DAZE WORK: Order restored to the courts?
It’s nice to know some things never change.
Or is it when it comes to the Putnam County court system?
My schedule and my health issues haven’t allowed me regular visits to the courts the past couple of years. Lots of stairs and my knees aren’t a great combination. Editor Jared’s done the heavy lifting, attending the Gonzalez murder trial and all the varied proceedings involving the multiple defendants in the McCarter home invasion.
But last Wednesday I was back in there -- ironically within 24 hours of the return of the TV sitcom “Night Court” -- for a hearing on the guy who led police on a pursuit and then barricaded himself in his Greencastle home as well as for the guy who threw chunks of concrete through the windows of three Bainbridge businesses and then wouldn’t say a word to police or Judge Denny Bridges.
Those, however, are the unusual cases. The ones that cry for ink. Most of the court docket otherwise, is filled with failure-to-appear cases, probation violations, possession of methamphetamine and the like.
Of course, those are accompanied by a litany of excuses as defendants won’t even do the simple things to help themselves like visit the Adult Probation Office when told or show up for the next court hearing that’s scheduled.
Invariably it’s someone else’s fault they apparently didn’t get the message and didn’t know when their court hearing was.
It’s almost a cinch that when the judge asks where they work, the answer is “I don’t have a job right now” or the ever-popular “I’m supposed to start a new job tomorrow if I can get out of jail today.”
It’s like a broken record.
On Wednesday there were 14 cases in Superior Court. An older fellow was in there for an initial hearing on his arrest for possession of meth and possession of paraphernalia, both Level 6 felonies. He got a rude awakening when the judge set bond at $10,000, which is automatic in Putnam County for possession of meth.
A Noblesville man, facing theft charges after allegedly stealing five bottles of liquor from CVS, was shocked to also receive a $10,000 bond.
“Ten thousand dollars!” he blurted out. “Oh, my god.”
“Ten thousand dollars is $10,000,” Judge Bridges responded, meaning no discount of 10 percent allowable, especially for a defendant who reportedly already has six failure-to-appear charges on his record.
Then came the young lady who failed to appear in court for a Dec. 28 hearing in a relatively minor proceeding. She told the judge she was “unaware of the court hearing.”
“Have you ever heard the expression, ‘You’re making a mountain out of a molehill’?” Bridges asked.
The defendant said yes with an awkward little chuckle.
“That’s what you’ve done,” the judge assured with a nod in her direction.
And fittingly, the day’s proceedings ended with another defendant failing to appear on a failure-to-appear charge.
And so it goes ...
By the way, the fellow who wouldn’t talk to the police or the judge? He’ll be back in court ... and so will I.