Friday, August 05, 2005

Slice of a Small Town - Our Own Personal Springer Show

I spent Monday morning in court...domestic violence court, that is. Although LoveBug may very well WANT to beat me for spending countless paychecks on designer bags, I was not there for myself. Rather, a co-worker of mine has filed for an injuntion (read, "restraining order") against our IT guy's wife. Long story? Yeah, but let's make it short. I happened to find myself in the unfortunate position of being a witness to an unpleasant incident, and thusly found my presence requested in court B1 on Monday, August 1st. I did everything I could to avoid my citizenly duties, but had I known my Monday morning would be the Polk County equivalent of the Jerry Springer show, I would have offered my witnessing services quite a long time ago. The highlights are as follows:

Key Terms (for the legally impaired):
Petitioner - the person who filed the injunction
Respondent - the person who is defending themselves against the injunction

The bailiff gives us a 3 minute speach on the Honorable Judge Pants-in-a-Wad. We are told to remove our arms and or hands/any other body parts from around or on the person we are there to support/is there to support us. The judge frowns upon PDA. We are told that if our garments contain buttons, we must consider them functional items, not decorative ones. This is why I spent the entire morning with my dress buttoned up to my neck.

Step-mom requests injunction against step-son. Step-mom is soft-spoken and elegant. Son approaches podium with gangsta' swagger, wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Bailiff requests son remove second t-shirt from around his neck. Son refuses. Judge issues injunction.

Brother requests injunction against sister. Judge beings to issue injunction. Sister speaks up informing judge that brother lives with mother, and sister is mother's caretaker. Wonders if injunction forces brother out of mother's home? Issue is tabled for the calling of witnesses and psychiatric evaluators at a later date.

VERY young girl petitions court for injunction against boyfriend, child support, and injunction on behalf of child. Boyfriend does not show up for court. Judge issues all requested petitions like Santa on Christmas Eve.

Judge calls next petitioner and respondent to the podium. Middle-aged couple behind me stands up, walks down the aisle together, and proceeds to part to opposite ends of the court. Husband informs judge he is there to voluntarily dissolve the injunction against his wife. Judge turns to wife - or rather, turns ON wife. Informs wife that she has an injunction, signed by HIM, ordering her to stay 500 feet away from her husband. Judge wants to know why she thinks it's okay to ignore that injunction and sit with her arms wrapped around her husband in HIS court. Judge threatens to have bailiff remove wife/respondent "out the back doors." Wife giggles. Judge gavels. God, I love Polk County Florida!

Bonus: His Honor saw fit NOT to issue the injunction my co-worker was requesting. He warned the respondent to stop her shennanigans and advised my co-worker to contact the court, should her behavior continue. No sooner were we out in the parking lot, when the IT guy's wife pulled up in her car and said, "Ha, Ha, you stupid bitch! You filed papers on me and now I've got your address. You're fucking dead, whore."

Yeah - I get to go back to court on the 15th.