THE WEDDING RECEPTION TO END ALL RECEPTIONS
Municipal court vignettes
“Life’s tough, pilgrim, and it’s even tougher if you are stupid.”—John Wayne
As with most all municipal court cases, I didn’t know the miscreants who came to court. Most law abiding speeders pay their fine or take defensive driving. Those charged with drug paraphernalia, public intoxication, simple assault, school truancy, and even loose dogs or chickens have to personally appear. Thus it was that a nice-looking young man showed up in court one day with his mother. His mother was charged with public intoxication, to which she pled guilty, and the young man with allowing his dog to be loose…..it was a sizeable hound and had chased a small dog down and was proceeding to dispatch it when the smaller dog owner broke up the fight and called 911. The young man, too, pled guilty, and the judge seemed to know both of them but treated them in a friendly manner. The judge, of course lives nearby and for a town of 1750, you know most everyone, especially if you have sons and daughters in the public schools, as parent supported extracurricular activities dominate life in this small town.
After court adjourned, the judge leaned back and said, “That boy sure looks different than the last time I saw him.” I asked what he looked like the previous time, and the judge related the following story, carefully supplemented by the police officer acting as the court bailiff that day:
The young man (let’s call him Daryl) and his mother (let’s call her Kim) both lived in a run down trailer park in the north part of town. One Sunday afternoon, as it was getting dark, the police received a 911 call about a public disturbance at the trailer park, so the officer on duty responded. When he got there he quickly surmised that there were several dozen rather inebriated people, many hooting and hollering and generally carrying on. The officer recognized Kim from some previous run-ins with the law (primarily involving alcohol) and walked up to her, police flashlight in hand. Naturally he asked what was going on, and she told him that it was her wedding reception, that she had just been married again. She was in a formal dress, holding a green plastic Solo cup, and one of her breasts was hanging out of her dress, literally. The officer asked her whether she had been drinking, and she responded that she had not. When asked what was in her cup, she said “Green tea.” That’s when things turned ugly. Daryl, also having had too much to drink, jumped the officer from behind, and the officer, being larger than Daryl and quite sober, flung Daryl over his shoulders onto the ground and proceeded to beat Daryl into submission with his flashlight, the policeman in attendance noting that the flashlight were also defensive weapons that could be used as clubs. Daryl lost several front teeth in the fray, and the officer then handcuffed him, walked him to his patrol car, and pushed him into the back seat. The officer then returned to the crowd, saying “This party is over. Disburse and go home immediately or I will call for backup and there will be more arrests.” Of course the sullen, alcohol laden group disbursed, and the officer then returned to his patrol car to take Daryl to jail.
As he was driving, the officer smelled something rancid, stopped the car, and realized that Daryl had vomited all over the back seat of his car. The officer spent the rest of the ride to jail thinking of additional charges to lay on Daryl since he, the officer, had to keep his own vehicle clean.
You’re probably wondering what the judge had to do with this. Well, a municipal judge is also a magistrate—someone who holds a hearing on alleged criminals who have been put in jail and sets the release bond if the person is a candidate for release. The judge got to see Daryl at 8 am the day following the wedding reception….he smelled of alcohol and vomit and his blood-caked mouth revealed two missing front teeth. At least at Daryl’s second appearance before the judge, he was in a better frame of mind, dressed well, and somehow had his two front teeth back. I sometimes wonder where Kim and Daryl are and what they are up to.
MORAL: Don’t attend wedding receptions held in trailer parks. Don’t assault police officers. Alcohol and ignorance are a bad combination.