When you think of a courthouse you think of a place where things are set right and justice is done and that’s good for all of us. It isn’t good, however, for those of us who live near a courthouse. The people who enter a courthouse are rarely happy. They are either being taken down a peg or getting ready to rig up a sail down the river. Courthouses are filled with angry families, disappointed spouses, public sadness, meandering gloom and they are surrounded on all sides by rip-off artists, skeeves and geniuses — pharmacies, lawyers and bail bondsmen — I’ll let you decide which is who. In the meantime, I’ll trot the long way around because some days you just can’t take the remnants that tumble down from that big box of justice.

40 Comments

  1. I don’t live anywhere near a court house but I’ve been lucky enough 🙂 to go with my boyfriend to one a few times in regards to his divorce and custody battle. To use the term unpleasant is a vast understatement. If you saw me walking in you’d see a pale as a ghost girl looking like she is about to crumble. My FIL even asked me last time if I was feeling well because I looked so pale. You can feel the tension all throughout the place…it takes a lot of energy to go into something like that.

  2. Robin —
    Yes, exactly! A courthouse is a place of doom. That’s why I hate jury duty. If you have any sort of human sensitivity at all you are overwhelmed by the pain and fury surrounding you. It tears you up the second you sit down. I don’t know how people can work in that system every day and still retain all of their humanity.

  3. Makes you really question the kind of person that is a lawyer…particularly (in my opinion) a divorce lawyer. My boyfriend in a courthouse once had to go up in front of an entire room while they discussed whether he was a sexual deviant. His ex had said she had zip discs he put child porn on which, as all the other claims she made, was totally bullshit. But he says it changes you to be addressed like that in front of everyone…I can’t even imagine.

  4. Makes you really question the kind of person that is a lawyer…particularly (in my opinion) a divorce lawyer. My boyfriend in a courthouse once had to go up in front of an entire room while they discussed whether he was a sexual deviant. His ex had said she had zip discs he put child porn on which, as all the other claims she made, was totally bullshit. But he says it changes you to be addressed like that in front of everyone…I can’t even imagine.

  5. Have you spent a lot of time with young students studying to be lawyers, Robin? They are the most aggressive, manic, hard-hearted bunch you would ever meet. Some of them turn out okay in the end but the system of teaching pits them directly against each other and turns them cynical and money-centered to win at any cost.

  6. Have you spent a lot of time with young students studying to be lawyers, Robin? They are the most aggressive, manic, hard-hearted bunch you would ever meet. Some of them turn out okay in the end but the system of teaching pits them directly against each other and turns them cynical and money-centered to win at any cost.

  7. One of the rabbis in Seattle has Saturday morning prayer at his house – he used to have samsonite folding chairs but he acquired through one of the congregants a few very comfortable benches that had once been used in the waiting area of a courthouse. He said he felt it was appropriate because he could just imagine all of the prayer that took place while sitting on the benches. 🙂

  8. One of the rabbis in Seattle has Saturday morning prayer at his house – he used to have samsonite folding chairs but he acquired through one of the congregants a few very comfortable benches that had once been used in the waiting area of a courthouse. He said he felt it was appropriate because he could just imagine all of the prayer that took place while sitting on the benches. 🙂

  9. One of the rabbis in Seattle has Saturday morning prayer at his house – he used to have samsonite folding chairs but he acquired through one of the congregants a few very comfortable benches that had once been used in the waiting area of a courthouse. He said he felt it was appropriate because he could just imagine all of the prayer that took place while sitting on the benches. 🙂

  10. Gordon!
    I love that story! It is touching and it makes me laugh. That is a wise rabbi!
    Tomorrow we are going to talk about when a boy becomes a man and I know you have thoughts on that BUT SAY NOTHING NOW — save it for the ‘morrow if you dare.
    :mrgreen:

  11. Gordon!
    I love that story! It is touching and it makes me laugh. That is a wise rabbi!
    Tomorrow we are going to talk about when a boy becomes a man and I know you have thoughts on that BUT SAY NOTHING NOW — save it for the ‘morrow if you dare.
    :mrgreen:

  12. Dawn, sorry to hear about your case. Sometimes it seems that our justice system can put the victim on trial a second time.
    I have a confession. I graduated in 1992 with a BA in journalism and political science. Like a lot of my cohort, jobs were tough to get at that time, so many of us ended up at law school. It meant three extra years to read books, drink beer, and incur backbreaking student loan debt.
    I’m licensed to practice in Indiana and Illinois and concentrate in collections. Abraham Lincoln was a collections attorney, so I’m following a great tradition.
    I see the unhappy people every time I go to court.
    I always do my best to make the process as painless as possible for everyone since I’m not billing hourly. The quicker I get things done, the better it is for me. Also, it’s been my experience that I end up seeing many of the same people for other accounts. If they know I’m reasonable and fair, it makes things easier the second or third time I see them.
    I’m a middle class type of guy and live in a neighborhood of steelworkers and working people. I know what it’s like to be broke and have tons of debt. It helps me to be a better attorney because I don’t judge people for falling behind on their loan payments.

  13. Dawn, sorry to hear about your case. Sometimes it seems that our justice system can put the victim on trial a second time.
    I have a confession. I graduated in 1992 with a BA in journalism and political science. Like a lot of my cohort, jobs were tough to get at that time, so many of us ended up at law school. It meant three extra years to read books, drink beer, and incur backbreaking student loan debt.
    I’m licensed to practice in Indiana and Illinois and concentrate in collections. Abraham Lincoln was a collections attorney, so I’m following a great tradition.
    I see the unhappy people every time I go to court.
    I always do my best to make the process as painless as possible for everyone since I’m not billing hourly. The quicker I get things done, the better it is for me. Also, it’s been my experience that I end up seeing many of the same people for other accounts. If they know I’m reasonable and fair, it makes things easier the second or third time I see them.
    I’m a middle class type of guy and live in a neighborhood of steelworkers and working people. I know what it’s like to be broke and have tons of debt. It helps me to be a better attorney because I don’t judge people for falling behind on their loan payments.

