Little Bo Peep Comes to Court
I was presiding over the high-volume misdemeanor arraignment calendar when a middle-aged woman came into my courtroom dressed like Little Bo Peep. She had a tall white wig, and she wore a white floor length gown. She wore a light blue bow on her head, and she had a matching ribbon around her waist. She carried a stuffed teddy bear with her.
I discovered that she was in court on her third case of shoplifting. She goes into toy stores and steals stuff animals. She claims she is a “stuffed animal rights advocate,” and she is freeing the stuffed animals from captivity.
The Defendant Who Found Me in Contempt
I arraigned a prisoner in the courtroom cage charged with trespassing on a yacht in posh Newport Harbor, Orange County. I quickly scanned his files and realized he had several convictions for trespassing on the same yacht. He was obsessed with it. He claimed to be the owner, and when the real owner came onto the yacht, the defendant tried to get the owner arrested.
The defendant was on probation for the same thing, and he was ordered to stay away from the yacht. The previous judge tried to placate the defendant by agreeing to modify probation if the defendant returned to court with documentation that he was the owner. He never did.
It was obvious that the defendant needed a public defender, because we could not keep him away from the yacht. He also needed to stay in jail until the case was resolved,
When I informed the defendant that I was not going to release him, he burst into a tirade and started screaming at me. “You are an a—h—!” “I find that you are an a—h—.” “I find you in contempt because you are an a—h—.” The defendant kept screaming the same thing over and over.
My bailiff called for backup to escort the defendant down to the holding cells. The first deputy to arrive politely asked the defendant to stand and go down stairs. Before the defendant could respond, the huge second bailiff arrived. He reached around the first bailiff, grabbed the defendant by the back of his jail jumpsuit, violently ripped him up off the bench, lifted him off the ground, and threw him into the stairwell landing.
The last words we heard was the defendant shouting, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I want to go back so I can apologize to the judge.”
(There is a law enforcement joke, in bad taste, that goes like this: “How many bailiffs does it take to throw a defendant down the stairs?” “None. He tripped.”)
Request for an English Interpreter and a Ride Home from the Judge
I had a prisoner in my arraignment court, who, when my bailiff asked if anyone needed an interpreter, he said, “Yes.” My bailiff inquired, “What language?” The defendant said, “English.” My bailiff clarified, “English?” “Yes, English.” “I can’t figure out what’s going on.” After I agreed to release him on his own recognizance, he asked if I would give him a ride home. I agreed – not!