Thursday, November 24, 2005

At Criminal Court

I went to Criminal Court today, but there was no hearing for Isaac, Wleh and Prince—my street friends accused of robbery. The clerk told me that he would have to assign a hearing date, that the boys would get a lawyer at the hearing, and that I would have to “bring something” to make this all possible. So, I asked him, if I don’t pay you these boys will never be assigned a hearing date? After a long pause he told me he would assign the case, and I should call at 2:30 in the afternoon to make sure it was ready.

I called at 2:40 pm and was told the assignment was ready. (Wow!) “Can you make it here by 3?” the clerk asked. “You’ll need to go with the sheriff to the prison with the assignment.” No problem. I was there at 3 o’clock on the dot. But there was no assignment, no Sheriff, no trip to the prison. Just another attempt, by the clerk and the judge, to get me to file a costly bond. This time the cost was lower than the last quote, but still beyond my means and against reason: why should I have to pay anything when a court-appointed lawyer could (and should) get them out?

I was told to return on Monday, when all the prisoners will be brought to court. But I’m already tired of the runaround and I’m beginning to wonder if my interest in these boys might actually keep them in longer than necessary.

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