Court was postponed from January 4, 2016 to the 25th due to the backlog that is our judicial system.
So we arrived today, on Harrison’s birthday, while the rest of the northeast is digging out and salting after the mess Jonas left in his wake. I feel salty knowing that my in laws will be the first to wish him a happy birthday upon waking. It should be us, but we had to leave long before both he and the sun rose, and can only hope that they will build the snowmen and forts and make birthday memories with him that should be ours to make.
Of course we gave ourselves enough time to arrive before court is open, giving space for the unknown: traffic accidents, backups, icy road conditions. It’s a long drive for what is usually a short appearance. The only time we were ever late for our scheduled appearance was on a day that the roads were so bad that court was delayed and then cancelled after we arrived. But the website says no cancellations or delays have been reported, so here we are.
We wait for Paul, our attorney to come and update us on the status of our gas expert report. We have been waiting for this report for over a year. Apparently the report is complete and needs only the expert’s signature to make it valid and ready to be filed. According to the expert’s office manager, he is wonderful in the court room and never misses a trial, but his office management skills are significantly lacking and she apologizes for the delay. Our attorney has hesitantly issued a subpoena for him to bring the report today. If he fails to appear, we have to ask for one more continuance until next month. The chance of him showing up is slim, as it is 8:56am.
Yet his lack of presence matters not because when the courtroom doors open at 9am and we enter to sign in, there is not one single prosecutor present. The rows begin to fill up with defendants, victims, family members, and defense attorneys. One attorney looks as though he has aged ten years in the 6 weeks since we last saw him. Yes, after 4 years we know these faces all too well.
There’s an air of familiarity in the court room, like stale smoke. It reminds me of my late uncle’s old apartment. Most of my “comrades” are dressed to unimpress in torn sweats and jeans that hang well below what is appropriate. A few defendants are dressed with old school respect, something our present society is seriously lacking.
Once a few prosecutors saunter in, court begins. The first case called sends us into an immediate recess as the prosecutor and defense request to conference in the judge’s chambers. So we wait while our attorney tries to contact the prosecutor on my case.
However, there seems to be confusion as to who that may be. An email has surfaced that states that as of Fiday, my case was kicked back to the previous prosecutor, Esposito. It doesn’t really matter because neither are present.
Court resumes and recesses and resumes and recesses again. Is it now 10:30am and we are still waiting for any prosecutor to make an appearance on our case…
Our attorney finally finds Esposito and they meet in chambers: Apparently the major crimes and arson units have split, and the previous prosecutor, Moreno, kicked the case back to Esposito because Moreno now heads up the major crimes division which no longer includes arson.
The most unnerving aspect of the change in prosecutors, besides the fact that this is the seventh change in prosecutors, is that Esposito has lied about speaking to his supervisor about the case and is honestly, a bumbling idiot, from what I have heard each time he speaks in court. The upside to this, is that hopefully the jury will see that too, should this go to trial. Unfortunately, after being a stuck in the system for so long and binge watching “The Making of a Murderer” I have little faith in jurors, and none in the system.
Anyway, at around 10:47am, I was finally called to the stand and it was decided that we will leap forward and return on February 29th for what I hope is the last status conference. We left the courtroom at 10:49 and that was that…
I am hopeful that our expert will have signed the report by our next conference and that our motion for dismissal and all expert reports will be officially filed, so that we can we can begin the pre-trial paperwork for the third and final time. We are looking at a July – September trial, though I am not holding my breath…
Again, thank you for your continued support. We’re on our way home to celebrate what is left of Harrison’s birthday…