Just. Wow. I had to go to the courthouse to reschedule my traffic citation arraignment, and yes, that is most assuredly the appropriate word. You may not guess, but traffic court is part of the criminal court.
I had previously described the process of revenue generation via speeding ticket citation as a “cookie cutter” operation, meaning, the county runs a very lucrative and veritable bullet proof , cottage industry, but I had no idea exactly how descriptive that was until I paid a visit in person and experienced the wonderful zen of nothingness as practiced by our state’s employees.
Not to denigrate anyone here, but during these days of draconian budget cuts and furlough Fridays , well, let me just state for the record that even during times of plenty, state employees do not condescend to do or know one iota of anything that their collective bargaining agreement does not specifically elaborate upon. And now that said employees are off without pay three Fridays out the month, one could say that their font of knowledge has most definitely run dry.
The folks who man the windows at the courthouse are little more than glorified checkout clerks. They know how to collect money and that’s about it. I’m not saying every single person in every single courthouse fits that description, just the one I dealt with. The clerks at the Civil Lit court in Santa Ana are awesome.
After having stood on line for the better part of an hour -and this was before the court opened at 0730- when it was finally my turn, I asked the woman behind the counter a question that did not involve writing a check to pay the citation.
She gave me a look that screamed why-do-you-have-three-heads. As in:
ME: Can you tell me what the address is of the prosecuting attorney in the matter?
And her response: I have NO IDEA what you’re talking about.
I wasn’t expecting legal advice, or even a how to fight my ticket, but I didn’t know that government employees who work in the criminal law division of the courthouse consider the mailing address of the county D.A. to be esoteric and arcane knowledge. Who woulda thunk it, Pauline!
A self-identified judge’s clerk helpfully popped his head into the window and told me that the citing police agency was prosecuting, but had he not been standing right there to overhear my question, it’s doubtful I would have received an answer that day.
As far as prosecution goes, if you know anything about criminal law or the way prosecution works, then you would know that Government Code Section 26500 states in pertinent part:
The district attorney is the public prosecutor, except as otherwise allowed by law.
Sammy can relate.
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