The next suspect of note could face serious time for allegedly attracting police attention by walking in the middle of the street with 74 grams of marijuana despite “an arrest record as long as (a lawyer’s) arm.”
The only person surprised by the $40,000 bond amount was the suspect’s girlfriend who collapsed to the floor.
Before sheriff’s deputies cleared the courtroom to bring medical personnel, I asked (from concern, not journalism) if she was all right and learned she was even farther along in her pregnancy than she looked.
While she was examined, proceedings resumed and Rickmon told another suspect he was facing charges because police allegedly found him carrying a gram of heroin.
“But it wasn’t a gram, it was only a half ...,” the 22-year-old father of two said before the public defender shut him up.
I would testify the prosecutor remained professional and did everything she could to keep from chuckling but even the guy who pulled the fire alarm would’ve recognized the smile on her face.
The next hearing was for a 23-year-old woman who tried walking out of Toys R Us with eight items of children’s clothing in her purse, police said.
The mother of two had her own mother in the courtroom, but some discussion showed neither woman can afford the minimum amount that had to be set for the charge.
Currently on parole, the suspect has two previous shoplifting arrests, making the theft of $96.93 in merchandise a Class 4 felony.
“I’m taking care of her kids since she’s in jail and have to pay for my own mother’s funeral on Saturday,” the suspect’s mother told the judge.
“Mom, you have to get me out of here,” the suspect sobbed.
Rickmon set the bail at $10,000, which would require posting $1,000 for bond. The lowest amount issued for a felony this year.
“I don’t feel for her crying, it’s her mother’s crying,” Rickmon said.
“Here we have a Class 4 felon for $100 worth of toys (sic), while yesterday it’s only a Class 3 for a guy who allegedly tried to kidnap two girls.”
A Class 4 felony sentence is one to three years in prison. A Class 3 is two to five years in prison.
“That just doesn’t seem right to me and I provide this ... commentary for whoever wants to listen,” the judge finished while looking at the section of chairs that was empty but for a single news reporter.