Sunday, July 24, 2011

Our day in court

Suburban Court

Forgive me. I am typing this from my iPhone while sitting at an open house.

So Amy and I got married. That post was a few months ago. There is a picture on that post of how we had the north park lodge set up. We had rope lighting and doilies hanging to give it a cool vibe. We rented it out Friday to set up for the wedding Saturday. At one point the grounds keeper for north park stopped past and told us that it looked beautiful.

Anyway the lodge is a big wooden building with wooden beams and walls. Each beam has about 2000 staples and 50 nails in it from 90 years of birthday and graduation parties. We continued this and used a staple gun to put up decorations.

Friday night, after 12 hours of setting up, before leaving for a snack/drink thing for friends and family, we got a call from our friend who was running the kitchen. She said that the police were there to lock up and freaked out because of the staples. He told her that he was maybe going to pull our permit for the next day because of the damage that we did to the property.

So we went to bed hoping that we would have a wedding the next day. I woke up early and the kitchen help called me shortly thereafter. She said the police were back and were taking photos. They would not speak to her. I sat on the phone with her while they walked around the lodge and inspected it. Well there goes our wedding and most of my money. Awesome.

The cops finally come out and are willing to speak to me, as I held the permit. He asked how I was doing. I told him that I was scared. He said that they would not pull the permit but he was going to cite me for destruction. This was good news.

The whole wedding when I told people the story, they literally didn't believe me. I had to sternly say " I am NOT joking". This is because the lodge basically looks like a shooting target for staples.

Anyway we get the citation a few weeks later. 375 dollars. In the grand scheme it was just another wedding cost. However I was kind of upset that this was so blown out of proportion. I plead innocent and waited for the court date.

Going into court I figured that it would be pretty obvious that we had no ill intentions, that we followed the norm that had been set by users before us, and that nowhere were we told that staples were unacceptable. Also hedged bets on the cop maybe not showing up.

I took photos of the thousands of staples in place. I took a photo of the giant sign telling users that confetti is forbidden. I brought a lawyer friend. I was ready to go. Amy and I both took the day off of work. I figured that we could go and it would be a non issue to a non partial judge.

We didn't get to see a judge. We went to a magistrate. This is basically an elected person who takes a three month class and can put people in jail. The office was in a strip mall behind a kfc in suburban hell. We got there and the cop was hanging out with the nonjudge in his chambers.
It basically went like this: they have the burden of proof. We did what everybody else did. The photos didn't show our actual staples and we did reuse some hooks and nails already in place. We were not told not to use staples.

The cop was a moron. It was unreal that somebody so dumb has the power that he has. He literally said at one point "there aren't any signs saying that you can't use a jackhammer bun you didn't do that," and the winning statement "there are not any signs that you can't launch a missile". Wow.

Anyway the judge berated us and told us that we have no common sense. I can't image how shitty he would have been if we didnt have a lawyer with us.

Before he gave his ruling or judgement or whatever I said " no matter how this ends up, I would really like to see the people in the park office tell people not to use staples, so this situation can be avoided in the future."

At the point the non judge yells at me again saying that I have no common sense and I should not have to be told not to (do something thousands of others have done?!??!) At this point I just gave up and realized that us being there had nothing to do with preserving the lodge, as the cop stated, but was just about power and authority.

The non judge then said "I am going to knock 200 dollars off of your fine in hopes that you go away. I am SURE (shitty smarmy voice) your lawyer will tell you that you can appeal this."

Fuck you strip mall judge.

Add in: "you can die at their hands, but not at your own"


Spice said...

If I see you with a stapler tomorrow night, you're sleeping in the car.

Anonymous said...

Dude, I think I have an office in that strip mall. Allison Park, right?