Tuesday, October 02, 2007

His Honorableness

Judge Richard Mori has headed the Gloucester District Court for five years. He will now be working as a circuit judge, overseeing jury trials. This will take him from the district court here in Gloucester as it does not handle jury trials. He has been temporarily assigned to Salem District Court until his trial schedule is determined. Seems a strange thing to say, but, I'll miss him.

When the Rockport Police and the District Attorney decided to pursue criminal harassment charges against my ex-husband, I was asked by the DA's office to file a Restraining Order against said ex. I was told that they were asking for this as a precautionary measure in preparation for the time when he would be required to appear in court locally. I made my appearance in Judge Mori's court and with full understanding of the unique circumstances (my ex having returned to the UK), his honor granted the temporary RO and per law scheduled the hearing for 10 days later.

Well, the courts do not allow long distance phone usage for serving papers. No faxing! Therefore the RO would have to make it's way through the US postal system and the UK postal system to arrive at my ex's local police station. Once there, it would have to be hand served to my ex, a copy signed and dated by the UK police and that copy returned to the court here - before the scheduled hearing.

I can assure you it takes longer than ten days for that to happen.

So........

I returned to court ten days later. No Judge Mori. There was a "fill-in". I'll refer to him as Judge JJ. Well, obviously the court had not yet received the "return" on the RO. Judge JJ was irate and asked why I hadn't seen to it! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. He extended the RO for an additional week and told me to make sure the return was there by the next hearing. He had taken me by total surprise in front of open court. It was humiliating. I headed for the clerk of courts office and asked if I had been remiss. Was there something I was supposed to have done and not realized it? The clerk could tell that I was upset and assured me that Judge JJ had been out of line with his comments.

I was a wreck as I approached the next hearing so I checked with the clerk's office about the paperwork before entering the courtroom. The paperwork had been returned from the UK. And to give praise and credit, the UK police (Met) who had served the RO had called the Gloucester court to tell them when it had been served and to let them know that it was on the way back!

Phew.

I walked into the courtroom just before the end of the first session. Judge Mori was back.

The second session started and I was first to be called. After I answered a few questions, Judge Mori granted the one year RO and scheduled a renewal hearing for the following year.

And then.

He did something that will endear me to him forever.

He apologized for the treatment I had endured from Judge JJ.

As Judge Mori moves to preside over jury trials I only hope that the next time I'm called for jury duty it is in his courtroom.

11 comments:

dickiebo said...

But - whatever happened to JJ?

Little Wing said...

deb, that had to be humiliating to be spoken to by a judge in that manner.
It was already bad enough what you had to do and why.
Thank God for human beings like Judge Mori.

deb said...

LW, I was near tears by the time I left. The whole mess is thankfully over with. I went for the one year renewal hearing and Judge Mori ordered that. This past summer, I went for the next yearly renewal, discussed how things had subsided and Judge M and I, together, decided to risk letting the RO expire. He commented that since there were criminal warrants issued for my ex he would not be able to enter the country. To which I responded, "Well, ideally, one would hope." He smiled and said, "you have a very good understanding of the system."

dickiebo, Judge JJ is still at Gloucester District Court. Currently he is filling Judge Mori's position. Crud.

JsTzznU said...

WOW sounds like a judge everyone should get when they have to use the court system! I will say, being for Cal. You naming city & towns that I only now know cus my new wife is from New England and we've been there 4 times in 4 years was cool =)

Gald it worked out good for you!

Little Wing said...

deb I just wanted to thank you so much for the comment you sent me about the post I put up about Identity theft.
I did not know that existed, again thank you!
Very good info!

deb said...

Thanks for your comments, jstzznu. After seeing some of the, errr, others in the courtroom, I have no idea how any judge can drag themselves to work each day. Seems it should be obvious that when presenting oneself in court before the person who will make major decisions about you, that you should look and act your best.

However....

deb said...

LW, anytime.

I try to be very careful about online contacts and specific personal information. It took me two years to get up the nerve to contact WHOA. And then it was because the police officer in charge of my case recommended it.

I can truly, honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Keep an open mind. At first I was a bit put off with some of the suggestions that were made. They work on this stuff and with 100s of cases each week and for the most part can hit the nail on the head.

Who Me? said...

Being in court when you are innocent is humiliating enough, let alone when the judge is rude!

I have spent a bit of time before the court myself over the past 12 months or so.

I too was very lucky to find a magistrate who totally "got" the situation I was in and ruled accordingly.

Also, I'm hearing you about one's presentation before the judge. I'm sure I was the only one in the courtroom (apart from the staff and lawyers) wearing a suit!

Amazed by the amount of young men who turn up looking like waiters in their black trousers and white shirt with no tie ;)

Will send you an email about the info you've exchanged with Little Wing about the online stuff.

deb said...

who me?, black trousers and white shirts would be a welcome sight in our courts. A tie would probably put the judge into shock.

Our district courts see flip-flops, dungarees, T-shirts promoting all sorts of stuff, tank tops, and in the summer even shorts.

dickiebo said...

'Course, you weren't looking?

deb said...

Oh, never.

;-D