28 April 2005

Ken Lammers: Hardened Criminal

Tuesday I leave the office and get to my apartment around 8:30. As I walk up I see a piece of white tape over the key to my lock. As I get closer I see writing on it:
Hmmm, that's not good.

First, I try to call the officer. However, he's a daytime officer and I get his voice-mail. I leave a message with my cell number and ask him to call me back.

Then I sit down and try to figure out exactly what the heck I could get a summons for. Missing a court date? Sure, I've missed a couple in the last 3 months or so (occupational hazard) but I've been back before those judges since and nobody's said anything. A bad check? I don't know of any that have bounced and my bank account has an unusual surplus at the moment (haven't paid this month's bills yet), so probably not. I haven't made any threatening phone calls or beaten up a girlfriend so it's probably not that. Haven't been in a bar fight lately so that's not it. Maybe they're on to my snipe poaching operation? Naw, since I've been trading the captured snipes across State lines for jackelopes it would most likely be federal marshals coming to get me if someone were onto that. Has my cat attacked my neighbor's froo-froo dogs? Unlikely, the cat grew up playing rough with two real dogs; if he attacked two dogs who are more yip than substance (my cat's small and these dogs are even smaller) he'd probably do enough damage that he'd have been picked up by animal control. Since he's over there laying on the floor I don't think that's it.

The problem with doing the type of work I do is that I've seen the infinite creativity of officers, magistrates, and citizens in finding new and strange things to charge people with. I tick through everything I can think of and I'm coming up blank. The only possible thing I can think of is that I've had my porch door open the last few days with only the screen and had a fan in it to air out the apartment. My porch faces the woods and my dogs bark at deer, kids, trains, as well as invisible things; I fuss at them when I'm home so it doesn't get too bad but they may go absolutely nuts when I'm not around. With the door open maybe it's been loud enough to violate the noise ordinance? I haven't looked at the noise ordinance lately but I think it goes something like this:
Whilst thou art in God's County, if thou durst form a sound and thy sound doth travel nary a hair's breath past the sacred distance of 50 paces thou art a rogue, naif, scoundrel, and villain. Yay, verily, thou dost give up thy rights constitutional and allow the stop of pretext. Thou shalt also forfeit the sum of 50 dollars.
The only problem is that I've only seen this ordinance applied to young guys with massive speakers in their fancy four cylinder Hondas (and possibly a little marijuana in the car). As well, none of my neighbors have said anything to me. Still, it's the only thing I can think of. And that bothers me because this is usually the kind of thing that an officer at least talks to you about first.

I actually manage to make myself nervous enough that I start to clean my apartment to take my mind off of it. Two hours later it's the cleanest it's been in maybe a year or so and I'm still wondering what the heck is going on. I don't live in Florida or New York so I don't think the prosecutors are trying to send me to jail because I've been too successful in representing my clients. Anyway, my ego hasn't yet grown to the point that I think the prosecutors view me as that great of a threat. It's hard to be perceived as a terrible menace when your marching orders from half your clients are "I don't care if I'm convicted or not. Just get me out of jail as soon as possible." Finally, I quit worrying about it and go to bed.

The next morning I call the officer again just before I go into the courthouse. I get his voice-mail again and leave another message. Then I go in and take car of that day's business.

I come out around noon and as I'm driving away from the courthouse he calls me back. He's a little confused: "I left you a note on your door?" I tell him he left me notice of a summons, he asks me my address, and then he looks it up.

It's a flippin' county sticker. I bought a Jeep Cherokee a while back when my Saab finally gave up the ghost (or, more accurately when I finally decided it would be cheaper to buy a reliable used car rather than fix that dang Saab every other month - sometimes the fact that a car is fun to drive just ain't enough). It has a Richmond sticker on it which is still good and I hadn't gotten a county sticker yet. Somebody must have gone through the apartment complex's parking lot and realized my grave sin, run my plates, and issued papers (I kid you not, there are county inspectors who drive through our parking lot about once a month doing this). So now I have to go to the county offices and pay $10 or so to get a sticker. Then the charge will be dismissed without me ever having to go to court. It's almost a let down. Almost.

I drive to the police station on my side of town to pick up the summons. I've never been to this one before and it's a small building with a lot of police cars in the parking lot; fairly typical. The only thing which stands out is the big, illuminated green sign with yellow letters out front which announces this as the police station. Of course, it's daytime so I don't get to see it lit up but it looks like it was probably a state of the art shopping center sign when it was designed and built in the 70's. I may actually have to come back one night when I'm bored to see what it looks like lit up. The only thing missing was a couple of those weird flowers that were on everything in the 70's.

I go in and the officer at the desk recognizes me immediately. We joke about it for a couple minutes, then he gives me the summons and tells me where to go to deal with it all.

Thus ends the Great Lammers Crime Spree of 2005.


Tom McKenna said...

Darn... thought maybe I'd get a crack at prosecuting you, Ken... oh well, just hafta wait until we get the goods on you. At least they could have arrested you and held you without bond until AFTER our upcoming jury trial.

Now about that snipe poaching...

Windypundit said...

So it's a crime to not have a sticker even if your car is on private property? And the inspectors can enter your private lot to check your car? I'm pretty sure that here in Chicago, if it's not on the street they don't do anything about it. Long ago, my wife and I kept an inoperable car with an expired sticker in our lot for about a year without any trouble.