April 20, 2024
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April 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I decided that I am going to hang out in courthouses more often. It really is quite fascinating what goes on there. A woman was being accused of being in possession of an illegal, dangerous substance, but “it wasn’t mine, your honor,” she pleaded. But then we found out that she had enrolled in an outpatient drug rehabilitation clinic and failed the first drug test. Then we found out there was a warrant for her arrest in another county. Oops, off to jail for you, young lady. She was not very happy. And because of the all the craziness in the world today, I was just praying that she wasn’t going to take out a gun and kill all of us—while she was probably praying that someone legalize this particular illegal substance before she started serving her sentence.

About 17 years ago I was driving home from Philadelphia and adorable baby #1 was screaming his brains out—the kind of screaming that makes you want to pull every hair out of your head; the kind of screaming that, if you are nursing, can become a very unpleasant experience. I put the pedal to the metal and tried driving to the nearest rest stop so I could comfort the poor kid and wouldn’t you know it, I got pulled over by the fuzz (one day in court and I am already speaking the lingo).

“But officer,” I said with tears in my tired blue eyes, “my baby was screaming and I was trying to help him.”

“Well ma’am, you should have pulled over,” he said forcefully.

“Umm, that is what I was trying to do when you pulled me over; I was trying to pull over.”

Nope, that didn’t help. Maybe if I had been blonde and 50 pounds thinner it might have made a difference, but this chunky mama was getting a ticket. There was no talking my way out of this one. (As opposed to, when, six years earlier and single and not tired, I got pulled over for speeding going up to the Concord Hotel (of blessed memory) and all I had to do was look at the cop with my “sparkling” blue eyes and that ticket never saw the light of day. What can you do? At least I have that memory…)

In any event, my husband, the father of the screaming baby, escorted me to court in the middle of Yashabunchik, New Jersey to help me lessen the pain of the ticket that I got while trying to calm down his kid. Eight thousand dollars (I exaggerate, but only slightly) and no points later, we were back on the road. So let’s review. I gave this man one adorable son and he was more than happy to help me in court.

Fast forward to now. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the princess who got a parking ticket for parking her horse-drawn carriage at a broken meter. Truth is, the princess was really me, gasp, and the horse was my Honda minivan. I went to court once, by myself, but the ticketing officer was not there so I had to come back, since I was pleading not guilty. Yes, it was only a $30 ticket, but this is America and I wanted my day in court! My lawyer, aka husband #1, had to adjourn the next date because it was Passover. He did such a great job that it was rescheduled to another day of Passover. Yup, you get what you pay for, kids. So the third date was set and my lawyer informs me that he is not going to court with me. I am stressing and sweating and he is all  “gotta go to work, good luck, don’t end up in jail.” So let’s review; now I have given this man two more sons and he is just throwing me to the wolves. Real classy.

The judge, after apologizing for totally butchering my name (surprise, surprise…though, I think he was surprised that I was female and not male because he asked “are you sure you are Banji?” –that was a new one, even for me!) asks me to step forward. I plead not guilty. He says we are going to trial. I have a teeny tiny anxiety attack and a strong need to find the nearest bathroom. When I was asked to cross examine the ticketing officer I could have sworn I heard the music from Law and Order in the background and I said, “No questions for this witness at this time, your honor.” Impressive, right? And I didn’t even go to law school.

This fairy tale has a happy ending. The judge accepted my not guilty plea and this princess was free to go. I was walking on air. I called my lawyer and told him the verdict. I sang my praises as a member of the legal society and then I told him that he was on his own for dinner and not to bother billing me.

The End.

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

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