The Pryor Times

March 22, 2014

Life lessons from the courthouse

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

PRYOR, OK — There are many life lessons to be learned from hanging out at the courthouse. Few of those lessons are about justices or consequences.

First, the thing about distinguishing face tattoos is they’re distinguishing. You, with the lightning bolt tattoo on your eyebrow, will never blend in in a line-up and you’ll always stand out on security footage.

And going incognito is hard with your name on your neck.

Also, if you find yourself hiding anything, illegal drugs specifically, internally, it’s time to examine your life choices.

“I didn’t know” very rarely works as an excuse. It’s the court room equivalent of ‘my dog ate my homework.’ The judge will not believe you didn’t know you were speeding, your license was revoked, you were drunk, had a warrant.

It is an unexplainable truth, but a truth nonetheless, that a courtroom always smells like beef jerky, feet, and stale Marlboros. It’s a scent I’ve affectionally named “Incarceration.”

It is an unfortunate (or possibly very fortunate) truth that you will hear things in the courtroom that will leave you completely speechless. These things are not always relevant to the court proceedings, but they are always entertaining. Most common is, “They’re just prejudiced against him cause of who his daddy is,” and “That judge just hates him, she’s had it in for him since he was 16.”

Less common is, “That girl needs an exorcism something fierce,” and “It wasn’t real drugs this time, it was just pot.”

Judges, attorneys and court reporters have an uncanny ability to keep a straight face. Apparently hysterical laughter is inappropriate in a courtroom, so kudos to these folks for keeping it together. Seeing a judge mime legal rights and court proceedings to a nearly deaf defendant is more than I can take. If you’ve never seen an honorable judge mime out, “driving under the influence of alcohol,” you’re really missing out.

If the courthouse lobby is your venue of choice for family reunions, it may be time to take life a different direction. Also consider getting a new hobby if the jail has your mug shot on file, there’s a jail T-shirt with your name on it or the bondsman has your phone number memorized.

Also, judges remind you of your rights for a good reason. When she tells you that you have a right to remain silent, that’s a polite way of telling you it’s best if you shut up. I’ve seen people talk their way into more trouble.

My favorite truth of the courtroom is that you will see worse outfits here than on that “People of Walmart” site. I’m certain people don’t so much as walk past a mirror before heading to court. I’ve seen a variety of exposed undergarments file into the courtroom and I could probably create a drinking game based on cartoon character clothing. There are stains, rips, tears, and profanity all on ill-fitting outfits.

I’m not saying appearance will have any impact on what the judge decides, but I will have a hard time believing that the person wearing Scooby Doo pajama pants, a ripped T-shirt, socks and flip-flops makes good life choices.