Saturday, December 13, 2008

never possess a lobster during off-season

I had to go to traffic court this morning to get an arraignment hearing for an (alleged) illegal U-turn in front of my house. I've never had to be in court for anything other than jury duty, so this was a new experience for me, although one of which I was looking forward.

There were about 40 of us in a room, and we had a judge that was so old that instead of reading the instructions for the people coming up for their arraignment, he just played a tape recorder. Dude was old. It almost made me want to start visiting courts to see who these judges are whom I'm giving votes.

The first person up to the judge couldn't speak English and had to have a translator for him. He was charged with (and I certainly didn't see this coming) possession of a lobster while not in season. Seeing that I was in traffic court, I was trying to figure out how this jibed. Was the lobster in the accused person's car? Was it bound and gagged in the back seat? Was there any chance he was walking the lobster around on a leash?

Because of several measures that the state legislature has put in to add service charges to every fine, the guy's $120 fine ($100 + $20 for each lobster in his possession) came out to actually $430 dollars approximately. Stiff fine, and the guy probably didn't even get to eat the lobster. 

As for me, I thought about pleading guilty and just paying the fine, but the two people before me both pled "not guilty", so I never got to hear the fine. Instead of asking before my plea what the fine would be, I took my chances and said "not guilty". Afterwards I was told it would have been $35, which in this legislative world, would've been about $154, and that's before traffic school. Better to fight for my freedom, right?

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