  14. Dawn, sorry to hear about your case. Sometimes it seems that our justice system can put the victim on trial a second time.
    I have a confession. I graduated in 1992 with a BA in journalism and political science. Like a lot of my cohort, jobs were tough to get at that time, so many of us ended up at law school. It meant three extra years to read books, drink beer, and incur backbreaking student loan debt.
    I’m licensed to practice in Indiana and Illinois and concentrate in collections. Abraham Lincoln was a collections attorney, so I’m following a great tradition.
    I see the unhappy people every time I go to court.
    I always do my best to make the process as painless as possible for everyone since I’m not billing hourly. The quicker I get things done, the better it is for me. Also, it’s been my experience that I end up seeing many of the same people for other accounts. If they know I’m reasonable and fair, it makes things easier the second or third time I see them.
    I’m a middle class type of guy and live in a neighborhood of steelworkers and working people. I know what it’s like to be broke and have tons of debt. It helps me to be a better attorney because I don’t judge people for falling behind on their loan payments.

  15. Dawn — Thank you for sharing your experience. That must have been awful. I was in a courthouse at 14 when I had to make a decision about keeping my mother’s second husband’s last name or reverting back to my birth name. I didn’t want any trouble — everyone in town knew me by the name I was using so I had to go to court and get it legally changed, my mother urged, before I had a diploma in the “wrong name” and before I received my learner’s permit to drive at 15. She wanted my legal name — whatever I chose that to be — to be changed and set in the “system” so the paper trail would always be accurate… my birth certificate, however, had to be amended because I was born an “Isherwood” but chose to go with “Boles.” I wrote about it here: http://goinside.com/98/6/isherwood.html and the hardest thing to answer that day in court was when the judge asked me if I would recognize my birth father if he walked into the courtroom and I had no answer “no.”
    Robin — Well said!
    Chris — Ah-ha! You have outed yourself as an officer of the court! :mrgreen::!: The legal profession needs artists like you and I am happy to hear you are making the process as painless as possible for those you serve. Your path was a smart one. When I was at Columbia there was a newfangled joint MFA/JD program. You had to be accepted into both programs but if you were you could get both an MFA and a JD degree in the same amount of time it would take you to get one of them so you’d be training in two separate programs for basically the same tuition and you’d end up with two degrees. I only knew one person who decided to do it — he was in our Management Program on the Arts side and then planned to focus on business development on the Law side. It was a pretty neat setup.

  16. Dawn — Thank you for sharing your experience. That must have been awful. I was in a courthouse at 14 when I had to make a decision about keeping my mother’s second husband’s last name or reverting back to my birth name. I didn’t want any trouble — everyone in town knew me by the name I was using so I had to go to court and get it legally changed, my mother urged, before I had a diploma in the “wrong name” and before I received my learner’s permit to drive at 15. She wanted my legal name — whatever I chose that to be — to be changed and set in the “system” so the paper trail would always be accurate… my birth certificate, however, had to be amended because I was born an “Isherwood” but chose to go with “Boles.” I wrote about it here: http://goinside.com/98/6/isherwood.html and the hardest thing to answer that day in court was when the judge asked me if I would recognize my birth father if he walked into the courtroom and I had no answer “no.”
    Robin — Well said!
    Chris — Ah-ha! You have outed yourself as an officer of the court! :mrgreen::!: The legal profession needs artists like you and I am happy to hear you are making the process as painless as possible for those you serve. Your path was a smart one. When I was at Columbia there was a newfangled joint MFA/JD program. You had to be accepted into both programs but if you were you could get both an MFA and a JD degree in the same amount of time it would take you to get one of them so you’d be training in two separate programs for basically the same tuition and you’d end up with two degrees. I only knew one person who decided to do it — he was in our Management Program on the Arts side and then planned to focus on business development on the Law side. It was a pretty neat setup.

  17. Dawn — Thank you for sharing your experience. That must have been awful. I was in a courthouse at 14 when I had to make a decision about keeping my mother’s second husband’s last name or reverting back to my birth name. I didn’t want any trouble — everyone in town knew me by the name I was using so I had to go to court and get it legally changed, my mother urged, before I had a diploma in the “wrong name” and before I received my learner’s permit to drive at 15. She wanted my legal name — whatever I chose that to be — to be changed and set in the “system” so the paper trail would always be accurate… my birth certificate, however, had to be amended because I was born an “Isherwood” but chose to go with “Boles.” I wrote about it here: http://goinside.com/98/6/isherwood.html and the hardest thing to answer that day in court was when the judge asked me if I would recognize my birth father if he walked into the courtroom and I had no answer “no.”
    Robin — Well said!
    Chris — Ah-ha! You have outed yourself as an officer of the court! :mrgreen::!: The legal profession needs artists like you and I am happy to hear you are making the process as painless as possible for those you serve. Your path was a smart one. When I was at Columbia there was a newfangled joint MFA/JD program. You had to be accepted into both programs but if you were you could get both an MFA and a JD degree in the same amount of time it would take you to get one of them so you’d be training in two separate programs for basically the same tuition and you’d end up with two degrees. I only knew one person who decided to do it — he was in our Management Program on the Arts side and then planned to focus on business development on the Law side. It was a pretty neat setup.